Tags: Blog Hop, Giveaway, Strength of the Wolf, Tameness of the Wolf
Welcome to the Christmas Paws Blog Hop! My name is Kendall McKenna, and I write M/M Erotic Romance novels and novellas. It’s no secret that I’m a dog lover, it says so right in my author biography. But of my four furkids, the one that is nearest and dearest to my heart is a six year old Yorkshire Terrier named Winston.
Winston is the only one of my four dogs that was not a rescue. He was, however, a bargain basement close-out sale, because he was the only male left in his litter and his breeder needed to find the pups homes before she started back to school.
At five pounds, Winston is able to go a great many places with me. He’s been on an airplane. He’s attended SEMA, Hot August Nights, The Reno BBQ cook off, and various assorted street fairs. Winston really likes the ladies. He has little tricks of ‘cuteness’ he’s mastered, to get attention while he hangs out in my arms.
On a serious note, having four dogs of varying ages and sizes has provided me with great insight into canine pack behavior. I coupled this understanding with some basic research into wild wolf pack behavior, and made it the foundation of the world I built for my series of books, The Tameness of the Wolf. At the heart of the series are werewolves who are serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Book 1, Strength of the Pack, is a best-selling, award nominated story that features werewolf Marines falling in love against the backdrop of Operation Enduring Freedom. Book 2, Strength of the Wolf, is the best-selling follow-up story that features the werewolves and humans struggling to adapt to the differences between pack rank and hierarchy and military rank and hierarchy.
I’m very proud at how many compliments the series has received, for how accurately I portray wolves and their pack behaviors. I have my own pack of dogs to thank, for showing me how it all works. I have Winston to thank for so much unconditional love, and for keeping my stress levels down by simply offering himself up for tummy rubs. It’s a sacrifice, but he one he happily makes for his mommy.
Strength of the Wolf
(The Tameness of the Wolf, Book #2)
After a fiery exit from Afghanistan, Tim Madison is promoted to major. Jeremy Wagner is a civilian, just beginning his Transition to True Alpha. As a lone wolf, he has no one to teach him the vital principles of strong leadership. After a volatile chance encounter, Tim and Jeremy form an intimate bond.
As Jeremy prepares to someday lead his own pack, Tim struggles with military werewolves being needlessly maimed in combat, as well as specifically targeted by hostile forces. Despite Tim and Jeremy’s feelings, werewolf and human politics or family conflict could prevent their mate-bond.
The crowd of Marines backed away, forming a wide circle around Tim. To his left, Lucas dropped what he was carrying. Glass shattered on the wooden deck and dispelled the food it contained. To Tim’s right, Jeremy’s clawed hands wrapped around Terrell Hubbard’s throat. His lips pulled back in a ferocious snarl, revealing long, wickedly sharp fangs. Hubbard’s fingers were claws, as well. One gripped Jeremy’s bicep, the other was fisted in Jeremy’s shirt. Hubbard bared his fangs, barking and growling in Jeremy’s face.
Adrenaline surged into Tim’s bloodstream. His heart pounded, his mouth went dry. “Jeremy! Knock it the fuck off!” he shouted, reaching for the brat’s shoulders to pull him away from Hubbard. “Sergeant Hubbard! Stand down! Right the fuck now!” Tim’s skin tightened over his bones and his clothes were suddenly painful.
Tim hadn’t been this afraid in combat. Hubbard was inches taller and tens of pounds heavier than Jeremy. He was a trained Marine, battle hardened. Jeremy was outclassed and that scared the shit out of Tim.
“Submit, Terrell,” Noah shouted, voice rough and commanding. He sounded more wolf than human.
Just as Tim reached for Jeremy, strong hands grasped his wrists.
“Stay out of it,” Lucas said, trying to drag Tim away from the embattled werewolves. “You’ll only get hurt.”
“Jeremy’s no match for Hubbard,” Tim said angrily, trying to shake off Lucas.
“Yes, he is.” Lucas put himself between Tim and the shifters, giving a mighty shove. “Let Noah handle it.”
Tim stumbled, Lucas’ shove sending him off balance. He started back toward Jeremy, desperate to get him away from the larger, stronger Hubbard. Lucas blocked his path. Dawson was suddenly behind Lucas as silent reinforcement.
“Submit to him, Terrell,” Noah ordered again. He stood beside the two werewolves but didn’t touch. Tim wondered why the hell he didn’t break up the fight. “If you make him shift he’ll rip your throat out.”
