#Review ★★ Enemies of the State ★★ (The Executive Office ) by Tal Bauer
ENEMIES OF THE STATE
BY TAL BAUER
SERIES: THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE BOOK ONE
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.
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WOW!! Amazing Book. Intense! Raw! Powerful! Engaging! At first, I was nervous that I wasn’t going to connect. The author is laying the groundwork for the story, but that feeling didn’t last long.
I started highlighting moments that stuck out to me at 18% into the book. I can say that from that point on, I was a goner. Hook, line, and sinker. Normally, I keep a notebook beside me and write down my thoughts or feelings, my emotions that I experience while reading, but this time I used the tablet feature because I didn’t want to stop and lose my place.
I’m not going to go over the plot because it's complicated to put down in words but it's definitely captivating. Ethan is someone who is very skilled in his job as a secret service agent. He takes pride in his work and the men on his team.
He’s always lived by the rule you keep your distance from the protectee. You don’t get to know them, you don’t talk to them, because you have the potential to lose your focus and their life is in your hands. Ethan has taught all the men on his team these same rules. And, twelve years on the job he has never had a problem. Until… Jack.
Let me just say that I flove Jack. He is the president but he’s still your everyday average Joe who wants friends and he wants a connection to someone. He wants to sit and have a beer while watching the game with someone. He’s been alone for fifteen years after losing his wife and he is a little overwhelmed with his new position.
So, he casually starts talking to Ethan, and trying to get a reaction from him was like pulling teeth. Jack can’t understand why they can’t be on friendlier terms as long as there isn’t a threat.
So, he keeps at it, keeps talking and really what seems to be flirting with Ethan. He’s funny and tries to make jokes and he finally succeeds with getting Ethan to loosen up a little bit.
They start hanging out more, going to the gym and becoming friends. Even though he knows he should not engage with the President Ethan finds it hard to not be a sounding board for him.
Through all of this Ethan battles back and forth in his head…He’s straight, isn’t he? He’s not flirting with me, is he? Did he just wink at me? And, he convinces himself that the President IS flirting.
When Ethan makes a move… well, Shit. I know I was holding my breath the whole time and OMG, Ethan was devastated. Jack wasn’t flirting or at least he didn’t think he was.
Here’s what I wrote on my notes after this. His pain was so valid. The author has taken the words and turned them into a visual that the reader experiences feeling his pain, seeing the disgust with himself, and agony of losing what he thought he was getting. I feel his pain in my soul, it’s so intense.
Things get a little cold after that because Ethan tries to keep his distance mainly because he’s so mad and disgusted with himself but Jack is feeling the loss just as much and it causes him to question himself about what really is going on in his head and heart. The loss of friendship, companionship, camaraderie, with Ethan is really confusing Jack.
The magnitude of loss is to great for Jack and he wants to try with Ethan, whatever that may mean because the loss of his friendship causes Jack to reevaluate what it means to love. Is it possible he could love a man? I’m not sure if he could but one thing is for certain, he can love Ethan and dammit he is going to give it everything he’s got.
The slow burn, the discovery of each other, and the anticipation rising like lighting between them sizzled against Ethan’s soul.
For a man who hadn’t had sex in a decade and a half, Jack seemed quite happy leading Ethan down the road of his personal sexual revolution.
Their relationship is a slow build, they are taking their time, not rushing anything. They are so at ease with each other, free to play and flirt, and in turn they are sealing the relationship they secretly are working on building.
And, you will be mesmerized by these characters as they put not only their heart and soul on the line but their careers, and everything they have worked for.
I found this so very refreshing and invigorating to watch a man in his 40’s go through his sexual awakening, or reawakening. Maybe because it’s closer to my own age but I really was pulling for them in every way possible.
There is a constant underlying tension that runs throughout the book that keeps you on alert. You don’t know if something bad is getting ready to happen, one of Ethan’s teammates getting ready to stab them in the back, you just don’t know, but wow, do you ever feel it coming.
And, it does come. The danger is intense, raw and gut-wrenching. I couldn’t have been any more engaged in this book than if I had been sitting in front of a TV watching Air Force One or Black Hawk Down.
The fear, the unknown, will cover you like a blanket and it’s smothering you, unable to catch a breath. The weight of the sorrow and despair is massive and is so palpable it becomes a real, living and breathing entity in your chest. I felt it, I could see it. My heart hurt.
The author’s descriptive narrative is brilliant and everything you could ask for in a book. This is an action packed drama, full of suspense and mystery on one level and on the next level there is an amazing love story building that takes the reader on an emotional journey and it’s amazing.
Tal Bauer is an author that I can’t wait to read more from, especially this series. I love special ops and thrilling story-lines and this one was very well done. I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a detailed and clever plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat not knowing from one minute to the next what is going to happen. Amazing 5stars from me.
**Thank you to Nine Star Press for sending me the ARC in exchange for an honest review**
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