There are those authors who hit their stride and coast, turning in good stories time after time and holding our interest with their nice, solid novels. Then there are a few writers who seem to grow better with each book they turn out, their writing getting impossibly richer and their characters becoming stronger and their plot lines more enticing. Jaime Reese is one such writer—a good writer turning great. If you have kept up with The Men Of Halfway House series then you can most assuredly see this author’s continual climb into what I consider a Master Storyteller status. This saga just keeps getting better and better and the latest, A Restored Man captured my heart and mind so completely that I just could not put it down and willingly devoured every delicious moment.
This novel focuses on a twitchy motor head, turned car thief, Cole Renzo. He is at the mid point through his term at Halfway House and is the most frustrating client Julian and Matt have ever had. Not only does Cole tend to speak his mind, he does so without any type of filter or seeming sensitivity. However all is not what it seems and, in fact, Cole is a deeply caring man who carries a burden of guilt over the death of a brother and the very real feelings that he is unworthy of not only love, but also his family’s care as well. The idea that his incarceration hurt his mother so deeply has left real feelings of failure inside Cole and he covers it with a brash and often bratty superficiality. Very few people have ever taken the time to see the real Cole. Between his bossy, superior attitude and his wayward tongue, Cole knows he makes it near impossible to like him, much less love him. That is, until he meets Ty Calloway, his new boss.
Ty was at the top of his game, restoring and designing exotic cars and winning awards left and right when tragedy struck. Ty is coming back to the world of the living from a six-month coma after the car he and his parents were in ran off the road, killing everyone but him. Now, estranged from his only brother because of the overwhelming guilt of causing his parent’s death, Ty is buried in grief. He is a mere shadow of the man he used to be and his shop, once vital and renown, now struggles under the shadow of blackmail and Ty’s injuries, both internal and external. The last thing he needs is a mouthy ex-con who has the innate ability to get under his skin.
When there is so much right about a novel it is hard to pinpoint just what works so very well and causes you to determine that the story you just read was not just good, but great. Every piece of this very long novel fit just right. The two main characters were both so needy and wounded, yet determined to be the best man they could be for each other. A great portion of this novel was spent just on that theme—their restoration of self, the rediscovery of their own worth, and the growing love and need to give each other all of themselves, scars, guilt, flaws, and incredibly deep love. The added element near the last third of this novel concerning a shady figure from Ty’s past was just icing on the cake, lending an air of urgency and an element of danger to an already smoking hot novel.
In her third installment, A Restored Man, Jaime Reese solidly claims the spot of consummate storyteller. This novel was fast paced, erotic, intelligent, and beautifully written. I was captivated by these men and their story. I highly recommend this novel and, in fact this entire series to you.