Book Reviews

A Restored Man (Men of Halfway House 3) by Jaime Reese at Romandeavor

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 18-March-2015

Book Blurb

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.


Book Review

While this third volume in the amazing ‘Men of Halfway House’ series keeps the tradition of starring a sweet romance between two struggling men, it adds a depth of character and personal growth that I have found in very few novels. The struggle both men face is serious, real, and portrayed so well it sucked me right into their story and didn’t let me go. There is also a mysterious villain and his evil plan, but he doesn’t appear until about halfway through the book. And even when he does, the focus and strength of the story remains the two main characters and their issues. Bringing Cole, the former car thief, and Ty, owner of a car shop, together is no easy feat, but Jamie Reese manages it with alacrity, sensitivity, and a great deal of in-depth understanding of what has made these men who they are, and what they need to do before they can become the men they want to be. Bravo!

At first glance, Cole is easy to understand. He is an ex-car thief who has spent two years in prison, and is now trying to build a new life, beginning with a six-month stay in Halfway House. But there is so much more to Cole: he has an iron code of conduct that stopped him from ratting out his coconspirators to lighten his sentence, he carries a lot of guilt in his heart, and his sunny, irrepressible personality might just be his biggest enemy. He has no brain/mouth filter, and saying exactly what he thinks gets him into more trouble than is fair. Deep-down he is a great guy, but very few people get to see that part of Cole. His many layers are peeled back slowly, and each new discovery made him come more alive in my mind.

On the surface, Ty is as easy to understand as Cole. He is trying to put his life back together after a horrific accident that killed both his parents, but the health issues he still deals with two years later mean he has lost a lot of self-confidence, and the work he used to love (customizing and restoring cars) is not something he feels comfortable returning to. He sees himself as broken, and has shut out his brother and any friends who want to help. The guilt he feels is as crippling as the physical scars he carries, and it takes Cole and his unwavering interest for Ty to begin coming back to life.

The romance that develops between Cole and Ty is sweet, filed with all kinds of multi-layered tensions, and fuels the healing that both men need so desperately. This is truly a case of guys being made for each other, but that doesn’t mean their journey is easy. The closer they get, the more material for conflict there is, and not many couples could withstand the brutal honesty with which Cole and Ty confront each other. I was mesmerized!

If you like deeply emotional stories about wounded men who need to find and accept each other’s vulnerabilities before they can heal, and if you’re looking for a fascinating read that is as much a character study as it is an interpersonal adventure, then you will probably love this novel as much as I did. Needless to say, I cannot wait for the next installment, which will hopefully be Aidan’s story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 363 pages/117600 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-February-2015
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link