Interlude is book 1.5 in Tal Bauer’s Executive Office series. The author’s note states that this was written for all the readers that have enjoyed Jack and Ethan’s story with the first two books in the series. This book takes place between the events of book one and two and I would not suggest reading this as a standalone. This review may then contain spoilers for the series.
It’s been three months since Ethan has been transferred to Iowa. Well, transferred is putting it politely, as he’s really been exiled. Except, his midwest boss would like nothing more than for Ethan to go somewhere, anywhere, but under his charge. Ethan now spends his days chasing down financial criminals and dodging the stalkerish paparazzi, and then his weekends are spent flying back to DC to be with Jack. But Jack’s schedule is understandably busy and weekends aren’t always free. Ethan is isolated and lonely and questions everything about his relationship with Jack, except his feelings for the man.
Jack is in the midst of putting together the pieces to start going after the terrorism that threatened to shatter their lives. This causes an alliance, as well as a friendship, to grow between him and the President of Russia. That’s a difficult enough task on its own without the media and the entire world focused on his personal life.
Their worlds are spinning in different directions, but Christmas could bring them full circle and together for all time.
An interlude is defined as a period of time between events or a brief romantic meeting. This title and this word perfectly capture what Bauer did here by setting a short book within the midst of this series. After reading book two in this series, I knew how it would all turn out, but that in no way lessened the enjoyment of getting to read the journey of how Ethan got himself back by Jack’s side.
This book goes a bit deeper into their personal relationship and their feelings than we have seen in the other books. This story perfectly captures their love, but also their insecurities as they spend their first Christmas together. Jack is insecure that Ethan will think it’s all become too much for him and Ethan is insecure being so far away from Jack and can’t help but wonder if Jack is truly ready to live his life fully with a man on such a public stage. We see Jack, the President of the United States, being downright giddy, love struck, and then less confident as he relies on Ethan for presidential as well as personal support. We also see Ethan, ever stoic to the world Ethan, lose all of his emotions over his love for Jack.
The book also shows scenes of Jack and President Sergey Puchkov forming their own alliance and then taking it to a global level. While these scenes were pivotal to the overall story and Bauer writes the political end of things with ease, I suppose since I already knew the outcome here, the political scenes weren’t as captivating as the personal scenes for me. There is also a story woven in of the case Ethan is working on in Iowa where he has to remain largely a ghost on every project, but then ties back to DC as well. This helped to illustrate exactly what Ethan had been doing with his time and how large of a hit his career really took when he left the White House.
Perhaps the highest compliment I can offer this book is that I got so caught up in the story, I was momentarily dismayed at the somewhat abrupt ending until I realized, yeah, I already know what happens. If you have followed this series, this will be the interlude you won’t want to miss.