Review: A Hunted Man (The Men of Halfway House #2) by Jaime Reese

After surviving ten years in prison, Cameron Pierce is attempting to put the past behind him. He tries to adjust to his newfound freedom with a place at the halfway house and a job. But one lesson he learned in prison keeps him guarded: hope is a dangerous thing.

Hunter Donovan, Assistant State Attorney, is a man of justice who loves a challenge. After a lifetime of putting his career first, a milestone brings him to a harsh realization—he's lonely.

Hunter's world changes when he meets Cam. The wary young man intrigues him and awakens a desire unlike anything he's ever experienced. When Cam's past resurfaces and threatens to rip them apart, their budding relationship is challenged and Cam's hope for a future begins to dim.

These outside forces hunting Cam will stop at nothing to send him back to prison. But they'll have to get past Hunter first.

I know the author was concerned about the length of this book, but all I have to say about that is, thank you! I loved losing myself in this full length novel and gladly will do so in the next one as well. While this was a very romantic story, it had full scale mystery and action as well. One aspect wasn’t used just to move the other along and so the balance made the book flow so well I never noticed the length until it was almost over; and then I didn’t want it to be. I would easily classify this as a mystery that happens to have gay main characters as much as I would an MM romance.

The mystery of what really happened to Cam and how he ended up with a prison record is wrapped in layers of who? and why? and wait, WHAT? As the story unfolds my heart broke for how wronged Cam was over and over and my respect for him grew. Something stunk about why Cam was railroaded when he was sent to prison, the whole time he was in and even after his release.

Through the whole book I was doing this:

  1. Spidey senses are telling me all is not right with the release, I smell deception and nefarious activities!
  2. Ok, so a little bit more of Cam’s past coming to light, but I don’t get the setup, there HAS to be more.
  3. Oh hell, LOOK, there’s more!
  4. No WAY, not him, no man would do that, would he???
  5. He did, but why? WHY?
  6. There’s a mole on the inside, it’s gotta be him, he’s got the perfect cover.
  7. Well, shit, wasn’t him.

So, yeah, I got completely sucked into the mystery, not to mention the badass ex-military hero action. That was good stuff and not over the top. Heroic AND believable and I loved it.

The secondary characters are strong in A Hunted Man and keep the story moving while adding depth to the main characters. Cam needs a support system like he’s never had before and thankfully that support starts with Sam who we met as Matt’s champion in A Better Man. Matt and Julian are back and I loved reading about them again. Especially Julian, I will always have a special place in my heart for Julian. While the Halfway House is a major setting it’s really a connection point so this story didn’t read as merely a continuation of A Better Man, but as a completely new novel with expanding storylines and possibilities.

Cam gets a job working for Lucy and Bill at the diner that Hunter frequents. I don’t think Cam could have been set up with a better job than the one at the diner or with better people that Lucy and Bill, they aren’t characters I’ll forget about any time soon. My favorite though is definitely Hunter’s dad.

I love that man.

When you meet him you can see exactly why Hunter is the caring and fiercely loyal man that he is. Collectively we read about A LOT of awful parental units in the MM genre, but you will not read a better father than Hunter’s dad, don’t even try. The conversations between Hunter and his dad are some of my favorite parts of the book and his acceptance of Cam had me choking up at the perfectness of Cam finally having a father figure in his life.

All that being said, I do love my romance, so let’s talk AAALLLLL about that.

Ahhhh, the romance in this story is off the charts hot, sweet and intense. Cam ends up getting loved pretty hard in this book and man did this guy need it. The reassurances and comfort Hunter gave him were powerful and while might have been too much for another character, for Cam they were perfect. He had a lot of time and loss to make up for and I think the impact of Hunter’s love made it possible for Cam to believe happiness was possible for him. Cam’s underlying theme, the thing he wants and fears more than anything is hope.

The quote at the beginning of the book is perfect for Cam:

“Hope. You can fear her, ignore her, resent her, but she will never abandon you when you need her most.”

Cam has missed so much when he was locked away and the author captured both his confusion and resilience so well. He spent his 20’s behind bars, incredibly formative years for a young man and he missed them all, all he could do was work on surviving and look forward to the day when he would be free. When he settles into the Halfway House and gets the job at the diner he has his first chance of normalcy in a decade. Then he sees Hunter, Hunter sees him and the really intense sexual tension starts.

And, while the sexual tension was SO good to read, I loved the charming banter between the two just as much. Cam finally was able to feel comfortable and safe with someone. Cam’s true personality evolved very naturally and I felt like I was really getting to know him as a person and not an ex-con along with Hunter. There are a lot of little moments that I loved and the connection between the two of them was perfectly done. Hunter really is a sweet romantic sap and while it’s obvious Cam eats up every word and gesture like a starving man, he can’t help but call Hunter on his sappiness bringing some needed levity to their lives and the whole messed up situation they are in. Cam really is very funny and charming, and reading his evolution throughout the book was heartwarming. While, at the same time, the mystery and potential for absolute disaster kept me on edge.

The overall package that is A Hunted Man has everything I love in a good book. No, scratch that, a really great book. This is definitely going to be a reread for me as soon as I see the date of release for the third in this series. Something with Jessie maybe? Aiden? I’ll take either (preferably both) but whatever comes next I will be right there, clearing the calendar, building a couch nest and holing up so I can read it all as soon as I get my sweaty little hands on it, just like I did for A Hunted Man.

A copy of this book was provided for an honest review

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