Fractures in Ink by Helena Hunting
Publication Date: November 14th, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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’d been seeking out Chris as much as I could lately, even though he was worried about my lack of sleep. My feelings for him had become like weeds, growing faster than I could contain them. I should’ve been protecting my heart instead of trying to hand it over so it could be crushed later.
So tonight, instead of pushing him to talk about whatever was making him hurt, I let him have what he wanted: an escape. I could be that.
I was exactly that every night I worked in the club. I was my customers’ escape from life, from the wives who ignored them, or from the girlfriends who didn’t exist. I smiled and batted my eyelashes and pretended their lewd comments were funny.
Tonight I could easily be whatever Chris needed, and if that was naked and a distraction from the things outside of his control, so be it. Or that’s what I told myself as I pushed his boxers over his hips.
My clothing took a little longer to remove since I was fully dressed. Chris wasn’t as slow as usual, or gentle. There was an urgency in him I’d never experienced before. What he wouldn’t give me in words, he gave me in actions. Desperation leaked through, making him frantic as he pulled my shirt over my head and fought with the clasp on my bra.
“Fuck,” he groaned. “I just wanna get my hands on all of you.”
I brushed him away, taking care of the bra for him. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I opened my legs and welcomed him between them. He locked shaking fingers around the waistband of my jeans and paused, his expression clouding.
“You sure you’re okay with this?”
“With you wanting me?” I popped the button.
He lifted his gaze. “I fucking need you.”
I shivered at his tone, wishing it indicated a different kind of need—a sustained one that was more than physical. But I pushed the feelings down, locked them inside my aching heart, and released my zipper. “Then you should have me.”
There’s not a person alive who doesn’t have some cracks in their psyche…some fractures in their self-perception that makes them feel less than they truly are. Whether it be caused by difficult experiences or the inability to take care of those they love, those fissures define them…illustrate all of the reasons that they don’t deserve anything in life but the crap hand they’ve been dealt.
Chris Zelter and Sarah Adamson have several chinks in their armor, and they’ve used those gaps to distance themselves from everyone, never letting down their walls…never sharing their truths, simply focusing on the present because their futures weren’t something they could define.
Chris and Sarah’s relationship isn’t complicated, at least in some ways, because they’re not willing to take down their emotional walls or find a way around them in order to have something more than late night sex…the risks seem too great and their secrets could only mess their lives up even more if they confessed them, so Chris and Sarah take what they can get from each other, anticipating the time when their paths will take them in opposite directions, proving they’re not worth anyone’s time, at least when it counts.
Helena Hunting does a great job of illustrating how Chris and Sarah’s pasts define their present. Their childhoods left them broken, leading them to want much different lives than the ones they were forced to endure, but they don’t truly know how to not go down a similar path and be someone’s solution instead of the problem. Their respective issues take time to heal from and with the maelstrom that continues to surround them, their fractures may never solidify, which means their relationship will be left as collateral damage.
I enjoy Hunting’s angsty reads as much as her comedies because she creates these realistically, flawed characters who readers can’t help but love. As individuals, I felt for both Chris and Sarah and the things that they were going through, and I wanted them to be able to break free from all the negative in their lives and truly live. As a couple, I did find myself not truly understanding their connection or feeling where the bond was formed beyond the physical intimacy that they shared. Maybe I was too focused on them getting themselves together that it made their relationship less important…I’m not sure but I would have liked more insight into the work they were willing to do to truly mean everything to one another – to put themselves on the same path where their needs were taken care of and understood.
I truly enjoy the Inked Armor crew and with the introduction of Chris’ sister and the changing dynamics of Hayden and Tenley’s and Jamie and Lisa’s relationships perhaps there’s more to learn and read about these broken but mended characters.
4 Poison Apples
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2fLQnkW
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2b68yzb
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bH1ugY
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2biix82
About the Author
NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.
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