Title: Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office #2)
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Sex Content: Explicit
Orientation: Demisexual, Gay
Length: Long Novel Words: 158443 Pages: 287
Reviewed by: Gigi and Parvathy
An affair that stunned the world.
Two men, committed to their impossible love.
One general, 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…
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Enemy of My Enemy Playlist
Sound of Pulling Heaven Down – Blue October
I think this is a great song to start the novel off. This is an upbeat song, about falling crazy in love, about being so in love with someone that the whole world can fall apart around you, and you’re fine with that. I think this captures parts of both Jack and Ethan’s hearts and souls, especially as they are at the start of the novel.
I want to show you just how fascinating kissing is
When earth collides with all the space between (yeah)
I’m reaching farther than I ever have before
Leaving all who broke your heart upon the shore
I may be some sort of crazy
We may be some sort of crazy
But I swear on everything I have and more
You make the sound of pulling heaven down
You brought the rain’s romantic pour
You make the sound
You make the sound
Of pulling heaven down
Touch – Jonny Lang
There could not be a more apropos song for Jack and Ethan! This captures both Jack and Ethan’s desire, and their growing desires. Love and lust grows together, for both – more so for Jack, but also for Ethan. This song perfectly captures their growing love.
When I was only just a friend to you
All I wanted to do was get to know you better
Now I want to give my heart to you
Tell me do you feel like I do when we’re together
‘Cause I come alive with your touch
Your touch it always sets me free
I can’t get quite enough
Too much of you is what I need
Yes I know you’re the one
‘Cause love has come alive in me
The Real Thing – Bo Bice
I feel this song captures Ethan’s fear, uncertainty, hesitation, and hope, all rolled into one. He’s a squirrely one with relationships, and yet, he wants everything with Jack. There’s a push-pull within him because of that, a mix of fear and hope, terror and desire, and this captures a lot of that struggle.
Tell me what we got
Tell me it’s a lot
Tell me it’s the real thing
Tell me not to change
And always be the same
Tell me that’s a good thing
It’s a good thing
Tell me not to lie
Tell me not to wait
Tell me that you want
The same things as me
Tell me that it’s fate
Driving me insane
Tell me it’s the real thing
That keeps me hanging on
Kingdom – Islander
This is such a hauntingly beautiful song, and one that is perfect to kick off the uncertainty of the novel and of Jack and Ethan’s story. What does this song say to you? How does it make you feel? What do you think is in store, listening to this?
Even the trees, know the end is near
Like rain on the leaves of the underside.
And the waves, will be shaken with fear
And the ships and men, remain memories.
The Red – Chevelle
A large part of this novel is how Jack and Ethan react to and deal with the public’s eyeballing their relationship. They are squarely in the public eye, and everything they do is picked apart, commented on, and dissected, for good and for ill. Both struggle with this, with living under the microscope, but Ethan more so than Jack. This song, to me, captures some of Ethan’s turbulent emotions as he’s faced with the reality of their lives under the microscope.
They say freak,
When you’re singled out,
Well it filters through.
Caught in the Rain – Revis
This song, to me, captures the feelings of two people caught in love, and yet also caught by other forces. Held back, held apart, struggling for their love and their connection. It felt, to me, like a song that would resonant with Ethan.
It was you
Who could get me high
With whatever you say
You’re telling me something real
What we do
It doesn’t matter now
Whatever it takes
For you to stay with me
Over – Evans Blue
Bam! What?! What’s going on?
And then, this song.
You better crawl on your knees
The next time you say that you love me
Our sky fell down tonight, to wash away our pain
I’m not going to say too much about this. There are parts of the novel that must be read and experience with no spoilers. This is one of them. ?
Torn to Pieces – Pop Evil
And the aftermath…
I’m torn to pieces, I’m broken down
I still see your face when you’re not around
I sit here in misery wondering if I’ll ever be
Half the man you wanted me to be
Demons – The Departed
If there ever was a song that captured a good part of my soul, this would be one of the great contenders. This song truly and deeply captures Ethan’s inner soul.
The people that know me best know how I get when I’m alone
I’m a bottled up tangled reckless mess,
With a fury of my own.
And I’m wasted,
Washed up from trying to find something to believe in
I’m calling all, calling all
Calling all demons.
The End of Me – Shaman’s Harvest
This song speaks to Jack, at a certain moment in the story. Again, I won’t say much more than that right now.
When I could no longer stand
where we were you to do me well.
I guess you hated to worry
and god how you worried.
I know I deserve to suffer,
I’ve earned to be alone.
But like a thief who sells a lover
for a handful of shiny stones.
So I wrote you a letter
you won’t find until I’m gone.
You Can’t Save Me – Richie Kotzen
For the rest of the songs, I won’t be providing commentary, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. No spoilers, though!
I sold my soul just so I could feel paid
I broke my heart so I couldn’t feel pain
I’ve lost my faith cause’ I can’t justify the weight
I’ve got no hope that’s only for losers and fakes
I’m nothing but a user and an abuser
You don’t wanna know what’s on my mind
I know I’m just a fool but I’m not fooling
Not afraid to make a fool out of my self
And fuck your money
Fuck your fame
Fuck my life I walk away
And fuck our love
Fuck I’m sorry for everything I ever done
You can’t save me
You better give yourself to someone else
You better put your time in something else
Save me but don’t worry about it now
You better save your fucking self
In Chains – Shaman’s Harvest
Somebody break these chains.
Wrapped around this heart.
I don’t want you leaving,
I’m begging for mercy, oh to break these chains.
Oh heaven help me now,
Trade these shackles for a crown.
And I’m on my way, way down.
Warm the ice that fills my veins, pumping till I’m numb.
Lead me out of the darkness where it is so hard to escape from.
All that I’ve been given I give it to you.
Times are Hard – Redlight King
These times are hard
It feels like nothings’ gonna change
No where to start and you got nothing for the pain
‘Cause when life moves fast it don’t matter who you are
You gotta find someone to hold on to
Damn! These times are hard.
Make You Feel My Love – Adele
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
Vindicated – Dashboard Confessional
I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right, I swear I’m right
Swear I knew it all along and
I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself
I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz
‘Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We’ve got a lot to learn
God knows we’re worth it
No, I won’t give up
Ana Hobek – Assala Nasri
Something a little different here. Assala Nasri is a Middle Eastern pop sensation. She’s one of the most famous pop singers out there, and this is a song about love. I’ll provide the translation (the song is in Arabic) below. This is a nod to one couple in the book…
Ana Hobek means “I’m your Love”
I’m Your Love
I am your love
I am your friend
I am your mind and all of your thoughts
Because I am from you
Your heart’s soul
And your brother when say so.
I’m your happiness. Your tiredness. I feel everything you feel
I can feel you, because I am you.
Words you said, and I believed you.
I was happy.
I never forget them, and I live with them.
Where are you now?
I miss you.
And believe you will return.
When I am sad, I hear your words.
Because I’m yours, and I love you so much.
I will never live except for you.
I dream to see the smile in your eyes.
I’m your happiness. Your tiredness. I feel everything you feel.
I can feel you, because I am one with you.
The Executive Office Series
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.
…there are some new faces in this book, and new couples who are on the brink of romance. You will love all of them, guaranteed. I will also say that this book was absolutely riveting and suspenseful and you WILL be tense during many of these scenes.Gigi's Review“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.”
Enemy of My Enemy is a masterfully crafted suspense thriller with an equally beautiful and heart warming love story which will take you on a journey guaranteed to give you an unforgettable ride. A must read for all M/M aficionados. Parvathy's ReviewHis 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.”
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.
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