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.
Their body art is hot. Their chemistry is even hotter.
From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.
Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.
But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts…
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
My head ached. A night of piss-poor sleep had turned the mildly irritating into infuriating. Between the droves of freshmen who had been passing through the shop recently and the naïve girl currently in my chair, I’d had it.
I rubbed my temple to ease the dull throb that had developed over the course of the day. Ten more minutes and I’d be done with the design if I could stay focused. I was having difficulty winning the battle, because I was preoccupied. Once I completed the unicorn tattoo, there were no more appointments scheduled and more than an hour before closing. If I was unlucky, I would get stuck with another college brat walk-in who wanted a cartoon character slapped on their skin.
The preferred option was to finish with my client so I could duck across the street to my aunt Cassie’s used bookstore and café. Coffee runs to Serendipity had become my new favorite pastime over the last four weeks, ever since Cassie hired the new girl. She was the reason I was so distractible. I hadn’t seen her lately even with my increase in caffeine consumption, and I was looking to rectify that, stat.
I swiped a damp cloth over the fresh ink. The girl in my chair had been relatively quiet since I started shading in the outline, which was fine. I wasn’t in the mood for idle chitchat. Instead I focused on the hum of the tattoo machines. The sound never bothered me. It soothed, like good music.
It was the superfluous stuff that irked: the inane chatter of teenagers, the nervous tapping of a shoe on the polished hardwood, and on the flat-screen, the loud drone of a newscaster as he spouted off the devastation of the day. The nasal timbre of his voice annoyed the hell out of me. Yet I couldn’t stop listening, drawn in by the desire to know that other people’s lives sucked more than mine.
“Can you turn that down?” I called to Lisa, our resident bookkeeper and piercer.
“Just a minute.” She waved me off but palmed the remote.
The other artists in the shop were also working fixedly on clients. I seemed to be the only one with attention issues. The bell over the door tinkled, saving me from further irritation. Lisa changed the station and heavy rock beats filled the air, the bass vibrating the floor. She turned the volume down to a reasonable level.
Pausing, I glanced over, praying it wasn’t another insipid college girl looking to flirt with deviance. The next client would be mine. Then I’d never get to Serendipity before it closed.
Any potential aggravation evaporated the moment I saw Cassie’s new employee. She clutched a pile of books to her chest like a shield, her long hair windblown around her face. Her eyes darted away when she caught me looking at her.
Her name was Tenley. I didn’t know this because we’d been formally introduced—even though I had spoken to her a few times—but because Cassie imparted the information upon my request. Cassie, fountain of information that she was, also informed me that Tenley came from Arden Hills, Minnesota, and was in a master’s program at Northwestern. She didn’t act like one of those typical Ivy League type snobs, though. She seemed pretty down to earth based on what little she’d said to me. Which, admittedly, wasn’t a whole hell of a lot.
The first time I saw her was almost a month ago. I went over to Serendipity to visit my aunt and buy coffee, which wasn’t unusual. However, the new addition to Cassie’s store was. She was tucked behind the counter with a textbook on deviant behaviors propped in front of her, so only her eyes showed. She was so immersed in what she was reading that she didn’t hear the door chime, signaling my entrance.
I scared her when I asked if Cassie was around as an excuse to get a closer look. Her textbook toppled over and her half-full coffee went down with it, dousing the page in beige liquid. When I offered to help clean it up, she stammered a bunch of nonsense and almost fell off the stool she was sitting on. She was gorgeous, even though her face had turned a vibrant shade of red. Cassie appeared from the back of the store to see what all the commotion was. That put an end to interaction number one.
The next couple of times I went in she was either holed up in the basement sorting through the endless boxes of acquisitions or hidden in the stacks shelving books. Cassie didn’t dissuade me when I went to the philosophy section to see if there was anything of interest there, besides this Tenley girl. I found her sitting cross-legged on the floor with a pile of books at her knee, arranging the volumes alphabetically before she shelved them. I was in love with her organizational skills already.
I made a point of clearing my throat to avoid surprising her this time. It didn’t help. She gasped, her hand fluttering to her throat as she looked up at me. She was stunning; her dark hair almost brushed the floor it was so long, her features were delicate, eyes gray-green, framed with thick lashes. Her nose was perfectly straight, her lips full and pink. It didn’t look like she was wearing makeup.
“I didn’t mean to startle you,” I said, because it was true. I was also staring. “I’m Cassie’s nephew, Hayden.”
Her eyes moved from my feet up, pausing at the ink on my arms, taking it in before lifting higher. She unfolded her long, lean legs and used the shelf for support to pull herself up. She flinched as she did so, like she’d been sitting for a long time and had gotten stiff. She was far shorter than me, all soft curves and slight build.
“You own the tattoo shop across the street,” she replied.
“That’s right.” I nodded to the shelves. “I’m looking for The Birth of Tragedy.”
She gave me a curious look and trailed a finger along the spines as she scanned them. “I haven’t seen any Nietzsche lately, but if I find a copy I could bring it to you . . . to Inked Armor, I mean.”
I smiled, liking the idea of her in my shop. “Sure. You could stop by even if you don’t come across a copy.”
“Um . . . I don’t . . . maybe.” Her eyes dropped and she bent to pick up the remaining books on the floor. “I should put these away.” Her hair fanned out as she turned away. The scent of vanilla wafted out as she disappeared around the corner, reminding me of cupcakes. Interaction number two was moderately better than interaction number one. I was intrigued, which was unusual for me. Not a lot held my attention.
