Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 6, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
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.
TROPES: class disparity, age gap
TAGS: adult, contemporary, erotica, romance, queer romance, queer characters, BDSM, biracial character, Japanese character, Asian character, POC character, Asian author, POC author, interracial romance, military personnel
WARNINGS: dubious consent, explicit violence, rape, heavy kink, sexual content, kidnapping, child abuse / neglect, homomisia, drugging / nonconsensual drugging, slurs, gendered slurs, ableism, racism, torture
I’ll start of by saying that you should absolutely, one hundred percent heed the DUBIOUS CONSENT and RAPE warning tags, both on my review here and on Riptide’s website. I honestly appreciate the fact that Riptide has these tags listed on their site, because I can’t imagine going into this book without knowing ahead of time. Because pretty much the whole book (at least 75%) contains dubious consent. The first chapter finds Eric and Chase, the main character and love interest, respectively, meeting up for a hookup they arranged on an app. Well. It’s a hookup for Chase. Eric’s plan doesn’t originally involve having sex with Chase, but kidnapping him for ransom instead. He does both! A multitasker, that Eric. He kidnaps Chase and lets Chase think it’s just an extended, several days long hookup and a kidnap fantasy come to life. As a result, every sexual encounter is suspect. Chase doesn’t have the full picture of what’s going on, so the consent is dubious, at best. And then, of course, there’s the actual, on page rape of Eric by Chase’s father. I could go on about how that scene was just incredibly unnecessary in so many different ways, but I hope we all realize that rape is heinous.
Also, I just really hated Eric. He’s serving his own selfish purposes with little concern for Chase the whole time. I was, and still am, sympathetic to the anger and hurt her felt over being fired because he’s gay, losing his health coverage, and his mom dying as a result, but this was just. Wow. And he’s such a hypocrite, too. He literally says “honesty is very important to me” to Chase at one point, and it’s so ridiculous, considering the circumstances, that I actually laughed out loud. Plus, he’s so inconsistent. Less than two days after he kidnaps Chase, which is only a couple chapters in, he says he’s already distracted enough by wanting to screw Chase that he keeps forgetting his own revenge plan. Sure, Jan.
The only reason this barely eked out a one star rating instead of a huge ZERO is because I liked Chase. He was strong and sweet, and I just kept wishing that he’d run away from both his father and Eric and find a better life for himself.
Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature,” according to Susie Bright. RT Magazineawarded her Career Achievement in Erotic Romance in 2015 and their prestigious Pioneer Award. Tan’s BDSM romance novel Slow Surrender (2013) also won the RT Reviewers Choice Award in Erotic Romance and the Maggie Award for Excellence from the Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA.
Her professional writing career began when she was still a teenager and her father offered to match every dollar she earned from writing while she lived at home. She immediately landed a gig writing a monthly column for Superteen magazine and provided articles to Teen Machine and other teen magazines. Her first professional fiction sale didn’t come until after college, though. While working a day job in book publishing in Boston, she began sending out erotic short stories. On the day she left her job to pursue a master’s degree in writing, her first short story acceptance arrived.
That was in 1992, several months after she’d founded Circlet Press, Inc., then the only book publisher dedicated to erotic science fiction and fantasy. Her first book, Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords, was self-published through Circlet because there was literally nowhere else that would even consider it.
Since then, Tan has authored many books, including the ground-breaking erotic short story collections Black Feathers, White Flames, and Edge Plays, and the erotic romances Slow Surrender, Slow Seduction, and Slow Satisfaction, the Secrets of a Rock Star series, The Prince’s Boy, The Hot Streak, and the Magic University series—as well as various nonfiction books on baseball including The 50 Greatest Yankee Games and The 50 Greatest Red Sox Games.
Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Nerve, Best American Erotica, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and tons of other places. She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Hall of Fame for GLBT writers in 2010, was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Leather Association in 2004, and won the inaugural Rose & Bay Awards for Best Fiction in 2010 for her crowdfunded web fiction serial Daron’s Guitar Chronicles.
She is the editor of the Baseball Research Journal and is publications director for the Society for American Baseball Research. She is also a part-time taekwondo instructor and is a certified therapist in an Asian bodywork style known as Okazaki restorative therapy. (That’s a fancy way of saying she can break you and then fix you up again.)
Tan has also been a lifelong activist in the BDSM and leather/fetish community. She is the founder of the Fetish Fair Fleamarket, the largest BDSM event in New England, and served for twenty years on the board of directors of the New England Leather Alliance (NELA) before stepping down to concentrate on writing and education.
She lives in the Boston area with her lifelong partner Corwin and three cats. Find out more at www.ceciliatan.com.
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