My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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If the first book was a seductive healing of two shattered souls, then Inked Armor is the scorching melding of them, like the flow of molten lava, moving inexorably and changing and fussing them together with finality.
When we left Hayden and Tenley, they had a deep but guarded connection. They had found in the other something beautiful and unexpected, but their guilt and fears from the past kept them from opening up completely. When Tenley’s past literally comes knocking on her door, she decides it’s best to deal not only with her greedy and manipulative almost brother-in-law but with her grief, sense of culpability and unworthiness. But we were also left knowing Hayden was determined to reclaim what was his.
Inked Armor starts three weeks after Tenley abruptly and without explanation parts to Arden Hills, thinking it best not to communicate with Hayden until she lays her past to rest, inadvertently leaving him rattled and broken like never before.
This last part was something I did not expect. Hayden’s vulnerability and pain was almost physically palpable. And this book, even though it deals with both their pasts, is mostly about him. The resurrecting nightmares and fears about how easily one can lose a loved one, new and old memories triggered by Tenley’s sudden departure were bleeding into his waking hours because even after all those years, he never got past that.
When Tenley finally comes back, she witnesses the emotional turmoil she created. But with a new found peace of mind, openness and resiliency she walks hand in hand with Hayden through a road full of moments with exquisite emotions as well as some bumps and setbacks. But it definitely leads to a better, stronger, brighter future.
I liked everything about this book. It’s a beautiful experience to have with these characters but I would also like to add that the familial bonds with the wonderful secondary characters made the story so much richer. I’m very glad Helen brought them back because they were also instrumental in helping this couple.
I also enjoyed being inside both Hayden and Tenley’s head, but especially Hayden’s. I’ve stated that this man, that projected danger and menace, was vulnerable, but he is also swoony and amusing especially when he was brought down to a puddle of gooey charm by temptations of cupcake underwear, shoes and nipple guards.
I almost forgot to mention this, there was a subplot which you could put together with the leading memories and nightmares Hayden had. Some night say it gave the book a sense of predictability but I think it was important for closure and Hayden’s growth.
There was no epilogue but the last few chapters were a delightful detail of the events that happened once all ghosts were laid to rest. Besides, true love has no ending.
P.S.: I never actually cyber-stalked Helena, but I will be on the lookout for the release of Cracks in the Armor, book 2.5 of the Clipped Wings. It’s about Chris and Sarah!
ARC received on behalf of Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books from NetGalley.
** The were no excerpts from that copy, because there were too many I wanted to share.**