It was a while before I ran into Tenley again. This time, when I walked into the store, she heard the chime. She was sitting behind the register. There was a sketchbook flipped open in front of her. Beside her was a stack of books with a plate of cupcakes perched on top. In one hand she held a black Pitt pen. In the other was a cupcake. I had a penchant for that particular dessert item.
I caught her midbite; lips parted, teeth sinking into creamy icing. She let out a little moan of appreciation, a sound I might attribute to a particularly satisfying orgasm. At least that was what my imagination did with the noise. Her eyes, which had been closed in a familiar expression of bliss, popped open at the sound of the door. She hastily set the cupcake down, her hand coming up to shield her mouth as she chewed.
“Sounds like it’s good.”
I grinned as her face went a telling shade of red. Her throat bobbed with a nervous swallow, and she swiped her hand across her mouth, eyes on the counter. I glanced at the open sketchbook. A single feather, rendered in striking detail, covered the page. Fire licked up the side, consuming it, tendrils of smoke drifting up as it floated in the air.
“You’re an artist?”
She flipped the book shut, pulling it closer to her. “They’re just doodles.”
“Pretty detailed doodles if you ask me.”
She stored the sketchbook in a drawer under the counter. Her shoulders curled in and she peeked up at me, the hint of a smile appearing.
“Tenley, can I get a hand?” Cassie called from the back of the store.
“Coming!” Her eyes shifted away. “I still haven’t found your Nietzsche, but I’m keeping a lookout.”
“Thanks for thinking of me.”
“It’s nothing, really. Feel free to help yourself.” She motioned to the plate of cupcakes, then disappeared into the back of the store with a wave.
There was no way I would say no to cupcakes, so I took one and devoured the frosted dessert in three huge bites. It was incredible. I nabbed a Post-it, scribbled a note, and stuck it to the plate.
When it was obvious she wouldn’t be back anytime soon, I cut through Serendipity to get coffees from the adjoining café. I came through the store on my way out, but Cassie was at the desk instead of Tenley. I took another cupcake because they were that good.
That was five days ago; hence my impatience with the client under my needle. It looked like I didn’t need to worry anymore now that the distraction in question was standing in my shop looking anything but comfortable.
Her nervousness gave me ample opportunity to check her out again. She wore a long-sleeved black shirt and dark jeans. Lean lines gave way to the soft curve of her hips and slender legs, which stopped at a pair of ratty purple Chucks, like she couldn’t be bothered to care by the time she got to her shoes. As usual, she was untouched by artifice. I wanted to know if she was hiding anything noteworthy under her clothes. If the way she hovered near the door was any indication of her unease with the environment, she was probably an ink virgin.
“Tenley!” Lisa’s excited greeting captured her attention, giving her somewhere safe to look. “Did Cassie tell you I ordered in new jewelry?”
A genuine smile lit Tenley’s features as she approached the desk where Lisa sat. It bothered me that she could hardly look my way but she was all cheer and pleasantries with Lisa.
Ironically, every time Lisa went over to Serendipity to get coffees, Tenley always seemed to be available, based on Lisa’s recent reports. The two of them appeared to have struck up a friendship. It was easy to understand how that might happen.
Lisa’s cotton-candy pink hair and ’50s attire never failed to make an impression. She was like sunshine in human form, with a nose ring, a Monroe piercing, and a half-sleeve. June Cleaver fused with a Suicide Girl. Lisa tended to keep a tight circle, which meant it was difficult for her to escape some of the girls from her past. They weren’t the best influence. Most of them were still immersed in the world of drugs she’d managed to get free from. A new friend couldn’t hurt, and Tenley seemed normal enough, if a little edgy.
Tenley set the books on the counter, the spines facing me. It looked like she found my Nietzsche. I was in for some heavy reading.
“I’m just dropping these off for Hayden.”
Tenley didn’t look at me when she said my name. I wanted her to. Her sultry voice paired with her smokin’ body resulted in immediate discomfort below the waist. It was inconvenient, but unsurprising, considering how attractive I found her, not to mention captivating.
This wasn’t the first time she’d stopped by the shop. Cassie had sent her over the day following the cupcake interaction with a couple of books for me. Unfortunately, I’d been busy with a client in the private tattoo room, so I’d missed her. Now that she was here, in my space, I wanted to talk to her. Maybe get her to throw me one of those smiles she had for Lisa. That was probably asking a bit much, though; I didn’t exactly exude warmth.
“I’ll be done in five if you want to wait,” I told her, hoping she’d take the bait.
Tenley’s eyes settled on my arms, pausing at the exposed ink. She never made it above my mouth. Yup, I still made her nervous. She thumbed over her shoulder. “Cassie’s expecting me back.”
“I’m sure she can live without you for a few minutes.”
Tenley looked across the street. Through the windows I could see Cassie sitting behind the register, bent over what was likely end-of-day paperwork. As if to drive my point home, the neon Closed sign blinked on.
She turned back to Lisa. “I guess I could have a look at the jewelry.”
The answer might not have been directed at me, but I would take it. Lisa linked arms with Tenley and guided her to the piercing room before she could change her mind. I watched them disappear through the doorway and resumed my work.
After Tenley’s last visit I’d gone over to Serendipity to thank her, but she’d already left for the night. Cassie had promised to relay the message. She’d also told me when Tenley worked next. Not that she’d needed to. I’d memorized Tenley’s schedule. I couldn’t fathom Cassie setting the poor girl up with someone like me; I’d eat her for breakfast. At that, I imagined what she might look like naked, spread out on my kitchen table. I liked the idea.
Despite the distractions, I finally finished the design for the girl in my chair. It looked as good as it could for what it was. Once complete, I explained the aftercare process, strongly suggesting she stay out of tanning beds for the next few months. She hadn’t arrived at the artificial shade of Oompa Loompa orange by simply hanging out in Chicago in late September.
