A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Test Of Valor (Valor #2) by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The story had a slow start as it was focused on reestablishing Rafa and Shane’s relationship—being in love and living together in Australia as Rafa awaits the start of school and Shane establishes his security business. There was a lot of page time devoted to Rafa’s parents—the former President and First Lady of the US, now “just ordinary people” as Rafa’s mother reiterates a few times. Rafa and Shane share eye-rolling looks behind her back since his parents travel with Secret Service agents and other staff wherever they go and are the most unordinary people around.

For me, one of the saddest moments in the story came when the lead agent assigned to the President refused to even acknowledge that she knew Shane, though they had worked together in the past. He’s very definitely persona non grata to fellow agents now. That was the moment when I first started to see him as more than just the older man in this May-December romance. When I read book one, I couldn’t relate to him but this definitely helped so I tried to keep an open mind throughout this story so I could see he and Rafa as equal partners.

There is some excitement in the second half of the story, not quite the type of scenario I had envisioned, but definitely exciting, dramatic, life-changing moments. I loved that whole segment and I appreciate that the author kept Rafa’s parents true to their personalities, though a little softer around the edges—especially Rafa’s mother who was a typical B*8#h in every way.

This book stresses Rafa’s growth—in character and in age—and allows him an opportunity to step forward in family situations and to be the partner Shane needs him to be as Shane deals with his own repercussions from Rafa’s kidnapping in book one. But to be honest, as much as I recognized that intellectually, I still felt like he was the same kid as he was in book one and Shane the adult older man in all situations in which they were alone together. Yes, I saw growth in Rafa in his relationship with his parents, and yes, I could see that he attempted to be more of a partner to Shane but I never felt that Shane wholly accepted that. He verbalized it but his actions negated his statements.

There’s lots of sex scenes in this book so for readers who enjoy a super-hot romance, this one will push all the buttons. Personally, I thought it was a bit much, especially given the fact that they are an established couple when the story opens. But there’s no doubt that the two have chemistry.

Overall, it was an enjoyable story, and I liked it a bit more than book one. But neither character is going to stay with me long after I finish this book, unlike a few others this author has penned. Somehow, this just missed the mark of greatness I was looking for.

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The cover by Dar Albert depicts an older man in a leather jacket and dark sunglasses set against a night city skyline that could represent Sydney, Australia. There’s also a young man to the left rear of the cover who is wearing a bathing suit, holding onto a surfboard with one hand and holding his curly hair back with the other. The photo depicts all the key elements in the story—the older man represents Shane, who is now working private security in Australia and the younger man is Rafa, who enjoys surfing in his spare time.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1 edition, 225 pages
Published April 26th 2018 by KA Books
Original TitleTest of Valor
ISBN139781988260334
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Valor :

Valor on the Move (Valor, #1) 

Test of Valor (Valor, #2)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Valor On The Move (Valor #1) by Keira Andrews

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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.

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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

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published September 9th 2015 by KA Books (first published September 7th 2015)
ISBN139780994092441
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesValor #1 settingWashington, D.C. (United States)

Release Blitz and Giveaway – Test Of Valor (Valor #2) by Keira Andrews

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Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs
 
Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
Valor Series
 
 
Blurb
 

They’re free of the White House, but can their forbidden romance survive in the real world?


With his father no longer president, twenty-two-year-old Rafa Castillo can finally be with ex-Secret Service agent Shane Kendrick. Shane’s given up his career for Rafa, a move his fellow agents question the sanity and morality of. Eager to get away from the questions and judgement, Rafa and Shane are building a new life together in Australia. Though Shane struggles with nightmares and his over-protective instincts while Rafa fights his own insecurity, they love each other more than ever.


Now they just have to get through a visit from the former president and first lady.


Rafa’s parents certainly don’t approve of his romance with forty-year-old Shane, and they’re determined to make him see reason. They don’t see how their son could possibly be happy settling down with an older man, and they question Shane’s motives. Shane and Rafa just want a normal life together—but when they must suddenly battle for survival, they fight to prove their fierce love can withstand any threat.


This gay romance from Keira Andrews is the conclusion of the Valor duology. It features a May-December age difference, sex on the beach, and of course a happy ending.


About Keira


After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:


“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”


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