Tears of Tess (Tears of Tess #1) by Pepper Winters ✰✰✰✰

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A New Adult Dark Contemporary Romance, not suitable for people sensitive to grief, slavery, and nonconsensual sex. A story about finding love in the strangest of places, a will of iron that grows from necessity, and forgiveness that may not be enough.

“My life was complete. Happy, content, everything neat and perfect.
Then it all changed.
I was sold.”

Tess Snow has everything she ever wanted: one more semester before a career in property development, a loving boyfriend, and a future dazzling bright with possibility. 

For their two year anniversary, Brax surprises Tess with a romantic trip to Mexico. Sandy beaches, delicious cocktails, and soul-connecting sex set the mood for a wonderful holiday. With a full heart, and looking forward to a passion filled week, Tess is on top of the world.

But lusty paradise is shattered.

Kidnapped. Drugged. Stolen. Tess is forced into a world full of darkness and terror. 

Captive and alone with no savior, no lover, no faith, no future, Tess evolves from terrified girl to fierce fighter. But no matter her strength, it can’t save her from the horror of being sold.

Can Brax find Tess before she’s broken and ruined, or will Tess’s new owner change her life forever?

My Casting

I’m in two minds over this book. I loved the premise, but, for me, the execution wasn’t quite on point. However, overall, I enjoyed it.

3.5 stars for Tess and Q

 

This is the story of when Tess Snow was kidnapped. Her loving, kind, wouldn’t-say-boo-to-a-goose boyfriend, Brax, takes her to Mexico on a surprise trip. But, long story short, Tess gets kidnapped by sex slave traffickers and then sold on to the mysterious Q Mercer.

Three little words:
I was sold.

Q lives in a mansion in France. He’s moody, closed off, filthy rich, devastatingly handsome, powerful and incredibly confusing. Tess fights his authority at every turn and Q and Tess find themselves in an intense, sexually charged battle of wills.

If I was to be his for eternity, fine. He might own my body. He would never own my soul.

It turns out, Q was given Tess as a bribe. He didn’t buy her for himself and it’s unclear, to begin with, whether he wants her in his home or can’t stand the sight of her. But there is more to Q, his house staff and his sprawling mansion than meets the eye.

“Why did you buy me?”
He leaned back, steepling his fingers. “I didn’t. You were a gift. An unwanted gift.” His lips twitched. “A bribe, if you will.”

Let’s start the not-so-good…

Firstly, I just have to point out… In what world does coming out of the hotel bathroom, dressed in sexy lingerie, brandishing a vibrator and suggesting a bit of variety in the bedroom cause an argument???!!! Even with the meekest, mildest of men. Seriously?! I’d wouldn’t mind betting that if your man has a problem with you wearing hot underwear and wanting to spice things up between the sheets, that your man probably bats for the other team! Just saying.

Moving on…
The writing was a bit all over the place at times. I found the beginning quite hard going, and that was purely because of the writing. I’d be trying to lose myself in the story and a turn of phrase that didn’t make sense would throw me of course, or a strange metaphor, or sometimes, even a totally made up word.

Pal trees, ferns, and exoticness in every corner.

Exoticness??

My stomach flopped, turning me into a pretzel of horror.

What a strange analogy… :/

There were some paragraphs that appeared is if a thesaurus had thrown up on the page. I found that a little disconcerting.

The author regularly misses out adjectives, which grated on me. At first I thought it was a typo, but I think it’s just her style of writing, as it happened on a regular basis.

My fingers convulsed as heart raced faster.

It’s a small thing, but surely ‘My fingers convulsed as my heart raced faster.’ would work better?

However, it did get better. As the author began to find her flow and the story became more involved, the little writing niggles mostly disappeared and I found it easier to lose myself in the book.

So, onto the good bits…

I really really enjoyed the story.

As far as BDSM goes, the sex scenes are pretty tame in this book. There is some tying up, blindfolding, gagging and some whipping/flogging/spanking… but that’s mostly as far as it goes.

“I’m not afraid of hurting you. I’m afraid of how far I’m willing to go.”

Having said that… there is a bit of blood play. Only a very tiny bit, although the inner monologues of the characters think about it a fair bit. Now, this does nothing for me. In fact, it kinda freaks me out a bit. I’m all for reading about a healthy dose of kinky-fuckery, but blood play totally turns me off… So just a warning. It’s a very minor feature, but it is there.

