When an assassin’s bullet strikes his predecessor, Grayson Alexander becomes the first openly gay President of the United States and his husband, David Hammond, becomes the first openly gay First Husband. With their world turned upside down, David relies on his career as a medical school professor and ER doctor to keep him grounded. But his decision to keep working ruffles feathers from day one.
Gray throws himself into learning everything he needs to know to be President, especially a liberal president surrounded by a conservative cabinet and staff. Even though he puts in outrageous hours working and traveling seven days a week month after month, he’s happy. But David has trouble coping with Gray’s new job requirements. He can’t help but feel abandoned by his husband of ten years.
When Gray asks for his help with a public-health crisis, David obliges, but he is furious about what happens once the emergency passes. When they learn that the President’s staff has manipulated them both, they wonder if their relationship can survive the White House.
The blurb promised much and it did deliver a story that thoroughly engaged me for the first third of the book. The idea of the role of “First Lady” being gender switched was an interesting one, and it was explored fairly well in terms of roles having expectations due to the traditional gender of the role’s occupant. Sadly, this is also where it began t unravel for me.
David seemed to be very disingenuous for someone who married a politician with the aspirations that Gray has. I would have expected him to be well versed in the role of host and benefactor, even with his staunch insistence of keeping his job and staying out of publicity’s way as much as possible. Likewise, when Gray and he would have discussed accepting the VP nomination, surely the two men would have discussed the official roles both men were to play, and how that would change should anything happen to the president.
The health crisis seemed to be bit overblown in how it was handled, and while it was mostly a plot device to showcase the lengths the Presidential staff would go to advance their Conservative agenda, it left me cold. I simply did not understand how a politically savvy man with a very different political ethos could so blindly follow and accept the obstacles being placed between himself and David in such a blatant manner.Then again, the only scenes the two men have together is either an argument (the same one over and over and over) or sex. That’s it, yet we are told that they’ve been together in domestic bliss prior to this and David misses their old “ordinary” life. There was also the niggle about David being allowed to go without a proper security detail for any length of time, David being allowed to knock down a wall in the White House (for a gym that in real life, the White House already possess so doesn’t need to have built), the lack of many characters being referred to by job title and not by name, the sex scenes are on the bland side, and when the ending comes, it is a very abrupt resolution between the two men that is extremely sudden. I was left feeling as if I’d read a first draft that hadn’t been fact checked nor having gone through a professional editing process to polish it to a full shine.