Enemies of the State (The Executive Office # 1) ~ Tal Bauer
“I’m with you all the way”
This series has been hyped up so much I was actually a bit hesitant to start it. I only have about 50% chance of enjoying a book that fans seems to salivate over, but I have really enjoyed what I’ve read of Tal Bauer’s work so far so I thought, how bad could it possibly be?
I’m so happy to say that that the hype is not overdone. Enemies of the State is a fast paced, political intrigue thriller with military action, double agents everywhere, and where no one can be trusted. Running strongly through this thrill ride is a gorgeous romance between the USA President (Jack) and his head Secret Service Agent (Ethan). Jack and Ethan are honestly #relationshipgoals. They are both beautiful characters and it is so, so easy to fall in love with both of them.
“He wanted Jack like he wanted oxygen. Like he wanted his heart to keep beating.”
Jack Spiers is the newly appointed POTUS. He is a widower having lost his wife in Afghanistan 15 years prior. He’s been alone ever since, not really interested in relationships, and not finding the connection he craves. As far as he is aware, he is completely straight. It seems clear that he is somewhere on the demi-sexual spectrum, as in his thoughts he often refers to his emotional connection to his wife, and not finding that with other women. Enter Ethan. Ethan has been leading his protection detail since Jack’s campaign. Jack is feeling isolated and lonely, Ethan seeing him struggle breaks all the rules to befriend Jack and help him settle into his role. He tells himself it’s just for Jack’s adjustment phase, but we all know he’s kidding himself! Jack forms a strong emotional connection with Ethan, and without spoiling anything, their relationship grows from there.
“But Ethan, the way you look at me,” His eyes shifted. Heat smoldered in his gaze. “It makes me feel alive.”
Tal Bauer really does have the knack of developing the most beautiful characters. That’s not to say they are these ideal specimens of humanity; no, they are flawed, perfectly flawed, and it is their imperfections as well as their best qualities that make them truly loveable.
This book is quite serious, it is political intrigue on a global scale. Towards the end there is a huge amount of military action, and there are so many players you don’t know who is good and who is bad until it is all slowly revealed. Tal Bauer has the gift of drip feeding you bits and pieces, and red herrings are to be expected.
Is that guy who seems to be ‘bad’ really the bad guy? What about that one, the upstanding member of society, he must be working for the good of the country, right? Then there are the ‘good guys’ who do good, and the ‘bad guys’ who do bad. But who the bloody hell is who??? Not everything is as it seems with this author’s stories!
Apart from all the thrills, there are many many moments of humour. Some of it subtle and some in your face, but it’s always there. It’s these moments of humour that stop the book from becoming oppressive or heavy, and sometimes the humour comes from characters that you really would never suspect having that type of sense of humour, which makes it all the more fun!
“He was their condom mule. White House scandals were born from less.”
Looking ahead it looks like the series is one ongoing story with each book going straight to the next. I will warn you that this book ends suddenly (although the events of this book are mostly settled and it’s a HFN) and gets you ready to jump into book 2 immediately. The entire series is published, however, so there is no waiting for the next chapter to be released.
I’d highly recommend Enemies of the State. It is a fast paced, non-stop political intrigue thriller with a lot of action going on. It is also a breathtaking romance that will leave you sighing in happiness. I can’t wait to start the second book.
“He was just a man. A man who yearned. A man who loved. “I’m with you all the way, Jack,” Ethan breathed. As long as you’ll have me.”