A Paul B Review: Interlude: First Noel (The Executive Office #1.5) by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

interlude-first-noelEthan Reichenbach has been demoted from lead of the Presidential protection detail in the Secret Service to the Des Moines, Iowa office.  Instead of leading a team sworn to protect the President at all cost, he now is tracking counterfeiters.  To make matters worse, his supervisor in no way wants the President’s boyfriend working in his office.  He tells Ethan to stay away from the press and to turn his cases over to another agent when evidence materializes.  His only salvation is his nightly video chats with Jack Spiers and his weekend trips to Washington to spend time with him.  However, as Jack is the President, those weekends are not always consistent. 

Jack is trying to enjoy his first Christmas in the White House but things seem to keep getting in the way.  Between international conferences to the rising problem of the Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East, it seems like he has no time to spend with Ethan.  Jack is also unhappy about Ethan’s situation in Des Moines, where he is pushed aside for agents who weren’t even in high school when Ethan joined the Service fifteen years ago.  Add in the tabloid press who basically have Jack and Ethan breaking up or making up depending on whether or not Ethan flies to Washington any given weekend just adds to the stress.  Jack counts the days until the two can be reunited.

I enjoyed this tale of Jack and Ethan as they prepare for their first Christmas together as a couple.  It was interesting to see the side of the Secret Service that most Americans forget that they are in charge of—catching counterfeiters.  Ethan’s demotion is made worse by a boss who thinks that Ethan will contaminate any case in which he is prominently involved in.  The only saving grace in Des Moines is a new agent who at first grudgingly partners with him but comes to an understanding that seems to help with the case they are working on together.  Along the way, Jack and Ethan must develop some sort of protocol for the various White House functions that come at Christmas time and deal with world problems at the same time.  This book nicely expands on the time that was covered briefly at the end of Enemies of the State. 

The cover art by Natasha Snow is perfect for the book.  The cover has the White House in a wintery scene surrounded by snow. 

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | NOOK

Book Details

EBook, 125 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  December 19, 2016 by NineStar Press

ISBN:  978-1-945952-30-2

Series:  The Executive Office

Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1)

First Noel (The Executive Office #1.5)

Enemy of My Enemy (The Executive Office #2)

An Alisa Review: Honey Trap by Fyn Alexander

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

honey-trap-by-fyn-alexanderWhen Scarlett and Ronin, two very beautiful individuals, approach Julian May, he cannot believe his luck. Having albinism and being somewhat shy, he doesn’t usually get attractive people approaching him. Being gay, he falls in love with Ronin, only to find out that Ronin and Scarlett are the same person and that they made a play for him as part of a honey trap.

 

All hell breaks loose as an angry and betrayed Julian refuses to have anything more with Ronin/Scarlett. Meanwhile Julian needs to rescue an old lover who is stuck in a prison in Afghanistan and the only person willing or able to help him is Ronin. Despite Ronin’s jealously when he sees Julian and his former boyfriend together, he does not give up on trying to win Julian’s heart. Little does he know, he already has it.

 

This was an intriguing story that kept moving.  MI-6 has been using Ronin as Scarlett as part of honey traps, but he lets his emotions get in the way when he is told to get to know Julian.  Julian is content with his life, hiding who he really is from his family and acquaintances, but starts to see a reason for something more when he is with Ronin.

 

Julian is confused by his reaction to Scarlett; he has never been attracted to a woman before.  He becomes a bit confused when he meets Ronin’s family and they are very similar to how Scarlett described her family.  Ronin isn’t willing to let Julian go after he finds out and puts himself in danger to keep Julian safe.

 

Julian is so sweet and really innocent it’s hard not to love him and know how he feels.  When he finally feels as if he has found what he always wanted his reality comes crashing down around him.  Ronin knows the real Julian and you can feel his determination that he can break through the wall Julian puts up after he is hurt.  We could clearly see how hard being Scarlett and Ronin for Julian was and how conflicted he was with his job.  I love how supportive Ronin’s family is of his gender fluidity, but didn’t really like Julian’s attitude toward it; granted he had been hurt, but he doesn’t seem like he even tries to understand.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is wonderful gives great visuals of the main characters.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages

Published: October 4, 2016 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682521984

Edition Language: English

A Lila Review: Interlude: First Noel (The Executive Office #1.5) by Tal Bauer

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

interlude-first-noelBefore 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.

Interlude: First Noel is more than a Christmas short; it’s three stories in one. We get Ethan’s story in Des Moines. How his life as a Secret Service agent changed and the case he’s taking part of, even when no one wants him around. Then, we have Jack’s first Christmas in the White House. The impact of his job and the coalition he’s trying to form. And lastly, we see how those two stories intertwined with Ethan’s and Jack’s romance. Plus, how they deal with their long distance relationship.

More than a novella, this is a full length story. Just like the previous books in this series, the author gives the reader every detail necessary to experience this holiday short as much. We get a lot of characters back, and how they related to book one and book two. And we see important friendships starting to form for Ethan and Jack.