In the blink of an eye, Hubbard gave up the fight and let himself be carried to the ground by Jeremy’s weight. Now on his back, Terrell let his arms go limp beside him. He tilted back his head so that both his throat and his belly were vulnerable to Jeremy’s attack.
A strange silence fell over the yard, save for Hubbard’s labored breathing as he struggled to get air past Jeremy’s grip on his throat. Jeremy crouched over Terrell’s supine form. He gripped Hubbard’s throat with only one clawed hand now. He leaned down until his open mouth hovered just above Terrell’s throat.
“My wolf has submitted, Jeremy,” Noah said calmly. He knelt next to the combatants, still not touching Jeremy. “You’re the victor. He submitted. Let him up.”
Jeremy continued to crouch over Hubbard. He snapped audibly at the vulnerable flesh of Terrell’s throat. Hubbard flinched. Tim clenched his jaw, silently begging Jeremy to accept Hubbard’s submission.
“You can’t filter this through any human or military standards,” Lucas said quietly. Tim had nearly forgotten he was there. “I know you think it’s too soon, but do you feel a connection to Jeremy?”
Tim swallowed hard, his throat tight. To his relief, Jeremy released Terrell, rising gracefully to his feet. “Yes,” Tim admitted, eyes following Jeremy as he stalked back and forth, glaring at the werewolves circled around them.
“Let him mark you, then,” said Lucas. “Right now, in front of the Pack.”
Tim realized everything had been leading him to this very moment, despite his efforts to deny and avoid it. “Yeah,” he sighed. He had feelings for the kid he knew weren’t mixed up with Jeremy’s, or tied to the full moon. Jeremy’s well-being mattered to Tim, but he was the reason Jeremy was angry and aggressive. Jeremy needed Tim to stop hiding.
“It’s got to be a visible mark,” Lucas reminded him. “He’s going to want to get his scent on you, too.”
None of that bothered Tim. Well, the visible marks made him apprehensive. He’d had such sympathy for Lucas, watching him struggle with werewolves making things public that humans usually kept private.
“The brat had better be worth all the drama,” Tim muttered darkly, decision made.
Lucas chuckled. “You wouldn’t like him if he wasn’t a challenge.”
Lucas and Dawson both stepped aside, leaving Tim free to approach to Jeremy. Or Jeremy to approach Tim. It wasn’t clear yet how this was going to go down. Terrell had rolled onto his side, but he still lay on the ground at Jeremy’s feet. The neck of his muscle shirt was darkened with blood. Jeremy’s claws had done some damage. Thankfully, it didn’t appear too severe.
Jeremy stopped pacing. Noah stood behind him, speaking quietly. Jeremy stood tall, shoulders squared, staring directly at Tim. His eyes were amber and those of a wolf. His chest heaved with each breath. At least his hands were no longer claws. Tim couldn’t tell if Jeremy still had fangs.
It didn’t matter if he did. Tim knew he was in no danger from Jeremy. Focusing all of his attention on Jeremy, Tim realized he should have done this before now. Jeremy’s need was a physical ache. His desire to mark Tim, and be marked in return had always been there. It lingered at the back of Tim’s mind like white noise, making it easy to ignore. Tim’s own regret poured through him, drowning out everything else. He hoped this effort would make up for his mistakes. Releasing a shaky breath, Tim silently acknowledged that he’d wanted this all along.
Tim saw the moment Jeremy sensed that their needs finally synced. He closed the distance between them in a few long strides. Tim clutched at Jeremy’s shirt as Jeremy wrapped his arms around Tim’s waist, pulling their bodies together roughly. Their open mouths collided and Tim felt the hard press of teeth. Jeremy did still have his fangs, their sharp tips drawing blood from Tim’s lips. A thrill ran down Tim’s spine, knowing Jeremy’s lethal strength was leashed, just for him.
Jeremy licked deep into Tim’s mouth, their tongues tangling wetly. Jeremy’s body was flame-hot, pressed to the length of Tim’s. His breath was scalding as it ghosted across Tim’s cheek.
Breaking the kiss, Jeremy buried his face in the join of Tim’s neck and shoulder. Tim shuddered. He pushed his hips against Jeremy’s, feeling Jeremy’s already hard cock. Tim tilted his head slightly, asking at the same time he gave consent.
