Melissa reviews Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office #2) by Tal Bauer, Published October 24th 2016 by NineStar Press, 287 pages.
Fifteen years from now, an affair rocks the world.
Two men commit to their impossible love.
One general is determined to destroy them both…
President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.
In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.
But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.
He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.
And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…
An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: If you read book one, you will know why. 😉
You think you know what this is about? YOU KNOW, NOTHING!
I was not prepared for this book. To begin, you must, absolutely HAVE TO, read book 1, Enemies of the State, FIRST! If you don’t read book 1, book 2 will be so far outside of your ability to comprehend, you’ll DNF it by 20%. Don’t do that!
It is going to be hard to review this without revealing spoilers, which you should not do to yourself. You have to read both of these books without any foreknowledge.
From Book 1 we were introduced to The President of the United States, Jack Spiers, and his Secret Service Agent lead, Ethan Reichenbach. They broke all the rules and came out the other side together. Buuuuut…
Book 2 seriously kicked them in the ass. I was not expecting anything like what I read based on my experience of Book 1. When I read Book 1, I was expecting a simple romance where the President falls in love with his bodyguard. I was not expecting, well, hmm…If you haven’t read book 1, I can’t really tell you what happened, now can I? And if you have read book 1, I don’t need to tell you what happened. 😉 Check out my review of Book 1, Enemies of the State here.
Now, Book 2. Ahh, Book 2. Well, whatever you think you know, throw it away. This book is an action packed thriller with twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the VERY. LAST. PAGE.
There is romance (unexpected couples who are too cute for words!) and there is heartache (bring the tissues!!!), immeasurable fear of all variety, and tension. The world is in chaos and Jack and Ethan don’t know who to trust. Are their allies really their allies? Are they even safe in the White House?
Loyalties are tested, conspiracies are unraveled but will they learn the truth in time? At the end of Book 2 we don’t have all the answers. It does end on a cliffhanger, but it’s not jarring. The next book (when is that going to be Tal?) is going to be crucial I think to everything we’ve experienced so far. It’s all been leading up to Book 3 (I assume it ends with Book 3, though I don’t know).
I planned my days for a week around reading these two books and I am sooo thankful I had a team of people reading this with me. If you are serious about reading this series, you will find encouragement, support, and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, here.
In addition to the support group, I also had Tal’s own website helping me along the way. He has included extra scenes, as well as character photos. It was so much fun to explore!
*NOTE: Tal made the following comment on Frenemies:
“I’m releasing Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas together this December through NSP. It’s set just before Enemies of the State ends – when Ethan is still in Iowa for those six months before he comes back to be the FG. 🙂 So we’ll get to see some of them together over the holidays. He doesn’t have the duties of the first gentleman, and they’re still navigating the boundaries of their relationship (it’s still new!), but there are good holiday moments in the White House. Hope you enjoy!”
Something to look forward to until Book 3 is released; no confirmed date on that yet.
Tal Bauer © 2016
All Rights Reserved.
Eyes slid sideways, the staff from the East Wing of the White House all seemingly hovered in the lobby, waiting to catch a glimpse of Ethan as he entered.
Ethan pushed through, nodding and giving his best tight smile to the crowd.
“Relax,” Daniels breathed at his shoulder. “You’ve got your constipated agent face on.”
Ethan threw a glare Daniels’s way.
“These are your people now.” Daniels’s eyebrows arched high as he nodded to the mass of humanity.
His people. Jesus. The office of the first gentlemen, all his. Swallowing, Ethan tried to smile again, though he couldn’t fight the nerves clutching at the back of his throat.
Daniels stayed by his side as he escaped up the stairway to the second floor of the East Wing. On the quieter second floor, the office of the first gentleman made its home. Oil paintings of former first ladies hung on the walls, and at the end of the hallway, a large corner office overlooking the Kennedy Garden, opposite the Oval Office, sported a shiny brass doorplate, reading, “First Gentleman, Ethan Reichenbach.”
“Fuck me,” Ethan breathed. Just last Monday he’d been moody and grumpy with Jack on their nightly Skype call, bemoaning his exile in Iowa. He’d been frustrated, missing Jack and Levi and Scott and everything about DC, and Jack had offered him the impossible.