The way both main characters are treated by those they work with is similar even when they are in two different places and have two different job descriptions. How they managed to deal with this, plays an important part in the story. The book is as much about self-discovery as solving Ethan’s case, and Jack’s political issues. As bonus, we get to see Sergey in all his glory.

If you haven’t read Enemy of my Enemy, yet, I’d recommend you read this novella first. Not because it would make a difference in your enjoyment, but it would help you follow the timeline when the book mentions events from when Ethan was in Iowa. As always, my only complaint is the amount of details and additional information we get with each book, but that’s just me. And the best part, everything is wrapped on Christmas spirit.

At first glance, the cover by Natasha Snow seems gloomy. But, it fits the longing atmosphere of the story and the roughness of Ethan’s and Jack’s separation.

Sale Links: NineStar | Amazon | NOOK

Book Details: 

ebook, 125 pages
Published: December 19, 2016, by
NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781945952302
Edition Language: English

Series: The Executive Office
Book #1: 
Enemies of the State
Book #1.5: Interlude: First Noel
Book #2: Enemy of My Enemy

 

Release Day Blitz for Oops Caught by Alli Reshi (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Oops, Caught

Series: Expanding Horizon

Author: Alli Reshi

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 2nd

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 16500

Genre: Romance, sci-fi, aliens, captivity, action/adventure, shoot-out/gunfire, PTSD/post-traumatic stress, hurt/comfort

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Synopsis

Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.

It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.

Excerpt

I sat against a wall, watching as my companion paced the length of the cell. Groaning, I leaned my head against the concrete, bored now that we had been caught and taken out of the main action.

At least I had an excellent view to keep me occupied. I could finally appreciate what everyone liked about a man in uniform. My cellmate’s pants were very complimentary to certain areas of his anatomy. With his hands clasped at his lower back as he paced the room, I had the pleasure of an alternating view of his broad back and the strong frame of his chest.

The stern look almost marred his handsome face as he stared at the locked door, set into a row of bars. But his strong jaw, highlighted by a twitching muscle, somehow added to his appeal. Men usually didn’t interest me as much, but having a galaxy of choice opened one’s view of preferences, and to be honest, I had admired worse.

I wondered what his thoughts on a tall, broad-chested, human man were. Would there be any interest on his part, or did he only prefer his own kind? Maybe he had someone back home. A slim-waisted Resconian woman who cooked him warm dinners. Would that be more to his taste? Then again, maybe being an elite Everian-ranked officer in the Stella Corps galactic military didn’t leave much time for romance. I pushed the thoughts away before I could get too involved in them.

“So, Gavnson. Found our way out of here yet?” I asked, watching him make another pass in front of me as he headed for the left side of the jail cell. He ignored that question, like he’d ignored all the others I’d asked.

Our part of the mission had been a distraction tactic that hadn’t worked as well as I had hoped. In any case, it should have given enough time for the rest of our team to break into the other side of the compound where the data center was located so we could take back the information the Awoknains had stolen. Lists of undercover agents and stealth plans weren’t something you wanted up for grabs among enemies. I knew it would be a matter of time until Ken, my master mechanic and sometimes arsonist, broke us out. Though it seemed Gavnson wasn’t content to be patient.

He reached for one of the hinges at the top of the door. Bolting forward, I wrapped my arms around his waist and pulled Gavnson back before he could touch the knot of metal. We slipped off balance, and I tried to take a step back to regain my footing, but it was useless; we tumbled to the floor in a heap. The wind was knocked out of me, and I gasped for air. Gavnson was heavier than he looked.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Noland?” Gavnson yelled. He rolled off me effortlessly and sat up, directing a harsh look at me.

“Saving your ass. Don’t touch those; they’re electrified. Not enough to kill you, but it’s a hell of a shock that’ll give you nasty burns,” I said, wheezing as I sat up. I didn’t miss his flinch, though he tried to hide it. I was instantly curious, but ignored the itch to question. Starting a fight with Gavnson wouldn’t help us break out.

He was silent after his near miss with the electrified hinge. I was glad he was finally sitting still. The constant nervous motion wore on my nerves. No matter how fine an ass he had.

The silence that followed made my skin crawl; it was the quiet before the storm hit. I was tempted to ask Gavnson any random question, but if the tension in his body was anything to go by, he obviously wasn’t much in the mood for conversation.

I stared at the far wall through the bars on the door, hoping Ken would hurry his blue ass up and break us out so we could be done with the job. He had been part of the retrieval team. Footsteps echoed down the hall, headed in our direction, but I didn’t recognize them. There were more corpsmen as part of Gavnson’s team; hopefully, that would be some of them. Luck was not on our side, though. Our insect-like captors now stood in front of our cell, their green skin and horns gleaming.

“You. Up now. Come.” The raspy demands issued from mouths that didn’t move. That would never not be creepy. I didn’t have time to think on that, though; the guards motioned at Gavnson to get up.

“No, you can’t,” I said. I grabbed Gavnson’s shoulder to stop him from moving.

“Why?” The attention of the two guards flicked to me. A simple question with complex implications. Think fast, Noland.

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NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Alli has always had a love for just about any story she can get her hands on. Be it from books, TV, or even video games—if there’s a good story, she will love it. Given that, it’s easy to see how Alli moved on to making stories of her own.

