Rating: 4.25 stars
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Eric Sakai-Johnson is a former Navy SEAL and the former bodyguard to pharmaceutical exec Aiden Milford. When Aiden fires Eric for being gay, he also stops funding Eric’s mother’s medical treatment, leaving her to die in debt. Now Eric is seeking revenge by taking something that is precious to Aiden, just like Aiden took Eric’s mother from him. Eric is going to kidnap Aiden’s 22-year-old son Chase and hold him for ransom.
Eric is able to meet Chase when the two connect through a gay hookup app. Eric plans for this to be nothing but a transaction and a way for Aiden to suffer like he has, but Eric finds himself attracted to Chase far more than he ever expected. Chase seems to hate his controlling father almost as much as Eric does. In fact, he is so enjoying spending time with Eric that Chase doesn’t even realize that he has been kidnapped. He just thinks the two are off on an adventure, holed up in Eric’s cabin and enjoying an extended hookup.
As the two play some kinky “captive” games, and Eric teaches Chase more about survival skills in their remote hideout, the men also get to know one another and Eric finds himself really falling for Chase. But he also knows there can be no future for them. Eventually Aiden will pay up and Eric will have to return Chase home. Not to mention Chase will eventually learn the truth about Eric’s motives and the kidnapping. Eric and Chase have found happiness together, but when the truth comes out, it may tear their new relationship apart.
Watch Point was an entertaining and clever story that kept me engaged from the start and was a nice spin on the “falling for your kidnapper” trope. I was expecting a typical Stockholm Syndrome thing going on here, but instead this story goes in some unusual directions. First, it is told all though Eric’s POV, which is an interesting choice in that we don’t really know what Chase is thinking about all this beyond what he says to Eric. Typically this type of story gives us the prisoner POV as he falls for the kidnapper, so this was a unique perspective. It is also a twist in that Chase doesn’t actually realize he is being kidnapped. He is chafing under his father’s stifling rule, and so when he sees a chance for an extended hook up/getaway with Eric, he is along for the ride. Of course, Eric knows he isn’t letting Chase go, but Chase doesn’t. So it makes for some really interesting moments and a chance for the relationship to develop more naturally, at least on Chase’s end.
Once these guys get to the remote cabin where Eric plans to hole up, we get some nice moments where we see the men getting to know each other and exploring some mutual pleasure. Well, a lot of mutual pleasure actually. This is a very sex heavy book and the guys spend a lot of their time hooking up in all kinds of ways. Early on Chase indicates he is interested in some “captor/captive” role play, so there is some kinky fun here along the way. But in addition to that, I liked how Eric uses his SEAL background to teach Chase how to build a shelter and look after himself in the wilderness. Chase has been so smothered by his domineering father, so sheltered and not allowed to do anything on his own, that we can see how much he thrills in learning new things and in Eric’s praise. It is nice to see that aside from the sex, that Chase is really getting something out of this experience.
I don’t want to give too much away, but things get exciting and go in some surprising directions, and it all comes together really nicely in the end. I was rooting for Chase and Eric to find a way to actually be together and Tan manages to pull it all together well.
I did have some issues however. First off, I think that Eric’s backstory with his mother needed to be much better explained. In fact, it is barely addressed at all in the book until most of the way through. The only thing that really helped me understand his motives was reading the blurb, as they aren’t really clear from the book itself. Given that Eric is a kidnapper and we as readers need to be able to sympathize with him for the story to work, I think we need a lot more detail into why he holds Aiden responsible, what exactly happened to his mom (did she die because Aiden cut off funding? Or just in debt as a result?), and more about Aiden’s relationship with his mom and his sense of loss. This seemed to be too glossed over for such an important element of the story.
I also would have liked more information on Chase and his father. Again, a key element here is the idea that Chase hates his dad and that he is so eager for a chance to get away from him that he is willing to hang out with this stranger in a cabin for days without communicating with anyone. I wasn’t clear why Chase continues living with Aiden, or why he is still so under his control as an adult. Why doesn’t he just leave? Is it financial? None of this is ever really explained. So while it is clear Chase hates Aiden, more backstory would have been really helpful for understanding him and his actions.
The final issue is one that I am going to be super vague about because I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are times these guys act in ways that don’t make a lot of sense and they threw me out of the book, especially early on. Some become clearer as the story continues, and others still left me kind of questioning (and some are in hindsight clearly intentional). Again, I can’t be specific here without ruining anything, but I did feel like there were a few small holes that affected things for me.
Overall however, I really enjoyed this one. It is a really fun spin on the kidnapping trope and Tan takes things in interesting directions with the story line. These guys are hot and heavy thorough most of the book, but through all that, I still felt like I got a good sense of the men and I liked seeing them get to know one another. Each man has some growth along the way, particularly Chase, and I was rooting for them to find a way to make it all work. So this was a really entertaining story and one I can definitely recommend.
Watch Point sounds like it has a lot to offer. I’ll be adding it to my list. Thank you, Jay.
You are welcome!