Seventeen year old Courtney Peterson always thought her future would consist of marrying her high-school sweetheart, becoming a stay-at-home mom, and living a happily ever after. All that changes when she finds out the boy who stole her heart three years ago resorts to cheating. Ending that relationship will be harder than she could imagine, but she is determined to move on, agreeing to go on a blind date with the older and cryptic Jaxon. Jaxon Vaughn blazes into town for a short visit, taking steps down a new path in life. After facing unexpected tragedies at a young age and turning to self-destruction, he aches to redeem himself by opening a bar in his grandmother’s hometown. It is there he meets the pure and soulful Courtney, whom awakens the guilt that dejectedly haunts him. Distance and circumstances may separate them, but they are unable to ignore the chemistry that draws them together. Can their relationship survive, or will it be shattered by clingy exes, mysterious phantoms from the past and unforeseen misfortunes?
“You disintegrate my heart…my soul…my mind…my body…and I’m tired of feeling like I’m a piece of shit.”
Toxic Secrets has a heavy plotline that’s full of abuse, deceit, and broken hearts. Life for Courtney hasn’t been easy for the past four years. She’s just broken up with her boyfriend, Phillip, and wants to find herself again. Phillip is verbally, mentally, and physically abusive. All she wants is just to be left alone, but Phillip has other plans.
Her best friend, Kendra, and Kendra’s boyfriend, Reed, want to set her up on a blind date with Reed’s cousin, Jaxon. Courtney finally relents much to her chagrin to go and meet this mysterious cousin.
It’s all fireworks and explosions the moment that Jaxon and Courtney meet. I immediately liked him because hello, who doesn’t like a sexy man?! Jaxon is charismatic and Courtney takes an immediate liking to him, but lets him know up front that she isn’t looking for a boyfriend. Just a friend. Riiiiiiight…
“Greek God, aka Jaxon. No lie… I swear I heard a church choir sing in the background with a ray of sun casting down over his impeccable, powerfully built body.” –Courtney
Holy shizzzz, I want to meet this Jaxon asap. Sounds like my favorite type of man.
“I’m the only sexy, funny, charming and adorable Californian motherfucker you will ever meet.”–Jaxon
The chemistry between the two is out of the world. I couldn’t help but have a funny little grin on my face the whole time I was reading the book. The banter and sexual tension keep you wanting to turn the pages.
“I want to touch you. I want to kiss you. I want to let every fucking person I come in contact with know that we are together, and not just as friends.”
Um…is it just me, or was that line hot as hell?
As much as you want to fall in love with our two main characters, the title is still going by the name Toxic Secrets. And boy is there secrets… Jaxon has a HUGE secret that I obviously can’t tell you because you need to read to find out what it is. His secret though, I can’t even tell you if I am pissed or not.
I’ll just go ahead and say it, this ended on a cliffhanger. In my opinion, a very big one! Now I am one of those readers who likes cliffhangers…it keeps things interesting. Plus I really like Jaxon, so I don’t mind that the author is continuing the story.
Some parts were a little too cheesy for my tastes but for some reason it worked for the storyline. I was able to keep reading because the story is just that good.
I am not joking! I loved this so much. The characters, the plot, and all the secrets will keep you wanting more. I know I want more.
Thank you to After Dark Divas for setting up this amazing blog tour and another thank you to Jill Patten, for allowing me to receive a copy of the book. I feel honored to read and review such a seductive book that took me in from the first page to the very last. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I definitely have a book hangover<3
Phillip took one final step closer. “Just give me one more chance, please? I’m begging you, and you know I never beg.” He was starting to freak me out, displaying a new personality I’d never met before. I’d thought my introductions had been made with all of them by now. “And if you go on one of you crazy rampages, then what? I’m supposed to forgive you again? I can’t keep going through this vicious cycle, Phillip.” I suddenly noticed he had slyly made his way into my house. Standing firmly by the door, I wasn’t about to let him in any further.
