Wes has found Grif, the man that can give him everything and the man he wants to give everything to. Every day, Wes can’t believe that Grif, who prides himself on being confident in his work life, hands control over to Wes. Grif feeds Wes’ darker side, that side that likes to inflict pain and the side that knows Grif’s tears are a true gift. But the combination of his softer side and his love for Grif gives their relationship balance and exactly what they both need.
It was a long path for Wes to discover who he was and what his needs were. From experimenting in high school, to the Marines, to training with a Master Dom, Wes learned what he needed in a partner as well as what he could offer. But Wes knows he’s keeping secrets; he’s not as secure as he leads Grif to believe, and the lies of omission could forever break the unwavering trust Grif has in him.
Joseph Lance Tonlet offers an amazing novel with Wes’ Denial. I have read all of his published work and while they are all special, the storytelling here shines ever so much brighter. This book comes after Grif’s Toy and is best enjoyed read in order.
Now the above synopsis captures the basic framework of the story, but it cannot capture the emotion and the layering of the characters that Tonlet masterfully weaves together. This book, like its predecessor, is told in non-linear fashion, but the shifts in time happen less often and the stories told are designed to build upon each other to capture the essence of Wes.
Present day Wes and Grif are solid in their relationship. They have a truly special and unique commitment where they have evolved individually and as a couple. Grif has always felt defined by his shortcoming, but Wes knows how strong Grif truly is. Grif is more confident than we’ve seen him and it’s that confidence that fights with his submissive tendencies. Wes demands a lot from Grif. His needs are intense and those needs comprise a good component of who he is. He can appear cruel from a casual glance as he keeps Grif off balance, but his love for Grif is a living, breathing element and they work together to form an incredible partnership. There are scenes where the initial thought might be that Wes is taking it too far, but the communication these guys have is remarkable, and Grif is not only all in, but needs what Wes gives him. Tonlet lays out his words in a visual array and puts us directly into the thoughts of both characters as he shows an extraordinary connection.
There are early stories of Wes as a teen first becoming interested in dominance, to a volatile relationship while in the Marines, to training with a Master Dom. All of the stories, each one, was captivating. There were secondary characters, such as Thomas and Henrik, and their stories were equally intense and illuminating. Each time a character was introduced to the page, there was a new story waiting to be told that was stunning in its execution. Tonlet also adds little touches to the descriptions of their living arrangements and Grif’s business that subtlety offers one more layer to this carefully crafted story.
At the heart of the book is still Wes. We are taken through a tumultuous journey where Wes started out as being all about what he needed and coming to terms with the fact that there is also someone else on the other side of his reach. This is where Tonlet slowly seduces the reader emotionally as he simultaneously unravels and then builds Wes back up. While some may look at their story as unconventional, Tonlet truly captures the essence of their relationship and highlights that it’s what they both crave in order to be whole.
Wes’ story in itself was captivating, but it was also the way in which it was told and what Tonlet did with his words that was exceptional. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the epilogue, but I would also completely ruin the moment if I divulged any more. Tonlet’s seduction of the reader continued to the very last word as he pulled out incredible emotion to this enduring and unforgettable love story. This book will remain special and I would encourage you to indulge in the experience.