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.
I was beyond excited to be asked to participate in the book blog tour for Inked Armor, and love that I get to do a review with Elena. I was thrilled to get back to Hayden and Tenley. Seriously, how could I not?? You can check out my review here of Clipped Wings.
Helena left us wondering what Hayden was going to do, when Tenley went back home to Arden Hills unexpectedly. I understand why he was upset, because he wasn’t given an explanation, but it was only 3 weeks that she was actually gone. He went a little “over the edge” for me, but I love him anyway.
Like the first book, we get to be in both Hayden and Tenley’s heads. While they were apart and when they get back together. I will say that Tenley grew up a lot when she was home. Dealing with Trey and his negative assholeness (yeah, I know that’s not really a word, but Trey doesn’t really deserve a real one anyway), she becomes stronger.
Maybe before the crash I would have regarded Hayden as an experiment in deviance, but I doubted it. I would still have been drawn to him. But I wouldn’t have had the courage to act on that attraction. His allure would have been overshadowed by my desire to fit into an impossible mold. My loss had made him accessible in a way he wouldn’t have otherwise have been. Hayden understood my impulse for difference.
His quiet, unassuming intelligence and his unique perception of the world kept me intrigued. Beyond that, our physical connection far surpassed mere need. From the very first time, sex with Hayden had been transcendental. I’d never experienced anything like it before him.
I missed our physical connection. I missed the way he tasted, the feel of his skin, the endless lines of ink covering his body. I wanted him back–but I needed to be worthy of him first.
That is Tenley’s journey. She comes back wanting more for herself and for Hayden. Thank God, because in this book, Hayden goes to hell and back to get his happy ending.
“I keep thinking that if things had been different, maybe my family would be alive. I still would come to Chicago for my master’s. Maybe I would have met you anyway.”
“There are a million possibilities. You could let them consume you for the rest of your life. It’s what I’ve been doing for the past seven years, and it hasn’t done me any good. You have to let it go, Tenley.”
“I don’t know how.”
He cupped my cheek in his palm. His sad understanding touched that place inside my heart reserved for him alone. “I know it’s not easy. But we can’t resurrect the dead to find out the truth.”
Hayden was right. Knowing wouldn’t change the past. Letting go was the only way. And I didn’t need the answers because the person I loved and wanted was sitting right in front of me. Hayden was my present and my future.
Hayden’s journey was harder to read for me. Maybe because I hated when he was struggling. I also hated that people wanted to think the worst of him, because of his piercings and ink. There are some seriously messed up secondary characters in this book.
I will say that Hayden’s friends and family were great though, and did their best to support both Tenley and Hayden in dealing with their pasts.
We go an amazing ride with these two characters and I felt all of the emotions right along with them. It felt cathartic and real, and the intimate scenes were intense and smoking hot. I would read them alone, if you know what I mean. LOL
I want to post one more scene and then I’ll leave you to run to your favorite book store or go online to order this series right away. Don’t wait… I am seriously looking into finding me a tattoo artist for my very own.
She looked like an angel on fire. “It’s so gorgeous,” she said softly.
“You make it that way.”
Tears slid down her cheeks as she inspected the art. The emotions and anticipation that came with finishing a piece of this magnitude warranted them. I’d always looked at body art as a way to exorcise demons, but it wasn’t about that at all. It was a push and pull; letting go and holding on at the same time. She wore her loss in an armor of ink, just as I did.
Check out Tamie’s great review of Inked Armor here. I am so happy that Elena and I got to review a book that we both love together. *happy dance*
I give this book 5 emotionally beautiful stars, and put it on my “books that own me” and “top shelf fantastic reads” shelf on Goodreads.
***We were given advanced copies from Netgalley for honest reviews. Excerpts are from those copies.***
My rating: 5 glittering stars
“You are my person.” –Inked Armor by Helena Hunting
Like Katiebird, I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to review a book I loved so much and to be doing a joint review with my friend Katie.
Helena Hunting is a favorite Author here on Bookish Temptations, and we all loved Clipped Wings, first book in the series. Inked Armor surpassed all my expectations, and it’s my favorite of the two. I loved Clipped Wings, but I ADORED Inked Armor.
It picks up where the first book had left off. From the very beginning Hayden and Tenley have a lot to work on, especially since Tenley had left without an explanation. I loved how Hayden and Tenley got close again, and I appreciated that they didn’t immediately jump into their relationship, as if nothing had happened. Hayden wants to take things slow, and to me this was another proof of how profound his attachment to Tenley is and how important this relationship is for him.
“For me, she would always be the light in my darkness.” — Inked Armor
While Clipped Wings centered mostly on Tenley’s trauma, Inked Armor deals more with Hayden’s past and his need to find closure and peace of mind. There’s some great character development in this book — both Hayden and Tenley mature so much and they learn what it means to love someone unconditionally. Tenley reaches a level of maturity that surprised me, in a good way, and I loved how she stood by Hayden, supporting him, helping him face the nightmares of the past, and giving him the strength to reopen the case of his parents’ murder.
It’s impossible not to love Hayden. He melted my heart in several scenes, and his vulnerability tore at my heartstrings. Because of his looks, everyone thinks he’s a tough guy, but in reality he needs to feel loved now more than ever, and only his relationship with Tenley will make him let go of the guilt he carries inside.
As in Clipped Wings, the special love story between Hayden and Tenley makes this series unforgettable. Inked Armor delves deeper into their feelings, and I loved how they let go of their fears, how they opened their hearts completely, letting love, forgiveness and hope prevail over their doubts.
“I had closure — but more than that, I had her. Tenley was the inception, my new beginning, the rebirth I’d been starving for. She embodied the phoenix embedded in my skin, rising from the ashes to start again.” — Inked Armor
I was so happy to see again all those secondary characters I loved in Clipped Wings, like Lisa, Jamie, Chris, Sara, Nate and Cassie — they all play an instrumental role in the story, and the bond they share with Hayden and Tenley is so strong and beautiful… They are a real family to both of them.
Helena Hunting’s writing is something every reader should experience. I loved how she crafted the whole story — she gives you great insight into Hayden and Tenley, and through the dual POVs you’re able to really understand the characters and their feelings. She keeps the reader on the edge of the seat till the very end (there’s some great suspense in the story), and I was very satisfied with how things turned out, on all counts.
Another thing I loved about this series is how Helena addressed the habit that society has of stereotyping people because of appearances, and how easily we judge someone on their looks. I’m glad Helena brought up this topic. There’s some great food for thought in this story.
Clipped Wings and Inked Armor are a series you absolutely need to read. It will become one of your favorites.
**We were given complimentary copies through NetGalley for honest reviews. The quotes are from those copies.**
Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her English degree to good use by writing popular fiction. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.