Warning: Minor spoiler in this review

Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3)Enemy Within by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG, oh my God people this book is beyond exceptional, it wraps up the trilogy in an almost perfect fashion but still leaves a hint behind that there could be more.

And believe me, I want more. Who are the missing clones, will Jack and Ethan head up the secret black ops department, will Sergey and Sasha get married, will Faisal become King with Adam by his side?! I NEED to know these things.

The tension and pacing throughout this book left me breathless. Who was going to be the other hidden traitor? I guessed rightly with one though as soon as I saw his name.

SPOILER ALERT: It was a really nerdy moment and a tribute to one of the greatest Star Trek mythologies ever. Once he arrived I knew there would have to be something going on, it’s a truly stand out name but the discovery of just what his role would be still surprised me and the cleverness of the plotting to get him to that point was superb.

I think I spent half this book praying the traitors wouldn’t be Scott, Levi, Welby, Doc, Colman, the press guys, Elizabeth, there were so many it would have killed me to read as a traitor. And it was still a shock when it came. And it came with such a vengeance, the tension jacked up to such a level I could actually feel my pulse racing.

I should also say that the amount of research and detailing which has gone into this book series is exemplary, it deserves a world of five stars on that basis alone but when added to the rest, it takes this book somewhere beyond just an enjoyable read and into the stratosphere.

I want to see these books on TV or the big screen, they have every single ingredient needed for a true blockbuster and hopefully one day, when the world catches up that love between two men is just as romantic and vital as a heterosexual pairing, we may just get it.

Bravo Tal for writing a trilogy of books which will forever sit on my must be read favourites shelf.

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So good it keeps all the stars – even with a cliff hanger!

Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office Book 2)Enemy of My Enemy by Tal Bauer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliance, sheer brilliance. This book, and the others in the series, need to be on the big screen, theatre epic in a way the greatest Bond films are, they’re thrilling like a Jack Ryan narrative and they have a perfect “would die for you” love at the heart.

I’ve even not knocked off my usual star for the bloody cliff hanger so I hope you appreciate that Tal 😉

Where to begin with this one though? An element of suspension of disbelief is needed, a reminder that this book is set a few years in the future when medical science had advanced at pace. There’s a little bit of the potential for a dystopian future at play here.

Our mad general is still orchestrating things from hiding, stacking up threat after threat and taking apart Jack and Ethan’s world piece by piece. So many amazing secondary characters are lost in this book, it’s not for the faint hearted and my heart is feeling somewhat bruised at their deaths.

But the tension, lord the tension as the moles on the inside continue to manipulate the plays, is immense. I’m holding out hope that the big reveal is not going to be one of the characters I’ve come to love so much.

And the scene with Sergey and Sasha absolutely killed me. So much emotion in such a small gesture. On to the final one now with the fate of the world literally resting on the shoulders of a small bunch of renegades.

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A Christmas stopover with Jack and Ethan

Interlude: First NoelInterlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s weird going back with Jack and Ethan to see their first Christmas together after the story had moved on in time at the end of book one.

But it’s also a really sweet insight into how they made their long distance relationship work after Ethan got banished to Iowa.

There’s also a nice little side plot with an investigation into counterfeiting which takes a sideways turn into an FBI murder case while Ethan deals with his local chief not wanting him there.

Their actual Christmas together is seriously sweet and emotionally satisfying.

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Everything I’d hoped it would be and then some

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, when I tell you that The West Wing is my favourite TV series of all time and that when Marc Harmon’s Special Agent Simon Donovan was murdered during a store robbery gone wrong just after kissing White House Press Secretary CJ Cregg, I cried for about an hour, you can hazard a guess at how much I was pinning on this book.

Well, Tal Bauer gave me everything I wanted and then some. This book is explosive, it’s thrilling, it’s emotional, it’s heart breaking, it’s tense, it’s passionate, it’s sexy, it’s about two men in their 40s falling in love unexpectedly with the glare of the world upon them.

Jack and Ethan were beautifully crafted, for all he’s a Republican President (and that was a bit weird), Jack is just the kind of guy you’d want in the White House top job and Ethan, oh how much do I want my own Ethan?! Strong, reliable, dedicated, determined, unassailable, loyal.

I actually did guess fairly early on who the mole, the bad guy on the inside, was going to be but it didn’t stop me from hoping throughout that I’d be wrong and the President wouldn’t be betrayed.

The action and attention to detail is superb, the spy and thriller elements worthy of a book on their own without the added bonus of the experience of an openly gay secret service agent falling for a man who’d always considered himself straight. I loved that Jack was clear he was in love with the person and the fact Ethan was a man didn’t really register for him. They were friends first.

There’s also a whole host of brilliantly drawn side characters and I can’t be the only one wanting to know more about the relationship between the mysterious Marine and the Saudi intelligence head?

Never boring, this book kept me up until 3am reading it. It just is that good.

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Sexy and stirring spy romance is a lot of fun

The Chimera AffairThe Chimera Affair by Keira Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a big fan of Keira Andrews, it seems no matter what style she turns her hand to the reader will get an enjoyable read with sexy men doing sexy things while having unexpected emotions.

This one’s in the vein of her Valor on the Move romance with an age gap and, in this case, spies rather than political operatives, but it’s no less thrilling.

There’s a fab epilogue and a freebie short story to round off this sexy tale of a spy and the collateral “damage” he couldn’t forget.

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Absolutely blown away by this debut novel

In the Wreckage (Metahuman Files, #1)In the Wreckage by Hailey Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s not often I find myself shocked into a lack of words over anything but this debut novel just did that to me.

Set in the difficult to write field of sci-fi, the world building is utterly superb, think Marvel Agents of SHIELD levels of military complexity, coupled with all the Men from UNCLE (original TV series please!) slash you might ever have dreamed of, with a healthy dose of erotic porn with plot on top and you might come close to how I felt reading this book.

It’s an absolute triumph from the initial set up through to the explosive meeting of the two MCs, to the Tom Clancy level of espionage twists which drive the narrative forward, to the camaraderie of the Alpha Team at the amusingly named MDF (sorry peeps but that just reminds me of home design programmes here in the UK) Government agency and all points in between.

I never felt bogged down in jargon and each team member’s special ability which explained well without a lot of exposition and there was enough outside the main spy/sci-fi story to keep me enthralled.

Rounding it out are some of the hottest sex scenes I’ve read outside of a full on erotica or porn site, this is explosive levels as Jamie’s super strength and durability is out to excellent use in wringing Kyle out into utter bliss.

You name it, there’s probably some of it here, edging, dildos, orgasm denial, window sex, cock rings (and how often do you read about those, even in dedicated BDSM stories?!), breath play, it runs the gamut but it’s never done gratuitously or just to thrill. Each time these two men come together there is passion and emotion and a deep connection.

I cannot wait to read more in this setting and I believe it’s Alexei’s story next so that’ll be a cracker I’m sure. Bonus points for awesome cover too.

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