Category Archives: ex-con

A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House Book #3) by Jaime Reese

Romandeavor presents: http://jaimereese.com/a-restored-man/

restored manBlurb

Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.

A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.

Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

Review

This is book three in The Men of Halfway House series. I think, technically you could read this as a standalone with no problem, but why the heck would ya? The other two books are amazing and really give you the background for this book. So… I’m going to assume you’ve read books one and two…

We met Cole in book two. He’s loud, impetuous, impractical, mouthy and in a word – Trouble. He’s also an (ex) car thief who is at the HH after spending 2 years in prison for stealing a car and refusing to “rat out” his co-conspirators.

Cole has a hard time transitioning to a legit life because of his impetuousness. Finally, Aidan comes through with the perfect job for him, doing custom restorations for his brother Ty. The deal is this: Hunter gave Cole a sweet car if Cole can manage to do his time at the HH in four months. Nobody thinks that will be easy.

Ty is Aidan’s brother. He’s in the family business (Aidan is the black sheep!) of car restoration but he’s still recovering from a serious car accident that took the lives of his parents and put him in a coma for 6 months. Ty is the opposite of Aidan. He’s shy, reserved, blushes at the drop of a hat and has a dark cloud hanging above his head.

When Ty meets Cole there is instant attraction on both sides. So much so that Cole puts his foot in his mouth – again – and Aidan puts his fist in Cole’s face for it! Though Ty makes Aidan apologize for it later, Aidan makes it clear that if Cole hurts Ty in any way losing the car will be the least of his worries.

Well, as it turns out, Cole took to the work at the shop like a fish to water. He’s found his groove at last and things look great from that perspective. His only glitch: Ty. Ty turns Cole on like nothing else and makes him crazy.

Ty wants to keep things between him and Cole professional – of course – but he just can’t stay away. Cole attracts him like a moth to a flame. They dance around each other for weeks until finally giving in to their mutual desires.

There is more than just the romance going on in this story. Cole has some family issues to resolve and Ty is dealing with survivor’s guilt, physical limitations and an ex-employee trying to blackmail him.

And then there’s Aidan… I’m hoping his story is next… he’s got something going on with Hunter’s former partner Jessie and it looks to be a great story!

**

So I am a huge Jaime Reese fan. Her first book was amazing and frankly every book since has only gotten better. The thing that amazes me about this book in particular is the length. It is a fairly long book and there is not one word that could be edited out! All of it is wonderful and important to building this beautiful story.

The romance between Ty and Cole is both a slow burn and an instant wildfire. They flirt and tease and touch and torment each other endlessly, but the final coming together takes weeks and when it does happen it is really moving and powerful.

I love seeing J and Matt again (wish we could hear about Cam and Hunter too, but seeing as they’ve disappeared…). I love the “hint” that maybe J and Matt might one day expand their little family!

Cole has to be my most favorite character so far. Man! He’s funny, honest, charming, adorkable, can do ANYTHING (and he knows it), cocky, insecure, sweet, raunchy… just a perfect mixture of everything. Ty is his perfect foil because he’s so shy, yet subtly aggressive, confident but tentative… another delightful mix.

I have to admit, in a lot of books the “non romance” part is just boring to me and it takes effort to pay attention to those parts. Not true here. The blackmailing, the family drama, the events in the shop… these are all captivating.

I really feel that Jaime’s writing has gotten better and better as the series has progressed and her world building and characterizations are top notch.  I had to stop and slow down several times when I was reading this because I just wanted to savor how good it was.

I really appreciate how Jaime handles the sexual tension and the sex itself in her books.  It’s so romantic and yet scorching hot at the same time.  Her word choice, especially, helps to create this setting and I love that I’m not ever thrown out of the story by phrasing that doesn’t seem to match the characters for the sake of “making the sex hotter”.

Overall a truly amazing book that I know I’ll read again and again. I can’t wait for Aidan’s story and I am ever so hopeful that we will see the entire series on Audiobooks soon.

(And giant Kudos on the cover… so adorable!)

6 of 5 hearts

amazing

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A Hunted Man by Jaime Reese

Manic Readers Presents http://www.manicreaders.com/index.cfm?disp=bookDetail&bookid=45845

hunted manBlurb

After surviving ten years in prison, Cameron Pierce is attempting to put the past behind him. He tries to adjust to his newfound freedom with a place at the halfway house and a job. But one lesson he learned in prison keeps him guarded: hope is a dangerous thing.

Hunter Donovan, Assistant State Attorney, is a man of justice who loves a challenge. After a lifetime of putting his career first, a milestone brings him to a harsh realization—he’s lonely.

