Tess Snow was excited to go on holiday with her kind, caring boyfriend Brax. So what if his gentle lovemaking didn’t do it for her. So what if her parent’s lack of affection gave her the need to be dominated, claimed. So what if he rejects her play at rougher sex.
I wanted a new label. One that said: girlfriend who will do anything to be tied, spanked, and fucked all over rather than adored.
I reminded myself for the three-hundredth time, that the sweet, wonderful relationship I had with this man was far more important than a bit of sexy play in the bedroom.
Content to remain in a relationship where her needs aren’t being fulfilled, she and Brax begin their vacation sight-seeing. After a long day of travel, they stop at a run-down cafe for a much needed drink. Tess’s instincts immediately tell her that the place isn’t safe, but Brax brushes off her concerns. When he leaves to go to the bathroom, her instincts are confirmed. She was taken.
For the next week she is kept in an undisclosed place with a dozen other women in similar condition. The only difference is, Tess doesn’t bow to their demands. She fights. Even when they implant a tracking device and tattoo a barcode on her wrist.
I was no longer Tess. I was dollar signs.
At the end of the week she’s taken by one of the men and put on a plane where she meets her new master. A french man named who tells her to call him Q.
“What will you do with me? My voice was barely a whisper.
“That is none of your concern.”
“You don’t think my future is any of my concern?”
“No. Because your future is mine.”
Throughout her time as Q’s esclave she is puzzled by her enigmatic master. He seems to struggle to control his urge to dominate her, alternating between frustration and lust. His mysterious tattoos, demeanor, and past don’t add up. The more time that Tess spends with him, fighting her own desires to be dominated, the more she wants to understand him.
Who is Q and what does he want with her?
Tears of Tess was not at all what I was expecting. If you’ve read stories such as The Dark Duet and Comfort Food you’ll have an idea as to the idea of a captor/slave story that I was expecting. This, however, was nothing like those.
Tess fought Q almost every step of the way. She was determined not to break, to be strong. In fact, her fire and spirit is one of the things that Q most enjoyed about her. What was most interesting was Q’s response to Tess’s desire to be dominated. It wasn’t just Tess that fought. Q had his own personal demons and it was absolutely riveting trying to understand what motivated him.
Their dynamic was absolutely unique. In other captor/slave stories there is a definite delineation between master and slave because the master wants to be the way he is. In Tears of Tess Q’s past experiences make him fight his urges. As they grew to know one another, they needed each other.
It wasn’t an easy journey, as both Tess and Q have things to hide. But I really enjoyed the way Pepper crafted the story.
I loved Tess. Circumstances in her past have made her into a woman with specific needs. Her desire to be dominate comes from a past where people abandoned her. She has an innate need to be claimed. To feel wanted. Her relationship with Brax didn’t satisfy those needs, but somehow her twisted relationship with Q does.
In that moment, in my fragile and broken state, my feelings for Q changed. He did what Brax hadn’t done in Mexico: he found me, killed for me. He rescued me from horror and protected me from the bastards who hurt.
I’m not going to go into much more detail about their relationship because it is truly what sets this book apart and it was so interesting to watch unfold. Suffice it to say that their connection is what made the book great for me.
Aside from a few awkward word choices and a plot thread or two that I would have liked explained, I have no real complaints. A lot of my questions about her behavior and reactions to Q and his to her, were explained by the end of the book. The last chapter and epilogue had me holding my breath in excitement.
It is a standalone, but the ending definitely leaves it open for a second book. *wink*
4 – 4.5 stars