Author ~ Tal Bauer
Publisher ~ NineStar Press
Published ~ 24th October 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
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…
When looking for something to read I usually plum for books that are around the 70K line or less, but I have a few exceptions. Anything written by Tal Bauer is an exception. I am a self-confessed addict for a read that contains love, mystery, guns, and action. And when I heard that one of my favourite books of all time, Enemies Of The State had a follow-up, I squealed like a 12-year-old girl. I know that this type of book isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I love ‘em, and will appropriately gush.
Book 1 – Enemies Of The State can easily be read as a standalone. It is an excellent complete read, involving forbidden love, politics and a good number of bombs and guns. It also all ties up at the end. Book 2 – Enemy Of My Enemy, involves a larger measure of politics and a revelation that a madman is out for more than blood. By the end, some issues get resolved, but there is the hook that advertises - sequel. This second story can be read without reading the first, as prompts bring readers up to speed. But, I would still advise reading Enemies Of The State, because it’s so damned good.
In the first percentages of Enemy Of My Enemy (EOME), I was introduced to the plot via a two-pronged attack. Firstly, there was a security breach at a prison. Captain Cook, aka The Butcher, is aided in an escape. Secondly, a world in shock because President Jack Spiers has moved his lover, former Agent Ethan Reichenback, in as First Gentleman to The White House. Several members of staff resign, and there are protesters outside the gates calling for God to strike down the gay president and his lover. The announcement gets worldwide attention too, inviting protests of a positive and negative nature. Negativity also has the louder voice.
The President and First Gentleman take flak from all sides, including their own party, though some stay loyal. Loyalty also comes via Russia, who has its ample share of political unrest. In the meantime Ethan has difficulty getting used to the life of First Gentleman of the United States – he is thrust into a life of ‘florists, state dinners and clandestine kill missions.’ Some of his duties he handles better than others. Yet, under it all, he feels guilty for subjecting Jack to the shit storm that their coupling has brought to the White House.
In other parts of the world, former General Madigan is building an army of his own and is efficiently conducting a terror campaign through subterfuge, misdirection, and murder. The final focus is unknown (at the start), but it is clear that Jack and Ethan are in the way and need eliminating. Nothing is above or below him. He has spent years building up a spy network and gaining support. The man is completely unhinged with a lifetime of military experience behind him, who wrote the book on US strategy.
One of his specialties is to utilise human weakness to divide and conquer. He uses this tactic on the Russians and the first family. The results of which left me with my heart in my mouth and eagerly reading on.
EOME is a meaty in depth story that some may not have the patience for – mainly because; to set up such a massive plot needs some pretty in depth scene setting. One has to have the upheaval, investigations, emotional trauma and political dealings to get to the bottom of such events. Personally, I found it fascinating and there were lighter times that eased the pressure. The stage of world politics cannot be navigated within a few paragraphs. Ethan and Jack provide some hot man loving, too. When the physical action gets going, and bullets started flying – I found it nigh impossible to stop reading. It took me close to 15 hours, but I read all 390 pages in one day and didn’t skim read a single paragraph. That’s a record for me.
Ohhhh and there are twists in the plot that left my heart in my mouth, and me reaching for something stronger than tea.
Tal Bauer uses a combination of show, tell and effective use of media bulletin’s to get the story across. I loved some of the descriptions, e.g., ‘that pitch-black oil-slick buried in his soul that held all the things he never wanted to remember.’ On the technical side, I only hiccupped in a couple of places. This story is written in the third person, and in one part it said, ‘Ethan’s body felt wrecked’ – I’m on the fence with this one, as I felt sure it would have been better being ‘Ethan felt wrecked – his body ached….’, or words to that effect. It’s a fine line.
It is impossible to adequately summarize a novel of this length in a few paragraphs. There were times when, frustrated, I cussed the pages and other’s when I shouted “Hallelujah!” I love a good plot but love it, even more, when the butt kicking starts. Occasionally, I was on the edge of my seat urging President Spiers to take control and grow some balls. For me, the first book was ground-breaking to my reading, and therefore had a bigger impact. EOME is still one hell of a 5* read. It contains military operations, more political shenanigans, revolutions, confrontation, heartbreak, blood, bombs, bullets, love, and trauma. Russia has a hard time, and plays a large part in this story. And I almost forgot a lovely little arc involving a prince and a soldier, which I’m sure could be turned into a spin-off.
When I realized that EOME was going to continue to a sequel, I cursed. Tal Bauer had better be bloody well near finished with it else I’m gonna be on a plane and protesting with my banner.
“I want the sequel – when do I want it – NOW.”
Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1) by Tal Bauer
A rogue Black Ops unit with the president in their crosshairs.
A Secret Service agent who will break every rule.
A president falling for the one person he shouldn’t—a man.
Newly elected President Jack Spiers’s presidency is rocked from the very beginning, and he’s working furiously to keep the world from falling apart. Between terrorism attacks ripping apart Europe, Russia’s constant posturing and aggression, and the quagmire of the Middle East, Jack is struggling to keep his campaign promise—to work toward a better, safer world.
For Special Agent Ethan Reichenbach, Jack is just another president, the third in twelve years. With Jack’s election, he’s been promoted, and now he’s running the presidential detail, which puts him side by side with Jack daily. He’s expecting another stuffed suit and an arrogant DC politician, but Jack shocks him with his humor and humanity.
There are rules against a Secret Service agent and one of their protectees developing a friendship—big rules. Besides, Jack is straight as a ruler, and a widower, and Ethan has always avoided falling for straight men. Ethan keeps his distance, but Jack draws him in, like gas to a naked flame, and it’s a lure he isn’t strong enough to turn away from.
As the two men collide, rules are shattered and the world teeters on the verge of war, and a rogue Black Ops unit bent on destruction sets Jack in their deadly crosshairs. Ethan must put everything on the line in order to save the man he’s come to love, Jack’s presidency, and the world.
Enemies of the State contains adult content suitable for mature readers only.
Meet Tal Bauer
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.