Title:A Better Man (The Men of Halfway House #1)
Author: Jaime Reese
Release Date: January 16th 2014
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
I’m the farthest thing from a prude, but when was the last time I read a book where love and romance happened before the sex? No, I’m not talking insta-love and yes, the sex was smoking hot. Or where the characters had the guts to admit their feelings and take risks instead of hiding? Or a book where the MCs didn’t give up on each other but held on even when they had every excuse to walk away?
I can’t remember but this book falls into all the above categories and many, many more.
I’m so tired of the apha-male trope. I want men that can be sweet and emotional. Men that cry and overthink things and don’t have to be douchebags to prove their “manliness”. This was Julian and Matt for me.
Their love story starts when Matt hires Julian to remodel a crumbling building, which is meant to be a Halfway House. But over the course of a year, the house isn’t the only thing that they build.
I loved how devoted and protective Julian was to Matt. And I also loved Matt’s character growth; he really came a long way with Julian by his side.
Overall, this was an impressive debut novel by Jaime Reese, that had all the potential to become a big angst-fest, but turned out to be a sweet and romantic story instead. I can’t wait to read the next books in the series.
Recommended for all MM readers!