A Free Dreamer Review: Pendulum (Kingdom of Night #1) by L.C. Davis

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
pendulum-by-l-c-davisRemus Black is still reeling from an abusive relationship that stripped him of everything — including his desire for love. Now all he wants is a fresh start halfway across the country, but his new roommate is determined to draw him into his strange world of chains, half-naked men and the infamous Lodge, a BDSM club as lavish as it is secretive.

When Remus is entered into the Lodge’s annual Alpha’s Pet contest against his will, he finds himself thrown to the Wolf Pack, the very type of men he needs to avoid. What’s worse is that the wolves immediately label him a submissive, something he swore he would never be again. Things get even stranger when “wolf” turns out to be far more literal than Remus ever imagined. When both the next-in-line for Alpha and his outcast brother claim Remus as their own, the entire pack is thrown into chaos.

Can Remus learn to embrace the power of submission and choose between the brothers before their rivalry tears the pack apart, or will the tension between them unravel his own sordid past?

I’m a bit torn about this book. I pretty much hated the first 40% or so. That part was something around 2 or 2.5 stars for me.

At first, Remus is a horribly annoying doormat. He has no spine and never, ever stands up for himself. It drove me nuts. At least Remus is aware of his lack of spine and we do get a good explanation later on. But at the time, I just want to shake some sense into the boy.

Then Sebastian shows up. He’s your typical badass, growly Alpha Dom. He got on my nerves pretty soon. I didn’t like how he coddled Remus. It seemed belittling to me, taking away all his choices and taking advantage of Remus’ lack of self-confidence.

Things got interesting when Victor, Sebastian’s twin, showed up. Where Sebastian seemed to be all muscle and little brain, Victor was a master at mind games. He was a very intriguing character. I think that’s about the time I started to get more invested in the story.

After a while, questions start getting answers and mysteries start unravelling, uncovering some very interesting world building. Everything became more and more intriguing and suddenly I really, really had to know what was going to happen next.

The ending is a very mean cliff-hanger, leaving us with even more questions. It’s a very open ending. I have a feeling there won’t be a real resolution until the end of the series.

Long story short, the beginning was very, very weak. It took about 40 or 50% for me to get invested in the story. The second half was really good, though, full of suspense and mysteries.

Cover art is fitting for the story and eye-catching.

Sales Link

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Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 434 pages
Published April 10th 2016
ASINB01E46Y2U4
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesKingdom of Night #1

Review: Of Last Resort (Princes of the Blood #1) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Of Last Resort coverRaffe and his family have traveled to Castle Guldbrandsen, the court of King Waldemere, to attend his older brother Tallis’ take The Blooding, a test which if he survives will see him transformed forever into a Prince of the Blood, members of the King’s Legion and warriors of unimaginable strength,  magical powers, and near invincibility.  Now on the day of the test, they have been informed, along with the king and all the members of the court, that Tallis has fled the castle, leaving behind only a note to say farewell.  The humiliation and threat of death he and his family face because of Tallis’ actions is shameful and overwhelming.

Raffe had always envied Tallis for his prospects and physique.  Tallis was the golden boy,tall, handsome, deft with weaponry or a charming word.  And Raffe was he exact opposite, small, dark and nondescript. He was also an accountant, destined for marriage to an affluent merchant who already had three wives.  But before he even realized what he was doing, he heard himself say “take me, your Highness, take me in his place”.  And after some private discussion, King Waldemere did.  For only those families and sons with the correct percentage of demon blood in their veins could be a Prince of the Blood and if nothing else, Raffe had the same blood as did Tallis.

If Raffe survives The Blooding, he will become a Prince of the Blood, who,along with dragoons, shadowmarch, sorcerers, titans , protect the kingdom from the dark forces, the beasts and terrors of an ancient war, that threaten them all.  But Raffe’s test comes at a time when an ancient evil is rising once again, more powerful than any that  has been seen in hundreds of years.   Can a weakling survive the most crucial test of his life to become the warrior his Kingdom needs the most?

