Title: Test of Valor
Series: Valor: Book Two
Author: Keira Andrews
Length: 225 Pages
At a Glance: Test of Valor is a successful sequel and a great ending to a wonderful love story.
Reviewed By: Sammy
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.
Review: When the first novel in this two-part story came out a few years ago, I must admit I fell in love with this pairing—the President’s younger son, Rafa Castillo, and the by-the-book secret service agent Shane Kendrick, whose one job was to guard him. That May/December pairing just wrapped me round their collective fingers, and the action/adventure driven novel captured my imagination. So I was delighted when the long awaited sequel, Test of Valor, was released and although much different in its scope than the first, this novel did not fail to entertain.
We pick up almost immediately after the first book, so be forewarned you really need to read these in order, beginning with Valor On the Move. Rafa and Shane have relocated to Australia, where Shane is setting up his private security company and Rafa is preparing to go to culinary school to pursue his love of cooking. While the two are fully and deeply in love, the past, particularly Rafa’s abduction and what Shane views as his failure to keep him safe, haunts both men. For Shane, the nightmares that riddle his sleep are something he keeps from Rafa in his attempt to protect the younger man from more trauma, but all he succeeds in doing is causing a rift to form when Rafa feels more and more disconnected from Shane. It doesn’t help that Shane must now go stateside to give testimony against his former colleague and best friend who engineered Rafa’s abduction.
Now with Rafa’s parents set to visit, and their absolute contempt for Shane no doubt apparent, Rafa must greet them while alone and vulnerable to their criticism and influence. As days pass with Shane and Rafa apart, old doubts begin to surface and the strong bond the two men share begins to fray. Will the past prove to be too much for Shane and Rafa to overcome in order to truly find their happy ever after?
Once again it’s all about the characters and their emotions in this excellent Keira Andrew’s novel. While there are some definite heart-in-the-throat-moments of action and intrigue, it’s really how Shane and Rafa handle not only Rafa’s parents and their initial utter contempt for Shane, but also how Shane must cope with the idea that the past does not have to set the course for his and Rafa’s future. Secrets have a way of undermining the best of relationships, and these two men have a few tucked away that have the potential to destroy their fragile love.
I loved watching this story evolve. I felt the pacing was just right, and the angst both Rafa and Shane dealt with was very realistic, considering who they were and what they had survived together. The age gap is not the real problem for these guys, although Rafa still grapples with the idea that he might never be mature enough to keep Shane’s interest. Instead, it’s really watching their relationship go to a whole other level, beyond the agent and his assignment to two men who are in love and having to ride the turbulent waves that every relationship must overcome. The story moved swiftly; it was captivating and the characters compelling. Overall, Test of Valor is a successful sequel and a great ending to a wonderful love story.
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