As we chatted, I confirmed my original hypothesis; she was a freshman at the University of Chicago, and it was her first time living away from home. She’d even managed to score a fake ID, which she proudly showed me, like she thought I’d be impressed. I didn’t bother to tell her she’d been ripped off, since the card looked like crap. She would find out when she tried to use it. For the past several weeks my client base had been primarily composed of varying versions of the same girl. It was becoming tedious.
College kids tended to be the most deviant at the beginning of the school year, when their freedom was freshest. Nothing screamed nonconformity more than a rose strategically placed on a tit. I rarely turned anyone away, but it crushed my artistic soul a little every time one of those kids picked a design off the wall and asked me to put it on their body.
Chris, one of my partners, managed to finish with his client before I did. He was already at the register checking out the schedule as I rang up my client and sent her on her way. I waited for the ribbing to start. If nothing else, Chris was predictable in his enjoyment of my irritation.
“That one seemed like a load of fun. She flip you her number?”
I didn’t respond. Her number was already in the system, and I would never use it for personal purposes. Beyond her unappealing fakeness, we had one rule in the shop that couldn’t be broken: Don’t fuck clients. Both Chris and I had learned the hard way why it was in poor taste, particularly when we got involved with the same client. Not at the same time, but still.
“We hitting the bar tonight? Or maybe The Dollhouse? I can’t remember the last time you came with me,” Chris said as he flipped the page in the appointment book to check tomorrow’s lineup.
“Depends. You and Lisa coming out?” I called to Jamie, the third partner in our trifecta. Jamie and Lisa had been together since we opened the shop. Where she went, he went.
“Maybe? Ask her when she’s done with Tenley,” Jamie responded as he worked on his client.
If Lisa was in, The Dollhouse wasn’t an option. Lisa wouldn’t be interested in watching strung-out, mostly naked women humping poles. Particularly since many of them were her former colleagues.
But I hated The Dollhouse for other reasons, not the least of which was the people Chris associated with. Damen, the guy we apprenticed under before we opened Inked Armor, hung out there on the regular.
He’d been a colossal prick back then, and nothing had changed since. Ever the entrepreneur, Damen ran a side business, dealing illegal substances. He took advantage of The Dollhouse’s close proximity to his tattoo shop to facilitate his second income. The real kicker was that the manager of The Dollhouse, Sienna, encouraged her dancers to indulge in whatever drugs he had available and happily took a cut of the profits. Aside from my disdain for their moral low ground, I had a long history with Sienna, and she liked to remind me of that every time I ran into her. I hadn’t seen her in more than a year, and I wanted to keep it that way.
“You all right, man?” Chris asked.
I shrugged him off. “Yeah. I’m fine. Just done with freshman season.”
The influx of college kids might have been part of the issue, but they certainly didn’t encompass the whole of my problem. Every time Chris suggested a trip to The Dollhouse, I declined. I didn’t feel like I owed him an explanation, but it was clear he wanted one. I had no desire to get into it, though, with him or anyone else. Further discussions about where to go were thwarted when the door to the piercing room opened and Lisa stepped out, Tenley following close behind.
“What’s the damage?” Chris asked as they approached the counter.
“I’d hardly call it damage.” Lisa stepped to the side, bringing Tenley into view.
Chris let out a low whistle. “Very sexy.”
I wanted to punch him. Which made no sense. Chris flirted with everything that had boobs. It didn’t mean a damn thing, but I still had the irrational urge to lay the beats on him. I slid between Chris and Tenley, cutting off his view to get one of my own. “Let’s have a look.”
Tenley appeared startled by my interest, so I gave her my best nonthreatening smile. She inhaled sharply as I put a finger under her chin. Sliding my thumb along the edge of her jaw, I turned her head to the side. It felt like there was a current buzzing just beneath the surface of her skin. An electric jolt zipped through my veins and headed south, ending right behind my fly. It took all my reserve to block out the barrage of perverse images invading my mind.
While reveling in the intensity of benign contact, I studied the contours of her face. The tiny diamond stud was artfully placed on the right side of her nose. Her full lips were slightly parted, eyes downcast, making her look particularly subdued. The rapid thud of her pulse told me otherwise.
I was being a dick. She was uncomfortable and I was the cause, but I didn’t want to stop touching her. It was fucking weird.
“She picked the one you liked,” Lisa said, elbowing me in the ribs.
It was a not-so-covert way of telling me to back off. I ignored her. I swept Tenley’s hair over her shoulder. It was as soft as her skin and silky as it slipped through my fingers. The kind of hair I’d like to bury my face in or wrap around my hand. I tucked it behind her ear, exposing a ladder of rings traveling the shell. A minor show of rebellion, which denoted a hidden predilection. Interesting. Maybe she was a closet deviant.
She met my curious stare with a timid one. The uncertainty there flared to life and she took a step back, severing our contact. A slight tremor passed through her. If I hadn’t been paying such close attention, I never would have caught it. Tenley brought her fingers to the place mine had been, confusion marring her otherwise flawless features. I’d made an impact. It made her all the more intriguing.
“I should probably get back.”
“Already?” That was a disappointment. I tapped the books sitting in a neat pile on the counter. “Tell Cassie I appreciate her letting you bring these by for me.”
I would personally thank Cassie the next time I saw her and dig for more information on this girl. There was something about her I liked, beyond the fact that she was gorgeous and clearly into steel.
“It’s not a problem.” Tenley edged toward the door and away from me. “What do I owe you?” she asked Lisa.
