Series: The Men of Halfway House 01
Author: R.J. Scott and Jaime Reese
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Silver Publishing (July 21st, 2012)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: Matthew Doner, ex-con, needs a second chance and his aunt’s inheritance will finance his dream. Julian Capeletti is a contractor in need of a job. Will renovating a house together let them become better men in the process?
Matthew Doner has been given a second chance. After a five-year prison term, he receives a bequest from an aunt on the condition that he uses the money to make things right. His challenge–create a safe place for people like him to find purpose and start a new life.
Julian Capeletti likes challenges. He is confident, brash, and just what Matthew needs. Working as the contractor to renovate the crumbling house is the right job at the absolutely perfect time.
What neither man realizes is just how dangerous it is to keep secrets, nor how hard it can be to open your heart. Is one year enough time to renovate the house and become better men in the process?
Review: Mr. Boner is in need of a handyman…
Yes, this is how this story begins. It’s a hilarious start that promises good times. And you get them eventually. But, you need to overcome the storm and the barriers in order to get there.
Matthew Doner is a character lost in emotions such as guilt, anger and fear. He feels guilty for not being the perfect son, anger that he’s required to be perfect at all times and fear that he will not manage to be the man he wants to be. A better man.
When he gets out of prison he has a goal and is determined to reach it. He needs to create a place for people like him. People that come out in the world and have nowhere to go, no one to help them, no hope for a better future. But the road he has to travel is a hard one and every turn has another demon that scares him to his core. The only thing anchoring him and gives him some peace is the handyman he hired to help him with his project. Julian is a determined man. He has his own demons kept close to his heart and walled up from everyone. But, when the man puts something into his head, he delivers. He is the rock that steadies Matt when things threaten to overwhelm him.
This story is a romance in its core, heavy and intense with emotions. While I disliked the fact that the protagonists laid the “I love you” line even before they hit the sheets, it didn’t ruin the plot for me. There are all the stereotypes involved here; there is the cold mother, the uncaring father, the irresponsible brother, the old money and expectations that come with it and the victim of a protagonist. And on the other side there is the abusive father, the mother that endures it all, the lost big brother and the child who is forced and determined to be a better man despite his past. Yes, quite cliché yet I loved it, the text and story and the entire development was lovely to read.
The characters were so very enjoyable, their constant battle with their walls and secrets, the effort they both put to open up to each other, the way they made a big deal out of things that seemed so easy to overcome. All that had me loving these characters even more. The chemistry between them was exquisite as well. I loved them together. I loved it when they kissed and made love to each other. I loved how they bonded. Again, despite the fact that that line was thrown early on, it didn’t affect my view or how I perceived this couple.
In the end though, the most lovable thing of all was Matt’s dad. He surprised me and I couldn’t have wanted it any other way. It is obvious this story has a happy ending and it is obvious that this is a journey that each of the character primary or secondary take to become better men through each other’s strength and support. That much you know from the start. What you want to know is if the journey and the read are worth it. It is and I think anyone who loves a good romance will simply adore this one.