He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.
Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.
It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.
Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.
But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?
Getting the chance to read a Keira Andrews book early, well, that was a yes, please and thank you immediately. She has easily become one of my favorite authors, not just for her characters, and her great love stories. But also, because she writes stories that you just don’t see anywhere else. An Amish Gay Romance? Sure, she can do that! Zombie apocalypse, shifters? Why not? Book about the POTUS’s gay son, when she’s a Canadian? Absolutely! This author can really use her imagination and creativity to bring a story to life (or in the case of Kick at the Darkness, zombie-life) with a fresh and engaging take on it.
I was truly interested to see how someone who great up in Canada could put a different spin on a story that, in my mind would be hard for even Americans to understand all the intricacies with which families of POTUS deal with. So much of that is kept in the dark, not talked about, for obvious security reasons, but also because there is a real mystery to the highest office in the United States. I need not have worried, in Ms. Andrews’ hands, the story was safe for democracy. 🙂
I’m not sure how much of the book had creative license or how much was research that she was able to gather, but amazing job. The mental images of what the White House looks like inside, how the spaces are divided and utilized, and what may or may not be inside are fantastic. I had a fantastic vision of Rafa’s third floor sanctuary, his private kitchen, along with all the little extras on the other floors. Ms. Andrews created a world for me to live in with her characters.
Rafa (code name: Valor) and Shane could not have been further apart in their lives. Rafa, a young man, just beginning his life, planning on moving to Australia to live and afraid to come out to his parents. Meanwhile Shane has worked for years to become a part of the Secret Service’s ultimate calling, guarding POTUS. By guarding his son, he knows he is one step away from that. With this being a May-December romance (the characters are about 18 years apart), and their life experiences being so very different, their coming together was slow. Rafa knew what he wanted, but not sure how to get it, romanced Shane slowly, with food. It was so sweet to see how he could win Shane over by moving quietly.
When Rafa is in danger, Shane is there to keep him safe, save his life, even at the possible expense of his own. Yet he was powerless to resist Rafa’s charms, even without his delicious food.
This story had a little of everything, a closeted young man, a cynical older man, chemistry galore, intrigue from unexpected sources and of course, my required HEA. And I could not have enjoyed it more.
I prefer to save five pieces of eye candy ratings for books that I am SURE I will re-read, and this one fits the bill. This one will be heading to the top of my TBR again, very soon.
**One random commenter on this post will win a copy of any of Keira Andrews book, including Valor on the Move.