Now that his father is no longer president, Rafa Castillo is finally out and able to be with his boyfriend, Shane Kendrick. Shane left the Secret Service to be with Rafa and the two are living in Australia where Shane is starting a security consulting business and Rafa will begin culinary school. Their relationship is everything both men could want and they are incredibly happy together.
The guys are facing some stumbling blocks, however. Shane is still having terrible nightmares, mostly involving Rafa’s kidnapping and his own parents’ death. Shane feels like it is his job to take care of Rafa and his sense of failure that he couldn’t prevent his attack, nor Shane’s parents’ house fire, is leaving him stressed. Shane doesn’t want to tell Rafa about the nightmares either, trying to protect him. But the biggest hurdle is that Rafa’s parents still are unhappy that the men are together. They feel like 40-year-old Shane is way too old for their 22-year-old son. Not to mention the fact that the men fell for one another while Shane was on Rafa’s security detail, just adding to their feeling that Shane is unworthy.
When Rafa’s parents come to Australia for a visit, tensions are high. Shane is still having nightmares and refusing to share his worries with Rafa. Rafa’s parents stir things up, making their unhappiness clear. Shane’s former colleagues in the Secret Service treat him with disdain. The men begin arguing more, and Shane worries he is too old for Rafa, while Rafa fears Shane will want an older man one day. Things continue to be stressful for everyone, until a life threatening event shakes everything up. With lives on the line, Rafa and Shane realize that their feelings for one another are still strong, and being together is what is most important to them.
I absolutely loved Keira Andrew’s Valor on the Move when I read it back in 2015. I love age gap stories, and I just fell in love with Rafa and Shane. So I was thrilled to see that Andrews had decided to do a follow up story for the guys. I will have to admit, however, parts of this story were a bit rocky for me. I have a hard time with sequels where the main characters had their happy ending and now things are falling apart. After the thrill of watching these guys get together, I feel like too much of this story was watching things come apart again, interspersed with some hot sex scenes. Whether by failure to communicate, or family meddling, or simply just letting things go that should have been addressed, the guys spend the majority of this book with things just not going right between them, which I found frustrating. However, I never once doubted how much these guys love one another and how right they are together, and that went a long way to making the book work. And when the suspense side of things picks up and all the pieces come together, the story is exciting, heart warming, and really rewarding.
I also really liked the way Andrews develops the setting. From scenes of the men surfing, to climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, to the train ride through the Outback, the book is really peppered with great details about life in Australia. I found myself quite fascinated, and by adding these elements Andrews gives the story a lot of depth.
In the end, everything comes together really well and the book left me feeling very happy and content with Shane and Rafa’s situation. I wish less time had been focused on the hard patch they were going through, but overall I thought this was a good follow up to Valor on the Move, and a nice choice for anyone who wants to catch up with Shane and Rafa.