In Review: Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1) by Pepper Winters

Posted December 29, 2013 by Kim in 5 Stars, In Review / 4 Comments

In Review: Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1) by Pepper WintersTears of Tess by Pepper Winters
Series: Monsters in the Dark #1
Genres: Dark Romance
Publication date: August 28, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook, 376 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My rating:

“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?

In Review: My Thoughts

“My name is Tess Snow. Not Sweetie, or Tessie, or Honey. I’m a woman only now realizing what she’s capable of. I’m no one’s daughter. I’m no one’s girlfriend. I’m no one’s possession. I belong to me, and for the first time, I know how powerful that is.”

I knew when I began reading Tears of Tess that I was going to be in for a wild ride. I had absolutely no idea just what I was getting myself into. I mentally prepared myself to be disturbed by the events of the book. I knew this wasn’t a “happily ever after” type of book. I knew it would push me outside of my comfort zone. I knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t like it and wouldn’t be able to finish it. I didn’t prepare myself to love it. It was dark and twisted and incredibly difficult to read at times, but my god, it was absolutely brilliant.

“Rejection crushed, and I dropped my gaze. The tingles between my legs popped like dirty bubbles, and I let Brax shove me back into the box where I belonged. The box labeled: perfect, innocent girlfriend who’d do anything for him, as long as it was in the dark and on my back. I wanted a new label. One that said: girlfriend who will do anything to be tied, spanked, and fucked all over rather than adored.”

The book starts off normally enough, with Tess and her boyfriend Brax heading to Mexico on vacation. We learn fairly quickly that Tess is unsatisfied in their relationship. She loves Brax, but she wants something more. She years for some darkness. Brax is vanilla. Nice and attractive, but vanilla. One night she comes clean, confessing her true desires to Brax and he shames her for what she feels. She shoves her feelings back into a box and tries to go on normally, but she still wants more.

“Accept that you are no longer a woman. You are merchandise. And merchandise must have a barcode for sale.”

Tess is kidnapped, sold and introduced to a world darker than anything I could have ever imagined. She’s terrified of her new owner, Q, but attracted to him nonetheless. These conflicting feelings set the stage for the entire book. I couldn’t help but get completely wrapped up in Tess’ character and her story and the pure hell she was going through. But, added to that was her chemistry with Q and their mutual attraction and his darkness.

“He stole everything with one touch.”

“In that moment, in my fragile and broken state, my feelings for Q changed. He morphed from monster to saviour. He did what Brax hadn’t done in Mexico: he found me, killed for me. He rescued me from horror and protected me from the bastards who hurt. Q was no longer the devil. He was my master and I belonged to him.”

Q was a complicated character. I wanted to hate him because he bought Tess. But when the worst things you can imagine happen to Tess, he’s quick to protect and defend. To the death. I came to respect Q as more about him, his past and his intent was uncovered. He’s one of the most original characters I think I’ve ever read. By the end, I wanted him to own me. He was absolutely incredible. He’s one of those characters you absolutely must experience for yourself. I can’t do him justice and I won’t even try. I can’t take any part of discovering the true Q away from another reader.

“Don’t test me. My strength to let you go is almost at breaking point. Push again, and I won’t be able to stop.”
“Why hesitate? That’s what you mean to do, isn’t it? Ruin me. Keep me captive. A sex slave. Treat me like some animal to use and abuse?” I whispered, but my tone crackled with anger, fierce and bright.

“I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to take from you,” he murmured. My heart stopped. His tone hinted his thoughts – remorse.

“He was my home. My master. My new life.”

Tess’ feelings for Q are complicated. His feelings for her are just as complicated, if not more. I think that’s what sucked me into the story so deeply. I had to know more. I wanted to know where Q came from. What made him the way he was. Why he was involved in the things he was involved in. I wanted Tess to find happiness, peace or herself. She went through hell in this book. My heart ached for her. Some of the scenes were like a punch to the gut. But then there were the scenes that made everything ok again.

“Q’s face twisted; he captured my face between hot hands. “What are you?” he clipped, face hard and unreadable.
The question anchored me and I looked into his pale ferocious eyes. I knew the answer he wanted. “I’m yours.”

“My body was too hot, heart raced too fast, and it felt as though it was my first time. The first time a man managed to fit all my fantasies into one: connection, possession, lust, passion.”

I can’t even classify Tears of Tess as a roller coaster ride. It was way more intense than that. It felt like I was attached to a giant bungee cord and shoved off a giant cliff. Then I hit the rocks a few times… and I was pulled up and dropped again, but into the ocean. Then it happened all over again. And again. And again. The story was all-consuming. It was emotionally exhausting in the best way possible. It was hot and sexy, dangerous and violent. I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t walk away. I still can’t get the characters out of my mind.

“You may not be mine, but I’m fast becoming yours.”

 “I fully believed I was made for him and he was made for me. Two halves of the same fucked-upness. Two souls from the same twisted desires, unable to fully be free until we found each other.”

I’m filing this book under “books I shouldn’t love, but do.” It was dark. It was violent. There were unspeakable horrors. It’s about desire and possession. But, also love and hope. I think more than anything, Tears of Tess showed me that not all relationships look the same, not all people want the same things out of life and love. It was a wild ride and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It pushed my boundaries, it challenged my thinking and preconceived notions. It absolutely blew my mind.

About Pepper Winters

Pepper Winters is a NYT and USA Today International Bestseller. She 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's also honoured to wear the IndieReader Badge for being a Top 10 Indie Bestsellers, best BDSM series voted by the SmutClub, and recently signed a two book deal with Grand Central. Her books are currently being translated into numerous languages and will be in bookstores in the near future.


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