Of Last Resort is another magnificent, riveting tale of magic by that master of fantasy, Megan Derr.  Her world building is incomparable as is her ability to set the stage for the magical pyrotechnics and emotional journey that is to follow.  One of the feature I have always loved about Derr’s stories is the balance she creates between the large scale elements and the small intimacies of thought and emotions running through the main characters. Here the transformations, history and various talents of the Blood Princes reside along the fears and insecurities of Raffe who never imagined such a life for himself.

A fantasy story on this level cannot exist without characters of great heart and great evil, no matter how splendid the world building.  And in Raffe, Alrin, Telme’ and all the rest of the memorable cast of this story, Megan Derr gives us heroes to believe in, whether they be demon, human, werewolf, shade or dragon shifter.  Raffe is one that I took to heart from the opening scene as he bravely steps forward to take his brother’s place even as he expects to die during the testing.  Derr makes it clear that he is of little value to his parents other than as a way to broker a tie to richer class and that all, including himself, find him weak and unassuming.  Here he is at the beginning after it is revealed that his brother is gone:

“Take me” Raffe said before his parents could speak, stepping in front of them to drop to his knees before the throne. He placed his fisted hands in front of him, knuckles to the floor, and bowed his head low. “My blood is the same. Take me in his place, your Majesty.”

Silence met his words, and Raffe’ cheeks flushed as he braced himself for the shame of rejection.  He could all but feel his parents’ mortification, hear the amused derision of the assembled court in their tittering, poorly muffled laughs, the disapproval of his fiance’ in his soft sigh. He cringed when the silence stretched on, but said, “I am not my brother, Majesty, I know. We are the same blood, however, and I have not run away.  I will not run away.”  He dared to look up, meet the king’s gaze, hoping he understood what Raffe’ was not saying: that he would die if his Majesty would spare his parents.

Simple and heartrending, we embrace Raffe’ even as he accepts his fate and finds the courage to step forward.  The first part of the story is told from Raffe’ point of view.  From the man he is prior to The Blooding, to the terrifying ceremony to determine if he can survive The Blooding and beyond.  A lifetime of verbal abuse and treatment as the insignificant son has made Raffe’ insecure, unsure of his own abilities and ashamed of his poor physique.  That is a mental state not swift to change no matter what other transformations may follow.  I loved that aspect of this story as well.  It is reflective of a real person’s nature to see the image their mind imagines instead of what is a true representation of themselves reflected back.  We love Raffe’ because we can understand and empathize with him.

Then another character takes over the point of view for a while.  It’s a necessary switch-off, pertinent to the story.  But to go into details here would spoil some of the twists Derr has in store for us.  Let’s just say, you will be surprised by this character again and again throughout the story.  He is both physically magnificent and emotionally torn.  I found myself falling in love with him as much as I did with Raffe’.   Of course, then I found myself loving Telme’ and the rest of the Princes of the Blood as well and as deeply.

The blurb for the story infers a vampiric need for blood for the Princes which is true, but interestingly it is demons of all types that Derr is creating here.  Within this story there resides a gallery of characters and races, each worthy of their own story.  I hope that occurs because the world and beings that Derr has left us with entertain both our minds and hearts, leaving the reader grasping for more of each one and their backstory.

Megan Derr’s prose moves swiftly and fluidly, building the suspense and anticipation even as she engages our hearts and sympathies for the main characters.  There will be heart stopping battles, deaths so painful it will bring tears to your eyes, and untold acts of villainy as to clench your fists.  What a saga!  I can’t wait to see what the next story brings.  Put this on your must have, must read now list!  Trust me when I say you won’t be able to put this down once you have started!

Cover art by Aisha Akeju.  Terrific cover as is the map inside, simple and elegant.

Update:  The sequel to Of Last Resort, With Pride (Princes of the Blood #2) will be released April 16th.  Mark your calendars!

