Reviewed by Dan
SERIES: Treacherous Chemistry #2
AUTHOR: Avylinn Winter
PUBLISHER: Pride Publishing
LENGTH: 233 Pages
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2017
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?
I read and reviewed the first book in this series, Volatile, when it came out and really enjoyed it, although the characters made me a bit angry from time to time. When I saw this newest installment, I jumped on it. I really like the author’s ‘voice’. Her stories of broken and damaged men draw you in and keep you in their world until you run out of pages.
In Toxic, the characters from the first book become side characters. Dante is still doing tours as a famous violinist, and Chris is back in school. This time the story moves over to a new character named Adam. Adam is a mess. He confessed to his best childhood friend, who is also his college roommate that he has had feelings for him for years. The best friend, Gabriel, instantly threw him out.
Now Adam is Chris’ roommate and moving on. But he isn’t really. He is still totally hung up on Gabriel. He would do anything to ‘be with him’. When Gabriel has a sudden turn and grabs Adam and throws him up against the wall and forces himself on him, Adam feels it is okay, because he ‘loves’ the guy. The scene read as being pretty rough, although not strictly non-consensual because Adam was a willing participant. Right away, I knew this book was going to have some darkness.
And darkness it had. The story is one of severe domestic abuse. It is a story that isn’t often told. Male on male domestic violence isn’t often even talked about, say nothing about being the subject of a book. I applaud Ms. Winter’s treatment of the subject. Having known and worked with victims of domestic abuse, both male and female, in some of my former work roles, I’d say she got most everything spot on. I particularly liked that she didn’t make it an ‘instant fix’ like I’ve read elsewhere. Too often, the person being abused travels down the road she portrayed here. I also appreciated that she mentioned the shelter wouldn’t take a male, an all too true reality in most locales.
Is there hope for Adam? Can he escape from Gabriel? What’s up with the hot photography teacher whose assistant Adam has become? All answers that will show up during the read. I really liked this one.
I highly recommend the book. In my opinion, you don’t absolutely have to know the backstory of Chris and Dante to read this one, but I equally liked their book, so I’d suggest reading both!