An emotional love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two young people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts.
As Hayden and Tenley navigate their newfound but slightly unstable relationship, they want to trust each other, but Hayden is hiding a dark and shameful past that he doesn’t ever want Tenley to find out about. And Tenley has secrets of her own that could make Hayden run away forever. When Tenley asks Hayden to put a beautifully elaborate tattoo across her back, the two form what they thought was an unshakeable bond. But when Tenley’s past shows up on her doorstep, will Hayden stand by her side…or run?
Stellar. Perfection. Favorite. Fawesome. Magnificent. Divine.
I could go on for hours with adjectives that would describe this book, but I’m pretty sure you understand that I have mad love for Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting. This is an absolute must read…no if’s, ands, or buts. I felt an immediate connection that lasted from beginning to end. I didn’t want it to end, yet I devoured it, and then because it was so amazing and I floved it so hard…I read it again right away.
This is one of those rare books that is so perfect in every single way that matters to me…unforgettable characters, compelling story, the exact right mix of UST, romance, passion, heat, tension, humor, heartfail, joy. It has everything that a romance book should have and then some. To top it all off is how superbly it’s written. Yes, I am absolutely falling all over myself about this book. I acknowledge that fact loud and proud.
It’s written in dual POV which has really become my favorite in the past few months, because I like being able to know what both the main characters are thinking, feeling, experiencing. I connected with both Hayden and Tenley immediately and that doesn’t always happen for me.
Physically speaking Hayden has dark hair, pale blue eyes, and a nicely muscular bod. All of those attributes are my particular favorites. What surprised me was my reaction to the tats and piercings. Hayden has a lot of them, and normally that wouldn’t be a huge turn on for me, but in this case it absolutely was. Maybe it was how Helena wrote them, or maybe I’m just more open than I use to be. Whatever…it’s hot. (just for the record I am not opposed to tats as I have a rather large one myself in a very visible place. Nor, am I bothered by piercings. Mine are confined to my ears, but if I were younger I’d have a few more elsewhere.) He co-owns a tattoo shop called Inked Armor, so the fact that he’s an artist only increases his interest for me.
How to explain why I was so drawn to Hayden besides the physical is best summed up by Tenley herself…
“Hayden, on the other hand, wasn’t playing at anything. Maybe that explained my fascination with him. He just was; no apologies, no pretense.”
I think for many of us there is great appeal for whatever reason to the “bad boy”, and I think that is how the average person would view Hayden based on his looks and quite frankly on his past behaviors. One of the many awesome things about this book is in getting to know Hayden better. There’s so much more to him to discover. He’s wicked smart, with a quick wit that gave me a whole lot of grins. He’s brash and direct, yet those characteristics are tempered by both a playful and deeply caring side that touched me profoundly.
As for Tenley…she’s a petite thing with very long dark hair. When we first meet her there’s a shyness and a timidity about her, but there’s a feistiness as well. She’s full of contrasts and complexities which make her more interesting than the usual girl in a romance novel. She’s in a master’s program at Northwestern so obviously she’s smart, but like Hayden she has an artistic side. She makes light of her drawing skills but Hayden sees it for what it is…a real talent. She also bakes…mostly out of this world cupcakes which are so vividly described that I swear I could almost taste them while I was reading.
While Hayden is instantly attracted to Tenley, it isn’t just a physical response. He doesn’t understand it but he’s drawn to more than just her beauty and her “wet dream” qualities. For Tenley it’s something that takes longer to acknowledge. This is due in part to something we learn later in the story, and partly because he’s something very different from the type she’s been with in the past. When Tenley asks and Hayden agrees to ink her with a very elaborate, and very meaningful tattoo I know that the story and relationship are going to go deep, and I couldn’t wait.
“She knew I didn’t work on Monday. That meant she was aware of my schedule. Nice. We were both creepers.”
I was treated to a slow building and bonding both emotionally and sexually. When the first sexual encounter does occur it is so visceral and explosive that you will be singing the praises of Helena’s writing skills. You might say things out loud that you normally wouldn’t…things like…Holy fuck! That was hot! You might be tempted to encourage other authors to read this book and learn how to write heat that will excite and incite all the feelings it’s supposed to. Then you’ll go back and reread it because IT’S. JUST. THAT. GOOD!
“I don’t even know what to do with that information. Three times? Is she okay?”
“It was only twice, and why wouldn’t she be okay?”
“Hayden, remember who put that piercing in your special place?” She pointed at herself. Like I could forget that experience.
“I’m far too well aware of what kind of damage you could do with that thing.”
More importantly than all of that is this tho…this story has so much heart and depth that it makes me feel emotional just writing about it. Both Hayden and Tenley are broken people in many ways, fighting to get past horrific events. Hayden’s occurred much longer ago and the ways he dealt with it at first were with drugs, drinking, and sex with no boundaries. How he got past all of that is a testament to inner strength. How he deals with it now is certainly safer but he isn’t “fixed” either. Tenley is struggling with much fresher pain. It’s difficult for her to allow herself to get close to people. Part of her wants to and part of her is just so afraid of more loss. Both of them feel guilty and responsible for the events that happened, but they finally begin to take tentative steps toward a relationship that could heal or devastate. It’s a journey full of stops and starts, of hiding and then slowly revealing secrets, of learning to trust another person with your heart and soul.
“Maybe that was where the connection came from: we were linked through the pain of loss.”
This book is getting my highest recommendation possible. It’s a story with everything, written perfectly. It’s as simple as that.
My rating for Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting:
5+ big fat hearts
Bonus points when Hayden says “Fuck that noise”
**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, honestly it ‘s my favorite book of 2014 so far**
There’s a fabulous short prequel novella called Cupcakes and Ink that I’d recommend reading as well.
Kobo Cracks in the Armor
You should really
stalk follow this author btw! I do 🙂
Helena’s Social Media:
Later on today you’ll want to watch for my Man Candy Monday post which was inspired by Clipped Wings 🙂
We have a few other surprises for you this week as well while we celebrate the release of this book which happens March 4th.