Title: Tears of Tess
Author: Pepper Winters
Publication Date: September 2, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Dark Romance, Erotica
I also happen to have an excerpt and giveaway of Tears of Tess going on here.
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?
Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.
She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.
She loves mail of any kind: firstname.lastname@example.org
I received an advanced copy of Tears of Tess in exchange for an honest review.
Oh Tears of Tess, how I love thee. I love you so much. I want to write a really bad poem about you. Maybe a haiku. Or better yet maybe I could write a song about you and sing it to you.
Ok. Enough talking to inanimate objects. But in all seriousness I LOVED this book. Based on the synopsis I was intrigued yet unsure what to think. I kind of feel like maybe I should feel bad about loving this book so much, but I don't. This book is stunning proof that dark erotica can be both beautifully written and a total mind-fuck (in a wonderful way).
This book starts off with Tess going on a surprise vacation to Mexico with her sweet, loving, totally boring boyfriend. She and her boyfriend have been together a long time and are both really dependent on one another. He's a really great guy, but he's as vanilla as it gets, while Tess secretly harbors dark sexual fantasies leaning toward BDSM. Everything is going as expected on the first full day of their vacation until BAM, Tess is kidnapped and prepared to be sold into sexual slavery. She ends up being sold to a really handsome man with a dark past and a strange mystery to him. The story takes us through Tess's erratic mental state throughout her time with this mysterious man named Q.
Ok. First of all I was worried that this book would glamorize the human trafficking industry, which is much larger than anyone wants to really think about and is anything but glamorous. It absolutely did not do that. Tess's time with her initial captors is as traumatizing and horrific as you would expect it to be. And once she is with Q it's easy to tell that her situation with him is not a usual one. So I am so thankful for that. If it had glamorized sexual slavery I wouldn't have been able to enjoy this book.
The next thing I feel I should comment on is what an amazing job Pepper Winters did of capturing Tess's mental state and changes throughout this book. Yes, the sex scenes were hot, but the real star of this show was the goings on of Tess's mind. She went through all the emotions I would expect someone in her situation to go through and then some. She began to believe that her dark fantasies were to blame for the situation she finds herself in. She feels that because she had the dark fantasies she was being punished. She felt defiant and strong to begin with. Then eventually she felt guilty and weak. At some points her mind simply broke and disconnected with her reality. This part of the story, taking place inside of Tess's mind, is truly what makes this book so remarkable.
I feel like I could go on for pages about why this book is so impressive, but nobody wants to read all that, I'd probably end up giving away more information than I intended, and my fingers would cramp up. So this is what I will say: the sex scenes are scorching hot, the writing is immaculate, the story is intriguing and way meatier than a lot of erotic novels I've read, and the characters are beautifully developed. As much as I wanted to race through this book I managed to pace myself because this book is meant to be savored. I cannot wait to read what comes next in Pepper Winters's complex, dark, sexy world of Tess and Q!