Raised in a small Colorado town, Alli also has a love of the outdoors and enjoys hiking. Nowadays she lives in a bigger city and fits in fine there too, liking how close and comfy everything is. Often at home with her two cats, Alli is never far from her computer, whether for work or for play. She believes the truth is a multifaceted thing and always works to write the world, and subsequently the truth of the world, as she sees it.

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In the Science Fiction Spotlight: From the Ashes by Xen Sanders (excerpt and giveaway)

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From the Ashes

by Xen Sanders
Fires of Redemption #1
Publication Date: January 2, 2017
Genres: Entangled: Otherworld, Male/Male, Sci-Fi, Romance

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Synopsis: Sociopath. Killer. Deviant.Monster, devoid of morals, incapable of human emotion. The villain known as Spark has been called this and more, and as a super-powered aberrant has masterminded countless crimes to build his father’s inhuman empire. Yet to professor Sean Archer, this fearsome creature is only Tobias Rutherford–antisocial graduate researcher, quiet underachiever, and a fascinating puzzle Sean is determined to solve.

But one kiss leads to an entanglement that challenges everything Tobias knows about himself, aberrants, and his own capacity to love. When his father orders him to assassinate a senator, one misstep unravels a knot of political intrigue that places the fate of humans and aberrants alike in Tobias’s hands. As danger mounts and bodies pile higher, will Tobias succumb to his dark nature and sacrifice Sean–or will he defy his father and rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains?

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ABOUT XEN SANDERS

Hi. I’m Xen. Cole. Whatever you want to call me; both are true, and both are lies. My pen names are multitudes, my nicknames legion. Tall, bi/queer, introverted, author, and of a brown-ish persuasion made up of various flavors of Black, Asian, and Native American. I’m cuter than Hello Kitty, more bitter than the blackest coffee, and able to trip over cats in a single half-asleep lurch; I’m what happens when a Broody Antihero and a Manic Pixie Dream Boy fight to the death, and someone builds a person from the scraps left behind. Beardless, I look like the uke in every yaoi manga in existence; bearded or not, I sound like Barry White. About half my time is spent as a corporate writer, and the other half riding a train of WTFery that sometimes results in a finished book. Romance, erotica, sci-fi, horror, paranormal; LGBTQIA and cishet; diverse settings and diverse characters from a diverse author.

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Release Day Blitz for A Collision with Reality by Storm Duffy (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Collision with Reality

Series: In Like Flynn

Author: Storm Duffy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 2nd

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7100

Genre: Erotica, contemporary, UK, D/s, kink, businessmen, online chat, workplace relationship, erotica

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Synopsis

Flynn’s new boss is so hot he can’t wait to get home to tell the chatroom how much he wants Dom’s cock down his throat. By Friday, he’s shared quite a few thoughts on what he’d like his boss to do to him. But he’s not as anonymous as he thinks, and Dom’s intent on disciplining him for breaching company policy on social networking. Dom gives him a choice of put up or shut up: he can play out the fantasy in real life, or he can walk out of the office without a word to HR as long as he never talks that way about Dom again. Flynn chooses “put up”—but he’s forgotten about one of the things he said he wouldn’t mind doing.

Excerpt

The new manager was really something: tall, dark, and handsome, with a superb arse that looked great in a suit. Flynn wouldn’t mind seeing what it looked like out of the suit. Unfortunately the suit was respectably cut at the front, making it impossible to tell without staring whether the guy dressed to the left or the right, let alone how big his cock was.

Not the sort of thing one ought to be thinking about while listening to the big boss introduce the new manager. He barely caught the guy’s name—Dominic.

“Pleasure to meet you all,” Dominic said. “I look forward to getting to know you better over the next few weeks.”

Flynn looked forward to it as well. He particularly looked forward to getting to know him better in the gents, at least well enough to idly glance down and check out the cock. A pity he wasn’t likely to get to know Dominic in the gents any better than that, not in real life; but it was his own business what he did in the privacy of his own head.

And in the privacy of his favourite board online that evening. No wallet names, no ID. Not even your location listed unless you wanted it out there in the hope of hooking up with someone for a night’s fuck. A safe place to talk about just how much he fancied the new boss.

[New boss arrived today. Absolutely bloody gorgeous, if you like older men. Wouldn’t mind having him discipline me for poor performance.]

[Better if he disciplines you for good performance] an anon said.

[Oh, I think I could perform well for him.]

Flynn could think of a number of ways he could perform, starting with:

[Down on my knees with my mouth open.]

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Storm Duffy has a number of erotica shorts published under that and other names in a variety of venues, including “The Mammoth Book of Quick and Dirty Erotica”. As Jules Jones, she has written several erotic romance novellas and novels, including the first M/M romance published by Loose Id.

Amongst the 2500 or so books on shelves in her house, there is room for rather a lot of cross-stitch thread and entirely too many balls of wool. There are also more bits of computer kit than is quite reasonable for someone who doesn’t do that for a living. The two microscopes, on the other hand, are entirely in keeping with a career in science.

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