Before Lisa could reply, I cut in, “Don’t worry about it. This one’s on the house as long as you promise to come by again.”
“But it wasn’t just the—”
Lisa cut her off. “It’s cool. We can work it out next time. I’ll stop by Serendipity tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Tenley nodded, her face fiery as she looked anywhere but at me.
That sucked. Apparently I’d overstepped my boundaries more than usual. She said a hasty good-bye and rushed out of the shop, almost tripping on the curb when she crossed the street. We all stood there, staring at the door after she left. Well, I stood there staring at the door while everyone else stared at me.
Lisa was the first one to break the silence. She punched me in the shoulder.
“Ow. What was that for?”
“Are you serious? What the hell is wrong with you?”
I gave her my best bewildered look. I probably came off a little too . . . me. But Tenley was hot and I found her intriguing. Maybe it was because she seemed so damn uncomfortable around me and completely at ease with Chris and Lisa. Maybe it was the hint of rebellion hidden beneath that hair. I still planned to corner her again and attempt a real conversation. One that consisted of more than a couple of sentences.
“Dude. You have a problem.” Chris scoffed and hid a grin with his fist. I wanted to knock it off his face.
“What’s the deal?” I asked, looking back and forth between him and Lisa. I understood I might have breached the whole personal space continuum, but other than that I couldn’t see a horrific social faux pas.
Chris pointed at my crotch and snickered. I looked down. Huh. My brain wasn’t the only part of me that found Tenley enthralling. I seriously hoped she hadn’t noticed, because my shirt didn’t come close to camouflaging the issue.
“That’s just disturbing.” Lisa covered her eyes with her hands. “You need to get a handle on yourself.”
“It’s probably better if I wait until I get home.” The masturbation joke wasn’t appropriate, but I was deflecting.
Lisa ignored my attempt at juvenile humor. “She wants a tattoo, you know.”
“Oh? Where? What kind of design?” Chris was way too interested.
I pointed a finger right in his face. “You’re not touching her. So don’t even think about it.”
My territorialism was unwarranted. We took clients based on our skill sets. Chris specialized in lettering and tribal art, Jamie had a talent for portrait pieces, and I ran the gamut from dark and sinister to light and feminine. Whatever body art Tenley wanted could fit any one of our strengths.
“Have you seen the design?” I asked.
“No. But I almost convinced her to bring it by so you could have a look. Then you ruined it when you got all up in her space and tried to dry hump her.”
“I didn’t try to dry hump her.”
“You would have if there hadn’t been witnesses present.”
It was hard to argue, given my current issue. “I wasn’t intentionally a dick.”
“I’ll see Tenley tomorrow and do damage control. If I can get her to agree to bring the design over, you have to promise you’ll keep your hands to yourself.”
“You do realize that won’t be possible if I’m putting ink on her, right?”
“So am I.”
Lisa shook her head. “I don’t know why I even bother with you. It’s like herding a cat.”
I laughed. She wasn’t wrong. When it came to walking the line, I didn’t have much patience. People stuck to social codes because they worried about what other people might think. I didn’t give a shit. Mostly. There were a select few whose opinions impacted my decisions. Aunt Cassie’s was one, and Lisa’s was another. For that reason I would try to be on my best behavior where Tenley was concerned, but I couldn’t guarantee I’d be successful.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Oh my gosh, I don't even know where to start! There is so much to say about this book, and I want to cover it all! First off, I LOVED IT!!! (Hayden is my new book boyfriend!) I had read a previous version of this story, a while back and I love this book so much more!! I first read Cupcakes and Ink and was able to get a little background as to how Tenley and Hayden first became interested in each other. The beginning of Clipped Wings starts with Hayden, lives above his his tattoo shop Inked Armor. He's tired of the new collage freshmen coming in for the same ol' plain cartoon character type tattoos. He was looking for something more and just didn't know it yet. Hayden's aunt owns the bookstore across the street from his tattoo shop, Serendipity. There is a coffee shop that is attached to the store. The new hire, Tenley, just so happens to live above the bookstore, so now Hayden finds himself on a new Tenley caffeine fix. Tenley is new to Chicago, trying to find her way from barely escaping a tragic past, and Hayden is trying to keep away from his past, which he did not make some smart choices. Tenley wants a large and detailed back tattoo done, and Hayden is the one she wants to do it. He is the best at what he does. Not only that, but Hayden is already drawn to her and won’t let any other tattooist touch her. There is a reason to why Tenley wants this dark tattoo. Every tattoo has a story behind it, and Hayden doesn't want to push Tenley into telling him. He wants her to tell him on her own time. He thinks she should a small tattoo, just to see how she can handle the needle. So she does... and it's one of Hayden's achilles' heel... a cupcake. See, Hayden doesn't just love cupcakes, he is obsessed with them. And let me tell you, IT IS HOT!! (Wait until you read their cupcake related sexual encounter!) The story paces itself at a great rate, and the story is told in a way that only Helena Hunting can tell it. There were sweet moments and some drama, and Helena leaves you wanting more! If I could give Clipped Wings more than 5-stars, I totally would! Check back for my review of 'Inked Armor' coming in May!