~Interview with Jaxon Vaughn~
After a bit of persuasion, I finally talked Jaxon into taking a little time off from his busy schedule to do this interview. I wish you ladies could see him as he waltzed in with gray shorts, a black wife beater and black vans. Even though he’s a bit young for me and we’ve developed a close friendship, I still find him panty-melting hot. Shew! Now I know how Courtney feels. Me – “Hi Jaxon, I’m so glad you agreed to meet for an interview. I know things have been a bit crazy for you lately.” Jaxon – He grins a big closed mouth smile, displaying his deep and delicious dimples. Me – “A few friends of mine wanted to ask a few questions so I’ll start with theirs first. Do you believe in love at first sight?” Jaxon – He narrows his eyes at me. “Is that a trick question?” He rubs the scruff on his face, staring at me, waiting for me to answer. Me – I laugh nervously. “I’m not the one being interviewed here, but okay, I’ll move on. Are you a one woman man?” Jaxon – “Next,” he deadpanned without even looking at me. Me – Wow! The temperature in the room dropped about fifteen degrees. “Have you ever considered any other piercings?” Jaxon – “No. Courtney pierced my heart, so anything else now will never matter.” Me – I decided to skip the next question about him and Courtney’s future plans. Instead, I opted for one I knew he would jump all over. “So, I hear you have a restored ’72 Chevy truck, is that right?” Jaxon – His lips spread out over his face as if he was a kid opening up his most wanted gift on Christmas. Chuckling, he replied, “Oh yes! That’s my baby, my black stallion. She belonged to my grampa. After my grampa died, my gramma kept her for me to drive as soon as I turned sixteen. I took care of her over the years and polished her to perfection so she would be ready once I got my license. She’s sort of attached to me now. She gets very jealous over other girls.” Me – “Haha! So I’ve heard. Does anyone ever get to take a ride with her?” Jaxon – “Of course! As long as she doesn’t feel threatened, she’s okay with it. You wanna go?” He asked, his thumb pointing in the direction of the door. Me – I’m utterly baffled. “Hell yeah, I want to go for a ride.” Jaxon – “Well c’mon! This interview blows anyway. I’ll show you what a good time really is,” he laughed, his eyes looking at me all seductive-like. Me – No way was he flirting with me. I’m gushing inside right now. He doesn’t know it yet, but I’m gonna make sure we make a full day out of this. See ya! I got a hot guy that needs an older woman’s attention.
My Interview with the sexy Jaxon!
Me: So Jaxon, I hear you're quite the ladies man. Can you attest to that?
Jaxon-He gave a light chuckle. "People read a story about me and suddenly they think they know me," he stated, shaking his head. "I used to be. I kinda like to think I've put that lifestyle behind me now... with room for error."
Me: *gives Jaxon a sheepish grin*
Well, that's the point of this interview, to get to know you on a more personal basis.
Toxic Secrets lived up to its name with everyone keeping something important from one another.
Do you feel it's justifiable to keep something important from someone you truly care about?
Jaxon: His eyes dropped to the floor with a somber expression passing over his face. "When it prevents them from getting hurt, yes, I do," he said peering up through his thick, black lashes.
Me:*clears throat* Uh..well we've all been there before.
Besides being shocked, what went through your mind the night you officially met Courtney?
He repeatedly cleared his throat before giving a mischievous deep-dimpled grin. "I was nervous as fuck!" He laughed. "I had been watching her dancing alone for a while, so when she came outside for a break, I saw that as my opportunity to introduce myself." He was staring off in space as if he was lost again in that moment. "God, she was so fucking beautiful that night, it all felt so surreal."
Me: Oh wow! *blushing* That's so...hot!
What about Courtney captivated you so much? Or...would that be giving too much away? That prologue and grave scene haven't slipped my mind...or other readers as well.
Jaxon- "I saw it as a sign. I was given a second chance with her. There was never that moment of second-guessing myself."
Me: Now when you say her, are we talking about Courtney or the mysterious Heather? *raises eyebrow*
Jaxon: He smirked. "I meant it as Heather was giving me that second chance through Courtney." Pausing for a moment, he said, "Ya know, I don't know if I want everyone to know that piece of info." Then he shrugged, "Ah, what the hell, fuck it."
Me:Fair enough, hahah.
Alright, enough with the serious questions. Lets get to the fun ones.
What's your idea of a perfect date? Does that date involve sex?
Jaxon- He chuckled lightly. "You like to dig don't ya?"
"For me, the idea of a perfect date all depends on the woman. For instance, if it's someone like Courtney, it's all about giving her your undivided attention. You know, buy her flowers, compliment her beauty, treat her like a princess, and respect the person that she is. I'm a giver not a taker so I want to make sure the night is all about her. As for the sex, I think my actions after our blind date speaks for itself. But, if she were older and sober, I would've explored every inch of her body and made love to her all throughout the night."
