Title: Valor on the Move
Author: Keira Andrews
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary/bodyguard/Secret Service
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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?
This is a very good book folks. Ms. Andrews is in top form, like she always is. The characters are fleshed out and interesting, and book has little to no errors in editing, the pace was perfect and the plot was easy to follow. But, here comes my but… I had a real problem with the inappropriateness of the relationship.
The president’s son, Rafa AKA Valor, is 21 years old. Physically 21 meaning he has been on this earth for 21 years. Mentally and emotionally, he was more 16. He has lived a stunted, sheltered life in the White House since his father was elected president when he was 14. He has three older siblings who (naturally) rebelled as teens in one way or another and gave the Secret Service hired to guard them the difficult task in keeping them safe. Rafa hasn’t once rocked the boat.
In the three weeks since the false alarm at the park, he’d only gone out to foundation events or meetings, aside from one barbecue hosted by an old high school friend. He’d talked and laughed with his former classmates while eating hot dogs and drinking beer, but Shane had the feeling his heart wasn’t in it. There seemed to be a switch he flicked on when he had to be polite and friendly. He didn’t talk much otherwise and kept to himself most of the time. It made for an easy detail, at least.
Rafa is gay and has decided to wait until his father is out of the White House to come out. He is 21 years old and has never been on a date or even kissed a man. He is firmly in the closet and only one other person knows he likes men, his best friend and beard Ashleigh. He is also an aspiring chef but keeps his cooking in the closet a much as his sexuality. His mother frowns on the profession and wants her youngest son to go into politics. Rafa kowtows to his parents on every issue, even smiling and standing on the sidelines when his father gave a speech denouncing gay marriage.
Enter worldly, experienced gay man Shane, a member of the Secret Service tasked with guarding Rafa. Rafa develops a crush on Shane as their friendship grows. Shane is out and proud and encouraging as he watches Rafa cook at night, tasting his delicious creations while everyone else is asleep. Shane sees Rafa as a sad, antisocial kid but does enjoy their friendship.
There is nice sexual tension here. Rafa is attracted to Shane from the first minute they meet. Shane eventually develops feeling for Rafa, but it takes some time for them to turn sexual. Shane also remains very appropriate and tries not to encourage Rafa’s crush, but eventually they share a kiss and Shane is horrified by his actions.
Shane remains professional in the relationship, for the most part. I never felt like he took advantage of Rafa. But Rafa was far, far too young for the experienced Agent. I found the pairing to be incredibly inappropriate and found myself not wanting them to get together. But get together they do, at the end of the book. I bought the ending and enjoyed the HEA (which was delightful!) but the other parts of the book make me feel sad and uncomfortable.
If you are able to look past the emotional age difference between the characters, I say give this one a try. But if you are uncomfortable with in inappropriateness of this paring, I recommend skipping this one and reading Ms. Andrews wildly sexy and entertaining Kick at the Darkness instead.
While I cannot personally recommend this one, the following reviewers can: