Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
This love story between a President’s son who grew up in the White House and the Secret Service agent who was assigned to protect him in the last year of his father’s presidency was interesting, action-packed, and enjoyable, especially given the fact that May-December romance is one of my kinks.
I must admit, however, that even though that’s true, in this case the age gap also made me squirm a bit due to the younger man’s age. Shane is twice as old as Rafael Castillo, his protectee, who is nineteen as the story opens. And while I can see Rafa having a crush on Shane, it was more difficult to accept Shane’s crush on Rafa.
They spent a lot of time apart, though Rafa watched Shane from a distance and speculated on what it would be like to kiss him, or be held by him, or more. But the two didn’t spend more than a week or so in one-on-one conversations. Those took place while Rafa’s parents were away and he cooked for Shane in his upstairs kitchenette so they had some private time to talk for a while each night. Even so, their time together was brief.
There were plenty of opportunities for superficial interactions between the two and<spoiler> when Shane rescued Rafa from the kidnapping</spoiler> it was obvious they were definitely attracted to one another, but I never felt they were on equal footing. In hindsight, I realize I got emotionally involved with Rafa, but never with Shane, and that might be partly why I didn’t get them as a couple.
I also thought that the circumstances surrounding Shane’s and Rafa’s reunion in California after Rafa’s family was out of the White House were unrealistic. Without giving away spoilers, I’ll just say that Shane’s work circumstances and his travel plans seemed unlikely for someone so well established in his career. However, this is fiction and fiction is not fact, and those circumstances were necessary to give the men their HEA and move to the next story in the series.
Rafa was a sweetheart, and the story was interesting, at times exciting, and ultimately satisfying.
In fact, one of my favorite scenes took place near the end of the story as Shane and Rafa were having fun surfing in California. It was evident they knew each other well, liked each other, and had something special in common. In short, it showed them on equal footing and was the moment when I thought of them as a couple, rather than as two individuals. On that happy note, I can say I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
The cover by Dar Albert depicts a man in a suit wearing sunglasses and holding his left hand to his ear while a younger man looks on in the background. The lower panel also depicts a photo of the White House. This cover cleverly tells the story of Shane, the Secret Service agent who protects Rafa, code name “Valor,” the President’s son.
Sales Link: Amazon
ebook, 250 pages
Published September 9th 2015 by KA Books (first published September 7th 2015)
SeriesValor #1 settingWashington, D.C. (United States)