Jeremy pried Tim’s fingers from his shirt. Tim gasped as Jeremy forced his arms to cross at the small of his back. The strength in Jeremy’s hand was surprising as he restrained Tim’s wrists. The arch in his back pushed Tim’s body hard against Jeremy’s. His own cock was completely hard now and he rubbed himself back and forth against Jeremy. Tim closed his eyes, letting his head fall back in silent pleading.
Jeremy kissed up the length of Tim’s throat, dragging the sharp tips of his teeth along the edge of Tim’s jaw. The slight sting sent a thrill down Tim’s spine and he wanted more. Jeremy nipped at Tim’s pulse where it throbbed just below his skin. Tim moaned when Jeremy soothed the spot with his tongue.
His body went rigid and Tim unleashed a decadent groan when Jeremy’s hot mouth latched onto the side of his neck. Tim’s blood rose to the surface as Jeremy sucked hard at the spot. Jeremy soothed the bruise with a swipe of his tongue. Tim relaxed into Jeremy’s hard body, moaning each time Jeremy sucked a bruise into his throat, or nipped sharply at his too-sensitive skin.
He wanted to touch. Tim struggled to free his hands from Jeremy’s grip. When Jeremy released his wrists, Tim buried his fingers in Jeremy’s hair, holding him close. Jeremy nosed at Tim’s ear, dragging his sharp teeth along the sensitive lobe. Tim shuddered again and moaned.
Lowering his head, Tim found Jeremy’s mouth. He chased Jeremy’s tongue with his own. Curling his fingers in Jeremy’s hair, Tim used it to tilt his head back. He skimmed his lips and nose over the pounding pulse in Jeremy’s throat. Tim pressed his open mouth to the same spot and drew heated blood to the surface. Jeremy panted. He cradled the back of Tim’s head, encouraging him. Tim sucked blood to the surface of Jeremy’s skin. He was deeply satisfied that Jeremy wore his mark. The werewolf pack that surrounded them would know that Jeremy was his, and only his.
Jeremy pulled back abruptly. “Okay, that’s enough,” he gasped. “Any more and we’re going to put on a much more revealing show than I’d planned.”
Tim blinked, struggling to understand Jeremy’s words. He watched Jeremy’s eyes roam over his throat, taking in the bruises Tim could feel darkening on his skin. Jeremy’s expression was satisfied, bordering on arrogant. Tim couldn’t help but chuckle. It was such an Alpha thing to do.
The world began to move around them. Dawson directed someone to clean up the shattered glass and spilled food. Noah tried to save the meat left forgotten on the grill. Mundane conversations swirled around them.
Tim and Jeremy stood alone, completely surrounded by Noah’s Pack, breathing heavily, looking only at one another.
“How long do we have to stay?” Desire was obvious in Jeremy’s still-amber eyes.
“It would be polite to eat something, then help clean up a little,” Tim replied, already calculating how he might maneuver them into an early departure.
“Stay with me tonight?” Jeremy asked.
Tim nodded emphatically. “Of course.” Everyone associated with a werewolf pack was excused from duty for the next two days for the full-moon run. He imagined the two of them had much to discuss over the course of the next twenty-four hours.
“Good,” Jeremy said. He turned toward the cluster of Marines who had begun to serve themselves food. “Now let’s go let them all know it’s time to keep their hands off of what’s mine.”
Jeremy’s possessive words should have angered Tim. Instead, it made him consider being rude and skipping out on food.
If anyone would understand, it would be Lucas and Noah.
For more information on this, or any of my titles, you can go to my website here.
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Today is Veteran’s Day in the U.S. It’s a day after the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. I look around and see businesses offering free goods and services to military veterans. I see civilians thanking veterans for their service. I see celebrities pitching donations for the USO, Wounded Warriors, Paralyzed Veterans, and other similar organizations. I find myself wondering one thing: what happens tomorrow?
What happens tomorrow, when we all wake up and it’s no longer Veteran’s Day? What happens when the free meals and the 20% discounts go away? What are those celebrities doing when the cameras stop rolling? Because the veterans will still exist. They will still suffer from hyper-vigilance, flash-backs, anxiety, emotional distancing, and 20 of them per day will commit suicide.
Don’t stop expressing your thanks, especially if it’s genuinely heartfelt. But don’t let it stop there, and don’t let it happen only one day of the year. The government services that are supposed to take care of our veterans are letting them down. Pay and benefits get cut, food stamps are cut, money is poured endlessly into the waging of the war, but the VA isn’t anywhere near being equipped to handle the numbers of veterans who require help. Our help is needed to make things better, and it can’t happen on only one day of the year.
