Review: Grif's Toy (Tease and Denial #1) by Joseph Lance Tonlet

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.


Let me tell you my story. Humiliation is kind of hit or miss for me, but it usually accompanies PAIN! *meow* To say I pounced would be kind of an understatement. More like kitteh jazz hands. 

Hand to God, I thought the whole SPH would mean one of them was average as opposed to the ubiquitous monster cock. NOT SO, my friends. Not so. Grif is in junior high when he realizes that he's not like the other dudes in the communal shower. He starts researching and the word 'micropenis' came up. Well, I was ill-prepared for that. That highway to hell only leads one way-GG Allin. Yeah, I freaked the fuck out. (Not due to GG's micropenis but due to his… let's just call them antics.) Grif doesn't have a micropenis. He's somewhere south of average and north of micropenis, but GG had snuck in and spooked me causing me read this thing like a soldier in enemy territory-creeping around corners, checking my six, eyes akimbo. HIGH FUCKING ALERT, PEOPLE! 

Stressed Cupcake was stressed. A word to the wise if you aren't familiar with GG. DO NOT GOOGLE HIM!!! YOU CAN NEVER UNSEE THAT SHIT! Fuck me. I can't believe I just said 'shit'. Great. Now… I'm having a flashback. 

Then this thing to a loopdy-loop into Candyland. Cut to present day and Grif's in a D/s relationship with Wes that's… downright fluffy. Super fluffy. It took me quite a while to downshift into the Skittles rainbows and gumdrop steps what with GG's specter lurking, but eventually, the fluff prevailed. Note to self:  a near continuous shower of honeyed confectionary nectar sends GG to the hills. Who knew?

I like romance. I do, but I don't like being told repeatedly how hot the two MCs are for each other and how IN LUB they are every time they're within a five mile radius of one another. To be fair, Mr. Tonlet does a good job of showing how hot these two are for each other, which made the addition of the 27 "I love you"s feel like overkill, and brings me to my next issue.

Grif's Toy is begging for an edit. A good editor could've excised much of the trivial and mundane and tightened this story up. There's too much interior decorating, snarky banter that verges on stilted and tangentiality that doesn't advance the story in any meaningful way. I think much of this was done in an effort to make Grif's character more three-dimensional, which brings me to my next issue.

In some ways I feel like I understand Grif, but mostly he puzzles the bejesus out of me. I get that he's self-conscious about being smaller than average, but the level of self-loathing seems like a disproportionate response given how he's never been treated unkindly because of it. He acts like a trauma victim with no history of trauma and, frankly, I couldn't make heads or tails of it. He apparently looks like an underwear model (as does everyone else in this world), can swallow 9" and LOVES DA COCK and to top all that off he's got an ass that brings all the boys to the yard. Even the straight boys! Plus, PLUS he's kinky and likes to be humiliated! 

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude! Have you never seen gay porn? Kinky gay porn? What do you do on the interwebs? And, more importantly, who are your friends? Because you need to quit them. They have failed you. You're a gay dom's wet dream AND A BUTT SEX VIRGIN!!! Are you kidding me?

As for the kink, if you're going into this thinking (as I did) that it would be loaded with kinky goodness, let me save you. The kink is sparse. It's much more a coming of age story about Grif told in a non-linearly. Wes and Grif only have a handful of chapters together and even fewer of those involve kink. There was a nice CBT scene, oodles of begging, some biting, dirty talk and heaping dose of humiliation. It was the begging that pushed this to 3.5 hearts. I like begging. Sue me.

Grif's Toy is entertaining and there are promising glimpses in the dialogue. When it was good, it felt organic, insightful and erudite. I would read the next book in this series. There are still unanswered questions about Wes and his tattoo and those two years. A solid achievement from a first time author. Congrats to him. Welcome to the neighborhood, Mr. Tonlet. I'd like to respectfully request more butt sex and maybe some MANTIES in the next book. Grif's already got an underwear fetish going. I am just saying. Help a girl out.

I would like to thank the author for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

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