Review: Watch Point by Cecilia Tan

Eric Sakai-Johnson joined the Navy SEALs to protect his country and the people he loves. After discharge, he finds himself relegated to protecting big pharma billionaire Aiden Milford from assassination attempts and kidnapping. Until Aiden reneges on a promise, fires Eric, and lets Eric’s mother die with millions of dollars in medical debt.

Now Eric is the kidnapper. Snatching Aiden’s twenty-two-year-old son, Chase, for a multi-million-dollar ransom is the only way to get justice. It’s time for Aiden to learn what it’s like when someone you love is at the mercy of forces beyond your control. Eric has it all planned out. The one thing he didn’t plan for is the intense erotic spark between him and Chase.

Chase has been chafing under his father’s autocratic control. A gay hookup app has been his only ticket to rebellion—to clandestine moments of freedom, excitement, and danger. Now it’s his ticket to a deep connection and amazing sex with his “captor.” On the rocky island where they’re sequestered, Chase finds Eric to be everything he wants in a man: quiet, strong, capable, and honorable . . . until he finds out he’s been captured for real.

In news that will shock exactly no one, I skimmed the blurb. I checked the tags and saw: dubious consent, BDSM, military, enemies to lovers and hate sex and...


Almost immediately things went sideways, though. Most of those tags (IMO) should come with a "lite" disclaimer.

Check it. These two arrange to hook up through an app. Meet at a motel. Hit The Bone Zone right quick then the next thing I know Eric is sedating Chase while he's bound and asleep then takes him to another motel. I'm rubbing my hands together at the bad wrong at this point. Then the next thing I know Chase wakes up and is all, "I have to piss".

Wait, wut? *frantically flips pages back* *rereads* *finds zippity do da*

Come to find out, these two jokers arranged for some sort of capture fantasy hookup that Chase agreed to!

That's a good way to get your ass shot full o'holes, buddy. You ain't supposed to be complicit in the bad wrong! That inherently makes it less bad wrong.

NOT that I went into this expecting it to be realistic, because dub-con, but...

There is a slight caveat, but still.

All the people who do not do dub or non-con, this is the dub-con for you. This might be the fluffiest dub-con I've ever read. These two wend up on a tiny, uninhabited island in Maine (see above gif. again.) and settle into some sort of strange trainer/recruit routine that involves teaching survivalism, ramen and Dinty Moore dinners and whale watching?

My interest waned, then waned further when the "heavy kink" that was promised seemed to evaporate in the pink fluffy sex magik cloud. They like it rough(ish) but they more dance with kink than actually engage in it. That toy bag Chase brought along hardly gets touched. *pouts* It's very superficial with the "sirs" and "boys", a little D/s, some bondage, cock choking/breath play, some "force" play, but they mostly like to punch their tickets to Pound Town and are cum junkies. The sex is same same and not super titillating. I'm not even going to touch on why neither of these two thought having a safeword might be a good idea.

The whole guise of Eric pretending to have "captured" Chase when in actuality he's ransoming him for the cost of his deceased mother's medical bills is the fly in the ointment and begins to weigh on him once he realizes that he's falling for Chase. The trouble for me was twofold: (a) I wanted actual dub-con. If I'm led to believe there's going to be bad wrong then I want bad wrong to happen. Eric, it turns out, is more of a cupcake than I. (b) The "love" is rushed. I wouldn't categorize it as instalove but it's instalove adjacent. They spend a lot of time together, but there's no real relationship building, nothing substantive at least. Nothing that got my emotions involved. 

The resolution to all the "kidnapping" pegged my fluff-o-meter. I think the glass on it even cracked. What draws me to non/dub con is the redemption factor. The notion that someone capable of bad wrong, even heinous acts, can gain insight, accept the error of their ways and attempt to make amends appeals to me, but that got swept away in the fluff cloud.

HEA? HFN? Probably best to ask someone less cynical than I, though presumably, I'm to believe they're well on their way to forever-n-ever probably with some cute animated animals nipping at their heels too.

There is one definitely non-con scene (not between the MCs) that, honestly, didn't make sense to me; it seemed wholly incongruous to that character. I couldn't stop myself from thinking it an extra dose of craycraybenaynay in an already melodramatic conclusion.

So why not 1 heart?

The author obviously did some research on survival techniques and SEAL training and even though I think that focus would've been better spent on relationship development, I still respect the research.

Eric tells the whole story and his backstory is fairly well developed regarding his motivations. His flashbacks of his time with the SEALs and his relationship with his fire team confused me a bit, particularly with regard to consent, but truth be told, I'd read the stuffing out of that story. It sorta skirted the bad wrong line and what we got was hoooooooooooottttttttttt!!!

Lastly, 20% of the proceeds of this book go to the Russian LGBT Network. That's deserving of a star in and of itself.

Recommend to fluffsters.

A review copy was provided by NetGalley.


  1. 100% agree! Thank you for such an honest review. Totally accurate that as dubious consent goes, Watch Point doesn't go hard across the line of consent the way some in the genre do (and the way some of my sf/f does). My editor at Riptide made me promise not to push the envelope on this one. Someday I hope I can write the backstory about Eric's fire team -- it'll be erotica not romance since the four of them don't end up together and romance requires that -- but that's what self-publishing is for. ;-) Thanks again for giving Watch Point a read.

    1. Super solid of you, Ms. Tan. I'm sorry Riptide held you back but I get the CYA approach. People would get fashizzled if there were no tag. And as I said I will read the stuffing out of the Eric's fire team story.