Volunteer if you can. The USO and Wounded Warrior could use your help. Barring that, make regular donations to a legitimate organization that is trying to pick up the slack for the VA. Don’t forget those who still serve, and send them care packages, or donate to an organization that will send them for you.
You also need to check the voting records of your government representatives. Anyone actively cutting or refusing to fund services for veterans needs to go. Especially if they voted to send the troops in the first place. Nothing will change until we change who we are sending to represent us.
Happy Veteran’s Day. Don’t forget to thank a vet.
Tags: Blog Hop, Giveaway, Nights In Canaan, Strength of the Wolf, Tameness of the Wolf, The Final Line, The Recon Diaries
Welcome! My name is Kendall McKenna and I write M/M Erotic Romance novels and novellas featuring authentic U.S Marines and realistic action sequences, all against the backdrop of scorching hot romances. You’ve most likely found your way to my blog by way of the Wicked Warrior Halloween Hop. I’m glad you could join us. We’re celebrating all things spooky and scary with some spectacular giveaways. Best of luck!
We focus a lot of our attention, this time of year, on ghosties, ghoulies, scaries, and things that go bump in the night. But the title of this hop reminds me that in this season of costumes and playing dress up, it’s sometimes fun to be the hero.
Okay, not all warriors are heroes. But in the stories that I write, my warriors are the heroes (usually). Since I write about active duty U.S. Marines (falling in love), my warriors are smart, loyal, honorable, and in some cases, tortured. They fight for what they believe in, and what they believe is right. They’re frequently afraid of the actions or events around them, but they battle on, in spite of it. My warriors are heroes.
When it comes to dressing up, nothing beats the Marine Corps Class “A” uniform, commonly known as ‘dress blues’. The cut of the coat, the clean and bright brimmed cover, the blood stripe on the trousers, all the way down to the shiny black shoes, the uniform is breathtaking, and sexy as hell!
Instead of going to a costume party as a scary monster, maybe just once, it might be fun to dress up in a play version of Marine Corps dress blues! Be a hero, once in awhile, and look REALLY good while doing it! You don’t have to stop with Marines, either. There are some fascinating warriors through history, which make for good costumes. Roman Centurions, Knights Templar, Medieval Knights, Vikings, and Samurai all had great uniforms.
As my blog hop prize, I’m offering one e-book copy of the winner’s choice between three titles. Nights In Canaan features a vampire and the eternal warrior (Marine) who loves and battles him throughout time. The Final Line is about a Marine combat veteran who battles PTSD as he lets himself fall in love. Strength of the Wolf is the follow-up to the Bookie Award nominated title, Strength of the Pack, and is set in a universe where werewolves serve openly as U.S. Marines.
You can find out more about Nights In Canaan, The Final Line, and Strength of the Wolf, along with all my published stories (including buy links), here at my website.
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Tags: Blog Hop, Giveaway, MLR Press, Nights In Canaan
Welcome! My name is Kendall McKenna and I write M/M Erotic Romance novels and novellas featuring authentic U.S Marines and realistic action sequences, all against the backdrop of scorching hot romances. You’ve most likely found your way to my blog by way of the Big Cocks & Broomsticks Blog Hop. I’m glad you could join us. We’re celebrating all things spooky and scary with some spectacular giveaways. Best of luck!
As a child, I loved monster movies. It was probably inevitable that I would write stories about vampires and werewolves. I resisted at first, despite the popularity of supernatural and paranormal stories. Too many years of reading and watching monsters I loved, gifted me with a plethora of simmering story ideas. I found joy in world-building, and filling it with monsters, written how I’d always wished they would be.
Earlier this year, my publisher – MLR Press – put out a special submission call for stories featuring ancient warriors and vampires. I wove my trademark Marines into a story called Nights In Canaan. It’s about a vampire and the warrior who chases him through time. Despite being eternal enemies, and a necessary universal balance, the two fall in love. They share memories and passion, time after time throughout all of history.
Nights In Canaan
(by Kendall McKenna)
Love and hate. Good and evil. Life and death. The universe requires balance, whatever the cost. An ancient vampire rises, time after time, threatening the survival of the human race. An ancient warrior is reborn, again and again, with the singular purpose of halting the vampire’s bloody rampage. With each encounter throughout time, their passions burn and their emotions deepen. The vampire shares his body and the warrior shares his blood. When they are no longer able to cause one another harm, the lovers hesitate to fulfill their destinies. Will the ancient warrior sacrifice the whole of the human race, in exchange for eternity in the arms of the vampire he loves?
