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


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


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