Title ~ A Mended Man (The Men of Halfway House)
Author ~ Jaime Reese
Published ~ 27th April 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Detective Aidan Calloway is rock-solid strong. He's a man of justice—loyal to his friends, family, and job—even if it requires bending a law…or two. He shields himself behind an abrasive, fearless facade, until a phone call one night chips his armor and throws his perfectly planned, hollow life into a tailspin.
Jessie Vega is the epitome of optimism. His carefully crafted attitude of hope and positivity protects him from a past filled with too much pain. When a ghost from a dark time resurfaces and nearly breaks him, he must tap into his inner strength or risk losing everything he's worked so hard to build.
But Jessie can't do it alone. He must fight to break through Aidan's ironclad defenses to reveal the heart of the man hiding beneath the tough surface and mend his damaged spirit. Only then can they truly heal and become strong enough to battle the demons that haunt them and threaten their chance to finally be together.
***This book contains scenes and subject matter some readers may find distressing.***
Although part of a series, this book can be read as a stand-alone.
I love this series and was so excited when I got my hands on the next book in Jaime’s The Men of Halfway House series. As always the wait was worth it and Jaime delivers yet another stunning but very different book. You never know what you’re going to get with Jaime and this one couldn’t be more different in style to the third book if it tried. In the former book A Restored Man we were introduced to Ty and Cole, Cole your cheeky guy with a quip and superhero undies. I loved this combination as Ty being broody, Cole gave the book a light side to it. Both mirror opposites but complementary at the same time. A Mended Man is a stark contrast to the previous one, it’s dark and brooding, serious and austere in its nature which fits the two MCs perfectly.
This is Aidan’s and Jessie’s story. We met Jessie, Hunter’s assistant, in book two and even then Macky and I got a strong vibe about this character when we wrote our review for A Hunted Man, so delighted we get his story now, it’s been a long wait. As for Aidan? Well we met him in book three A Restored Man, Aidan is the cop and Ty’s older brother. Both these characters have a shit load of baggage in their pasts and here we find out what the real deal is with these two, and oh my you couldn’t get two more broken guys, or two guys that have experienced the most horrendous things in their lives. The title of the book is therefore very apt A Mended Men as these two needed a whole shed load of mending or healing before they get their HEA.
The first chapter knocked me off my sofa! We’re thrown right into the action and the thick of things with a brutal attack on Jessie. For those of a nervous disposition who only like fluffy bunny, rainbow and unicorn reads then the start of this book is going to shatter your world. It’s brutal! This sets the whole story of what is to follow in the rest of book. Both these men have pasts that they are trying to put behind them. Jessie has almost made it but the event in the first chapter throws him completely off kilter and we see that all this confidence he exuded in the second book is only covering up a horrible and very upsetting history, namely as a teenager during his formative years. Aidan is called in and although his love is apparent he couldn’t be more emotionally stunted due to his experiences if he tried. But once we learn what Aidan experienced while being a Marine, coping with flashbacks and PTSD then it’s a wonder he is as sane as he is. Could these two even consider having a relationship after all that they have been through? Can two broken men make a whole? Well, bit-by-bit Jessie comes back to his confident self, he has already worked through his past before meeting Aidan even though it still hurts. But he has to unlock what keeps Aidan from forming any kind of attachment. This is a slow, slow, slow burn romance. These two guys really have a lot of stuff to work through before they can even make a go of it. Aidan may seem impossible at times but when we eventually get to hear Aidan’s story then my heart broke for him. How can anyone experience what he had and still have his shit together? Well, that’s the problem. On the outside he is all Mr Protector, strong and confident but on the inside he has locked his true feelings away so far in the closet that he really doesn’t know who he truly is anymore, but it needs to come out in order for him to move on. Jessie gives him the strength, love and support to do this but it’s not without its emotional pain for Aidan. Locking things away emotionally is no good for anyone.
Aidan has been put on a task force working violent crimes but is not allowed to get involved in Jessie’s case because he’s personally too involved, obviously. This annoys him but has to accept the decision of his superiors. Again crime / mystery aspect moves slowly too and it seems that the team are making no progress whatsoever with Jessie’s case. I was about to give up on whether there would ever be a form of resolution. The more I read the colder the case kept getting for Jessie’s attacker. But the focus is on the developing relationship between Jessie and Aidan, so it was OK to be patient and right at the very end we get an explosive finish where once again Aidan is tested and needs to be Jessie’s guardian angel. This book is a mammoth read (took me ten hours) but every bit of it thoroughly enjoyable thanks to Jaime’s wonderful writing style. You could feel the emotional connection that these two guys have, how gentle, patient and understanding they are with each other. It didn’t feel like ten hours at all as I was so invested in Jessie’s and Aidan’s story.
Once again the characters from the former books all make a cameo appearance and of course the minute Cole comes on stage and starts to wind Aidan up it’s hilarious. Cole always provides a few lighter moments of fresh air which breaks up the sombre and ruminating mood of this book. I LOVE COLE!! He is seriously one of my favourite characters. This book can also be read as a standalone with no problem but to get the full benefit and picture then it’s always advisable to start from the beginning. If you’ve already started this series then I’m sure like myself you’re hooked and can’t wait to start on this latest addition. If you haven’t started the series then you had better amend that mistake very quickly. I know I’ll now be waiting for the next book and hoping there will be one. Whose story will we have in the next book? Well, this time to be honest I have no clue. I’m just going to have to be patient, which is difficult – lol! And snap up the next book as fast as I can! Jaime? Are you hearing me?
Men of Halfway House Series
Connect with Jaime
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.