Reaching over his own shoulder, Jesse silently unsheathed the powerful sword at his back. With his free hand, he pushed aside the cloth covering the dwelling’s doorway. Jesse burst into the small room, knowing he held the strategic advantage of surprise.
The sight that greeted him froze Jesse in his steps. A beautiful young man lay sprawled on the dirt floor, his thin clothing askew. His skin was dark and smooth, his shoulders broad, hips narrow. An equally gorgeous man lifted his face from the neck of the first. He tilted his head back, a look of ecstasy on his features. Dark blood covered his mouth, running down his lightly bearded chin. He smiled, baring a set of wicked fangs.
Jesse gasped when the man ran his tongue over his full, bloody lips and slowly opened his eyes. The pale blue irises shone bright in the darkness, confirming this was no blood-drinking minion, this was evil in the flesh.
“Saul.” Jesse’s rough whisper was loud in the quiet of the room.
“Hello again, Jesse,” the vampire greeted languidly.
Jesse lifted a hand that felt almost too heavy, and removed the cloth that obscured his face. Saul knew very well what Jesse was and how he looked.
“You were in Yerushalayim.” Jesse accused. The fingers that clutched the hilt of his sword were numb.
“And now I am in Gina.” Saul’s elegant, long fingered hands caressed the smooth skin of the young man in his lap. He lifted the nearly lifeless body in his arms so that he could nuzzle the young man’s throat while holding Jesse’s gaze.
Jesse ached with the memory of those hands gliding over his own body. He swallowed hard, the human heart in his chest racing uncontrollably. “Set the boy aside, Saul,” Jesse ordered.
“Wouldn’t you rather join us?” Saul punctuated his question by dragging the flat of his tongue over the wound in the boy’s throat. “He’s going to be beautiful when he turns. A lovely angel of death. Can you picture it?”
“No!” Jesse tightened his grip on his sword. His wings burst into visibility as he unfurled them as much as the confined space would allow. “You will not turn him. Let the boy alone!”
Saul’s suggestive smile displayed his fangs and Jesse remembered the feel of them on his own flesh, pressed to the back of his neck, nipping sharply at his hip.
“I’ve drained him, Jesse,” Saul replied, just above a whisper. “If I don’t turn him, he’ll die.”
“And if you turn him, he will die, along with all your minions, when I kill you.” Jesse lifted his sword higher, fanning the tips of his wings.
Saul’s smile faded. He let the boy fall from his arms as he slowly rose to his feet. “After Yerushalayim, I thought perhaps this time you would finally join me.”
Jesse’s face flushed as memories assailed him. He could almost taste Saul’s skin on his tongue, feel the coarseness of Saul’s sparse beard along his throat. “After Babylon, I thought you had grown wise enough not to return.”
Saul’s expression grew hard and angry. “Why do you protect them? They are not worthy of your attention. Do you not realize what we could be if you joined me, and I turned them all?”
Of course Jesse realized. He had known for millennia. No matter his desire for Saul, or whoever he was or will be, Jesse was reborn each time for a sole purpose. That purpose was to ensure the humans did not become an army of blood drinkers while their race was mere children.
“You are defeated, Saul. I will always defeat you,” Jesse said angrily, taking a step closer. “Why put us both through it?”
“Why do you put us through it?” Saul demanded, stepping over the now dead body of the young man and reaching for Jesse.
Their lips met and Jesse tasted sweet blood and bitter ashes. He fisted his free hand in Saul’s bisht, opening to Saul’s aggressive tongue. How he hated being the immovable object to Saul’s irresistible force.
Saul broke the kiss abruptly. He slowly backed toward a cloth draped window, watching Jesse with a thunderous expression. “There is no Hittite army at your back to drive us from Canaan.”
Righteous anger flared hot in Jesse’s belly at the memory of how many Amorites had fallen victim to Saul before Jesse had driven them out of Babylon. His chest tightened when he remembered Saul on the tip of Jesse’s sword as the Euphrates rushed past.
He lunged, but Saul was already fleeing out the window. Jesse tucked his wings and pursued.
You can find out more about Nights In Canaan, along with all my published stories (including buy links), here at my website.
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