Book Review : Tears Of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1) by Pepper Winters
“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 in 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 grieve, 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 really likes her current boyfriend, Brax. Scratch that, she loves him, a lot. He was the only one there for her throughout thick and thin. Her parents did not care for her, never failing to remind her that she was a dreadful mistake having come twenty years too late into their marriage. With 20 years between her and her older brother, and her parents being almost seventy years old, she cannot help but feel rejected throughout her life. No one care about her, no one but Brax.
Even though her love for Brax still burns as hotly as when they first started dating, lately, things has been cold when it comes to their sex life. With Tess being in university course that steals five days a week, plus having to deal with homework and Brax’s boss landing a new building contract in the heart of the city, saying that their sex life has been doused by an ice bucked of water is an understatement.
Brax – her sweet, wonderful, loving boyfriend has always only been interested in vanilla sex. But Tess… whenever she looks at her handsome boyfriend, she can’t help but wonder what it would feel like to have Brax tied her up, taking her roughly and render her completely at his mercy. She had wanted Brax to dominate, to pounce on her and kiss her until she forgets how to breathe, to push her against the wall and take her for the whole world to see. But Brax has been comfortable with the good ol’ missionary, and a chaste peck on the lips whenever they are in public. Whenever Tess tries to show him what she desires, he would always frown and try to push that idea away.
“I wanted to crawl inside his soul and light a fire to match the flames licking me.”
Even though Tess is disappointed that they are not both on board with her desire to change things up in the bedroom, she is still determined to show him. This 2 year anniversary trip that they are taking to Cancun, she has already prepared her own surprise for him and she hopes like hell Brax is going to like it.
While they are used to the heat in Australia where they live, summer in Cancun is totally different from Melbourne. Within minutes, Tess has her clothes stick to her skin from the humidity. That is when Brax decides to go into a dingy cafe nearby to get some reprieve from the heat and get something to drink. Tess, who has always trusted her instincts, senses something off about this place.
From the way the cafe is almost empty, to the way the man standing by the door is constantly eyeing her and Brax. Feeling uncomfortable, she pleads with Brax to hurry, wanting to get out of there as soon as she possibly can. However Brax, being as thirsty and hot as he is, tells her that there is no harm in staying for a little bit longer to cool down. Despite her gut feeling telling her to jet out of the place as soon as she possibly can, she listens to Brax. And that is the worse decision she will ever make.
Q. Pale jade eyes, dark hair, and an unreadable, chiseled face. One look at him, and the first word anything will associate him with is : Power. Living in a mansion, having his own personal guard, personal housekeeper, cook and gardener, this man is undoubtedly wealthy. When he walks in the room, there is a pull to him that makes it impossible for you to not be aware of his presence.
“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. ”
He is her new owner. Master, they want her to call him. He is the one who bought her, and now, her life is – quite literally – in his hands. Looking at him now, she knows without a doubt he is going to try to break her. Try, being the keyword because she will never let him have her. He might have her body, but he will never have her soul.
“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.”
This is the second time around that I am giving this book another try. When I first read it, it was two years ago, and I couldn’t find it in me to finish it. To be honest with you, I don’t have any inclination to re-read this series. However, last year, this series suddenly went booming around my circle of friends, and me being me, I decided that I was going to give this book another try. And I did.
This book was – in lack of better words to show how I feel – bleh. Don’t take me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with the plot, and the writing is also fine, but I can’t even start to explain how much of a hard time it is to connect with Tess. And seeing that this book is written from her POV, the inability to sympathize and relate to her is a big problem.
Following her journey from the Mexico, to when she is kidnapped, all the way to when she is delivered to Q – I can’t feel anything at all. Granted, I feel bad that such a thing happen to her and I commend her bravery in fighting back and not just crumble and fall into despair, but I cannot sympathize with her situation at all. Her fear, terror, anguish, anger, it didn’t for once get to me despite how beautifully it was written.
And once she is with Q, her interactions with him didn’t exactly make me feel anything either. If anything, her inner monologue annoys me with her constant need and hatred for Q. Believe me when I say Tess hating and are desiring Q is nothing new to me as I read dark erotica books on the daily. But throughout the book, there just isn’t a happy medium with her.
One minute she wants to go at his throat and kill him. The other time, she is all but panting and moaning with her desire for Q. That, adding with the fact that she is constantly questioning her morals for liking the things that he did to her 80% of the book makes the reading experience real boring real fast. Here are some of the examples of her going back and forth so often that it gave me whiplashes:
“ I shouldn’t grow wet when a man who lived to make my life hell touched me. I shouldn’t have mixed emotions of hatred and need. I should just hate.”
“Two things I wanted most in the world: for Q to die a miserable death, and for him to fuck me.”
“My hatred for Q seethed and simmered, hot enough to melt my body. I may want to kill Q for ruining my life, but I didn’t hate him enough to kill myself so he would never have me.”
“How could Q allow this to happen? I was his, goddammit, and he didn’t protect me. He let another man hurt me.”
Not to mention, there is barely any character growth at all. Even after finishing the book, I honestly cannot tell you who Q is, what he does, and his background. All I know – after spending hours reading this book – about Q, is that he is good looking, moody, ruthless, has a dark past and filthy rich. That is basically the extent of my knowledge when it comes to Q. Despite him being an interesting character, there are zero bread crumbs when it comes to him. I can’t even try to guess what he thinks about Tess because the author leaves close to zero clue over who he is as a character. Although I must say, the sprinkle of French that he speaks every now and then is definitely sexy.
Reading “Tears of Tess”, despite it’s lack of vocabulary and grammatical errors, somehow feels like reading someone’s rough draft to me. There are a lot of things that can be improved writing and character wise. I really believe if Ms. Winter has spend some more time polishing her character and adding more depth into them, this book could have been one of my favorite. While a lot of readers out there enjoyed this series, this one just isn’t for me. It is safe to say that I will not be reading the rest of the series.