XOXO AD is thrilled to introduce to y’all fan fic phenom Helena Hunting! She got her start in the fan fiction world with her debut novel, Clipped Wings, which is a New Adult love story that follows the touch-and-go relationship of Hayden and Tenley; two people who desperately want to love and be loved but are afraid to completely let go of their pasts. But do you ever wonder what happens to characters before the start of the book? We do! Which is why we’re so excited to read Cupcakes and Ink, Helena’s original e-novella that takes places before Clipped Wings. Read below to find out a little bit more about it. (Because whether you like lattes, baked goods, or guys with strikingly blue eyes, there’s something in this post for everybody!)
Thank you for inviting me to XOXO After Dark! Today I’m excited to celebrate the release of my first novella, Cupcakes and Ink.
So why cupcakes and ink?
Everyone has a vice. Or two. Or several. Maybe you slip across the street for a mid-afternoon latte to get you through the end of a particularly long day. Or you keep a chocolate bar hidden in your desk drawer for those occasions where nothing else will satisfy. Hayden Stryker, the gorgeous tattoo artist in Cupcakes and Ink, has a couple vices of his own; and they just happen to be cupcakes and ink.
Let’s imagine this scenario for a moment: you’re standing in line at the local coffee shop waiting for the tie-sporting, briefcase-toting suit in front of you to turn off his Bluetooth and order a damn coffee. The apron-wearing dude behind the counter with the dreads suggests he pair it with one of treats housed ever so suggestively in the glass case.
You stare longingly at the plethora of baked goods, debating whether or not you’ll need to run an extra 5k this week if you permit yourself the indulgence. As you ponder the pros and cons, The Suit takes his cappuccino and moves on to the sugar and cream station.
Meanwhile, the barista asks in his pleasant way what he can get for you. You order your latte whatever-you-drink and modify it until it’s a barely recognizable version of the original (I do this every time). You morosely decline the baked good option, despite knowing you’ll end up making up for it somehow this afternoon by eating something you shouldn’t. Probably that chocolate bar hidden in your desk.
As you move aside to await the masterful crafting of your latte, the guy behind you, who you didn’t even notice was there, steps up to take your place. He’s wearing a t-shirt. He has full sleeves. Full sleeves. One arm is covered in vibrant ink, the other in thick black lines that make up a pattern you can’t discern. Oh God. There has to be more ink. A pair of rings pierce his full bottom lip and there’s a curved barbell slicing through his eyebrow. He has the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen in your life and he makes The Suit look like a two instead of an acceptable eight. Are there other piercings? Where? How many? You try not to stare while he chats with the barista like they’re best buddies and you spin intricate fantasies about what else he’s got under all those unnecessary clothes.
He orders a coffee. He takes it black. He’s so hardcore.
And then he orders a cupcake. A cupcake, damnit. The vanilla kind, with the thick swirl of fluffy icing on top. He doesn’t even care that the icing is pink. He tells the barista not to bother boxing it. He peels back the wrapper and takes a massive bite. His eyes flutter shut and he makes a sound that causes goosebumps to rise along your arms. His throat bobs as he swallows. It’s so hot. Why is it so hot?
The tatted-up cupcake eater takes another bite and you imagine what it would be like to be devoured like that. And yeah . . . so that about explains the cupcakes.
Which leaves the ink. In a world where fads last fifteen minutes and trends change faster than panties, tattoos represent the ultimate commitment to artistic expression. Every piece tells a story, records a moment, a memory, a snapshot of life. There is something inherently sexy about body art. But beyond that, there is connection and intimacy in transferring a design to skin, as well as catharsis. Pair that with an unholy obsession with cupcakes and you’ve got Hayden Stryker, the hero in Cupcakes and Ink.
Gorgeous, cut, intimidating, fiercely loyal, unwittingly selfless, profane and panty-incineratingly intelligent, Hayden Stryker is the perfect canvas for ink. He’s damaged and perfectly imperfect.
Cupcakes and Ink is on sale today so click the button below to start downloading now!