Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1) by Tal Bauer

I can’t escape this man even if I tried. And God help me, but I don’t want to try.

After reading You & Me as our last book club pick, we decided to stick with Tal Bauer books for our next pick. This time we decided on trying one of his political thriller/romantic suspense series. This is book 1 in The Executive Office series – set in the “near future” and follows Secret Service agent Ethan Reichenbach who is lead detail for newly elected president, Jack Spiers. This is the third president Ethan has served in twelve years and he’s expecting another typical boring politician. He’s surprised, however, to find that Jack is actually warm, inviting, and rather charming. Despite strict rules against fraternization between an agent and their protectee, Ethan and Jack form a quick friendship. Ethan can easily see himself falling for Jack but even if it wasn’t against the rules, Jack is straight and a widower, so Ethan does his best to tamp down his growing feelings toward Jack. But perhaps his feelings aren’t as unrequited as he might think. The President of the United States falling for a man would be a big enough scandal to hit the White House but on top of the burgeoning relationship between the two men, the president is unknowingly embroiled in a plot by a rogue Black Ops unit to obliterate the US government as we know it and take over the world.

I really enjoyed this book. The romance between Ethan and Jack was really sweet and the plot to take over the world was very suspenseful and kept me flipping the pages. Politics, and particularly foreign relations, aren’t really my forte. I’m not going to pretend like I understood every nuance of what was going on with the various foreign players but, in broad strokes, I was able to follow along just fine. And I was pleased with myself that I figured out one of the bad guys before it was revealed. There came a point, just over halfway, when shit really hit the fan and I wasn’t able to put the book down. It was thrilling and suspenseful and there were a few moments when I was close to throwing my kindle. But I had to keep going to see how everything was going to work out! You can’t ask for much more than that from a political thriller, I’d say! I think I read the last 45% straight through.

As I mentioned earlier, the romance between Ethan and Jack was quite sweet. I really liked them together. There was quite a lot of angst early on as Ethan fell for Jack, assuming he was straight and knowing he was breaking so many rules even by just being friends with him. Then even more angst once Ethan made his feelings known. It was very tumultuous for much of the first half of the book. My only gripe with the romance angle is that we didn’t get to see a lot of their early days on the page. Ethan had set up their morning workouts and then some time had passed, off the page, and Ethan had already fallen hard for Jack. I wish we could have seen more of that but I guess this book would have been quite a bit longer if all that had been included, given all that had to come later in the story. But that’s a minor gripe. Once they were together, I loved everything about that. Both men fell deeply for the other and it was really lovely and quite emotional given everything that comes later.

I’m looking forward to continuing the series and seeing what comes next for Jack and Ethan!

3 thoughts on “Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1) by Tal Bauer

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