Reviewed by Dan
Content Warning: Scenes of violence, extreme BDSM and homophobia.
Not for the faint at heart.
TITLE: Wes’ Denial
SERIES: Tease and Denial (Book 2)
AUTHOR: Joseph Lance Tonlet
LENGTH: 301 Pages
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2016
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?
“He writes to bring the characters he dreams about to life.”
That line is from the bio section on Amazon and elsewhere. All I can say is if these are the characters that Mr. Tonlet dreams about…his dreams are most people’s nightmares!
Wes’ Denial will go down on my list as one of the most difficult reads I’ve had in recent months. The only one I can remember that was more difficult was Quillon’s Covert, co-written by…you guessed it, Mr. Tonlet. Joseph likes to take things to the absolute limit, and then move just slightly beyond. I will warn you, this current book isn’t for everyone.
I, at times during this read, was horrified. At other times, I was deeply disturbed. Twice I had to put it down and go for long walks before I could continue…just so that I could digest what I had just read. Somewhere around 60% I told Dani that I didn’t think I could finish it. But obviously I persevered and finished. Then the end made me cry, literally.
I’m writing this review, and I have no idea how I feel about the book. Seriously…at all. I read another reviewer’s early review on Goodreads, and I’m almost not sure we read the same book, even though I know we did. But her review isn’t mine. I like to believe that I give fair and honest reviews, so here goes. The book is VERY well written. It instilled great depths of feeling from me as I was reading. It at times left me feeling wrung out and almost devastated. In other words, the author did a fantastic job catching this reader’s emotions.
Let’s start at the beginning. I was horrified from the first page of the book. The MC, Wes, is the partner of Grif, both of whom we met in Grif’s Toy. This current book is the story from Wes’ side, focusing partially on his extremely troubled/troubling past. The very first chapter details how Wes, described as a really big guy, while in boot camp as a USMC recruit laid on his bunk and listened as six other recruits beat another gay recruit, James, to death. While Wes eventually yelled something out which brought help, it was too late to save the beaten man, who was already dead. I knew immediately that I was screwed on this read. It was like a traffic accident with fatalities and I was the rubbernecker passing by.
The book is told in a series of chapters which jump back and forth through time, detailing both Wes and Grif’s current relationship, and also Wes’ background…like that horrifying section detailed above. The character has some serious issues and has done some really horrible things in the past. The stories of Paul and Henrik, were at least as troubling as James’ story. No spoilers though on those.
This story is not for the faint at heart. It is hard core BDSM, and made me really uncomfortable to read for the majority of the book. I’m way too vanilla for the story, and I think my read suffered because I just couldn’t get into a head space which would allow me to really enjoy it.
Let’s talk about the erotic aspect of the book. It is pretty darned hot. The kind of hot that left me feeling a little guilty inside for enjoying it so much! There is a lot of sex and sexual tension. There are orgasm denial scenes like in Grif’s Toy. There are chastity devices. There are some brutally violent beating scenes. There is even a reference to one man being waterboarded.
As I’ve been writing this review, I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to rate this book based on the quality of the writing. I’m going to rate it on its ability to truly mess with the reader’s emotions and on its ability to drag the reader kicking and screaming into a story that is probably very far outside most of your comfort zones. Based on that criteria, even though I spent a huge part of the book flipping pages with hesitation and with the fear of what I was going to read next, I’m going to recommend the book. I hated it. Truly. But I loved it as well, maybe both ends of the spectrum because it is so dark and brutal.
In conclusion, I’m recommending this book only for a very select group of individuals. It is not, in my opinion, a romance. Most of the frequent readers of our blog’s reviews would not like it at all. But those of you who would, will enjoy it…I think. As I said above, it is dark, brutal, erotic, and totally disturbing. If you like to step far, far, far outside the box, this book would be for you.