Review: A Restored Man (The Men of Halfway House #3) by Jaime Reese

Cole Renzo thinks his greatest challenge is to behave for the remainder of his term at Halfway House. Until he meets his new boss, Ty Calloway, a man who ticks off every box on Cole’s list of interests.

A sought-after restorer and customizer of exotic and collectible cars, Ty had enough confidence to command what he wanted in life, until one fateful night changed everything. Almost two years later, he’s slowly rebuilding his life with great control. He’s defied the odds and works tirelessly to be the man he once was—but he still feels broken.

Cole’s candor and unfiltered personality awaken Ty’s barely-remembered desire to greet each new day with a smile, while Ty’s unwavering acceptance of Cole’s quirks and brash humor makes Cole feel as if he fits in for the first time in far too long. When a nemesis threatens Ty’s personal restoration and the things he holds dear, Cole is determined to protect their relationship, even if that means sacrificing everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ty will have to let his guard down, surrender control, and admit he needs Cole first, even if that puts himself at risk of breaking beyond repair.

If you are getting ready to read A Restored Man, and believe you me, you should, and you’ve read the first two books in the series, you’ll remember Julian. You know how he’s one of those characters? The kind that just have that certain something that makes them truly memorable and unique. The kind that sticks with you long after their story has been told. Jaime Reese has given us readers another one of those characters. His name is Cole and he is amazing.

We met Cole at the end of book 2 and while he came across there as a charming hot mess it was obvious he had a story to tell and his story does not disappoint. Cole’s got some issues, serious issues. He’s all over the map and speaks WAY before he thinks. That really doesn’t do him any favors and he’s constantly irritating the ever loving crap out of people. Thing is, he’s not mean, he would never purposely hurt someone else, he just, as Julian puts it so well, “had no social filter between his brain and his mouth”.

This is a novel length story and I’m really glad it is. Jaime Reese makes consistently fully fleshed out both main and secondary characters. I appreciate it so much because I can always get completely caught up in every book in this series. I always remember every character and all their personality quirks.

The beginning third of this one is both nerve wracking and heartbreaking. While there is definite attraction between Cole and Ty, there was no insta-love. Thank goodness! I love when I can get to know each character so well separately BEFORE they fall in love. It makes the relationship and reactions make so much more sense and it was especially true for these guys. They both have some serious baggage they are carrying around but they don’t turn it into an angst fest. They actually do what is supposed to happen in relationships and they draw strength from one another. It wasn’t always smooth and there were a few misunderstandings along the way. But, because I already knew the characters as individuals, I could empathize with both of them because I understood where they were coming from and their motives were always clear. It’s a refreshing change to read.

As the guys begin to settle into a relationship their charm really shines through. They have so many adorable “moments”. I love when a couple has “moments”, stuff that is totally unique to the two of them. They totally get each other, Cole can finally just be himself, be accepted and most of all appreciated for who he is. Ty can finally look forward to a future and let go of the guilt and pain that has been riding him for years. As they get closer the relationships they have with the rest of the players in their loves gets better too. It’s a really sweet journey to read about all the way around.

Of course Cole and Ty aren’t going to get off that easy and then just ride off into the sunset. There is an outside force that could ruin both their lives. It was stressful and frustrating, but instead of driving a wedge between them, it brought them closer together. If it had come along earlier in the book, it probably wouldn’t have worked out well at all, but by this time they had strength from each other as well as the support of all the secondary characters.

My only niggle in the story was that I do wish that Cole had felt some sort of real remorse for his past chosen profession. It probably didn’t help that my auto insurance just went up for no reason so I was railing against having to pay more for no damn good reasons that were my own. Not a big deal to the story, but it did bug me a little given all his growth with everything else.

I do hope we get to see more of these two in the next installment. Which, if it’s about Aiden and Jessie they have to make some appearances right? I love that Matt and Julian are consistent and getting to read about them some more makes me feel like I’m visiting old friends and I’m looking for that same feeling with Cole and Ty.

For more info on A Restored Man, check it out on Goodreads.

**a copy of this story was provided by the author for an honest review**