By: Pepper Winters
Blurb: 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?
Review: Tess is living a quaint life with her boyfriend Brax. Brax is kind and loving. He is safe. He is everything Tess should want, but then why does she feel like something is missing? Tess struggles with unusual sexual desires. Desires she is not sure Brax can handle. Deciding to try and entice Brax from his from his vanilla ways while on vacation on Mexico, Tess has a plan to show Brax what she wants. What she needs. Quickly, Tess realizes that was a terrible idea. Brax isn't cut out to partake in the kinds of acts Tess proposes.
Pushing aside her embarrassment and disappointment Tess tries to enjoy the rest of their vacation. Brax decides it would be nice to see city. They set out on the back of a scooter to explore and do some sightseeing. Little did they know that this innocent excursion would change their lives forever. While stopped at a cafe for quick break from the sun Tess is taken. Kidnapped. Sucked into the unthinkable world of human trafficking.
Branded, but not broken, Tess is sold, like a piece of merchandise. In order to survive she buries old fragile Tess and forges ahead, into the unknown, a stronger more defiant Tess. Walking into the lion's den, she faces her new capture with her head held high, vowing, to herself, she wouldn't go down without a fight.
When Q watches, from the balcony, as Tess enters his home he is surprised. She isn't battered and broken as he expected. No, she is different. Tess's ferocity plays havoc on him. The fight she displays ignites his soul. Will he be able to keep his distance when everything about her calls to him?
Quickly, Tess and Q learn that no matter how hard they fight, there is some animistic magnetism drawing them together. They are both fighting the same battle against dark desires. Will Tess ever get back to her previous life? Back to Brax and 'normal'? Does she want to? Can she be happy being 'normal'? Will Q be able to resist the call to the dark side? Can he resist the desire to submit to the demons he has been trying to hide from?
I love Tess. I enjoyed her strength. No matter what was done to her or what dreadful situations she found herself in she didn't fold. Tess stood up for herself when most people would have crumbled. It was refreshing to meet such a strong female character. There was one scene between her and a capture that had me chocked up. The strength the presented was moving and inspiring. I also enjoyed her constant transformation. Throughout the story she kept shedding layers and reinventing herself. It was amazing to watch.
Q, oh Q. Dark, dangerous, mysterious, 100% alpha hotness and let's not forget, he's French. Ask anyone who knows me and they will confirm, I am a sucker for man with an accent. I don't care if I was reading the words from the page I could feel the words rolling off his talented tongue with the most sensual tone. Q''s struggle with his demons was captivating. I felt like Tess at times; I knew I shouldn't want him, but I did. I knew I should be scared of him, but I wasn't. He was like an enigma. Switching from hot to cold and back again. Rough with a hint of vulnerability.
The author did a great job with the touchy subject of human trafficking. It is a horrifying topic. I have always shied away from books on this subject and I have to admit this was a first for me. I decided to read this as a challenge to myself and I am SO glad I did. Human trafficking is a real and terrifying situation that happens to thousands of woman every year. Almost all of them do not find themselves in situations like Tess's. That is is a sobering thought and should be in the back of the readers mind as they wander through the world of Tess and Q.
As dark as the concept for this book was, I cannot say enough about Tears of Tess. This novel has earned a spot on my favorites shelf, right next to some wonderful books near and dear to my heart. Tess and Q's story will stay with me for a very long time and they have become a favorite duo of mine.
Take the plunge and meet Q. I promise he will leave you with a massive book hangover. I cannot wait to see what Pepper Winters offers us next. I am waiting on pins and needles.