Hunter’s world changes when he meets Cam. The wary young man intrigues him and awakens a desire unlike anything he’s ever experienced. When Cam’s past resurfaces and threatens to rip them apart, their budding relationship is challenged and Cam’s hope for a future begins to dim.

These outside forces hunting Cam will stop at nothing to send him back to prison. But they’ll have to get past Hunter first.

Review

Cameron is a young 27. He’s been in prison for the last 10 years and he’s been pretty emotionally stunted as a result. He only knows how to protect himself, and is very wary of letting anyone in. Luckily he’s found the amazing guys at the halfway house (yay! I love that we get to see Matt and J again!) to show him how to be “on the outside” again.

Hunter is feeling all of his 40 years and needs someone to shake him out of his lonely rut. When he sees Cameron at “his” diner his world is soundly shaken.

I loved these two together. They were sweet and sexy and clearly fit the other’s needs perfectly. I loved how Cam won over the folks at the diner and managed to turn them in to his new family.

Jaime Reese is an amazing author who knows just how to pair tragedy with devotion to make for a really outstanding romance. I also loved that we got to see the guys from book one again – the continuation of their story is like a little bonus epilogue! (And you know how I feel about epilogues!)

I can’t wait for Cole’s story (coming in February!!) and hope we see more and more from this author.

(And of course – wow – the cover – just beautiful!)

5 of 5 hearts

5

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Brokedown Hearts (Foster Siblings #3) by Cameron Dane

brokedown

From Loose-ID:

Ex-con David Joyner returns home knowing he must atone for his past sins. Working at an animal shelter, David keeps his head down, desperate to prove to a hostile town he’s a new man. The one time David looks up, he spots fellow motel dweller Ben, and is terrified by his attraction to the man. David doesn’t want to feel anything. He can only damage what he loves.

On a forced vacation, PI Ben Evans accepts a job to tail a recently released prisoner. What begins as an easy gig turns complicated when Ben, a controlled man, can’t deny the pang of empathy he feels for his subject, David. Ben can’t suppress his gut-deep sexual desires whenever he’s near David either.

Repeatedly crossing paths, David and Ben do their best to fight their growing attraction. When passion explodes, and secrets are revealed, both men have to conquer inner demons in order to accept the others love.

Someone has turned the tables on David, though, stalking him and leaving threatening notes. Will anyone believe David if he tells? And when David’s stalker raises the stakes, can Ben find the man who has become his world in time to save their love?

Morgan’s Review

David (who we met in A Fostered Love) was the stalker who tormented Christian and almost killed himself. He ends up going to prison and this story picks up after his release where he was also hospitalized and is still being treated by psychiatrists.

Ben is Brayden’s ex from Something New. Brayden, asked by Jonah, asks Ben to tail David and make sure he is doing ok and not hurting himself or others. Ben ends up being attracted to David and this is where I had to stop.

David is fragile. He is messed up. He still panics at the slightest bit of sexual attraction and/or attention. In fact, just thinking about kissing Ben causes him to call his psychiatrist in a blind panic.

When Ben does finally kiss him, David, showing a lot of growth, tells him, NO, I am not ready for this. So what does Ben do? He kisses him anyway, despite his obvious terror and tells him he needs it.

This is where I had to stop. David says “Please. You shouldn’t do this.” “It’s not right.” “You need to leave.”
Ben replies. “ Don’t fuck with me David. There will always be consequences.”

Now. I know from reading other reviews and talking to people who have read the book, that it is explained and might even be “what David needs”. But to me it sounds and feels like rape.

I am just not comfortable with this in a romantic novel.

So, I had to stop.

I love Cameron Dane. I have enjoyed many of her novels and all the Foster Siblings books before this. This just hit me in a bad place and I couldn’t/didn’t want to proceed.

No Rating: DNF

 

Kimi’s thoughts:

This was a difficult read  because not only did we have a guy who’d been imprisoned for stalking  a previous character in an earlier book in the series, and it was one that was easily likeable, but then as we get to know the broken man David truly is and how dysfunctional his family are, along comes some dub con scenes where he is the target.

I’m glad I stuck with it, though, as it turns out that Ben seems to understand something about David that we didn’t, and David, well, David is okay with it. It’s not perhaps the most ideal of relationship models, but these two men fit together to make one whole that gives them their idea of a happily ever after. It’s a dynamic that actually saves David’s life as we discover that the help David is receiving to aid in his rehab is being used as a cover by someone who does NOT have his best interests at heart and actually uses his fear of attachment against him.

David’s work with shelter animals touched my heartstrings too, especially the whole thing with the abandoned kitten.  I’m a huge sucker for the whole kind to animals thing,  and Dane did well to use this, it really helped me see David as a troubled man who has goodness in him

Kimi’s rating: 3.5