“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 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.

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The entire time that I read Tears of Tess, there was not a single paragraph, not a page, not a sentence and not even a word that bored me. At All. Yes, I am very aware that the nature and overall, the subject of Human Trafficking is very disturbing, highly emotional and utterly devastating... and sure... no amount of good writing should make one look at it in any other way than the horrors it undoubtedly brings about. However, Tears of Tess is so brilliantly put together that for a few hours while I read... I was able to see that even the most horrific situations can turn out to be something magical.

Now before you go and read the summary, raise your eye brows and shake your head declaring that you will not... no way in hell... will you will read a romance novel that involves sex slavery and human trafficking... I'll remind you that this is fiction. And not only is this just 'fiction'... it's fictional romance at it's best... and in many cases, dark fiction unlike you've ever seen... before now. As this is author Pepper Winter's debut novel... all I can say to that is 'shit Pepper, but you are a natural at this writing business'.

The story begins with our leading lady Tess. She's in sort of a loving relationship. Brax (her boyfriend) is good to her, he does love her... they've grown together over the years... but she's finding that perhaps her 'growing' has outgrown his a little or a whole lot... depending on how you look at it. Brax wants comfortable, easy and simple. Tess finds that although she doesn't know to what extent she wants more from him, she just knows that it's clear that what each of them want out of a sexual relationship, is like chalk and cheese.

Because of Brax's reaction to her desires and because of years of insecurities, she starts to suspect that the problem lies with her. Understandable of course. She has no other complaints regarding her relationship with Brax and in fact she beat's herself up because she feels as if she's being selfish for wanting more... craving more control from Brax.
So, as I stood in the Melbourne airport, with a crazy happy boyfriend and nerves rioting in my heart, I could only grin like an idiot.

“Not telling. The check-in clerk can be the one to ruin my surprise.” He chuckled. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t tell you until we arrived at the resort.” He dropped the suitcase and dragged me toward him with a smirk. “In fact, if I could, I’d blindfold you until we got there, so it would all be a complete surprise.”

My core clenched as thoughts flared with hot images—sexy, sinful visions of Brax blindfolding me, taking me roughly, completely at his mercy. Oh, God, don’t go there again, Tess. You were going to block thoughts like that, remember?

Ignoring myself, I gasped as Brax’s fingers grazed my flesh. I shuddered, and my sequined top became insubstantial. “You could do that, you know?” I whispered, dropping my eyelids to half-mast. “You could tie me up….”

Instead of pouncing and kissing me like crazy for offering him the chance to dominate, Brax swallowed and looked as if I told him to slap me with a dead fish.

“Tess, what the hell? That’s the third time you’ve quipped about bondage.”

Rejection crushed, and I dropped my gaze. The tingles between my legs popped like dirty bubbles, and I let Brax shove me back into the box where I belonged. The box labelled: perfect, innocent girlfriend who’d do anything for him, as long as it was in the dark and on my back.

I wanted a new label. One that said: girlfriend who will do anything to be tied, spanked, and fucked all over rather than adored.

Brax looked so disappointed and I hated myself. I need to stop this. 
So anyway, Brax surprises Tess with a trip to Cancun. She's excited, desperately pleased that they will be getting this opportunity to spend quality time together. So off they go... a plan ride... hotel check-in and one day later, they are riding through Cancun on a scooter, checking out the scenery and although it's not entirely something Tess would have normally enjoyed, she does her best to be respectful towards Brax's needs. They stop on at a little hole in the wall and this is where the book takes us to a whole new level of intense.

Kidnapped, Beaten, Branded & Sold... Tess now finds herself in a little town somewhere in France and here is where she meets Q... her master.

My eyes soared up to the first landing of the giant blue, velvet staircase. Massive works of art hung like armament on gold 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 hands from 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.”
Tears of Tess is dark, brutal and achingly emotional. I adored it so much that the moment I finished Tears of Tess... I immediately started from the beginning again. Then a few days later I reread parts that I found I just couldn't stop thinking about and that... was when I sat back and wondered about how I was ever going to find another book enjoyable again. The chances seemed slim. I ended up so lost in thought, thinking about the awesomeness that Pepper Winters delivered that I couldn't focus on anything else for days.

And that brings me to now. The moment I write my review for this book and honestly, I've not successfully read a single book since this one. I haven't been able to go into a new book with a clean slate and an open mind in order to give it a fair chance. I've just been completely stumped and totally captivated these last couple of days and I see no end in sight.

If you thought Fifty Shades was deep and daring... Tears of Tess brings it all and the whole kitchen sink. It's so dark, deep and dangerous - a serious wake up call to what majority of erotic romance novels out there fail to deliver to their readers. I can do nothing more but beseech you to give this book a read. Assuming of course you in fact enjoy erotic / dark / hypnotic / painfully emotional / adult romances. But... if that's not your thing and you like to live in a clean, safe bubble of guaranteed fairy-tales and butterflies and the worst thing you want seen happen is the leading couple having a domestic... then run! This is not the book for timid readers. To enjoy this book you have to be daring, open minded and a major fan of possessive alpha males. The one's who would whip you without even blinking when you step out of line... the one's who love so fiercely it makes your heart jump into your throat and something ache in your chest. This is no Romeo and Juliet ladies... It's Tears of Tess by Pepper Winters and it's freaking unbelievable!

Rating: 5 Stars!

RELEASE DATE: August 28th, 2013
GENRE: New Adult Dark Romance / New Adult, Adult Erotica

SERIES INFO: Book #1 In The Tears of Tess Series


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About Laurynne Gouws

Hi. I'm Laurynne (Pronounced 'Lauren') & I'm a 30(ish) year old Graphic & Web Designer from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I spend majority of my time either reading, blogging, browsing Amazon or when the mood strikes, designing something. Welcome to my blog.
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