Tears of Tess (Monsters in the Dark #1) by Pepper Winters
***WARNING! MY REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!***
4 esclave stars!
“Monsters find each other in the dark.”
This is one of those books where I am kicking myself for not having read it already. To be fair, it’s a dark one and I was afraid of it going in. But surprisingly, I expected it to be a lot darker than it was so I was very happy that I could read this book without freaking out (at least, as much as I expected to).
Tears of Tess is about Tess, who goes on a surprise trip to Cancun, Mexico from Australia with her boyfriend Brax. The two of them have been together for two years and while she loves him, Tess is a little underwhelmed in the bedroom department. She wants more excitement, more passion, more than just flat on her back. Having trouble communicating this, the couple just sort of avoids the elephant in the room. It’s while they are out being tourists that Tess is taken, kidnapped and sold into the sex trade.
Tess finds herself as the new property of Q, a terrifying yet handsome Frenchman. Yet as much as Tess hates Q for who he is and what he represents, he is the only man who has ever been able to give her what she yearns for, and it brings her an immense amount of shame. As time goes by Tess is bewildered by his behavior and struggles with guilt over her feelings for Q and her devotion to Brax.
“I hadn’t gone Stockholmy- I hated him, knew what he did was wrong, but my body, shit, my body didn’t care.”
This is one of the few dark novels where I have genuinely ended up liking the antihero. He wasn’t perfect, but he never cast blame on Tess for the situation she was in. In other dark novels, the guy always finds a way to wriggle himself out of the blame, and Q never did this. Q admitted what he was, a monster, but he took care of Tess in any way he was able to. Was her experience in his home all sunshine and rainbows? No, but it could have been much, much worse.
Ms. Winters is a great author because she threw the reader a curve ball and made them rethink everything they had previously read, and look at the facts in a new light. I literally read this book in one sitting because I was so riveted by the story I was reading. It’s always so darn amazing to find a book like this, that captures your attention and doesn’t let go until it’s over.
“Only think of me and what I’m doing. There is intimacy in pain esclave. Let me make your pain my pleasure.”
***HERE’S THE SPOILERY PART***
So why not a perfect 5 stars? –> I really took issue with the knife rape scene with the Russian and how Q had let him get that far. I was feeling the same way Tess was after when she realized as her master he was supposed to protect her and he didn’t, he turned away. I also took issue with the rape scene, I felt it was a blatant “see, it COULD be worse!” addition to the story to make Q look better when it wasn’t needed. It wasn’t needed because we found out later he was rescuing all of these girls, so he was in fact already a good guy.