Title: Clipped Wings
Author: Helena Hunting
Series: Clipped Wings #1
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Published by: Gallery Books
Format: ARC from publisher through Netgalley
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…
Clipped Wings is a story of how to love and then lost and then love again, if that even makes sense. This story brings together two broken people, Hayden Stryker and Tenley Page, both experienced in the field of witnessing the death of their loved ones. Carrying their own heavy baggage, it was nearly impossible for these two to have a relationship because they didn’t have the most important foundation a relationship should have, trust.
Hayden is a reformed addict and a talented tattoo artist at the Inked Armor. Together with his friends, Chris, Jamie and Lisa, they are now running a clean business free of drugs, sex with clients, and a solid client base. He blames himself for his parents murder, and developed OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) because of that traumatic event. He wasn’t just a reformed addict, he transformed his whole life. Cleaned his system away from drugs, women, and a fucked up life.
After a tragedy ten months ago, Tenley is enrolled in a master’s program to further her study in Sociology, specifically about deviant behavior. She left Arden Hills and came to Chicago to get her life back on track and to recover from losing all her family and friends. Haunted by nightmares and guilt, she thinks getting a large tattoo at her back would help her ease some of the scars and emotional pains she carries.
I initially thought this was going to be a very annoying book to me. My first impression of Hayden was a big pervert and Tenley as an expert at push and pull. They were two frustrating characters who were obviously attracted to each other and yet neither makes a drastic move to express their attraction, I mean what could be more obvious than a man having a boner just by looking at a woman he likes? They were full of vague acts, and it was a bad case of “actions speaks louder than words”. Although it was not lust at first sight for Hayden, he was immediately attracted to this new girl who works for his aunt’s bookstore and coffee shop just across his tattoo place. Although it was pretty obvious that they both were lusting for each other, it was cute how they started from awkward glances to wall banging kisses. It was adorable that a tattooed man like Hayden was losing control of his manly side just by the sight of Tenley, and ok, cupcakes. I wanted to get annoyed with Tenley with all her push and pull towards Hayden, but I was conflicted because I knew her back story and it was understandable for someone like her to be wary towards Hayden. You know those usual irritating characteristics “broken characters” usually have in these kinds of books? Both characters had those. They were scared to invest in what they were feeling, both were becoming addicted to each other, the self pity, the I-am-not-worthy-of-you speech, the lies, and all those annoying excuses each character uses just to keep their lives miserable. But in this story, I was having a debate inside my mind if it they were really annoying because they had legit reasons to be those kind of character. It was understandable for them to have these kinds of insecurities because of what they both have been through, and the guilt and the lies they both have were too big that it drove their relationship into a downfall.
It was also interesting how in depth the life of a tattoo artist was described in this book. Tattoos were a way of expression and their way of releasing burdens they have in their life. That it was art, and not just a way of earning money. I find this part of the story as a very creative way to tell how Hayden used his passion to change his life and his path. Although the story revolved around the two main characters, their lives were influenced with the art of tattoo and how it can be something that can liberate you from things that keeps you from living your life.
Overall I think this book had the right balance of drama and steamy romance. Their sex scenes weren’t explicit, or disgusting, it was passionate and it showed how much need both characters have for each other. It wasn’t just sex, they were making love and the author made sure the readers felt this. Although it was pretty hot and I kept on fanning myself, I never perceived it as too naughty or dirty. It was just right and it was romantic, if that was even possible.
Honestly, I already expected a cliffhanger by the end of the book, thanks to my friend Amir. But if didn’t know this, and I saw this cuss-worthy ending (I am not even sure if it can be considered an ending), I would have been really disappointed because I don’t like this kind of endings in contemporary books. Especially ending a book in the middle of a major drama. Ughh, I can’t really express it here because it would lead to spoilers and I don’t want spoiling people! It would’ve been better if it ended with a conflict, but looking back now, the author’s actually pretty wise in doing this kind of ending. After knowing that the ending would be a major cliffhanger, I paused reading and requested the book after this immediately. See, it gets people to want more. Readers usually expect a happy ending and the feels of the story just stop there, but in this case people were left hanging and curious, and mad. It was like making readers feel what Hayden and Tenley had for each other, hunger for more.
4 out of 5