Today I am so pleased to welcome Keira Andrews to Joyfully Jay. Keira has come to talk to us about her latest release, Test of Valor (which I reviewed here and enjoyed). She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thanks so much to Jay for welcoming me back! I have an exclusive excerpt from my new novel Test of Valor. This is the sequel to my May-December forbidden romance Valor on the Move and the conclusion of Rafa and Shane’s story. As the president’s closeted son, when Rafa fell in love with his Secret Service agent, he never thought they could actually have a future. Now he and Shane are settling into their new life together and facing the real world. And having lots of sex since they have lost time to make up for. 😀
“Can you repeat that?” Shane asked, his stomach knotting.
The man spoke clearly and confidently. “There’s been a change in plans, and we require your testimony at the inquest in person. We realize this is short notice, but the panel feels it’s necessary.”
Shane sat heavily on the deck chair in the backyard, residual sand gritty between his toes and wetsuit clinging to his body. A bird whistled, the sun peeking out from clouds. “You understand I live in Australia now? That I have business commitments?” That I have a goddamned life, unlike when I was in the Service?
The man’s tone remained coolly professional and unruffled. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”
“Uh-huh.” The Secret Service hadn’t even had Nguyen or Harris or someone Shane knew call him.
“You understand how important this inquest is? After your many years of service—”
“Enough. I’ll come.” He sure as hell didn’t need a patriotic speech on his duty. “What’s the flight info? I presume the Service has it arranged already.”
“Yes. We’ll forward you everything you need. The flight leaves Sydney on Tuesday morning.”
They said their terse goodbyes, and Shane stared at his phone screen. App icons skirted the edges of a background image of Rafa laughing with his surfboard, wet curls hanging around his eyes, waves gleaming behind him. The screen went dark after a minute.
Tuesday morning. So, just before the Castillos would arrive in Sydney. He stood and paced back and forth along the strip of grass beyond the shaded stone patio. The blades of grass were cool between his toes. He tried to fight it, but relief washed through him at the thought of not having to deal with Rafa’s parents.
But of course he would—they were visiting for weeks, and his testimony at the inquest wouldn’t take more than a couple of days. This would just delay the inevitable and likely upset Rafa. “Shit,” he muttered. Rafa would have to face his parents alone at first.
Now a shiver of guilt snaked through him. He shouldn’t feel relieved in the slightest to be leaving Rafa alone and vulnerable to the pressure his parents would undoubtedly apply. They wanted him to come back to the States. Of course they did—Shane didn’t even blame them for that. Most parents wanted their children near them.
Hell, he couldn’t even blame them for not wanting Rafa to be with Shane. The age difference, the way they met—Shane wouldn’t like it either in their shoes. Yet his own protectiveness for Rafa rose up, and he gripped his phone as he paced faster.
Rafa was happy in Australia. With Shane. What they had together was good. There was no way Shane would give any of it up without a fight. Neither would Rafa. He had to be confident in that.
But what if—
“Stop.” He breathed deeply, nodding to himself. They would weather whatever storm the Castillos might bring. It was an inconvenience that Shane had to leave for the inquest, but he’d be back before Rafa knew it. It would be fine.
What about Rafa being alone in the house?
Shane forced an inhalation again, wishing the yard had more pacing room. It was ridiculous to have nerves about Rafa sleeping alone in the house. He was a grown man. His father was no longer president—Rafa didn’t need protection anymore.
Yet the memory of the bone-shaking terror Shane had experienced when Rafa had been kidnapped gripped him. Even though it was broad daylight, for a moment he was back in the rain and mud in the dark, utterly desperate.
“Fuck!” A bird squawked and flapped away at Shane’s exclamation. He had to get control of himself. The nightmares were bad enough—he had to let Rafa live his life and not hover over him. Rafa would eventually resent it, and it wasn’t healthy.
But anything can happen at any time. There are a million variables. What if he needs me and I’m not here? What if he gets hurt because I’m not here?
“I can’t always be here,” he said aloud. “This is the way life works.” He wished he sounded more convincing.
Tapping his phone, Shane checked the time. There were still a couple of hours before his business dinner in the city with new clients, but standing around worrying about what might happen wouldn’t do anything. Rafa would be safe and sound, and their relationship was solid. The Castillos wouldn’t change that, even if they had time with Rafa alone.
Shane snorted, laughing to himself as he peeled off his wetsuit and went inside for a shower, shaking off his ridiculous fears. Did he think he was going to be glued to Rafa’s side every moment whenever Rafa was with his family? Of course not. Rafa loved his parents, but he didn’t let them control him anymore. And he would lock the doors and be perfectly fine while Shane was away.
After a hot shower and a shave, Shane toweled off and dressed in a suit, padding back into the bathroom. The tiles were still damp, condensation clinging to the edges of the mirror over the sink.
He slipped in his earbuds and pressed play on the podcast he’d been listening to earlier about Chinese-Australian relations to give him background on his new project. Always good to understand the political climate. He splashed some aftershave on his freshly smooth cheeks and brushed his teeth.
Lifting his chin, he straightened his burgundy tie and examined his collar in the mirror as the woman on the podcast detailed a trade agreement. Then Rafa appeared behind him in the reflection wearing the jeans and tee he’d tugged on after surfing to go to the market. Shane’s heart skipped a beat. He hit pause on his old-school iPod and pulled out one of the earbuds as he looked over his shoulder. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Rafa replied, biting his lip.
Ugh, Shane had to tell him the bad news. Or maybe it wasn’t actually bad—perhaps it was a good thing to give Rafa a few days alone with his parents. Some quality time to catch up? Regardless, he had to tell him about the change in plans. He turned. “So…”
Before he could decide on the right approach, Rafa stepped back a pace, his gaze sweeping Shane up and down. Rafa licked his lips, sending a spark down Shane’s spine. “Haven’t seen you in a suit since the White House.”
“I guess you haven’t.” He ran a hand over his charcoal jacket. “I’ll be dressing up more now that I’ll be meeting with clients.”
“Mmm. You shaved too. Agent Kendrick was always perfectly groomed.” Rafa walked—no, prowled—toward him. He reached up and touched the earbud still in Shane’s ear, and Shane realized it was similar to the Secret Service earpiece he used to wear.
He smirked. “Should I put on my sunglasses?”
Rafa’s knees hit the tile, and he yanked at Shane’s belt, pushing him back against the sink. His voice pitched in a low growl as he demanded, “Fuck my mouth, Agent Kendrick.”
Copyright © Keira Andrews
Buy at Amazon or borrow in Kindle Unlimited:
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.
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, paranormal, and fantasy 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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Keira has brought a choice of backlist book to give away to two lucky readers. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, May 2nd at 11:59 pm ET.
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