Clipped Wings had been on my to-read list for a long time. I fell in love with the covers and am always on the hunt for a fun new adult read. This book just didn’t work out for me the way I had hoped. Overdramatized and at times cheesy, Clipped Wings sadly missed the mark. Tenley just moved to town to start graduate school at Northwestern for sociology. She lives above a bookstore across the street from a popular tattoo shop called, Inked Armor. One of the tattoo artists caught her eye immediately. Hayden, the bookstore owner’s nephew, is also notices Tenley and practically falls all over himself whens he comes over to visit her friend. Hayden and Tenley are both victims of troublesome pasts. Both are fraught with horrifying loss and intense pain. At first, neither of them are aware of how much their pasts truly link them together. As a way to memorialize those she lost, Tenley decides to get a large wing piece on her back and she wants Hayden to do it. In preparation for this tattoo, they spend more time together, the sexual tension between only increases. The one thing in that it’s Inked Armor’s policy that they can’t sleep with their customers. I like how sweet Hayden was and how in tune he was to Tenley. He seemed to sense that she had this enormous pain and knew what he needed to do to help her through that. What I didn’t like was the message of sexual healing in this book (and I am not a fan of that). While Hayden didn’t really know exactly what happened in Tenley’s past she revealed to Hayden that she suffers from nightmares, which is presumably as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. There were repeated instances of Tenley telling Hayden how much being with him made her feel better and whole. Tenley and Hayden instantly lusted after one another and I just couldn’t jump on board with their romance, especially considering the fact that they’re both so messed up. I love characters with flaws, it’s part of what makes them more real. But as a reader, I tire of seeing heroes and heroines who have every problem under the sun (i.e. controlling and aggressive, criminal history, traumatic past, multiple mental disorders). I’m not saying these things aren’t realistic (trust me, I see people with severe mental illnesses and traumatic pasts in my day job). What I’m saying is that this has been the trend in new adult for awhile and I would like to see more nuanced characters. I also felt the book was entirely too long and repetitive. I got so bored with Tenley struggling to reveal her past to Hayden. The narrative and dialogue was borderline cheesy at times. But I knew that the moment he walked out my door, his armor would be back up, reinforced and fashioned out of titanium, nothing like the shattered glass cage I tried to hide inside. In that moment our connection surpassed anything I’d ever known. He wasn’t looking at me, but through me, inside, straight into my soul. I thought the prequel was okay but this book just didn’t keep me interested enough to continue the series despite the ending. Audiobook Comments: I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a huge Jason Carpenter fan. I didn’t find his voice to be right fit for Hayden. His overly pronounced narration style wasn’t for me. I really liked Elizabeth Louise though. She is very consistent with the quality of her narration and I love the sound her voice. *I received an audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the beginning. I didn't finish it though because I just couldnt find myself to connect with Tenley. I sympathized with her but I resented her reasoning and her excuses. Im all for dark pasts and damaged characters but she just kept punishing herself and I got annoyed after awhile. If you can get past that, then its a good read and i loved her and Hayden together.
4.5 Stars We get both sets of view points in Clipped Wings which was so helpful to the telling of the story. I think without it I quite possibly would have hated Hayden. Both of our main characters have so many issues I was a little worried the book would be overrun with drama. At times I felt a little like it was, but for the most part this is a book where we get to meet and fall in love with both Tenley and Hayden. It’s been a while since I really liked a book heroine, but Tenley did it for me in Clipped Wings. I don’t know if she’s book bestie material but I didn’t find her annoying like so many heroines. I loved reading about the times that Tenley works to seduce Hayden, they were hilarious, sweet, and a bit sexy all in one. Tenley has her issues, but she’s working to figure stuff out and get her life put back together. Also important Tenley stores her wine in the fruit crisper and uses the same logic that I do. In my house it’s honestly the most fruit that drawer has ever seen. Now Hayden, our hero could definitely be book boyfriend material. He’s a tattooed and pierced reformed bad boy who owns his own tattoo shop, so be prepared for lots of tattoo and piercing talk along with a sketchy past. I’m going to hold off until the next book to make my final decision, but I kind of loved him. Hayden made me laugh not only with the things he thinks but the things he allows to flout out of his mouth as well. He was such a possessive hero, I absolutely loved it. Sure, there are times he’s a bit…. well scary, but it was great all the same. Okay, now that we have all that character stuff out of the way, let’s discuss the important part of this book. The sex. I’ll just say, it was hot. H.O.T. hot. 5 Star hot. Everything in this area was great. The dirty talk and seduction (from both parts) leading up to the really good stuff. I loved all of it. I was a little worried when this book ended because there is what I would call one big ol’ cliffhanger. I was crossing my fingers that Hayden would stand up and fight and not run like some heroes do. Because of the huge cliffhanger in Clipped Wings I had to jump into book two Inked Armor immediate. Well actually before that I read the free novella Between the Cracks which takes place between books 1 and 2. It’s not required reading, but it’s free, quick, and pretty awesome so read it before you start book 2. I received an ARC copy of Clipped Wings in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! Amazingly written with such a strong storyline. Can't wait to read the next book to see how it ends. My emotions are running so high right now for them both....
Gave this book a 5 star rating! Both lead characters suffered a traumatic loss that can make or break their relationship! This book had my heart feeling all kinds of ways. I was happy, sad, heart broken and mad! I definitely recommend! Does leave a cliff hanger so be prepared to read Inked Armor and see where their newest addictions to each other take them!