He’d dismissed it out of hand; he didn’t want to be a freeloader. The first gentleman earned no income. It was a ceremonial position only. He’d be an anchor on Jack’s neck. An albatross. They were trying to stay out of the public’s eye, not catapult into it. There had never been an unwed first gentleman before, and certainly not a gay first gentleman. The whole idea was a disaster. He’d already done too much damage to Jack’s presidency.
On Wednesday, he’d flown to DC, stood in the Oval Office, and told Jack he’d take it. He’d resign from the Secret Service and move back to DC, ending his exile. He’d move in with Jack. They’d build a life together. No looking back.
That new life started immediately. They’d danced the night away at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, and Ethan had torn up his return ticket to Iowa. Thursday he’d faxed in his resignation. Friday he and Jack took an early day, spending the weekend ensconced in the Residence as Pete released the announcement to the world.
And now, this.
It was almost too much. Ethan turned away, breathing hard as Daniels gripped his shoulder again.
“This is history, man.” Daniels smiled, warm and bright, and Ethan’s nerves screamed. “I’m so damn proud of you.”
Damn him. Damn Daniels. Ethan closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and opened them to glare hard at Daniels. “This is insane,” he grunted. “I don’t deserve this. I’m not this guy. I shouldn’t be here.”
“That’s exactly why he fell in love with you, and why you are here.” Daniels gave him a gentle shove, pushing him down the empty hallway to the office that bore his name. “Get going. Your staff is waiting inside.”
His staff. Jesus.
The heavy white door whispered over plush carpet as he entered his office. Inside, one man and four women rose together from two pale-blue silk couches facing each other before a large desk. They smiled and waited, silent.
He froze until Daniels jabbed him in his kidney. Ethan strode behind the couches to the wooden chair sitting, obviously, for him. He nodded to his staff and tried to smile. “Good morning. I’m Agent―”
Clearing his throat, Ethan quirked his eyebrows at his staff as Daniels grinned from the back of the room. “Sorry,” he said. “I’ve got to get used to dropping my old title. I’m Ethan. Ethan Reichenbach.”
The smiles from his staff were indulgent, grins and nods that told him that yes, dummy, they knew exactly who he was.
“Please, sit.” He fumbled a bit, waiting for his staff to sit and then remembered that they were waiting for him. A bobbing half stand, and then he sat, embarrassment burning his cheeks as he tried to clear his throat again and bear it.
Daniels covered his grin with the palm of his hand and looked away.
“Can you all tell me a little bit about yourselves?” Ethan nodded as he unbuttoned his suit jacket and tried to sit comfortably in the ornate—but heinous—chair.
“Mr. First Gentleman,” said an older woman with short red hair curled into wide, fluffy rolls perching around her face like a football helmet. “Let me be the first to greet you with your new title.” She smiled warmly at Ethan, her hands clasped in her lap and ankles crossed just so. Her immaculate red suit was pressed and starched, and a string of pearls hung at the hollow of her neck, just below a fold of aging skin starting to sag.
Mr. First Gentleman. Jesus. He flushed from head to foot and squirmed.
“Please, Mr. Reichenbach will do just fine.”
“Mr. First Gentleman,” she gently corrected him with an incline of her head. She would have been a socialite contemporary of Nancy Reagan and carried herself with a class that proved it. “My name is Barbara Whitley, and I am the White House social secretary. I serve at the pleasure of the office of the first gentleman.” Another warm smile and Barbara’s head tilted. “And please let me say that I am absolutely delighted to be working for you, Mr. First Gentleman.”
The gentleness radiating from Barbara calmed Ethan, just a touch. “Forgive me, Ms. Whitley. I may have protected the president, but I’m not up to speed on the full breadth of your duties.”
“I am responsible for the planning of all social events at the White House, in coordination with you, of course. From something as simple as an afternoon tea all the way to a full state dinner.”
Jesus. That was a big job. Ethan blinked. “I have to admit,” he said, shifting in his seat again, “I’m not really one for afternoon tea.”
Where to add:goodreads
Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.