Author ~ Keira Andrews
Published ~ 9th September 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
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?
I stayed up late finishing this one. A forbidden flirtation and serious sexual tension between the quiet, closeted, twenty one year old son of the sitting U.S. President and a mild mannered Secret Service Agent who is pushing forty and turns out to be a total badass? I just had to see how it all worked out!
It’s just Rafa’s luck that the new agent assigned to his Secret Service detail happens to be his wet dream come true. All Rafa is trying to do is keep flying under the radar and ride out the last seven months of his father’s term then freedom is his. The politics of his father’s two terms in office and his mother’s attempts to orchestrate his future and crush his true desire to be a chef have beaten him down. He plays nice for the camera but he is hurting inside and acting as if everything is fine. He can only be himself when he’s talking to his best friend and even that has to be coded as nothing is really private in is life.
Shane has had his share of boring details and guarding the quiet child of the President is expected to be just another one in his quest to one day be assigned to the President’s protection detail. His job is not conducive to a relationship and that’s fine with Shane. Turns out that Shane’s preconceptions of Rafa were way off the mark. What he finds is a sexy, compassionate, smart, but lonely young man who he is drawn to like nobody before, and Shane is soon fighting a losing battle to keep things strictly professional.
Despite an age difference of almost twenty years the two have a lot in common and their chemistry is amazing. Rafa’s insecurity sometimes made it feel like he was younger than 21, but he also been very sheltered. There is a nice build to the romance as Rafa practices cooking with Shane is his taster and the two get to know each other better each quietly crushing on and fantasizing about the other. Rafa would love to get closer to Shane and a stolen kiss rattles both men, but he doesn’t want to put Shane’s job in jeopardy or out himself. Shane recognizes his feelings are inappropriate and does try to pull away, but the moment he senses that Rafa is in any distress, he can’t help but blur the lines again.
The story really kicks into high gear with a life or death situation that tests Shane’s professionalism and his feelings for Rafa. The action scenes were gripping and the outcome of the situation unexpected. As for the sex, Rafa is a virgin, but he knows what he wants and is not afraid to verbalize it. Shane is no slouch in the dirty talk category either and they definitely steamed up my Kindle screen!
In addition to the budding romance between Rafa and Shane there are a few other storylines playing out that impact the relationship. I’m not going to give any of it away, but when Rafa’s whole family comes together for his father’s birthday, Rafa reaches a breaking point and the book didn’t let up from then on.
I really liked the way everything played out and appreciated that things didn’t just quickly and magically fall into place. While the story has a wonderful, happy ending, there is so much ahead for the new couple, I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to one-click a sequel to see where Rafa and Shane go from that point on.