The long awaited sixth installment of the Men of Halfway House series by Jaime Reese has arrived and it is just glorious. Introducing two new characters while allowing us to visit with a few of the old, Reese takes us on a wild adventure mixing romance with cyber hacking, kidnapping, and a whole lot of snarky humor in A Chosen Man.
Dylan Vaughn has long been told he is defective—broken and unwanted. Shuffled from foster home to foster home for most of his life, Dylan knows his eidetic memory is both a blessing and a curse. His razor-like mathematical genius allows him to hack any system he comes up against and has led him to do some not so very legal work during his young career. The one time he trusted a man and let his emotions get involved landed him in prison for a two-year stint. Now out on parole, Dylan is the latest guest of Matt and Julian’s halfway house and, perhaps, its most dangerous.
Grayson ‘Wall’ McCormack has worked in special forces with his best friend Aiden since leaving the military. No one really knows what goes on in the mind of the admittedly silent man, but Aiden, and his boyfriend, Jesse, come the closest. When someone breaks into the halfway house, it is Wall who is dispatched to provide onsite security while his team and Aiden try to discover why Dylan is being targeted. Wall is immediately drawn to the brash, unfiltered “firecracker” Dylan, and before long realizes that his attention has not gone unnoticed. But Wall has more in common with Dylan than either realize and it is going to take a heap of trust, a load of courage, and real honesty for these two men to bridge the past that holds them both captive.
There was so much to love about this story. First, the incredibly insane Dylan who either blurts out the first thought that comes to his mind, reels off facts he has either read or observed with laser-like precision, or withdraws into his shell when the world and what is happening around him becomes just too much for him to handle. Dylan is someone you wat to wrap up in a hug and/or throttle within an inch of his life. The way he pushes at Wall and breaks down the barriers that keep the man so quiet and stoic are wondrous to behold. But it is Dylan’s own pain and insecurities that make him such an incredibly loveable man and one that Wall falls for hard despite the fact that love has not been kind to Wall, or Dylan, for that matter. Then there is Wall—quiet, observant, remarkably tender, and faithful. He has had such a rough go at love in the past and when he makes the decision to try with Dylan, he goes full in and his dedication to Dylan is just so incredibly sweet and moving to watch.
The action in this novel comes in spurts, but when it does, it is nail-biting drama that has you on the edge of your seat. In between we have the lovely task of getting to know just what makes Wall and Dylan tick and watch as they take a chance on letting love into their lives once more. The mystery portion of the book is solid and exciting. The romance is just magical and sometimes wrapped up in such remembrance of past pain that it’s breathtaking to read. It is the moments when Dylan and Wall choose to share their pasts that make this story so exceptional. Jaime Reese has done a wonderful job bringing these characters to life and their story leaves an indelible mark on the reader.
A Chosen Man was well worth the wait. I sincerely hope this author has another story in this series in the future. This is one of the best m/m romance series I have read and I highly recommend this latest installment to you.