Reviewed by Donna
SERIES: The Men of Halfway House #2
AUTHOR: Jaime Reese
LENGTH: 111,200 words
BLURB: 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 have been anticipating reading A Hunted Man since I discovered the first book in the series upon its rerelease earlier this year. I put my request in to review this book months ago, not willing to miss out on getting it even one week earlier than the release date. Now as you are all aware, when you are that desperate for a book it often ends in disappointment and that’s exactly what I’m feeling now. Disappointment. I’m disappointed…that this book ever had to end! Heh? Heh? No? Hmmm, now it’s all awkward.
Seriously though, amazing comedy aside, I freakin’ adored this book and I didn’t want it to end. If the author had decided to add on another hundred or so pages of the two men maybe eating breakfast or discussing whether they should buy a ferret, I probably would have mentioned that it wasn’t necessary to the plot but cooed over how cute a couple they are.
So how ‘bout I introduce y’all! Cameron, you can call him Cam, is being released from prison after nine years, eight months, two weeks and five days of absolute hell. His greatest dream is to watch and feel a sunrise again because the idea of hoping for anything more than that terrifies him. He’s been taught in the hardest of ways that hoping leads to pain and disappointment and that’s something he’s had more than enough of. Cam looked over to the window and the rays of light shining through were like a beacon calling to him. No, this wasn’t a dream, dammit. He was free. Free of the bars, the solitary confinement, and the torture. Cameron needed to convince himself this was real, that it wasn’t hope bitchslapping him and teasing him to the brink of insanity. He tried with every fiber of his being to walk to that window; he needed to see the sunlight for himself and feel the heat on his skin.
Cam was such an amazing character. If I try to describe him I will end up contradicting myself, but here goes. He’s so innocent, yet hardened beyond repair. He needs saving but is strong enough to survive anything. He’s quiet and hesitant but damn he’s not shy when he’s horny! To me, Cam is one of those characters you love so much that when you remember he’s not real, it’s a little bit saddening. I can’t claim to know what it’s like to be released from prison but I believed all the mixed up emotions he feels, the hope, the fear, the panic, the relief and the inability to accept that it can possibly last.
Hunter is an Assistant State Attorney who is too busy for a relationship, until he finds someone who is worth making time for. Hunter is the ultimate alpha male. He’s a big, sexy, intelligent ex-marine who now displays his complete package in expensive suits inside the courtroom. But what I love most about Hunter is the way he turns into a big pile of useless goo the moment he spots Cam.
These two together, just WOW. They have secured themselves a spot right up there on my list of fantabulous couples. Actually, just thinking about them while writing this is making me smile. I swear that every time they interact I can imagine one of those old-fashioned love test machines exploding at the sexiness overload. The book is in no way full of sex but at the same time it oozes from every page. The way they look at each other, talk to each other, think about each other, like I said, every damn interaction made me sigh/gasp and clutch at my pearls. And when the clothes do come off, well simply put, they do it right. They are intense. Cam stalked forward. Hunter stilled when he was a mere breath away, invading his personal space. In a calm, level tone Cam said exactly what he thought in that moment, “Mr. Donovan, feel free to slam me up against a wall…anytime…anywhere…just make me one promise.” He punctuated each word, intensely staring at Hunter, refusing to back away. Hunter’s breathless voice shook. “Anything.” “Don’t ever stop wanting me enough to do so.”
One point I especially loved about this book, the “I love yous” aren’t wasted. There’s a whole chapter just leading up to it and by the end of that particular chapter I was wearing my soppy, happy cry face that I normally reserve for when Oprah starts reuniting families.
But all can’t go too smoothly for our sexy couple. Where would the story be in that? As the title and the blurb hint, Cam’s past isn’t as prepared as he is for him to move on with his life. I don’t want to say too much about this part of the story because I think the author has done a brilliant job of peppering through lots of little twists and turns that I thoroughly enjoyed discovering and I can’t risk ruining that. Despite what the blurb said, I wasn’t expecting this story to take the path it does. I think I assumed it would be more like the first book. If you’ve read the previous book in this series you’ll know it focuses on the two main characters sorting through their personal issues and dealing with a bit of family drama. Whereas A Hunted Man has villains, guns and action. Cam buried his nose at the crook of Hunter’s neck without responding, reveling in the protectiveness of Hunter’s embrace. “Are you ever going to get tired of saving me?” “Never.” It’s a fairly long book, but not once did I feel like the story dragged. In fact, I kept checking the page numbers and cursing as I grew closer and closer to the end.
For those of you who haven’t read A Better Man, it’s not necessary but you may as well read them in the correct order because once you read the second you’ll just go back and read the first anyway. And for those that have already read the first book, you’re going to love the snatches of Julian and Matt as they begin to fill the halfway house they poured so much love into in A Better Man.
So, incase I haven’t been clear enough, A Hunted Man flipped every single one of my fan girl switches and left me rolling around on my bed, hugging my iPad in what I’m sure was a touching moment to anyone who witnessed it.
I can’t wait to see what happens next with this series. I’m not aware of a third book having been started yet, but in the interest of again getting in first, Jaime Reese, you can send the next ARC to Love Bytes Attn: Donna. Haha. No seriously. (We’ll talk.)