Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters // Review + Excerpt

December 31, 2020

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

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


Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters

Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters


Monsters in the Dark #1
Release - August 30, 2013
Genre - Dark Romance
Heroine POV - 1st person
Heat level - 5 out of 5/several scenes
Format/Source - owned paperback
Length - 380 pages

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 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.


Tess Snow was content, yet stifled. Then she was kidnapped, sold, and set blissfully free.

I'm not a big fan of re-reading books. I figure once is enough. I either hated it or loved it and diving in again isn't going to change anything. And then I realized that I never reviewed Tears of Tess and decided if ever there were books I would re-read, they would be the Monsters in the Dark series. Shoot, no self-respecting dark romance lover should be able to pass up the opportunity to read anything that Pepper Winters has published, and my mama didn't raise no fool. Delving back into the depths of Q's depravity had me shivering with anticipation, glorying in the spectacular darkness and pain and pleasure only he can provide.
“I want to hurt you.
I want to own you.
I want to devour you.
I want to make you mine.
I’m already yours.”

I loved the story that was developing between Tess and Q. I loved the mystery of who this man really was and what it meant for Tess, her survival, and her future. However, I no longer suffer under the rule of irrational and foolish heroines. Tess was definitely a lot to take in, most of it not good, but she didn't take much away from the beauty to be found in this book. She was annoying and she grated on my nerves, but everything she had to endure was entertaining as hell. Triggers, triggers all over the place, but still... it's dark romance, what do you really expect?
“I’m offering you my pain. My blood. My pleasure. I’m offering you the right to whip and fuck. To debase and harm. I’m offering to fight your needs with my own. I’m willing to join you in the darkness and find pleasure in excruciating pain. I’m willing to be your monster, Q.”

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This was it. My new beginning. My new ending.

“Bonsoir, esclave.”

My eyes soared up to the first landing of the giant blue, velvet staircase. Massive works of art hung like armament on gilded walls.

A man in a grey chequered suit, complete with black shirt, silver tie and short, dark hair, watched from the landing.

My entire body ignited as his jaw clenched. His gaze unclothed and terrified me. Everything about him screamed ruthlessness and power. He held himself proud and regal as if this was his castle and I was the latest subject.

Our eyes locked, and something tingled across my flesh. Fear? Terror? Something inside knew he was dangerous.

His lips twitched as I sucked in a breath. He removed his hands from his pockets and placed them on the banister, his fingers long and strong, even from this distance. The way he stared became too much. I felt undone, stripped to my soul.

I stepped back, bumping against the guard behind. He bent his head, whispering in my ear, “Say hello to your new master.”

The word master echoed like a bad tuning fork.

Master. Master.

No, he wasn’t my master. Not with his short, sleek hair and sharp widow’s peak. Not with his clenched, stubble-smooth jaw and trim physique. He was not my master. No one was.

Tears pricked as I thought about Brax. He seemed a world away compared to this reality. Brax was rough and boyish, a hard worker through and through. The man, staring with pale jade eyes and an unreadable, chiselled face, lived in total contrast. Power radiated like visible waves, unsettling me more than anything.

He wasn’t the fat, repulsive bastard who used wealth to buy sex slaves. He wasn’t gross or any other monstrous things. Who is this man?

My eyes widened, drinking him in—the owner of this house. The owner of… me. No, never.

I didn’t care who he was, because my life belonged to me. I stuck out my chin, glaring. I wouldn’t be intimidated by wealth or stature. I didn’t care he was tall and moved like he expected the world to lick his shoes. I would never lick anything of his.

The man never broke eye contact, ensnaring me in his gaze. Slowly, he pushed off the banister and moved toward the stairs.

I gulped.

He was smooth water—effortless in refinement but just like still water, dangerous if you couldn’t swim. Deadly rips and currents lurked deep below the surface. I eyed him, trying to figure out what sick pleasures he indulged in that normal, willing women were hard to come by.

My heart raced with every step he took, descending toward me.

The guard pushed me forward. “Bow to your new master.”

