Tuesday, May 2, 2017

ARC Review: A Worthy Man (The Men of Halfway House, #5) by Jaime Reese

Vannguard Shaw has spent the last ten years serving a life sentence and adjusting to the ache of solitude. He accepts his fate, a sacrifice for the only man he ever loved and the one person who saw beyond his rough edges.

Drayton grew up with a trust fund and pre-planned future, but an unexpected encounter one night forces him to abandon everything and start from scratch. He is now a self-made man and developer of one of the most sought after electric exotic automobiles in the world with a fortune greater than that of his birthright. Yet, he’d surrender it all—again—for the only man who’s still ever-present in his heart.

After a decade and entirely too much distance between them, Vann is suddenly released back into a world that has been nothing but cruel. Drayton never lost hope they would once again reunite and pick up where they left off, but Vann’s stubborn nature and repeated encounters with a heartbreaking world prove to be a challenge.

Vann needs to tap into his fighting spirit’s reservoir of strength and hope life doesn’t punish him for taking a chance. Only then will he realize his own value and feel worthy enough to finally have Drayton’s heart. And their chance at forever.

----- 124K Words Although part of a series, this is a full-length stand-alone novel.

Jewel's rating:

Like all of the books in the Men of the Halfway House series, A Worthy Man is a story about second chances. Of overcoming your past and the obstacles that life throws your way. It's about learning that you do have worth, no matter how others may have tried to tear you down. It's about love.

As the author promised, A Worthy Man is much less angsty than the previous book. In fact, there isn't much angst at all and what of it there is feels organic. It's a sweet and romantic story, and while I do normally prefer for there to be a little more angst, I have to say, I think Vann and Dray -- but especially Vann -- have really been through enough. I loved their story!

“That relentless fighter, he’s the guy I fell in love with when I was a kid and he’s the guy who had the strength to pull through the last ten years. And he’s the guy staring back at me right now. Who I love. Back then, now, and always.”

Drayton has always been a geek. Super intelligent, but lacking in social skills, he was always fodder for bullies. But he never backed down. One day, as a few guys from the football team decided to take aim at Drayton, Vann decided to step in. Fearless, spirited, Vann. And from there on, Vann and Dray were best friends. And later, much more.

Drayton comes from money, but his parents seemed to care more about that money than they did their own son. Drayton never measured up. He was always a disappointment -- at least to hear them tell it. In truth, Drayton was always his own person. Brilliant and just wanting to solve problems and do his thing. His parents were all about image, but Dray saw a bigger picture.

“I’ve loved you for so long…I don’t know what it’s like to not love you.”

Vann has never been able to catch a break. His father was an abusive drunk who never let a moment pass by without telling his son how worthless he was. How he would never amount to anything. Vann, though, was creative. And artist. And the only person who ever encouraged him was Dray.

Vann spent 10 years in prison for murder. Never mind that what he did saved a life that night -- Dray's. He never expected to get out of that hell hole, but somehow Dray managed to get him paroled. 10 years, gone. And now, Vann has to figure out how to exist on the outside again. How to be around people. How to, at long last, be with Dray.

I loved Drayton's patience as much as I loved Vann's protectiveness. I loved how honorable and wonderful they both were - and not because of their upbringings, but in spite of it. I loved how well they complimented each other and held each other up. They got crap parents, but they lucked out with each other. And watching them both fight for what they wanted after Vann was released is what this series is all about. It was beautiful and romantic and uplifting.

A Worthy Man is so damn sweet and I savored every moment of it. I've loved each and every book in this series, and A Worthy Man is a worthy edition to this series!

D + V = ∞


ARC of A Worthy Man was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

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