Interlude: First Noel (Vallie’s Review)

Title: Interlude (The Executive Office #1.5)
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Release Date: December 19, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 125
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Before Ethan returns to DC…
Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together.

Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight.

Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.

In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.

As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.

Thank you Tal Bauer! This was indeed an amazing interlude in Jack and Ethan’s story.

It goes without saying, book 1 needs to be read before this. After Ethan saves Jack and the entire White House in book 1, Ethan is reassigned in Des Moines and they do the long-distance thing. I remember reading book 1 and thinking that this part went rather quickly as it had the potential for some major angst and reunion sex.

Well damn, this whole book is about that and I am SUCH A HAPPY CAMPER for getting it. Yes, shouty caps and all.

So, Ethan is very lonely in Des Moines. He is practically bullied by his boss, scorned by his colleagues, and hounded by the paps everywhere he goes. He can’t even get credit for any investigation he leads because it would be a nightmare if he were to be called to testify in court for anything. Ethan misses Jack terribly and on top of everything, he is self-conscious, constantly worried that Jack will wake up one day and realise he shouldn’t bother with Ethan after all.

We get dual POV which is pretty equally distributed, unlike in book 1 where Jack’s POV didn’t kick in until a bit after the halfway point. Jack puts Ethan (and us readers) at ease all the time, declaring his feelings freely and without reservations. This is a prime example of how talented an author Tal Bauer is. I got so sucked in to the story that even knowing how it ends, I still became anxious right alongside Ethan, worrying about how things will turn out. Talk about a head trip!

I loved that he characters were presented consistent to how we first met them and their relationship dynamic was the same. Ethan and Jack still talk politics, cook in their boxers in the residence of the White House, and have scorching hot sex.

Can ya say riiiiiiiiiimming…??????Yowza!

True to the style of the first book, there is some suspense in the form of an investigation that Ethan is covertly leading in Des Moines. This subplot allows for Ethan’s character to shine. His dedication to the job, his relationship with his partner, and the brutal aspects of it all come through. As a side note, seeing Becker (Ethan’s partner) react to Ethan teasing Jack –THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES- on the phone was priceless. The guy was hilariously green and I totally cracked up reading this part.

And of course, the love that shines through between Ethan and Jack is no small matter. The series is taking a more sci-fi turn with the second book, Enemy of my enemy, but no matter what happens, Ethan and Jack’s love for the ages is a common denominator. And we get it in spades here. True romance in every way. The love, the flirting, the missing each other, the sex, I just gobbled it all up.

Highly recommend this!

The Executive Office Series