…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
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 can’t imagine how difficult it would be to write a book set in the White House. I’ve read a few and never found any to be that believable. This one…this one I can get behind. I mean, I can’t exactly vouch for how accurate it is, but it felt true…it felt like it’s how life in the White House could be. And I was definitely sold!
Rafa is the youngest son to the sitting President of the US. He’s the quiet one. The causes-no-trouble one. The in-the-closet one. He’s sweet, shy, awkward, and adorable. His mother pushes him around a lot, but all he wants to do is lose himself in the kitchen. And one day have the nerve to come out of the closet, go to culinary school, and live his own life. I adored Rafa. Admittedly, he reads a bit young for someone in their early 20’s. I kept imagining him as a teenager…which made this May-December at times a little hard to grasp.
Shane is a Secret Serviceman and assigned to Rafa’s detail. He’s a walking wet dream but totally focused on what he wants out of his career. Until he actually starts to get to know Rafa, and charmed by the guy. Shane is HOT and I was attracted to him throughout the whole book. That whole hero-complex. Again, the almost 20 year age difference, though not a deal breaker, did feel like an even larger gap at times. But at no point did Shane come across as a creepy old dude to me. I genuinely believed the attraction between the two.
The book hits its best when the action picks up and Shane’s role as both Rafa’s agent and the one who cares about him becomes tested. The “Rafa’s in danger!” scenes had me on the edge of my seat and I was on adrenaline overdrive until everyone was safe! Those were some great pages!
I think the family interaction and reconciliation felt a little out of place to me at times. But, I like how these scenes brought greater understanding into Rafa’s emotional state, his sometimes immaturity, and then his resolve to take hold of his life.
The ending, though possibly a little too convenient, still had me in a warm, happy place…it’s my fairy tale and I was thrilled to see how the HEA all played out.
Thoroughly enjoyed this, as I’m coming to find with most Keira Andrews’ writing. Highly recommended.