Review & Giveaway: Tears of Tess: Pepper Winters

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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?
Tears of Tess Trailer: 

How could I think that Q might be the one for me? He didn’t make my soul sing. He made it weep and scream and tear itself in pieces.
“I hate you.”
“No you don’t. You just don’t want to see.”
“See what?” I snapped.
He stood and pulled me toward him in one fierce move. “You are mine. I can do what I want with you. I can dress you. Fuck you. Send you away. Loan you to others. You belong to me. And you’ve finally realized that it isn’t romantic, it isn’t sexy or fun. It’s something that no one should want or desire. You’re a captive.” He shook me, his headache etching his face with pain. “My role as your master is to debase you to the point of having no feelings, no emotion, no hopes or dreams. I tell you to fuck another man, you ask for how long. I tell you to wear something you do not fucking chop it up in defiance. You wear it and appreciate what I give you. You’re mine, esclave. And it isn’t a fucking romance.”
He let me go, pushing me so I stumbled. “How does it feel to face the truth?”
The truth was excruciating. The truth told me I was nothing.

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

Pepper Winter's debut novel Tears of Tess is an emotionally intense read that pushes the boundaries of today’s social norm. It’s a dark, brutal, and sometimes heartrendingly painful story. The author's writing is so in your face descriptive, Ms. Winter's does not mince words, nor does she hold back. This book is not all flowers and sweet sticky romance; in fact, it is anything but. Tess and Q captivated me and held me captive through their unexpected twisted journey. Pepper developed a rich, dark story line filled with deliciously damaged and disturbingly exquisite characters. I found Tears of Tess to be raw, disturbing, and most often times extremely uncomfortable, nevertheless, I also found this book to be shockingly beautiful, breathtaking, addicting, and it even held small glimpses of love and hope.

"I was so fucked up, I couldn't get wet with gentle kisses from a man who loved me. But put a man who wanted to hurt in front of me, with fucking on his mind and bondage in his thoughts and I unraveled like the slut I'd become."

Tess is everything I don't know if I would have the strength to be. She is a piece of property bought and tagged, a slave, a submissive, Tess is also strong, determined, and most of all a survivor. Her character is inspiring in the fact that even though she is conflicted over her deviant sexual wants and needs she is bound and determined not to go down without a fight. Victim is not a word I would use to describe this heroine.  Tess’s strength and bravery first intrigued me, and then it captivated me as she fought the battle of confusion between her mind and body.  My heart felt like a yoyo each time she decided to take a stand against Q and her body betrayed her; I could feel her demoralization and trepidation flow freely off the page, while at the same time her anticipation, excitement, and passion was just as present. And, with all of this Tess stood solid and fierce right to the last page, even as she was forced to acknowledge the truth about herself.

"What sort of man needed to make a woman bleed? Not a sane one. I'm infected. Poisoned. Destined for hell."  

Q is an enigma. He is alpha. Dominant. Master. Slave Trader. Anti-Hero, yet in the same sense also the Hero. These are just a few terms I would use to describe Quincy Mercer. Q muddled with my senses, he fucked with my thoughts, his mind games kept me on my toes especially when it came to my opinion of him. His power knew no bounds, especially when it came to Tess.  It is plain as day that he will stop at nothing to own her…all of her. She is his to command, play with, or even break if he so chooses.  As a reader, you are left with no doubt Tess is Q’s possession.  This man is so damn hard-core; infliction of pain is his game (the more extreme the better). He needs it, he desires it, and he uses it to control the world around him. His past is full of twists that have made him into the man he is today, his newest esclave threatens all he has built. Tess is Q’s Achilles' heel.

"Never lie. The truth hurts less than fibs and fakers."

This is why I loved these two characters so much. Neither one made excuses, they owned exactly whom they were.  It didn’t matter how uncomfortable the situation became both characters stood true to form. I never had to wonder at their actions, nor did I second-guess their motives or reactions, even if things weren’t always so clear-cut.  Pepper wrote her characters well developed and defined, she wrote them to perfection, in my opinion.

"I hung my head. I was so fucked up when it came to Q. He hadn't raped me, but put me in situations that raped my mind, turned me inside out, and made me face dark desires despite clinging to the ideology of loving a man like Brax. He tortured with games."

There is so much about Tess and Q that I fell head over heels in love with. In addition, there is so much about Pepper Winters writing that hooked me and left me panting for more. I am completely and totally addicted to her brand of dark and twisted. Tears of Tess jolted me out of my book funk while playing games with not just my mind but also my body. Just as, Tess consumed Q, these characters have both consumed me and are forever etched in my memory. Pepper Winters has earned a new fan along with a spot on my shelf for authors I will automatically buy from without reading the blurb.

Thank you, Pepper Winters, for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Tears for Tess in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the Author:


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.

Her debut book Tears of Tess will be followed with Quintessentially Q. You didn’t think Q could stop so soon, did you? Her other two titles, Last Shadow and Broken Chance will be coming soon.

(1) Digital copy of Tears of Tess: Pepper Winters 
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Age 18 and over please. Ecopy giveaways are international. Signed or paperback giveaways are US only unless otherwise specified. Giveaway will run 9/4/13 to 9/11/13 closing at 12:00 a.m. Winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize; otherwise, a new winner will be chosen. Please allow time (up to two weeks, unless stated otherwise) for the delivery of your book. If you have not received your book within the started time please notify us. In addition, In addition, if the book has yet to release please keep in mind that the book will be distributed within two weeks of it's release date.
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  1. Can't wait to read this. Dark and twisted books are mt favorite.

  2. I love the thrill of dark reads. They push the limits and I like to see how far an author will go.

  3. I love dark reads, they can't get bad enough for me. I'm a huge fan of old classic bodice rippers, so it's great to have some New Adult books to be somewhat like them.

  4. i love to read this denise smith denise226@verizon.net

  5. I loved Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts and this has the same darkness to it and I loved it.

  6. As strange as it may seem, I do love dark reads! And this one sounds fantabulous!!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. There is just that something that feels exciting to push one's limits.

  8. Dark reads gives me a change of pace, I have to be in a frame of mind to read them sometimes.

  9. Dark reads intrigue me, they are so popular right now it must be filling a societal void and in the meantime I keep reading while speculating why they are so popular.

  10. I love dark reads! I love when authors force you to think differently and find the grey in situations most would think of as only black or white. Thanks for the giveaway!


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