- Book Title: Wes’ Denial
- Book Series: Tease and Denial Book Two
- Author: Joseph Lance Tonlet
- Publisher: Joseph Lance Tonlet (September 1, 2016)
- Book Length: 398 pages
- Genre: Erotica, Gay Erotica, BDSM Erotica, Contemporary
- Reviewed by: Diane
- Rating: 5 Stars and Recommended
In Grif’s Toy (Book 1), we explored the insecurities and kinks of a man brought to the brink of being broken, deep-coring for… not explanations per se… but for how the need to be humiliated and punished for something that exists outside your control manifests as paths to reconciliation and acceptance.
Wes’ Denial (Book 2) looks at the other side of that equation, exploring how the yin of sadism finds its ultimate expression in the yang of a psychological vessel prepped to direct and channel a mutual dependency. It’s not an easy task that. By the time Wes and Grif have become entwined in their relationship, setting up boundaries and exploring every option, it’s clear both men have formed a structure of enablement and power sharing that’s difficult to wrap your head around for those of us not so inclined to hand over agency so easily.
Although told exclusively through Wes’ perspective, the character, the quality, the strength of the man he controls and fine tunes like an instrument is luminous and captivating. Yet there is a dissonance, especially when Wes crosses over a line into cruelty and degradation, that sets your gut aflutter and makes you question his commitment to the man who seems at the surface fragile and precious.
The story toggles back and forth—from present day to Wes’ teen/experimental years, to his time in the military and seminal events that forged his character and his own insecurities. Wes has secrets he holds close and those secrets are violations of the compact between he and Grif, violations that speak directly to Wes’ trustworthiness to hold a fragile psyche like Grif’s in his firm control.
Though the story moves through time, it is less about men living ordinary lives within a subtext of extraordinary and profoundly demanding shadow existences, than it is a series of vignettes that reveal, layer after layer, how limits and boundaries assume organic and ever-shifting shapes and importance.
For this reader, I will admit to not understanding—in any way, shape or form—how one surrenders control, how one develops the arrogance to assume he knows another person at such a visceral level… yet the author has this—for lack of a better term… gift—of creating just enough distance, just enough of a safety net for a reader such as myself to absorb and process what for others could be uncomfortable at best.
Talk about becoming invested in the characters! Never once did I like Wes, though I understood him far better than I understood Grif. And even after the big reveal (no spoilers, I promise), the resolution was surprising and perhaps a bit questionable in execution.
This is more than erotica, it is a case study of men with needs I can only vaguely comprehend, yet that does not diminish nor invalidate their combined journeys and the choices they’ve made.
I was mesmerized (almost against my will), and that is no small feat. Wes’ Denial may not be for everyone. It has the potential to cause discomfort and activate some triggers, but I guarantee… if you choose to stay the course, you won’t be sorry.
Five Stars. Recommended.
Wes has spent his life looking for that one special guy who will understand and love him—all of him. From his tender vanilla side, to his darker debauched side.
Throughout high school, his successful career in the Marines, and as a BDSM Dom, he’s remained confident his partner is out there waiting to be found.
However, several events shake his normally unflappable self–assurance.
And, even after he finds Grif, will his past catch up with him and possibly drive his soul mate away?