Author: Pepper Winters
Series: Monsters in the Dark #1
Review by: Onnica
Basic Story: Tess Snow is deliriously happy with boyfriend Brax, and when he announces that he’s taking her to Cancun for vacation she can’t believe it. They’ll finally have some time to reconnect with each other without her studies getting in the way and Brax’s work distracting him. She has it all planned out – she’ll seduce him and confess a few of her fantasies. Brax doesn’t know the half of what Tess fantasises about and prefers to cuddle in private rather than show any passion whatsoever. Convinced that the holiday will change all that, Tess isn’t prepared for the series of disastrous events that will follow.
On a daytrip out in Cancun, Tess is kidnapped by traffickers and ripped away from Brax. Not knowing whether he’s alive or dead, she begins a terrifying journey of brutality and self-discovery. Determined not to let her situation break her spirit, she remains defiant and vows to take revenge on her captors. She is finally sold to an enigmatic and dark character named Q. Tess remains unclear on whether he’s the devil or her saviour, but one thing is clear: he’ll stop at nothing to find out just where her breaking point is. Tess is both drawn to and repelled by the myterious Q. She hates what he stands for, yet at the same time she craves what only he can offer her. Can she accept his domination if it means losing her sense of self?
Why you should read this: Even though I have read a few books that dealt with the theme of kidnap, it isn’t a genre that I visit often. Kidnapping is not a fantasy of mine, so I’m usually a little curious and appalled as to why these tales of trafficking are so popular. Having said that – I was pleasantly surprised by this read – there were difficult scenes to read for sure, but the heroine’s underlying strength and determination to get herself out of trouble was what kept me reading. Pepper Winters structured the plot well – there’s no rambling in the storyline, no race to get to the finish either. It’s a very sensual read – which may have you scratching your head as to why you’re rooting for the relationship between Q and Tess – it’s all kinds of messed up, but I will say hang in there. Maybe Q isn’t all that he seems.
What you might hate: Trafficking is a horrid topic – and usually there isn’t a HEA. I’m sure you can imagine all the ways in which this would be a difficult read. Tess is mistreated and at times she seeks out hard treatment from Q for her own gratification. If that is flat out not your bag, then I really don’t think this book is for you. There are a lot of scenes dealing with some pretty dark fantasies and tastes – if you’re familiar with CJ Roberts’ series then know that it’s similar but not as harrowing a read as the Duet In the Dark series.
Rating: For the quality of writing I’ll give it a 4/5. For the plot and the pace of the story, I give it 3.5/5. Perhaps ‘enjoyable’ isn’t really the appropriate word to describe it, but it was an interesting and compelling insight into the lives of those who really live on the edge and crank up the kink and then take it to a whole new level! Q is complex as a character, possibly not as inhuman as he first appears, but he’s not to be underestimated – there’s some pretty heavy stuff going on in that head of his. Tears of Tess is a dark, often uncomfortable read but it’s also compelling and a fine story.
Tears of Tess is out now and Book Two, Quintessentially Q will be out at the end of the year.