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.
Cameron Pierce didn’t really know what to expect when the entire nightmare began days before his eighteenth birthday, but here he was, standing behind a large metal door waiting for it to open and grant his freedom. Nine years, eight months, two weeks, and five days of hell. Even though he had to stay in a designated halfway house for the next few months, at least he wouldn’t have these bars or barbed wire fences to constantly remind him of his nightmare.
He fidgeted. In exchange for almost ten years of his life, the prison system gave him a hundred bucks for expenses during transfer, and a plain, standard-issue cardboard box containing his personal items—a watch, ten bucks, and a pack of gum. Everything broken or useless, which pretty much mirrored his existence. He ditched the box and everything else then pocketed the cash.
The gears of the large metal door ground as they inched open. Cameron shifted his weight from foot to foot, waiting for just enough space to squeeze through the door. He looked over to the guard and concluded he’d be better off attempting to walk out of this prison with a little dignity. At the pace these doors opened, he figured he’d age another decade in the process. He closed his eyes and counted, begging for a little patience to come his way. He finally heard the grinding stop and opened his eyes.
There, in the middle of the empty parking lot, Sam leaned against a car with crossed arms and a smile.
Cameron groaned as he finally exited the prison gates.
Mr. Samuel Issacs, rehabilitation officer, also secretly campaigned for sainthood every chance he had. His job was to help a group of assigned inmates rejoin the world with others but his mission was to mentor them. Sam wanted to talk, help, and offer support. Cam, on the other hand, knew better than to open his mouth, and he damn sure wasn’t going to risk Sam becoming some form of collateral damage.
Cam had learned that lesson the hard way.
“Hey, Sam,” he said once he arrived where Sam was parked.
“Hey, Cam. I thought I’d give you a ride to the halfway house instead of having you take the bus,” he said as he opened the passenger side door of the car.
Cameron waited, not sure if sitting in a car for hours with Saint Sam was a good idea.
“C’mon, Cam. I can guarantee you the drive with me will be better than a busload of people coming back from Universal Studios with stinky feet and a crapload of gas.”
Sam laughed. “Besides, I already filled out the paperwork so you’re stuck with me. Get in.”
Cam didn’t say a word. He climbed into the car, sat in the passenger seat, and then closed the car door.
“Buckle up, it’s the law.”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Nope, state of Florida, it’s the law.”
“Just strap in so we can get out of here.”
Cameron groaned again as he pulled the belt and clicked it in place. He hated the way it cut into his damn shoulder. Who knew what else had changed while he was in prison. Just another reminder of things he had missed. He shifted in his seat only to have his movement limited by the seat belt restraint.
Here he was, finally out of prison, yet somehow still found a way to be constrained in a small enclosed area. Hell, this was even smaller than the six-by-eight cell he’d called home for almost a decade.
Jaime Reese is the alter ego of an artist who loves the creative process of writing, just not about herself. Fiction is far more interesting. She has a weakness for broken, misunderstood heroes and feels everyone deserves a chance at love and life. An avid fan of a happy ending, she believes those endings acquired with a little difficulty are more cherished.