I loved this one so much!! A tragically beautiful story. If you need a emotional roller coaster, grab this one and get lost in it. Hayden and Tenley are what others would call damaged. They have each been through their own version of personal hell on Earth. As they struggle to deal with their issues separately, they come to rely on each other; they seem to need each other to breathe. As the relationship continues to intensify and become so much more than either of them is prepared for, they struggle to hold on to each other and fight for some semblance of "normalcy". Hayden is the most perfect badass because we see his vulnerability and how he is desperately trying to hang on - he's not just another inked and pierced man scoring with a bunch of women. He has real depth - I admit I already finished the second book and his character grows exponentially then. Tenley is fragile and almost broken, but strong in an understated way she doesn't even recognize until its almost too late. I loved this because these characters could be considered a complete disaster together, just like someone who had gone through those issues in real life, but together they're whole and beautiful. I had to buy the second one immediately because I had to know exactly what was going to happen to everyone
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read this book! This incredibly devastating & beautifully written book sucked me in and spit me out raw. Tenley is a survivor in the sense that she lost everyone she loved in a plane crash on the way to her destination wedding. She bears the scars from the fiery crash and carries the immense guilt of the losses. Hayden has spent seven years trying to come to terms with the murder of his parents. He had snuck out of the house to party that night and was the one who found them when he came home. His life spiraled out of control in a haze of drugs, booze & women until his close friends finally made him get clean. The four of them had opened a business together, Inked Armor. Tenley & Hayden lived & worked in close proximity to each other, but their mutual attraction didn't come to a head until he started to ink the back piece on her that she had designed. After that night, they spent most of their time together. Neither had shared much detail regarding their past turmoil, afraid to lose the overwhelming comfort they felt when being together. As pieces of their pasts came to light, cracks began to form in the armor they had built around themselves, until one night it all shattered.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to read this story, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t it. Hayden and Tenley’s story isn’t about two twenty-somethings screwing like rabbits, or drinking themselves into oblivion, or tempting the devil in a bid to forget their pasts. It’s a story that’s dark and moving, an incredible ride of emotions that took me from their individual losses to the road they travel together on the way to healing. I’m awestruck by this story, and stunned by the direction it took at the end. It made me realize one thing: happily ever after will never happen, no matter how great the chemistry or the sex, if the past isn’t completely reconciled. Hayden and Tenley have to do that before they can dare to declare their love for one another. But will they have that chance? A stunningly beautiful story, Ms. Hunting. I can’t wait to read more, can’t wait to discover what happens for this unlikely couple when Hayden goes after Tenley with the realization that he loves her and that he can’t live without her. ***Received from NetGalley for an honest review***
First, I need to warn readers that this book ends with a cliff hanger leaving the reader 100% yearning for more. This book was wonderful. By the end of the book, it was like I was sitting down to read about two good friends. The characters are so likable even though they are full of pain, but it is that pain that binds them together. I can't wait to read the next book.
**COPY PROVIDED THROUGH NETGALLEY** I absolutely LOVE when I’m introduced to an author I haven’t read yet & even more excited when I fall in love with that book!! What an AMAZING-BEAUTIFUL-INTENSE love story with one heck of an ending!!! Hayden & Tenley are both struggling to heal from the tragic events of their pasts. I liked both characters immediately & it was nice to have characters that don’t necessary follow the “mold” that most characters seem to follow these days. I liked that they didn’t play games like I’ve seen in the past, IE: fighting their attraction & pushing the other away when all they want is to be with them. Now that Tenley’s past is catching up with her, I CANNOT wait to read the rest of the series.
Tenley moved to Chicago trying to get on with her life. She's' had a lot happen in the last 10 months and she needed to get away and start fresh. She's enrolled in the masters program at Northwestern, has her own apartment, and even has a part time job. She's getting there, slowly but surely. But then he finally corners her and talks to her at work. Hayden can't seem to get his Aunt's new employee out if his mind. She's hot. He's drawn to ger. When he finally gets her to bring her design over to his tattoo shop, he's shocked at her talent. She says it's just a doodle as Hayden shakes his head. Walking her home from the tattoo shop one night they come across a kitten. Tenley scoops her up and takes her inside. Things are innocent as they get the kitten comfortable. But soon not so innocent at all. Hayden has a rule at the shop about not sleeping with clients. He's having a hard time enforcing that rule. He just can't get enough of her. Their pasts come back to haunt them as Hayden deals with the women and Tenley comes face to face with Trey Can they get thru this together or are these deal breakers? I was so looking forward to this book after reading the prequel Cupcakes and Ink. When I finished reading that, I really started to root for Hayden and Tenley to get together. This book did not disappoint. Ther drama and ther was sex. The emotions were raw and the story was great! Now I just have to find out what happens next. I can't wait so on to book #2, Inked Armor! ***I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***
It was an excellent read. I really loved everything about it. I was not well-versed in tattoo culture or terminology before reading Tenley and Hayden's story. The author does a great job making that element interesting. And I especially loved the nice random moments of humor from Hayden's POV that served to balance out the angst and the wonderfully emotional and heartfelt moments in their story. Overall, the book was a real page turner for me. That surprised me because I'd never heard of the author or the book before I won an autographed copy during another book's release party. I started reallyreading it late last evening and was hurriedly turning the last few pages of this novel this morning before work. Needless to say, I absolutely can't wait to jump back into their story and to get back inside Hayden's head especially. Luckily, Inked Armor (book #2) will be released this month so I won't have to wait too long to dive back into their reality.
Tenley Page is emotionally broken after an unspeakable tragedy and she’s looking for a fresh start. Hayden Stryker is a broken man who has turned his pain into art, becoming a highly skilled tattooist. When they meet, the sparks between them are so bright, but Tenley’s afraid of being burned again. Secrets and pain dominate their lives and their complex relationship and when their pasts show up, will their fragile happiness be shattered forever? CLIPPED WINGS is a hauntingly beautiful story of love and the fragile strength of the human spirit. There aren’t words enough to do this story justice in a review. I loved the body modification aspects of the story, as I have a number of tattoos myself and they all have a special meaning to me. Tenley and Hayden together is pure magic and it was beautiful to see their relationship blossom. I don’t want to give anything away, so you have got to read CLIPPED WINGS!!
