Title ~ Inked Armor (Clipped Wings, #2)
Author ~ Helena Hunting
Genre ~ New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date ~ May 12 2014
In this follow-up to Clipped Wings, the emotional love story continues between Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.
In the wake of losing Tenley Page, tattooist Hayden Stryker's tumultuous past is haunting him.
Plagued by nightmares about the murder of his parents, Hayden reaches out again to Tenley. Having run from the man she doesn't believe she deserves, Tenley finally lays her guilt to rest. Despite their intense physical attraction, Hayden and Tenley struggle to repair their fragile emotional connection. As Hayden gets closer to the truth, he must find a way to reconcile his guilt over his parents' death in order to keep the woman who finally cracked his armor, and found her way into his heart.
Inked Armor is the second full-length novel in the Clipped Wings series. It is necessary to have read Clipped Wings first – this will not work as a standalone story. There is a cliffhanger at the end of Clipped wings and the story concludes in Inked Armor.
We rejoin Hayden and Tenley in the aftermath of the events of the last few pages of Clipped wings. Tenley has returned home in an attempt to put her affairs in order, to finally close the chapter on that tragic part of her life to enable her to move forward to a brighter future with Hayden. Her sudden departure and subsequent absence from Hayden’s life has left a massive gaping hole that he is struggling to cope with. Hayden suffers badly with OCD and is a compulsive neat freak and having finally accepted how deep his love for Tenley is, her absence and lack of communication throws him into a tailspin and he is coping badly with every day life, much to the concern of his close group of friends.
Whereas in Clipped Wings we were mostly treated to a story of new love, of two young people slowly getting to know one another and tentatively sharing secrets, in Inked Armor they both have full disclosure about one another. All the horrific events of their pasts are laid bare and Hayden has some dark secrets that Tenley will struggle to come to terms with so Inked Armor is a far more angsty ride than it’s predecessor as they both attempt to accept what has gone before and move forward.
“Hayden, look at me.” He needed the one thing I could give him unconditionally, now more than ever. “You have all of me. I am only yours.”
He shook his head. “No, I don’t. But I’ll deal with it.”
I knew he was referring to my heart. But he’d had it all along.
“I love you, Hayden.”
As in Clipped Wings, this is one heck of a sexy new adult ride with beautiful and erotic love scenes between Hayden and Tenley and incredibly sensual scenes in his tattooist’s chair! I really felt so sorry for Hayden in this one – Helena Hunting really does heap the misery on this poor guy as his past comes roaring back to haunt him and he has SO much to deal with, not least the prejudicial way people treat him because he is inked and pierced. He’s besieged by nightmares and suffers a sense of impending doom – now that has found Tenley, he’s terrified to lose her and she plays a starring role in his night terrors, suffering the same fate as his parents.
It’s always the same dream. I can’t get to you in time and then you’re gone, and there’s nothing I can do to stop the emptiness.
As I look back over the series as a whole, I have to say that this is a high quality new adult romance, steeped in dark emotional pain. It’s very sexy and sensual and is paced beautifully as the growing relationship between Hayden and Tenley is given time to blossom into something really quite beautiful. It’s very well written, it’s captivating and it’s a very emotional journey. Highly recommended.
Series Reading Order
0.5 Cupcakes and Ink
1. Clipped Wings
1.5 Between The Cracks
2. Inked Armor
2.5 Cracks in the Armor
Tattoos and Piercings by Helena Hunting
We’ve all see the guy in the business suit whose sleeve rides up to expose a band of ink. While it’s exciting to imagine just what you’d find under that guise of normalcy, there’s something just as appealing about a man who doesn’t try to hide his penchant for difference. That unwillingness to blend in, to conform, is exactly what you get with Hayden Stryker, the hero in Clipped Wings and Inked Armor. His beautiful body are is bared for the world to see. He doesn't stop at ink, though, beyond the tattoos, Hayden has an affinity for metal, and not all of it is worn in easy to see places.
Tattoos have become a type of permanent accessory. But for some wear body art, it goes much deeper than the aesthetic value of displaying a design. Composition on skin rather than canvas conveys a commitment to an art form that deviates from the norm. But then, all art forms have ability to push the boundaries and break the mold. Beyond the artistry required to create beautiful body art, tattoos are a source of story, memory and creative expression.
It’s no different for Hayden; just as he embeds memories into his client's skin, his own stories are rendered on his body. Hayden wears his internal conflict in a series of intricate designs, ranging from ominous to beautiful. It’s this dichotomy between ethereal and disturbing that makes him such a contradiction.
Hayden's love of body modification practices includes a penchant for steel that extends beyond the decorative variety. These days, it’s not unusual to find the barista in the local coffee shop sporting spacers, or the woman in the power suit with a dainty little nose ring. It’s the ones hidden in places we can’t see that beg the question, is it really worth the pain?
I'll begin with the obvious; Hayden doesn't do things half-assed. As someone who works and lives in extremes, Hayden is all in or not at all. He's an intense character, who's fully immersed in this division of the subculture. When weighing the options for a below the belt piercing, there was no other option than the apadravya, affectionately known as the "apa." At least not for Hayden. A PA (Prince Albert) just wouldn’t have cut it, because it doesn’t boast quite the same benefits.
Did it matter that it was going to hurt like hell and take a long time to heal? Not in the slightest, because the long-term payoff was worth the short term discomfort. Increased sensitivity? Check. Better O's? Check. Mutual partner benefit? You better believe it. Think about where that insidious little ball is going to hit every single time. . . . Above the personal gain, Hayden is about giving just as much as he's about getting.
Hayden isn’t the only one who sees the benefits in piercings of undetectable piercings though. You’ll find out in Inked Armor exactly what kind of steel Tenley invests in, and all the benefits that come with it, and Hayden's ability to make that happen, repeatedly.
For more information and a guide to piercings and aftercare (because some of them, including the apa require quite a bit of consistent upkeep and maintenance) you can visit the following sites:
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