Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Better Man by Jaime Reese

Title: A Better Man 
Author: Jaime Reese
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: The Men of Halfway House #1
Main Characters: Matt and Julian
Release Date: January 2014
Publisher: Romandeaver
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Matthew Doner is starting over. After a five-year prison term that alters every aspect of his life, he receives a bequest from his aunt with the stipulation that he use the money to make things right. Breaking free of the long-standing role he’s played and inspired by the few who support him, he decides to create a safe place where people like him can find purpose and start a new life.

Julian Capeletti likes challenges. He is confident, brash, stubborn, and just what Matt needs. Desperate for work after a downturn of luck, he accepts the job to renovate Matt’s crumbling building.

Over the course of a year, romance simmers between them as they restore the house. But there’s a bigger renovation that must take place in their hearts. To become better men, they need to learn to trust each other even with secrets and painful memories they fear may rip them apart.
My Review:

This is such an interesting premise for a book and series and it really worked for me...and not just because I like to visualize hot, sweaty, shirtless guys in toolbelts...although those visuals definitely didn't hurt my enjoyment of this book. ;o)

No, at the heart of this book is ex-con from a very well-to-do family. While in prison he made friends with a guy who made a illegal one. His friend had all these plans for getting his life back on track when he got out of prison, but was never given a chance. As an ex-con, his family abandoned him, he couldn't get a job, and was homeless...on the street where he was beaten and killed...alone. Matt knows the desperation of that, being that person at the mercy of a family who wants nothing to do with you after you make an error in judgement. So he decides to do something about a halfway house to give men like him and his friend a chance once they're released from prison. It's a huge project with a small budget and a one year timeline. 

He hires Julian to manage the construction, since Julian actually knows what he's doing in that area and Matt is clueless. Although Matt is ready and willing to dig in and help with all the manual labor. He just needs someone to tell him what to do. 

I loved these guys and the way that their relationship develops slowly over time. They both live in the house and work together all day long. The sexual chemistry sizzles from the very beginning, but they establish early that they have a professional relationship and don't want to muddy that. So it takes them a long time to go past that point. I like that they are truly friends when things begin to heat up between them. 

There's a lot to this story and to Matt's circumstances. My heart hurt for him. He's a strong guy and has gone through so much, but he just doesn't have a nice family. I like how Julian and Sam stand by him and support him. The book was emotional and sexy and a purely great read. I can't wait to read more from this series. Like I said, I love the premise and it promises to reveal lots of really interesting stories. 

I'm definitely looking forward to more. 

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