A Better Man (The Men of Halfway House #1) by Jaime Reese (4 Stars)

A great beginning to a new series about people moving on with their lives and romances after leaving prison.

After just getting out of prison himself, Matthew Doner wants to provide a safe place for other new releases. He can provide the funds, but he really needs somebody with a lot of construction experience to make the necessary repairs to the building he purchased. Julian Capeletti desperately needs to work again before he gets kicked out of his apartment. Fortunately, he also happens to be extremely talented at all of the things related to building a home. These two discover that working together is only the start of their relationship.

Matt and Julian are both kindhearted souls. Unfortunately for Matt, he has a pathetic father and a horrible mother who attacks him every chance she gets. Luckily, his aunt spent a lot of time with him and loved him unconditionally. Julian is adorably sexy and loves to tease Matt. Julian also suffered at the hands of his family, but was fortunate that his mother was amazing until she died too soon. Since neither of these guys are very communicative, it makes it really hard for them to move their friendship forward. This was the biggest challenge for me with this story. The majority of the time was spent in their heads or in conversations with others. I really wanted to see more in-depth and emotional discussions between Matt and Julian. There were so many missed opportunities where we could have been watching them get to know each other better.

Nevertheless, it was still a smooth flowing story that was interesting to read with some touching, emotional scenes. I was surprised and thrilled at how fascinating I found the discussions about the construction work on the house. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

A sexy romance between two lonely guys trying to make the most of their lives by giving back to others.


Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.


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.
Note: This is a 2nd edition release.


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