I tripped, but regained my footing instantly. My fists shook, I clenched them so hard. My injuries reminded me all of this was wrong. In some warped sense, it seemed innocent like the owner of the house merely welcoming a guest.

“I have no master,” I said, putting every ounce of rebellion into the words. “Let me go.”

The man stopped mid-step, head cocked. His fingers curled around the banister, showing manicured nails, no calluses in sight. Once again, pale eyes connected with mine, sucking my thoughts into a vacuum.

Up till now, his face had been unreadable, but as we stared, flashes of emotion buffeted me. Anger. Interest. Annoyance. Resignation. And finally, in a blaze of jade…lust.

My breath quickened and I tried to step back again, only to collide with the wall of the guard’s chest.

The guard placed a hot, heavy hand between my shoulder blades and pushed, forcing me into a struggling, painful bow. “Do as you’re told.”

So many thoughts collided. I wanted to spin and steal the gun in the holster under his arm. I wanted to shoot everyone. I wanted to slash at the gorgeous artwork and priceless artefacts around the room. Such things of beauty did not deserve to belong to a man whose goons forced a sex slave to bow.

“Bastard,” I muttered, hating I couldn’t do any of it. All I could do was obey—for now.

“Stop. If she doesn’t want to bow, then don’t force her.” The masculine voice reminded me of glinting steel, shaped with precision and strength. It was the sound of authority, and despite my best attempts to rebel, I bowed on my own. The sheer weight of his voice compelled obedience.

The guard’s hand left my back. He chuckled. “If she doesn’t want to bow, perhaps she wants to crawl.”

My back snapped upright, and I jumped a mile. My new owner stood directly in front of me. Hands in his slack pockets, head cocked slightly to the side, as if inspecting a piece of art.

“She may crawl if she wishes,” he murmured.

“I do not wish,” I snapped.

Once again, our eyes connected and I searched for the evil like the men in Mexico, but he guarded himself too well. Nothing gave away what he thought, even the emotions I’d seen before were gone.

We stood staring for moments, before the guard behind me cleared his throat. Shattering the fragile silence and condemning me to whatever would happen next.

“Laissez-nous.” The man waved a hand toward the exit. Instantly, the guard left along with a few others I hadn’t seen lurking. The rustle of their suits sounded like a death sentence as they siphoned out the door.

Oh, God.

My eyes flicked to the left, where a massive library beckoned. Sultry mahogany, rich maroons, and gold bookcases. A roaring fire beckoned to read a book and slouch in the wingback chairs huddled around the flames.

To the right, a ginormous lounge full of comfortable designer sofas and chairs. Animal hides of zebra and tiger littered the floor, and huge glass doors reflected me standing under the bright lights of the foyer.

The man stood an arm’s length away. Tears thickened my throat.

I dropped my gaze, unable to look anymore. Tiredness descended, and all I wanted to do was sleep—to escape this nightmare.

“You won’t be able to run,” he said, watching closely.

I sucked in a breath. “Who says I’m going to run?”

His lips, smooth and well defined against his five o’clock shadow, twitched. “I smell it on you—the scent of prey. You’re looking for a bolthole, somewhere no one can find you.” He leaned in, sending a cloud of expensive cologne around me. “You’re different, I’ll give you that. They didn’t break you, but don’t think you can fight me. You won’t win.”

Pepper currently has thirty-one books released in nine languages. She’s hit best-seller lists (USA Today, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal) thirty-seven times. She dabbles in multiple genres, ranging from Dark Romance to Coming of Age.

After chasing her dreams to become a full-time writer, Pepper has earned recognition with awards for best Dark Romance, best BDSM Series, and best Hero. She’s an #1 iBooks bestseller, along with #1 in Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary, and Erotica Thriller. She’s also honoured to wear the IndieReader Badge for being a Top 10 Indie Bestseller.

After releasing two books with Grand Central, Hachette (Ruin & Rule and Sin & Suffer) Pepper is a Hybrid Author of both Traditional and Self-published work.

Find all of her books and contact info on her website: https://pepperwinters.com/

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