On to Q. I’ve read a few reviews that say Q isn’t ‘anti-hero’ enough. And he I guess he isn’t. Don’t read this book expecting a man with no heart. Don’t expect the head-fuckery of feeling guilty for falling in love with a monster. Q isn’t a monster, he is a man who enjoys inflicting pleasure on his submissive. He reminded me of a mixture between Caleb from Captive in the Dark, Anthony from Consequences and Christian Grey. He was tortured, had a harrowing past, a fetish for domination and causing pain but also had a good heart underneath it all. He just doesn’t realise that.

“You are mine. I can do what I want with you. I can dress you. Fuck you. Send you away. Loan you to others. You belong to me. And you’ve finally realized it isn’t romantic, it isn’t sexy, or fun. It’s something no one should want or desire. You’re a captive.”

I’m looking forward to reading the next book, because I still don’t feel like we were really exposed to the true Q. I want to see his softer side, a bit more humanity and I’m hoping we will be shown his ability to love.

 

Q was no longer the devil.
He was my master and I belonged to him.

The epilogue is told from Q’s POV, which I really enjoyed. You get a little more insight into his background and also into the way he feels about Tess.

My feelings for Tess wavered. A lot of her internal battles made absolutely no sense to me and did confuse me. However, I don’t know whether the author intended for this to happen, as obviously Tess has been kidnapped and violated, so I’m thinking she probably wouldn’t be of entirely sound mind.

Two things I wanted most in the world: for Q to die a miserable death, and for him to fuck me.

Tess is battling with the desire to submit, sexually. She knows what turns her on, but she feels dirty and afraid because of it. This book is a lot about self discovery for both characters. They both have sexual needs that scare them and they don’t know how to deal with them.

However, jeez, getting kidnapped and falling for your closed off, fucked-up master sure is a complicated, unfortunate way to discover yourself, right? I’m pretty sure most people that are interested in a bit of kink just find out about a local fetish club, or find people to talk to online.

No one would ever find Tess Snow again. She no longer existed. I am Ami Esclave.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. I both liked and disliked Tess. Sometimes her actions and thoughts made no sense to me, which was frustrating. But she was strong, ballsy and I loved how sure she was of herself by the end of the book.

“Je suis a toi.”

So, overall, I enjoyed this book. It isn’t as brutally dark as the likes of Captive in the Dark so some of you who are looking for something truly shocking, may be left feeling disappointed. But it certainly isn’t light hearted. If you can look past some of the disjointed writing style and get through the sticky start, I think a lot of you would really enjoy this book. I’ll definitely be reading Quintessentially Q.

This book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there is definitely more to Q and Tess’s story.

 

Tears of Tess Statistics
Steam Rating (out of 5): ♥♥♥♥♥
Ending: Happy Ending
Series: ✓
Reading Order:
Book #1 – Tears of Tess (Tears of Tess #1)
Book #2 – Quintessentially Q (Tears of Tess, #2) Release date: Dec ’13
Can this be read as a standalone? Yes
Themes:
Slavery
BDSM
Warning. This book includes…
Sexual content. BDSM. Blood play. Rape.
Writing: Good in parts.

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This entry was posted in Alpha Males, Bad Boys, BDSM, Contracts & Arrangements, Kidnap, Pepper Winters, Rich Guys, Series, Steamy Reads, Tears of Tess, Three & a Half Stars. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Tears of Tess (Tears of Tess #1) by Pepper Winters ✰✰✰✰

  1. meganmoffat says:

    Firstly, I just have to point out… In what world does coming out of the hotel bathroom, dressed in sexy lingerie, brandishing a vibrator and suggesting a bit of variety in the bedroom cause an argument???!!! Even with the meekest, mildest of men. Seriously?! I’d wouldn’t mind betting that if your man has a problem with you wearing hot underwear and wanting to spice things up between the sheets, that your man probably bats for the other team! Just saying.

    Sonofabitch, THANK YOU. God, glad I am not the only one who thought that. I had such issues with Brax being a pussy and I wanted to put that in my review but couldn’t figure out a decent/non-rude way to put it so I left it out. But thank you. Thank you for putting it yours. It bothered me that he was so conservative that he was bothered by his girlfriend dressed in lingerie. It didn’t make sense. Maybe there are men like that out there… but I haven’t met them.

    The epilogue is told from Q’s POV, which I really enjoyed. You get a little more insight into his background and also into the way he feels about Tess.

    I actually didn’t like the epilogue. I thought it messed up the flow of the novel since the entire time it was from Tess’ POV. I liked that Q had been a mystery.

    Lovely review! Loved all of the images you used and the points you made (good and bad).

    If you want you can read review as well.

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