Fractures In Ink by Helena Hunting (Clipped Wings #3)

Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: EverAfter

My Copy: Bought

Reviewer: Nikki

Sometimes the things we shouldn’t want become exactly what we need . . .
Waitressing at a seedy strip club isn’t ideal, but it pays Sarah Adamson’s tuition. Her goal is to finish her master’s program and get a job that doesn’t involve tight skirts and groping hands. She doesn’t need distractions. Especially not the one that comes in the form of a hot-as-sin tattoo artist who works across the street from her apartment.
Kicked out at sixteen, and a high school dropout, Chris Zelter is familiar with wanting things he can’t have. His fractured life has never been easy. As the product of someone else’s bad decisions, he knows exactly what happens when the wrong person controls your marionette strings. Now an accomplished tattoo artist in a renowned studio in Chicago, Chris has it together.
Apart from his infatuation with Sarah. She’s way out of his league, and Chris knows it.
But he’s willing to be her bad decision. At least for now.

I can’t believe I’ve never read this author before now! Helena Hunting has an amazing author voice that drew me straight into the story and held my attention throughout.

Having not read the prior two books in this series (which I will definitely go back and do) I can tell you that while I think I missed some stuff involving a trial centering around the deaths of one of the other characters parents, otherwise I had no trouble jumping right into Chris and Sarah’s story. I think I might have understood Chris a bit better if I had read the prior books, but Hunting does a great job of focusing on the here and now and only mentioning the prior happenings briefly.

Chris is a successful tattoo artist (le sigh) that has huge issues opening up to people. As a product of an abusive upbringing, he finds it easier to keep everyone at a safe distance instead of letting them see his weaknesses. Only those very select people close to him have ever breached his walls. Women are kept at an even further distance. He’s not a long term type of guy and they know it from the get go. Until he meets Sarah. He knows she’s too good for him, with her college education and graceful, sweet nature. Keeping her in the same box as all the past women was a plan that has slowly unraveled into much, much more.

Being a waitress at a strip joint pays the bills. For now. But Sarah has dreams that reach the sky. Chris was only supposed to last a few nights. But she likes how safe he makes her feel and working for a sleaze at the strip joint, she craves that sense of safeness. Especially now that she owes her boss a “favor” and she knows the price will be steep. Her ever-growing feelings for Chris put her in a rough place because she’s sure he’ll walk as soon as he finds out her boss will be collecting eventually.

Sarah spends a great deal of time stressing out about something that could have been handled with a simple chat with Chris. She was scared of him leaving and so she carried around this baggage the entire book of the situation she’s gotten into at work. I could see where she was coming from to a degree because talking hadn’t been something they’d done a whole lot of in the past, but I felt that if she couldn’t talk to him about something this important, well they didn’t have much of a future to begin with.

Chris is one of those guys who feels the need to take the blame for everything. Probably because his mother always threw him right in the path of her abusive husband instead of protecting her child first and foremost. He grew up always being told it was his fault and now as an adult he still shoulders that blame. He also didn’t think himself worthy of even looking at Sarah and went out of his way to try and sabotage their budding relationship every chance he got. It took everything coming to a head with his mother and getting his half sister out of the line of fire he grew up in to see himself in a different light.

I adored all the secondary characters and I can’t wait to go back and read how they had gotten to the point in their lives that this book followed. I am also really hoping, Ivy, Chris’ sister, gets a book because she certainly needs one after her back breaking, exhausting lifestyle of trying to support a mother who riddled her with guilt and an abusive father who cared more about himself than his family.

While there are some light triggers in this book for people sensitive to those situations, I found Fractures In Ink to be well written and the characters fresh and real. Not overly dark, but definitely a bit on the angsty side, it was what I had been craving when I cracked it open. There are drug issues as well as non-consensual, close door, mentionings. Just a heads up.

Fractures In Ink is a wonderful contemporary romance that reminded me that no matter where or how you grew up, you should always reach for your dreams.

I give Fractures In Ink by Helena Hunting 4 stars! 

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