Hi guys, we have Avylinn Winter visiting today with the tour for her new release Toxic, we have a note from Avylinn, a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! ❤ ~Pixie~
When true love is a lie and pleasure turns to pain.
Adam Webb spent most of his teenage years in love with his best friend, Gabriel Connor, only to be thrown out of their shared apartment when he finally found the courage to reveal his feelings.
Seven months later, Adam’s effort to save their lost friendship finds him more than he ever asked for. After all, being thrown out has to be better than thrown into a wall. However, Adam isn’t ready to give up. Trapped and isolated in a dangerous relationship, he falls deeper and deeper into Gabriel’s world.
Despite Adam’s attempts to push them away, his friends are determined to help, but the man who fights hardest is Cameron McCain, Adam’s photography teacher—a man who treasures what Gabriel does not.
They say love should conquer all. But when passion breeds fear and love turns toxic, will Adam make the right choice?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of domestic violence and dubious consent.
Toxic is the second novel in the Treacherous Chemistry series, following characters introduced in Volatile. However, it can be read as a stand-alone. It’s a story about love, but also about the dangers of loving what you shouldn’t.
I wrote this story as an attempt to understand why we sometimes fail to recognize what’s bad for us, but most of all I wrote it for Adam, and all the Adams out there across the world. I wanted to give him strength, resilience and hope in a situation far too many has to navigate.
Toxic is by no means a light read, and it would be unfair of me to label it as such. I’ve been known to play with readers’ emotions, and Toxic is no exception. And, although it is a story about love, some will likely say this novel contains elements of general fiction. However, as long as you know what you’re up against, Toxic will hopefully give you something to remember and something to ponder.
You will get to meet Dante and Chris again, but also make a new acquaintance in Cameron. If nothing else, these three will undoubtedly make you smile when you most need it. I promise.
Toxic has been posted on Wattpad as a draft, which is the reason you see ratings before the release date. It collected over a million reads on the site before I took it down for publication, which gave me some confidence that Adam’s story was worth telling despite the toll it took on me.
I hope you’ll let sweet Adam tell you his story because it’s an important one.
“Did I hurt you?” he asked as his clothed chest left my back.
I closed my eyes, struggling to keep myself from voicing the pain screaming its way through my body.
“No,” I lied. Next time would be different. Next time, my heart would beat with pleasure.
He shuffled behind me, steps taken on the cold floor, first away then closer again. A soft gasp left my lips when he pulled my pants into place, leaving me to fasten them on my own. The brief moment of distance was enough to make me uncertain—abandoned with confusion.
Turning despite the throbbing in my lower back, I watched him wipe drops of sweat off his forehead. Both of us were stalling, not sure where we were headed or how to get there. This wasn’t what I had expected. Had he been lying all these months?
As if he knew what went on in my head, he placed his hand on my cheek—a rare, loving gesture that instantly soothed the agony. I leaned into the touch and palmed his chest, savoring his warmth through the thin shirt.
“I… I’m scared, Gabe.”
Afraid of what he felt, or what he didn’t feel. Afraid of memories that would keep us apart.
He smiled, brushing my cheek with his thumb. “You don’t have to be.”
“Then I won’t.”
A brief silence followed, careful and questioning. I waited for him to say something, but perhaps he had as much trouble as I did with forming words. There wasn’t much to say unless I wanted to spark a discussion that would urge me to stay and talk until dawn. We had months of catching up to do and plenty of issues to broach. Where did we go from here? What did it even mean? I wasn’t sure.
“Are we…?” I began, but words continued to evade me. Perhaps it was best that way.
“Are we what?”
I moved a hesitant finger between us, pointing first at him, then me. “Us. What does this mean?”
He grasped my hand and stole it away from his chest. “Isn’t it a bit too early to ask?”
Heat crept along my cheeks. He was right, of course.
I let my gaze wander, afraid to look directly into his warm, brown eyes. A clock on the far wall ticked with assured regularity. “I actually have to go.” If I waited much longer, I would be late for dinner at my parents’. I also wanted to lick my wounds. It was difficult to keep the pain from showing.
“I won’t keep you.”
I knew what he meant, but the words had crappy timing. I bent down to pick up what was left of my shirt and closed my hands around the collar to stop them from shaking.
“Okay. Enjoy your Christmas.” There wasn’t much else to say.
I moved toward the door, turning to find that he’d followed me. He tipped my chin with his index finger and placed a soft kiss on my sensitive lips. It was enough to infuse me with hope and warmth all over again.
While we stood there in silence, I clasped the handle, trying to ready myself to leave.
He kissed me one last time. “No one can know.”
The words caught me off guard, but I understood. It was logical—perhaps even expected.
Gabriel had thrown me out for harboring feelings toward him. He had made a statement that day, and going back on his word, without much thought, would affect his life too much. His position as a prominent player of the football team didn’t help, either. He couldn’t risk his scholarship. Right?
It was rational, in a strange kind of way.
Gabriel closed the door behind me. The click seemed to echo with loneliness, but I decided to wave it off. With one hand on the wall to support me, I struggled through the corridor—each painful step taking me farther away from a situation that felt far from finished. I wanted to smile, but somehow, I just couldn’t.
As I slumped down on the bed inside my room, I almost thanked him for the pain inflicted. Without it, I doubted if I would have believed what had transpired between us. The jump from being thrown out to being wrapped in his embrace was too wide, too high. Impossible even.
My fingers trembled as I felt the bruises where he’d held me too hard. I winced but smoothed out my expression as soon as I got myself together, forcing myself to breathe and relax. Forget the pain. I repeated the thought like a mantra. It worked until I moved again. My jeans chafed against thin lines drawn by short nails on bare skin, but this time, instead of wincing, the slight ache made me smile—an odd sort of smile, but still a careful tug at the corner of my lips. I carried the evidence of passion, and it was enough to warm me from inside.
He wants me.
Raised in one of the cold corners of the world, Avylinn spends her days either wrapped up in a blanket or basking in the precious sunlight. When she can’t choose herself, she’s holed up in an office working with climate research that has little to do with the worlds and characters she creates in her vivid dreams.
Always the emotional one, she has found her outlet in writing, voicing thoughts, emotions and fears through her characters that feel very much alive to her. And, what began as a hobby soon took more and more time in her life until she realized that she had left her old life behind and entered a new one where her emotions turned into a super power—ready to launch at her poor readers.
She recharges with the help of coffee, cinnamon buns, popcorn and occasionally a healthier alternative.
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