"Now for the other women in the world, buy them dinner, fuck them, then send them home."
Me: Damn, you were a jackass! I am so glad Courtney didn't have to deal with you then;)
Fave food? Carne Asada
Fave movie? We Were Soldiers
Sexual position? Taking her from behind. Deeper penetration, and I still have access to all her assets.
Any piercings on you we don't know about? No
Me: Okay well one more question and then this will conclude our interview.
What can we expect from you in the next installment?
I lied, I have one more question!
If there were no Courtney in the picture, and I asked you out, would you say yes?;)
Jaxon-His lips pulled tightly together as he contemplated his answer. "Hmm... all I'm gonna say is, sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can ever find your way back to the top."
Rolling back in his chair, he laughed loudly. "Are you coming on to me, Ms. Ramirez? Or is it Mrs.?" He winked then gave a devilish grin. "I would entertain the idea, so that's not a definite no."
Jessica-Yeah, don't tell my hubby that I asked that!
Thank you so much Jaxon for stopping by and chatting with me here on The Lovely Books. I know I am excited to know what happens next!
Jaxon-"It's been my pleasure." *He gives Jessica a warm hug then kisses her cheek.*
~Toxic Secrets Playlist~
~Check Out My Interview with Jill!! It’s a must see~
- Tell us a bit about yourself. "Probably the first thing people notice about me is my strong southern accent. Sometimes I try to disguise it, but I’m not very successful at it. I’m quiet and reserved until you get to know me, then I never shut up. I’m an animal lover and I have a deep passion for elephants."
- Have you always known you wanted to be an author? "No. The thought has never crossed my mind. I never knew I was even capable of writing."
- How old were you when you wrote your first story? "Thirty-seven"
- Where did you get the idea for Toxic Secrets? "Pieces of it are from my own life experiences. I.e., I met my husband, whom is from California, on a blind date. When I tell people how we met, their reply was always that I should write a story about it because it’s so sweet and unique. So, when I started Toxic Secrets, which was originally titled ‘Across the Miles’, I decided it was too personal to tell our story, so I decided to change it up and add lots of drama and a twisting plot."
- Did you have a muse for Jaxon? What about Courtney? "Yes. Tyler Hoechlin has been my muse from day one. He doesn’t have the eye color or dimples, but everything else about his is pure Jaxon. Oh and sadly, he doesn’t have any tattoos or nipple piercings either. As for Courtney, I pictured her as Selena Gomez pretty early. It was mostly the round face and hair that I find so similar."
- Which characters do you relate most to? "I relate most to Courtney. At that time in my life (high school), I was very much like Courtney. I was just a lot more timid. I know, yikes!!"
- What’s your idea of the perfect romance novel?"My idea of a perfect romance novel is one that is believable. I know these stories are fictional, but c’mon, at least make it somewhat realistic. I’m so burned out on virgin heroines and the characters ability to come on demand. I love an HEA but I don’t always have to have one. Sometimes the story just doesn’t flow that in the direction."
- Thoughts on cliffhangers? "I LOVE cliffhangers, BUT don’t make me wait 6 months to a year for it."
- When can your readers expect the second book, Secrets Unveiled?"I’m tentatively looking at February."
- Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? "Don’t give up. No matter what obstacles come along the way, keep writing. It took me around a year to write Toxic Secrets. I took long breaks in between working on it, but I eventually finished and the feeling after hitting publish was indescribable."
~About Author Jill Patten~
Jill Patten was born a Yankee, but raised a southerner. She lives in the small town of Mayberry, North Carolina which was made famous by a popular TV show back in the sixties. (Maybe there will one day be a statue of her at the end of Main Street. Ha! A girl can dream, right?) Jill has always loved to read, even during reading labs in middle school for reading comprehension. Judy Blume was her first author she hero-worshipped, maturing to revere the works of Stephen King. With all the fantastic authors today, she simply cannot choose a favorite. Her taste is very eclectic and she loves almost all genres. When she's not captivated by her fictional characters, she spends time with her sweet husband and two beautiful children. Music is her muse. Jill also loves elephants, sarcasm, and anything made with sugar, especially sweet tea. She enjoys all things rude and crude and laughs at stuff she probably shouldn't. She has been accused of being bossy a time or two, but doesn't really see it herself. All in all, Jill is just a small town girl in this great big world trying to enable your book addiction. Oh, and if you read her book, please leave her a review - good or bad, she'll love you forever.