Book Reviews

A Worthy Man (The Men of Halfway House 5) by Jaime Reese at Romandeavor

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 04-May-2017

Book Blurb

A story of two men and the boundless love that forever changed them.

Vannguard Shaw has spent the last ten years serving a life sentence and adjusting to the ache of solitude. He accepts his fate, a sacrifice for the only man he ever loved and the one person who saw beyond his rough edges.

Drayton grew up with a trust fund and pre-planned future, but an unexpected encounter one night forces him to abandon everything and start from scratch. He is now a self-made man and developer of one of the most sought after electric exotic automobiles in the world with a fortune greater than that of his birthright. Yet, he’d surrender it all—again—for the only man who’s still ever-present in his heart.

After a decade and entirely too much distance between them, Vann is suddenly released back into a world that has been nothing but cruel. Drayton never lost hope they would once again reunite and pick up where they left off, but Vann’s stubborn nature and repeated encounters with a heartbreaking world prove to be a challenge.

Vann needs to tap into his fighting spirit’s reservoir of strength and hope life doesn’t punish him for taking a chance. Only then will he realize his own value and feel worthy enough to finally have Drayton’s heart. And their chance at forever.

Book Review

Every time I read one of the ‘Men of Halfway House” novels I think it is better than the previous one. This being the fifth of the loosely linked stories, and no exception to the aforementioned “rule”, I am beginning to run out of words to say how much I like this series: the characters and their issues, the emotional and other obstacles they have to overcome, and the passion they share. At the end of ‘A Worthy Man’ I was so full of emotions that it took me two days before I am now able to sit down to try to put my reactions and thoughts into words that, hopefully, come close to expressing how deeply I love this novel and how much I admire and respect Jaime Reese for writing Vann and Dray’s story.

Vann has had so many bad experiences in life, it is no surprise that he expects the worst to happen at all times. His father treated him worse than dirt, and nobody accepted him or saw his value as a human being before he met Dray in high school. Van may have been released from prison, but he assumes he’ll be sent back there. He still loves Dray with every fiber of his being, but he fears that Dray has moved on. Vann has spent years in prison for a “murder” he committed – but one that should have been looked at in the context of what Vann, or rather Dray, suffered before Vann acted. He has always accepted that he had to pay the price for his crime, but it just made me angry because, as far as I am concerned, what he did was closer to self-defense than murder. And anyway, the only reason he wasn’t paroled earlier was Dray’s vengeful b*tch of a mother… one of the villains caught and dealt with in the previous book.

Dray fell in love with Vann seventeen years ago when they were in high school, and still loves him fiercely after ten years of cruel separation. Dray is a geek, a clever guy who grew up rich but lost it all when he stood with Vann and his mother disowned him. But Dray is not someone who gives up, so he set out to become a super-successful businessman. Dray moves heaven and earth to get Vann out of prison now that his mother is behind bars, and the distance between them, which is pretty much unavoidable after that long apart, almost kills him. He just wants to move on, have Vann by his side as his partner, but it isn’t as easy as he had hoped.

Both Vann and Dray struggle with their own demons, a world that isn’t forgiving, and the realization that they have to build a new relationship, in many ways almost from scratch. Vann is stubborn and wants no special treatment, but adhering to all the rules Halfway House imposes on him isn’t easy, nor is finding a job he actually enjoys. Not to mention the need to tear down the emotional walls he has built to protect himself from the brutal life in prison. A large part of the story is about Vann discovering his self-worth and the confidence to accept Drayton’s love, and I was rooting for him at every step.

While, unlike in some of the previous books, there is no action-packed plot with suspenseful twists and turns in this novel, the personal drama, angst, and character growth is phenomenal. The strength of the love Vann and Dray share blew me away, and I adored all the little details about their past that were slowly revealed along the way. The supporting characters play an important role in Vann’s growth – especially Matt and Julian who started the halfway house in the first place – it was great to see them in action again. As for the final unraveling of all that went wrong and how things are put to rights… absolutely stunning!

If you prefer your love stories to be deeply emotional and full of passion, if you like seeing wounded men fighting their demons so they can finally be together, and if you’re looking for an enthralling, intensely touching read that is as much love story as it is a fascinating character study, then you will probably love this novel as much as I do. It is outstanding, and I hope there will be many more! Each one so far has been emotionally exhausting at first, but they unfailingly have such uplifting and rewarding endings that I always look forward to more. Highly recommended!





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 402 pages/124300 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 02-May-2017
Price $4.99 ebook
Buy Link