Generally, or at least for the past year or so, I only have time to read books I’m asked to review. I’m not a speed reader by any means (no seriously, I took a test to prove it once) so adding in extra books usually just isn’t feasible. Luckily though I review a ton of books that would be on my “free time” list anyway so it works out well for me in the end. But every once in awhile…usually because of a good friend named Mandi…I have to pick up something that isn’t on my list. You see, Mandi likes the angsty, dark, twisty books that leave the majority of our circle of friends shaking their heads and mumbling about how Mandi obvi doesn’t understand what they like to read. Then there is me. Sitting quietly in the corner gobbling up books that would send a lot of people screaming for the hills. Dark? Great, bring it the fuck on. Abuse? Check…I love it. Twisty and angsty? If I don’t cry ugly tears at some point well then the author didn’t try hard enough. Sex? Whips and chains are definitely my deal (my husband freely admits to be a little afraid of me). So when Mandi starts blowing up my texts with demands that I read something, I try to work it in somewhere. Sure, I feel naughty for pushing away my review pile…for a hot second, then I settle in and let the prose slowly tear me apart. And I love every minute of it.
Enter Pepper Winters….Mandi demanded under threat of physical harm…that I read Tears Of Tess. Knowing I was most likely the only one in our circle that would enjoy it. Let me be up front, this book is rough. The triggers in this book could send even a decently stable person into hysterics. It’s DARK. Probably the darkest book I’ve read to date. Until Mandi makes me read something else I’m sure.
Tess is kidnapped, abused, sold…I could keep going. The hero, known only as Q is a downright sadistic asshole most of the time. Sure, I bet I’ll have people griping about the fact that he is a horrible person. But you know what I say to those people? You go read your book with the sobbing heroes and the safe story line and I’ll go read about men who I’d walk the fine line of fucking or killing. There’s nothing wrong with that. To each their own, bitches. Anyway, he’s mean. I spent a lot of time trying to figure him out when I wasn’t even reading the damn book. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means these books are something I need to talk about. If I’m sitting in my office at work looking at apartment leases and quietly pondering why Q would allow some skeazy guy to touch his woman strung up from the ceiling during a dinner party (that totally happened by the way)…well then that’s a book I need converse about.
By the end of Tears Of Tess I knew I was hooked. I immediately went and bought book two, Quintessentially Q, my review pile sitting to the side long forgotten, and I started the descent into hell again. And it delivered. It was awesome. It was dark. It left me shuddering. It was THAT GOOD. Winters takes two people who by all rights shouldn’t be together and entwines their lives with horrible situations and sex that made me shake. Winters knows no bounds.
What Tess goes through in book two was a shocker. I honestly didn’t think it could get worse than book one. Apparently I was wrong. It was horrifyingly good reading. Tess, though she bends, never truly breaks and that strength of character simply amazed me.
Book three, Twisted Together, will be out late spring and well…that’s just too long. I’m not sure I’ll survive. For real. Winters has changed the expectations I have for dark books. I now have a standard and I have a feeling it will be impossible to beat.
“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?
“All my life, I battled with the knowledge I was twisted… fucked up to want something so deliciously dark—wrong on so many levels. But then slave fifty-eight entered my world. Hissing, fighting, with a core of iron, she showed me an existence where two wrongs make a right.”
Tess is Q’s completely. Q is Tess’s irrevocably. But now, they must learn the boundaries of their unconventional relationship, while Tess seeks vengeance on the men who sold her. Q made a blood-oath to deliver their corpses at Tess’s feet, and that’s just what he’ll do.
He may be a monster, but he’s Tess’s monster.
Available: May 2014
“After battling through hell, I brought my esclave back from the brink of ruin. I sacrificed everything—my heart, my mind, my very desires to bring her back to life. And for a while, I thought it broke me, that I’d never be the same. But slowly the beast is growing bolder, and it’s finally time to show Tess how beautiful the dark can be.”
Q gave everything to bring Tess back. In return, he expects nothing less. Tess may have leashed and tamed him, but he’s still a monster inside.