Clipped Wings (Clipped Wings, #1)by Helena Hunting 4 out of 5 Stars Wow, Hunting has created an exceptionally intense, well developed, emotionally intriguing cast of characters at Armored Ink. The horrendous amount of pain Tenley has been through has caused her to wear solitude like a cloak, watching life but not interacting or allowing herself to get attached to anyone. When she starts working across from Armor Ink and comes in contact with Hayden, co-owner of the tattoo parlor and damaged himself, she feels a peace she hadn't found since before the accident. Drawn to him, yet scared to get to close, she hopes to find some therapeutic relief in a tattoo she's designed and hopes she can convince him to will help her with it without scaring him off from the back story. But when the two touch, rules go out the window, the comfort of physical contact, and the calling of the heart begin to consume them. However, self-doubt and a sense of personal punishment for past sins threaten to tear them apart if they can't see the truth before it’s too late. I truly enjoyed this cast, Hayden being my favorite! Funny and likable, yet needing love and control from a good woman. Oh and did I mention he has an Apa among other piercing?!!!!! So you can guess that the love scenes are heavy, hot, and full of heat! Ms. Tenley, whose name I love, is not scared of the steel either, but she is a sweet, intelligent, hold her own kinda girl who fits in well with her bold sassy neighbor Sarah and 50's pinup inspired Inked Armor piercer Lisa. Jamie and Chris, the two other co-owners round out the familial bunch with Jamie's fatherly calmness and Chris's childish antics that keep you smiling. I couldn't give Clipped Wings the 5 Star because I hate cliffhangers and this one ends with a doozie. It's that simple. If you don't mind great books that make you wait for the ending, then read this one! ** A complimentary copy was given in exchange for an honest review** Pepper, My Secret Book Spot
I love these types of stories and I love the premise of this series. Great characters and great friends. I really liked parts of this story while I felt others were missing something. I think parts of the story had some unnecessary dialogue that could have been illuminated. Too much thought too much unnecessary verbiage that did not add anything to the story. However, saying that I did enjoy the premise of the story. I recommend that you read the prequel to this book, CUPCAKES AND INK. It helped me connect to the characters. I was worried initially that this story was going to have some pining, but thankfully no. None. Yes Tenley loses those she loved in a tragic accident, but some things were not meant to be. I do like all the characters. Hayden, I just love him. Yes, he has his demons and he has a past with both drugs and women, but I can’t help but love the guy. He is a good person. If he was not, he would not care for those around him. Tenley, I like her as well but I do feel she is a little hypocrite. At times, she frustrated me. This story is written in dual POVs. Part of me would have liked if majority of it was written in just Hayden or Tenley POV. The frequent switch in POVs toward the end became too much and I had to think about whose POV I was reading. All the drama and situations that happen in this story, I liked. Tenley and Hayden just have a lot of obstacles from all different directions and that is one thing I enjoyed about the story. I was never bored. Additionally, I love that this was not an insta-love, insta-sex type of romance. I love that there was this shyness to Tenley in the beginning. I loved that she watched Hayden from afar in the beginning. I love how she would hide every time he would come into the shop where she worked. The author did a great job connecting me to these characters. There is a cliffy. I love cliffys. Can’t wait to read INKED ARMOUR. A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This is a difficult review for me to do. I had a very hard time getting into the book, the first 15% was slow and seemed to drag on. After that point the reading was easier going. I think the first part was just too wordy, it could have been condensed down so that we could get into the meat of the book faster. I really am stuck in the middle on this one. There were some points that I really liked and that totally hooked me. I liked the relationships, not just between Hayden & Tenley but with the other characters. They weren't there just as filler, they were full and complete characters. The writing was very vivid in some parts and that really drew me in, I could feel what the characters were feeling. The descriptions of the plane crash were heartwrenching. The couple that is described completely captured the scene and the author made you truly feel their love. Hayden & Tenley are just so broken that it's almost painful to watch them come together. This was one of the parts that I wasn't thrilled with, the devastation that they both lived through was almost too much, it overpowered all the other aspects of the book and it became about their brokenness and not about happiness or hope that they could find with each other. I almost felt like they shouldn't be together, like they were too fragile, with neither of them being strong enough to support the other. And then there was the ending....it just stops....ends....leaves you hanging by your fingernails. This is my least favorite ending, I understand wanting to hook readers for the next book but there is an easier way rather than tossing us over the side of the cliff. I know I said this before but I really loved the couple on the plane, they were such a small, small part of the whole but they stood out in my mind and I can't get past them. The writing was so good that I keep going back to their love over and over and I hope that Hayden & Tenley can find that as well.
I loved it! I loved both of the main characters, and I thought they were strong in the way they are trying to handle the tragedies in his/her life. I don't really see why Tenley felt she needed to hide parts of her tragedy, but it didn't change my opinion of her. I think Hayden was absolutely excellent, and I love the addition of his little quirks; they added more depth. I think Tenley and Hayden really compliment each other, and I appreciate that Hayden understands that his alpha tendencies may be over the top sometimes. I don't feel like Hayden is too restrictive with Tenley. The way the characters are written really helps the reader connect with them and how they are feeling. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series, and I hope Hayden and Tenley continue to grow and become more accepting of themselves and each other. I'm really glad it comes out soon; it's definitely on my to buy list!
