Release Day Review by El: Interlude: First Noel, by Tal Bauer

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Interlude: First Noel, by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office, Book 1.5
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: December 19. 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


bauer-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.


M/M Pairing
Gay Character
Demisexual Character
Bodyguard (Secret Service)
Class Difference
Part of a Series
Holiday (Christmas)



I am a hardcore fan of Tal’s Executive Office series (books one and two are out now, the third coming in 2017). A secret service officer falling in love with the President of the United States? Oh hell yes.

This little interlude takes place between the first two books, and follows Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas together. They’re out, they’re proud, they’re madly in love, and… they’re struggling. Jack is getting slammed from Congress for being in a relationship with another man, and Ethan has been reassigned to the boonies of Iowa after his relationship with the President became public. They miss each other constantly, and made do with Ethan flying back to DC every weekend.

What I enjoyed most about this novella is how much Jack and Ethan’s love shines through on every page. After the events of Enemy of the State, they finally get some downtime to relax and just be together as two men in love.

Ethan had never loved anyone like he loved Jack. And he’d never been loved by anyone the way Jack loved him.

Plot-wise, there’s not a whole lot going on. But there doesn’t need to be… this is the sweet, gorgeously intimate novella* that bridges two tension-filled and action-packed political thrillers. (* I say novella, but this story is actually a novel unto itself. Just, y’know, compared to Tal’s other books, it’s pretty short! :D) Plus, the stress and frustration Ethan experiences at his work, and the constant speculation from the media, add plenty of drama to this story.

Tal also takes the time to explore Jack’s demisexuality in more depth.

Was he sexually attracted to Ethan because he’d already fallen for him, in a way, their close friendship a bridge to his heart, and his love?

Jack and Ethan’s romance absolutely shines from the pages, but is bittersweet knowing what’s to come for these two amazing men. But Tal has given us the best holiday present with this interlude: a chance to see what makes Jack and Ethan’s relationship so perfect.

Love love love love love.


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.

Pronouns: they/them

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase Interlude: First Noel from:



Haven’t read Tal’s Executive Office series yet, or maybe you’re ready for an awesome new holiday read? NineStar Press is giving away an eBook of your choice from their site to one lucky winner! Entering is super easy… just click on the link below for the Rafflecopter giveaway!



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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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