Rafael Castillo is the 21-year-old son of the current president. He has grown up in the White House and is just biding his time until January when his father’s term ends and Rafa can live out of the spotlight. He has been hiding the fact that he is gay for years in deference to his Republican father’s career, but he can’t wait to finally live his own life and stop hiding. When he meets his sexy new Secret Service agent, Shane Kendrick, Rafa can’t help his attraction to the gorgeous older man. But Rafa has never even kissed anyone. Not to mention that there is absolutely no chance that anything could ever happen between him and someone on his protective detail.
Shane has been an agent for years and he finally has gotten a key assignment to protect Valor, the codename for the president’s youngest son. Everyone else on the Service calls Rafa “mouse” because he is so quiet and stays out of the limelight. But as Shane gets to know Rafa, he sees there is much more to the sweet, young man. Shane can’t help notice how attractive Rafa is either, but he clearly can’t pursue anything with the President’s son.
As Shane works to protect Rafa, the men get to know each other better. Rafa is lusting after Shane, but he is still hiding the fact that he is gay. Shane has never even considered a real relationship with anyone. His job keeps him busy and no one has ever kept his attention the way Rafa does. Despite the mutual attraction, however, both men know nothing can ever happen between them. It would mean an end to Shane’s career, not to mention outing Rafa. But when danger strikes and their lives are at risk, the two men realize that they may not be able to keep their feelings at bay any longer.
Ooh I liked this one! Sexy older man who doesn’t do relationships. Quiet, young virgin who is strong and tough when he needs to be. Forbidden romance. It is a great set up and a really fabulous story.
First off, Andrews has created a delicious conflict here and managed to develop it so well. There is no way Rafa and Shane can be together. Shane is the Secret Service agent in charge of protecting Rafa’s life. The agents aren’t allowed to even engage in casual relationships with their protectees. They are barely supposed to talk to them and even a hint of emotional attachment will get the agent transferred. Not to mention that Rafa is monitored essentially every moment. Not only does he have a 24-hour protective detail, but his phones and computer are also monitored. So there is no way these guys can have a secret relationship, and certainly not an open one. Andrews manages to take this impossible situation and craft a believable situation where these guys somehow do manage to get to know one another and fall in love. It could have been a crazy and unbelievable story, but instead it totally works. I was rooting for these guys every step of the way as they fall for one another and face impossible odds to be together.
I also loved the connection between them. You guys know I love my virgin heroes and Rafa is totally inexperienced with either gender. He is still a little awkward and uncertain, growing up in the public spotlight and still insecure about how he is perceived. He is hiding from his parents who won’t accept him being gay. They won’t even accept that he wants to be a chef. Instead they have a life planned out for him that Rafa doesn’t want. He plans to stand up to them, but wants to wait until his father is out of public office. So Rafa is an interesting mix of anxious and timid, but also so strong in so many ways. I love that contradiction in him and I think it is part of what draws Shane. Despite Shane worrying about the age gap and his role as Rafa’s agent, Rafa knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. These guys are super sexy together with great chemistry and I loved how things worked out for them.
Along with the great romance plot, I also found the insider’s view of the White House and Secret Service just fascinating. We get so much detail on the inner workings of the White House, the different rooms, the staff, and the environment. We learn how the Secret Service operates and so many little elements that just make the story come to life. It never feels bogged down or overly heavy in descriptions. Instead the details just make the story seem so real and I felt like I was right there along with them.
So I am a huge fan of Keira Andrew’s writing and this is one of my favorites of hers. I loved the story and definitely highly recommend it.