This book was fantastic! Hayden and Tenley are just so messed up and broken and I loved watching them come together as the details of their past came to light. The pain of both their pasts was very emotional to read. Nothing was ever as I expected and it made it all that more appealing and intriguing. All the layers in this story and and the feelings it elicited from me was off the charts. Tensely and Hayden have this unexplainable connection and chemistry. I adored the build up of their relationship. Watching them come out of their shells. I think they are extremely well written characters with lots of depth. I really enjoyed their playful moments and their heartfelt ones as well. There was a lot of build up and anticipation to the sexy times… them together was just WOW. They frustrated me sometimes because of their protective layers, other times my heart broke for them. They are just sweet and genuine characters. There were plenty of other characters to keep it interesting, I enjoyed them all. I wasn’t a fan of those that were the villains but I thought they were great characters. I pretty much yelled at my Kindle any time Sienna or Trey was involved. They made me so tense! This story is told from both Tenley and Hayden’s POVs. I thought this book was descriptive and had great imagery. There was a nice pace throughout and I was on the edge of my seat the majority of the time. As more of their stories unfolded, I was captivated. The end is a cliffhanger that will lead into the next story, it was not abrupt. I am really looking forward to the next story, Inked Armor. I was filled with tension and anxiety while reading. I couldn't read fast enough, wanting all the details. I felt consumed by this story. I don't know if I can articulate how wonderful I thought this was. The depth it had, all of it. Just amazing. 5 stars. Complimentary copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Take: Here's what happened to me with this book. I got several copies in the mail and it went on my "to read" shelf. Every time I filtered through my stack, I kept passing this one up. Why? I thought it was a paranormal (not sure why, since it came from Gallery) and I'm not often in the mood to read paranormals lately. BUT...one day I picked it up and read the insert letter from the publisher and was immediately intrigued. I can tell you now, that 1) I'm mad at myself for waiting so long to read it and 2) I'm SO glad I read it! Clipped Wings is about two people who have suffered loss in their lives. They're both trying to find their way out of the hurt. The decisions they've made may not have been the best in the past, but they both strive to heal and move forward. Then, they meet. Tenley is trying to crawl out of a dark place. She's moved to Chicago to finish her masters degree at Northwestern. She's working at a cafe/bookstore and is slowly making friends. Her boss's nephew owns a tattoo shop across the street and for some reason, Tenley can't keep her eyes off him. Hayden has a troubled past. He, too, is trying to learn to cope with the losses he suffered in life. But, Hayden has worked hard to get his life of track for the most part. He has a successful business, he's talented and he has great friends. Tenley intrigues him and he wants to know more about this quiet new girl. When she comes to him for a very specific and dark tattoo, he can't help but fall even deeper into the twist that is Tenley. Oh...these characters stabbed me. I get to read a lot of pretty fantastic books. Some grab me a little more than others. Especially, if I fall hard for the characters. Such was the case with Tenley and Hayden. I loved them. Loved them. My heart ached for them individually and raced with them together. Tenley is the kind of girl I would want to be friends with. Hayden is the kind of guy I'd want to fall in love with. Watching them fall in love and deal with challenges from their pasts was difficult. And the ending, was a killer. Good thing I had the second book on hand! Overall, I really loved this book. It was a gorgeous read and I couldn't wait to get started on Inked Armor. I have to mention that I think it's necessary for readers to read Cupcakes and Ink before starting Clipped Wings. It's a novella that gives the reader some perspective on where Tenley was in her life and how she and Hayden meet. I highly recommend this series and encourage you to grab your copy NOW! Quotes: ~I wasn't sure what was happening between us, but it felt like whatever our tentative friendship was transforming into, the process wasn't reversible. Like a chemical reaction, there was no going back once the catalyst had been added.-pg 113 ~"I find your intelligence incredibly sexy, in case you were unaware. However, uneducated I might be, I'm smart enough to know those guys aren't choosing to work with you just because you're hot, which makes me justifiably nervous when you're around them." -pg 264 ~"I can't get close enough," he whispered, stealing my breath when he kissed me.-pg 371
I’ve had Clipped Wings for a few weeks now and finally got around to reading it. Mostly I wanted to read the prequel, Cupcakes and Ink first. I’m glad I did. It helped to bring a bit more insight into the characters of Tenley and Hayden. I don’t think I could have asked for two better characters in a book. Both Tenley and Hayden are so beautifully broken that you cannot help but love and feel for them. There were plenty of points in the books where I had to put it down for a moment and mentally give one of them a hug. I cannot for one moment imagine what it would be like to experience anything that they have gone through. But that doesn’t mean I don’t understand their characters and what they have done to help move on. Hayden’s descent into women, drugs and alcohol is common for a lot of people. I know he was just trying to fill a void that couldn’t be filled. Tenley’s trauma is about as different, yet similar, to Hayden’s but she seemed to make the better choices. Trying to move on with her life, to get her Master’s degree, it’s admirable. I really think she did the right thing by wanting a tattoo to help with her loss, but not how she went about getting it, the emotional state behind it. “I just want the pain to stop. You make it so much better… being with you makes it better.” Tenley This about sums up the relationship between the two. While Tenley has had a real, long-term relationship before, it’s the first for Hayden. They don’t know each other that well throughout their whole relationship but they do know that they feel better when each other is around. It’s fair, and honest, to say that their relationship is based on physical attraction. As they spend more and more time together they begrudgingly learn more about each other. Yes, they offer some insights into themselves with each other but most of the truth comes after a third person is brought in to stir up the past. Does it make for the best relationship, of course not, but they seem to want to make it work anyway. Kudos to them. As a whole the book was incredible. I laughed, I cried and I screamed. The emotional impact of the novel is intense. It’s definitely not an easy read, but there’s nothing about it that I would change. The characters are real and the story is strong. Hayden and Tenley will stay with you for a long time and that’s okay, but I don’t want to ever let them go.