Title: Inked Armor
Series: Clipped Wings #2
Author: Helena Hunting
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Inked Armor is the follow-up to Clipped Wings, which continues the story of Hayden and Tenley. If you've read Clipped Wings, you're familiar with the way it left off with Tenley returning home unexpectedly. That left Hayden going stir crazy with separation anxiety in Inked Armor. Okay, maybe it's a little more than anxiety, but I hope you get the picture I'm trying to paint for how it affected Hayden. Inked Armor picks up with Tenley going home to sort out her past and herself, and Hayden also works on himself too. Apart from each other. This tested their love beyond limits, and both can't tell if they can ever come out of this together or not. Although it was painful to do so that way, it was also for the best that they did. They each go through hell and back so they can build a solid future together. They do a lot of growing up, letting go, moving on from the past and into a healthier future in this book.
The first part of the book focused on both of them working the ugly kinks out in their life while apart, and the last part is their reunion but it still takes time and effort to build their way back to each other and toward their future. But even when they reunite, they both are still skirting around the very words they want to hear but are too afraid to say. Not to mention their doubts and insecurities in their path. Those parts made my heart ache for them. I'm just like, let yourselves love each other already. But then I take a step back to look at them and what they've been through and understand their trepidation and why it is easier said than done.
I think Tenley going to face her past was absolutely necessary. Scary, yes, but we all need to tap into the dark side of our nature, and people are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us that we're too busy denying. We must face our demons before we can embrace our future, and that is exactly what she did in this book. What they both did actually. Tenley worked a lot on herself during their time apart, and her courage and strength really shined. Hayden too. The things they each went through and how they still struggle from it well into their current lives was such a hard pill to swallow. I just wanted to take them out of the book and just hug them back together.
Fortunately, they had some really wonderful and awesome supportive friends and family that were the constants and the voice of reasons in their lives. They kept some things light and hearty and was well appreciated. They made us laugh when we needed it most, and when no one expects it at all. I love how understanding and supportive they are. These two may wear their story and heart on their sleeve with their tattoos, but they have dark deep-rooting pains as well as uplifting and unfailing hope that goes deeper than the ink on their skin.
"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."
Hayden and Tenley's profound love reminded me that love can grow even in the darkest place of your life. Especially that rainbows can follow storms.
Inked Armor isn't depressing, but a story of renewal and growth. Out of the ashes, the phoenix will rise in these two kindred-spirited souls. In that, they hold a special place in my heart and will forever resonate. They developed as well and beautifully as one can and it helps shape them for the future. Even though this is an emotionally-provoking love story, it's not all pain and emotional angst in these pages; there are tons of good hearty fun and banter, and plenty of steamy and sexy times to keep you laughing and fanning yourself. Helena has got you covered in ranges of areas to keep a balance of the good and bad in life and love. It's as intense and tantalizing as the first one (if not more), so you're in for a myriad of treats. And don't even get me started on the sexy times that brews between them because I don't think I'll stop anytime soon. Let's just say that it, as well as their feelings for each other, are slow-burning and hard-hitting as ever. Did I mention tantalizing? Because it is and so much more. I loved to see how they reconnect and grow back together even stronger than before. Their love is powerful, strong and ever-present, and how unbreakable it is truly shows. It was amazing to witness that journey. Hayden was adorable, especially to Tenley (duh). I adored how caring he was toward her, if he hurt her and asking if she was okay. That was sweet. Guys don't make sure of that as much as Hayden does. It really showed more dimensions to the depth of his character.
What made this intensely emotionally-charged story stand out is the authenticity of the story, circumstances, emotions and the characters. This is not like any like those depressing books around that brings your mood down or makes you roll your eyes. This one really resonates and sticks with you. That's what I liked about it; it evoked real emotions and I didn't find it annoying at all.
Helena palmed the ace the way she carried the continuation and conclusion to Hayden and Tenley's story. And if you know me, you know that I'm a sucker for HEA's after such a long jounrney, so you can probably guess that I ate this up like Hayden indulges in cupcakes... of all forms. *wink wink* Speaking of cupcakes... I'm elated that there were more of those here.
I was sent an ARC from the publisher in exchange of an honest review and for the blog tour, however, it does not influence my review nor was I monetarily compensated.