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.
What Rhea Thought:
She wore her loss in an armor of ink, just as I did.
Taking off right where Clipped Wings left us hanging, Inked Armor continues the tale of Hayden and Tenley and their struggle against their pasts. Tenley has run off to Arden Hills leaving a distraught Hayden behind.
But you know what? I can forgive her for it. And you know why? Because she made mistakes and hurt people, but she also pulled on her big girl panties and tried to fix them. Score for Tenley. Hayden does try to reach her but there’s her asshole ex-brother-in-law and really, he’s all ball talks. He’s the first thing that’s dismissed when Tenley grows a backbone. I did think he’d make an appearance but he was shown his place well and good. Yay!
I think the best part about this book is the emotional growth that both Hayden and Tenley go through. No. Let me rephrase: The best part about this book is the emotional maturity of Tenley and that the same maturity helps Hayden sort through his own past.
While you would think that their attraction, their absolute need for the other and eventually, their love is what keeps this story going, for me it was more about the truth of Hayden’s parents’ death that kept me hooked. I like to think that it was their love that pushed him to heal and their love that kept her strong but the highlight of the book for me was the mystery of the murder.
It’s always good to have friends—supportive friends—and Hayden and Tenley both did. But sadly, there wasn’t too much of them in Inked Armor. Maybe it’s the glory of first love. You’re too entangled in each other to see anyone around you. If you look at it that way, I do suppose it makes sense.
My only complaint is that the villains in the book—yes, villians—are portrayed as caricatures instead of humans with feelings. There is a reason people are the way that they are and that is a possibility I would have liked explored. Although, again, their development wasn’t essential to the story, per se, just their characters. Not a real complaint, just a naggy feeling.
There’s a thin line between angst and a shit load of angst. I think Miss Hunting straddled that line perfectly—I wasn’t rolling my eyes at excessive melodrama but I was heartbroken for Hayden’s struggle too.
Oh, and the sex? Still steamy. There’s no doubt there. If I had a hot sex-o-meter, I’d give five stars to Inked Armor. There’s a subtle difference, I think between Clipped Wings and Inked Armor in regards to the sex. While their need for each other is still palpable and they’re both insatiable, I felt as though in some ways, the sex is hotter. Better, in Inked Armor. Now there’s love instead of just lust. Now there’s feelings more than that of just horniness. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.
Hayden had his trust issues with Tenley—which is totally justified, considering how she just left him for weeks without any contact—and he doesn’t just learn to trust her when she returns. Seeds of trust are planted, lines are drawn but slowly, they get back to where they were. There is a slight amount of self-loathing, courtesy of Hayden Stryker, but with a past like that, it’s only natural.
The transition from one book to the other flows naturally and I can’t say I’m disappointed at the length of the book. It has a beautiful cover and the story, the entire concept is just beyond words.
My Favorite Quotes:
“You know your family wouldn’t want you to be alone, right? They’d want you to have people in your life to love you and take care of you. I don’t know that they would have chosen me to be that person, but I want to be if you’ll let me.”
“We were marked by one another. It went far beyond the skin. It went right down to the soul. In this life, for as long as we had, we would be each other’s armor.”
‘”You have no idea what I’m going to do to you.’ It was a warning and a plea. We needed each other on the most basic level. It was that simple.”
About the Author:
Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her degree in English Lit to good use by writing contemporary erotic romance. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.
*I was provided a free ecopy of this book in exchange of an honest review*