Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Grif’s Toy
Author: Joseph Lance Tonlet
Series: Tease and Denial #1
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 370 Pages
Publisher: Joseph Lance Tonlet
Release Date: November 1, 2014
Available at: Amazon and Smashwords
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Grif believes he’ll live his life as a virgin. After all, who would want him? How could anyone find him, a guy who came with less than man-sized equipment, worthy of their love?
What he hadn’t counted on were the two amazing men who would change his life. After entering college, he meets Tate, his fun-loving, roommate. While years later, with Tate now just a memory, Wes, a handsome, rugged ex-marine who runs his own security firm enters his life.
Both men lead Grif through a twisted mesh of pleasure, pain, and denial, as they force him to see his value, despite his size and insecurities.
Review: This unique story completely captivated me almost right from the very start. From the absolutely gorgeous cover to the intriguing blurb, I had a good feeling about it, and I was not disappointed.
This story is unique in a few ways. First and foremost, it is about a young man and his struggles through life with having a smaller than average package.
“How could I admit to anyone that I couldn’t bring myself to be naked in front of another person? And, if that fear meant I’d be a virgin for the rest of my life? Well, it was something I’d been trying for years to fool myself into believing I’d be ok with.”
It starts out in the present day with Grif and his partner Wes. We get to see a little about what their relationship entails and the dynamic between them. Before long though, we are brought back to the beginning, or what events brought Grif to this point.
From his very first thoughts of being gay, realizing how different he was from other guys, and a bad experience when that happened, Grif resigned himself to a life alone. Once in college, he meets and ends up rooming with straight guy, Tate. I immediately fell in love with Tate. They become good friends, quite a turning point in Grif’s life. Tate is amazing. He gives Grif something special, a freedom and general acceptance, asking nothing in return other than what he receives from Grif’s attentions. A win/win situation for them both, as Tate would say. The two have such an amazing camaraderie, and the dialog is fabulous. Tate is a funny guy, and Grif matches him quite nicely.
“Okay, let’s, for a moment, forget about the sex and just talk. Wait! Fuck, not sex. We are not having sex…you’re blowing me.” “…Okay, whatever it is, let’s put is aside for a moment.”
Grif learned early on with Tate that he enjoyed being a bit humiliated about his size while he was submitting or being asked to submit. This carries on and plays a big part in his later relationship with Wes. Again, thinking he will never find anyone he can trust enough to share his size secret, he gets by with strongly orchestrated Grindr hookups. This is all well and good, until he meets Wes, who quickly shows he is not the average hookup. Wes is adamant about following Grif’s rules to a T, even if he doesn’t quite understand the reasoning behind them. This is only the beginning of the trust that grows between them.
“When I’m naked, and you’re not…when we’re in Chocolate…I feel there’s no chance for me to hide. I mean, when you’re naked, I can do things to you to distract you, things I know will take your mind and eyes off me, Off of Junior. But, times like these…there’s no place for me to hide, Wes, and it scares me.”
Wes and Grif are perfect for each other. They each give the other what they need, they find a way to work this into their daily lives (Chocolate/Vanilla) and watching them get to the point where Grif trusts Wes enough to move past his jock shield was truly a joy.
“Your super powers are safe. I made sure your magic underwear are in place, Jockboy.”
One of the other unique aspects to this story is something that a lot of people might not like. Heck, I don’t generally like it in my stories either, but it really works here. The story goes back and forth between Grif’s time with Tate (given certain events, I was happy there was more of this throughout) and Grif and Wes’ relationship. This was easy to follow though with the date headlines provided. I found I looked forward to each switch longing for more details and breadcrumbs.
There was not a single character in this story that I didn’t like, from Grif’s dad, to his personal assistant and right down to his stubborn bodyguard, Pavel. The dialog throughout this is just fabulous. It runs the gamut of emotions, from funny to tear wrenching, and everything in between. While many may not understand the general kink here, it is hard to imagine anyone not seeing beyond that to the rest of this amazing well-written story. This is not the usual BDSM with master/sir this and that. It is more about the power exchange, freely given, overcoming fears, and the love and trust that is needed to accomplish that.
This is more than simply the story of Grif and Wes’ romance. It is an amazing tale of Grif’s life journey overcoming a major obstacle and finding happiness, and I’m thrilled I was along for the ride. I’m more than looking forward to continuing it in the next installment. I highly recommend you give this story the opportunity to take hold and allow Grif/Wes (and Tate) into your hearts as well. Job well done by first-time author, Mr. Tonlet.
Overall Impression: It was amazing!
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*