Review: Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Tears of Tess

Author: Pepper Winters
Series: Tears of Tess, #1
Published: August 28, 2013
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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?
*a copy was provided by the author for review purposes*

 NOTE: Because of mature content, this book and review are recommended for those 17 years of age and older. As it states in the premise "not suitable for people sensitive to grief, slavery, and nonconsensual sex".

Wow. I was not at all expecting to love this as much as I did. The subject matter of Tears of Tess is completely out of my comfort zone and I truly thought that I would only get about 1/3 of the way through it and have to put it down, but it was the complete opposite. Once I started reading, I devoured it. I couldn't get enough. 

I know what you're probably thinking: This girl is sick! Get me out of here! But in all truthfulness, the story isn't as dark and sinister as I thought it was going to be. Yes there are a few instances of rape. There is some brutality and the content of this story is very emotional and can cause extreme confusion in your own mind as to what you want for the protagonist Tess, but there is a lot of mystery shrouding the man who is her new master and the circumstances of how she came to be in his possession. 

Tess is a very complicated woman. Her whole life she has felt unloved by her parents and the one person who has been her rock for the past two years of their entire relationship isn't giving and can't give her what she truly desires because of his own nightmares and baggage. She's always holding him up, helping to keep him from falling apart completely. Tess struggled daily with her own demons, afraid to let Brax see her true self and desires because she believed he would leave her. And he's the one person she loves and holds closest to her heart.

After being taken and sold in Mexico Tess finds herself across the world in the home of the very wealthy Q Mercer. Every moment she is at his estate, she fights both her desire and hatred for the man. He's closed-off and refuses to show her any part of him, though sometimes his true self shows through the facade. I think the biggest reason that I wasn't totally repulsed by what was going on is because throughout the entire story I always felt like I was missing something. Like there was some reason that Tess came to be at his home and under his care and for a huge portion of the time Tess was with him, he seemed to struggle with his own demons while still caring for her. The complexity of Tess and Q--their struggles, their demons, everything--was so captivating that I couldn't put it down. I didn't want to; I didn't want to stop reading until I found out what happened to Tess and what Q was trying to keep hidden from her. I never expected anything that happened except for the kidnapping and the rape. Everything else was a complete--and often intriguing--surprise. 

Though I know that I personally was able to get through the book even with the disturbing things that happened, I also know that some of you probably couldn't make it through so I definitely don't recommend this to the faint-hearted. I certainly would not recommend this to my mother whose eyes would probably bulge out of their sockets if she did. However, if you think you can make it through those areas that house the darkest parts of the story I do recommend it to you (if you're over 17 that is).

I rate this book:

If you want to read more about Tears of Tess, check out my Book Blitz post with excerpts from the book as well as a giveaway!

Book Trailer

About Pepper Winters

Writer, reader, sometimes wife.

An avid devourer of sexy romance and angsty New Adult.

Nothing beats lolling in a bubble bath with her array of book boyfriends.

Her two titles: Tears of Tess and Broken Chance are coming soon.
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. Awesome review, Kelly! This book sounds frickin heart-breaking and like it's going to pull me in a million different directions! ... Oddly enough, I think it sounds like it'd be a really intriguing journey.

    I've been reading a lot of darker, more sinister books lately, and though I wouldn't recommend them to my mother either (haha) I really think they are great books to read because they leave a lasting impression. They make you think. They have IMPACT.

    Thanks for the fab review :)

    - Allie @ Little Birdie Books

    1. Thank you! The darker books really do make you think more. It's harder for me to read books that are all rainbows and sunshine, mostly because they don't seem real to me. People go through bad things and without those things in books the believability is very low. With Tears of Tess, all I could think was "holy crap! Would I be able to make it if I were taken and sold as a slave? Would I be able to fight against my captors? Should I maybe take a self-defense class? Or carry some mace?" I just couldn't imagine what I would do.

      So yeah, I definitely understand why you would read something darker, though sometimes it's good to get away from it and read something on the lighter side of things haha


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