#ReviewTour — Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry) #2 by Avylinn Winter + Giveaway

Title: Toxic

Series: Treacherous Chemistry #2

Author: Avylinn Winter

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Publication Date: May 2, 2017

Page Count: 233

Genre: Contemporary, Romance,

  • Trigger Warnings, Abuse, Domestic Violence, Dubious Consent


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


buy links

 Pride | Amazon US | Amazon UK


other books in the series

Volatile - Book One

Like a depressed moth drawn to a wild flame, Chris hoped that flame would brighten his life, not burn him alive. 

Chris Sinclair fades into a gray world after losing his mother to cancer. When forced to attend a concert as a last attempt to coax him out of his shell, he discovers that life might not be as bleak as he first thought.

Dante Heron holds the audience between the tips of his fingers and the delicate bow, playing the violin as if every heart is his to command. However, something darker brews behind the façade, and Chris is determined to solve the enigma.

When Chris is offered the job of traveling around Europe with the famous violinist, he surprises himself by accepting. With no idea what awaits him, he's thrown into a world where emotions rule and rules are bent.

They're a perfectly dysfunctional match, but then there's always calm at the heart of the storm. 

Amazon US | Amazon UK


a note from avy...

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.


meet the author

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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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, he's ready to try again. 

Their relationship is abusive and must remain a secret, per Gabriel. Deep down, Adam knows Gabriel is wrong...wrong for him—wrong in his actions, but he loves him. So, he's hopeful, wishful and he makes excuses for Gabriel and for himself, to his friends, the few he has left. He's sure it will get better in time. He just needs more time. 

He can't discuss any of this with Chris, his roommate, who we met in book one, Volatile because he doesn't want him to hate Gabriel anymore than he does already. Which...if Adam would only consider this thought process and the reasons behind it— but right now, he's blinded by love and devotion. 

This is Adam's story so we only get his POV. We see him go from being vibrant and outgoing to someone reserved, sheltered and fearful of his next move. Gabriel is possessive, jealous, and controlling so that means where Adam once easily made friends he now doesn't haven't any because Gabriel doesn't want to share him with anyone. 

Gabriel is a bully, plain and simple. However, underneath his facade lies torment, I feel certain, that powers his actions but we don't know what that is. 

Adam looked up to Gabriel as his hero/protector growing up. He beat up the kids who bullied Adam, but now the protector is the bully and is beating up Adam. Adam who's positive he can change him. But, he can't.

No one can change someone, especially if that person doesn't want to change and even more so if that person isn't willing to even admit they have a problem. And, here again, lies the big question...what is the problem that fuels Gabriel's anger? We don't know.

Toxic is about Adam, the survivor, his journey, his struggles and how easily it can happen to anyone of us. It's not about Gabriel, the abuser, although, I think it's natural to want to figure out where his anger comes from. It would make it easier, wouldn't it? — if we had a cause to blame?

I think we all want connection, affection, friendship, and of course, love and we are gullible and naive, certainly, and we miss signals or just don't want to believe. Adam, first and foremost, wants to help his friend but he doesn't know how to approach the situation that is very toxic. 

This was a hard and long journey for Adam and, at times, I saw myself at 17, living this same nightmare. feeling this shame and guilt. Regardless to others telling him to stay away, Adam was determined to give Gabriel a chance, he believed in him—in them. 

Sometimes, the best lessons, are the mistakes we make, and even though they are hard, you come out stronger on the other side. 

The only saving grace Adam has is the small contact he has with his Art teacher, Cameron, helping as his photography assistant, and even those moments are few and far between as he has to lie to Gabriel about them. 

Cameron has a carefree, calming and lighthearted personality, easy to joke, keeps topics light and moving at a fast pace which helps Adam to keep his mind from hitting rock bottom and worrying constantly about repercussions from Gabriel.

If you've ever experienced domestic violence or witnessed it with a family or friend, you know the distance from friends, withdrawing, lying, are big signs. Chris, Dante, and Cameron set up a sort of intervention for Adam. The purpose—give Adam some perspective away from Gabriel. But, he refuses to talk to his friends about what he's been through. 

He'll have to decide for himself what he wants out of life, love, and if the life he's living now is the life he wants to continue. His reluctance in asking for help, I believe, boils down to shame.

Once he comes to see his self-worth and realize his value outweighs the negative he gets stronger and with the help of his friends and family Adam begins to heal.

Abuse can and does happen at any age, male and female. You don't have to come from a broken home to get caught in the web of domestic violence. The mind is a powerful thing and it controls us easily—it can also be controlled just the same. 

Avylinn Winter writes beautifully and pulls the reader into the story keeping you invested in the outcome. I think she portrayed Adam's thoughts and actions accurately and I am glad that he was able to get his HEA.




4.5 Stars

* Thank you to the promoter/author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review *