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: February 19th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC (first published July 24th 2013)
original title Of Last Resort
ISBN13 9781620043141
edition language English
other editions

Review: Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners, #1) by Poppy Dennison

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Book Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Accidental Alpha coverOne year ago police officer Lex Tompkins was stabbed while on the job.  The severity of the wounds and the long recovery time meant disability and retirement for Lex as he could no longer physically do his job.  Bitter, Lex withdraws from everyone he knows, buying seven acres in the middle of nowhere to hide in and retreat from society.  But almost from the beginning his plans go awry. Lex has a neighbor when his real estate agent promised him none.  And that neighbor, Spencer Robinson, always seems to have a ton of people at his house and a party going on.  Plus the guy isn’t even Lex’s type.

When a toddler shows up alone in Lex’s front yard, he knows that there is only one place he could have come from. Lex picks the kid up and starts to head across the street when the toddler bites the heck out of his neck.  Lex passes out and the next moment wakes up in Spencer’s house as the new Alpha werewolf of a small and dysfunctional pack of werewolves.

Faced with new responsibilities that he doesn’t want, Lex also finds himself attracted to Spencer, someone he never looked twice at before.  What’s a bitter excop to do when Fate rearranges his life in ways he never imagined?

Poppy Dennison became a go to author of mine when I started reading her Triad series (now at book four). So when I saw that she had a new shifter story out, I knew I had to have it.  Accidental Alpha, the first in the Pack Partners series, starts with a hysterical premise, what happens when a toddler accidentally turns a person into a werewolf? I love it when an author gives me a new twist on a popular genre and that’s exactly what Dennison has delivered here.

Dennison has created a unique pack structure for her werewolf story which includes the toddler’s position within it and the reason why he bit Lex in the first place.  This is a small and somewhat dysfunctional pack with a few shifters hanging at the outskirts of the core group that is not getting along without leadership.  Into this interesting group dynamics, Dennison thrusts her disabled alpha cop, Lex Tompkins.  I really liked his character, he comes across as a hard core cop who loved his job.  And the type of personality that it takes to be a cop is exactly the type of leadership needed in an Alpha.  I liked the manner in which Dennison  connects those dots not only for the reader  but for Lex as well.  Lex is a man in need of a job that requires him to police and take care of people and that is exactly what he gets again.

This pack is made up of some very damaged, sad, and angry shifters. Each comes with their own set of challenges that Lex must first decipher and then deal with.  That includes his very strong attraction to Spencer which is clearly a werewolf thing Lex needs to get figure out immediately before his own behavior gets out of control.  I liked the pack that the author has created for this story.  There’s the toddler, Aiden, who is quite adorable.  His mother Mia, two special special favorites of mine Ruby and Nathan, Justin and more.  And then there is Spencer, the neighbor and perhaps potential mate.  I connected with the character of Spencer as well.  Quiet and unassuming, he has a reserve to him that works when the rest of the pack is spiraling out of control.  Its a nice yin and yang  sort of relationship that will evolve with the story and the series.  It’s also a lovely change from the wham bam mate thing that overwhelms characterization and plot that I so often read in shifter stories. Poppy Dennsion sets out a structure for not only the pack but for acquiring mates as well.

The ending of Accidental Alpha sees Lex, Spencer and the rest slowly adjusting to each other and the change in pack dynamics.   It’s a new start for them all and an appropriate place to end the first book in the series.  Poppy Dennison had laid her ground work while still leaving room to flesh out the personalities and back history of the individual pack members.  I also expect to learn more about Lex as well.   Accidental Alpha leaves me wanting more of the Pack Partners series and that’s exactly what it should do.  Great job, Poppy Dennison.  I can’t wait to see what will happen next.  Please don’t make us wait too long.

Cover Art © 2013 Wilde City Press Photo by Kent Taylor, courtesy http://www.ragingstallion.com  What a perfect cover!  That’s Lex exactly.

Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages
Published September 11th 2013 by Wilde City Press

The Winners Are Announced for The Tameness of the Wolf Week! Happy Birthday, Kendall McKenna!

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It’s here, our final day with Kendall McKenna and The Tameness of the Wolf Week.  It’s been a great week with terrific prizes and  author insight into a series that is just outstanding and one of Scattered Thoughts Best of Lists for 2013.  I am sure you all are with me when I say I can’t wait for more.

Thank you, Kendall, for the wonderful posts and gifts.

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords

Strength of the Wolf Banner

Whew! It’s been a helluva week! I was already behind on some administrative duties when Strength of the Wolf was released. The reaction was so strong, it was all I could do to keep up with email, Facebook PMs, and messages left on my wall, and on The Tameness of the Wolf’s Facebook page. I’ve been participating in the Suicide Prevention Blog Hop (because as of 2013, more military personnel take their own lives each day/year, than are killed in combat), and I have two new guest blog appearances starting today, and it’s been rough keeping up!

Who am I kidding? I’m even farther behind than I was!

And don’t think any of this is a complaint, because it certainly is not! What it is, is an observation of the escalation of the reaction to the Tameness of the Wolf books as they come out. I think the love of paranormal stories gave Strength of the Pack a good launch, but Strength of the Wolf was met with a perfect storm of paranormal, sequel, and my own slightly higher author profile. From an objective standpoint, it’s fascinating to watch how each series generates its own unique reaction. Each new title generates a slightly more intense reaction than the one before.

So here we are, one week into the release of Strength of the Wolf, it’s topping the bestseller lists, and I’m still behind in admin work! Just in case it’s not clear, when I’m behind in admin work, that means I’m not working on the next book! Yikes!  Today, none of that matters!  We’re celebrating my birthday, today, by announcing the last of the contest winners!  My thanks to everyone who has stopped by, read my posts, read the wonderful reviews for both books, and entered the contests!

A huge thanks to Melanie (aka Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words) who stayed in stealth mode! I knew you were out there, even though you stayed in the background. I appreciate the two great reviews for Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf.

So, to celebrate my birthday today, I’m going to finish giving out gifts to YOU!KM Dog Tags

Jumping back a bit, the winner of Noah and Lucas’ dog tags is Carissa! Congratulations! Drop me an email at Kendall.mckenna3 at gmail dot com with your shipping address.

Next up, the winner of Tim and Jeremy’s dog tags is Fedora! Congratulations to you as well! Be sure to let me know your mailing address.

And for the GRAND FINALE! The winner of the e-book copy of Strength of the Wolf is: Lyra L! Congratulations! I just need to know which format you need!

Once again, my thanks to everyone for participating!  Congratulations to all the winners!  I hope your prizes help you enjoy my birthday!  Now, go run and tell all your friends and family about this wonder series of books you’ve read and how they need to check them out now, before too many of them get released! 😉

Time for me to lace up my LPCs and step off! Kilo-Mike out!Strength of the PackStrengthoftheWolf4

Kendall McKenna

love & dog tags

www.kendallmckenna.com

www.facebook.com/kendallmckenna

www.facebook.com/thetamenessofthewolf

www.facebook.com/therecondiaries

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Kendall McKenna Guest Post and The Tameness of the Wolf Contest – Part 1

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Strength of the Wolf Banner

Welcome back!

The highly anticipated book, Strength of the Wolf, was released on September 6th by MLR Press!  Less than 24 hours after release, it debuted at #6 onStrengthoftheWolf4 Amazon’s Top 100 Gay & Lesbian Romance. Reviews have begun to roll in and they’re excellent!

If you already know me as an author, and you already love my werewolf Marines, then you know that my writing trademark is authentic characters who are U.S. Marines. My stories feature realistic action sequences that are fast paced and heart pounding. I write believable love stories based on intimacy, which unfold against the backdrop of relevant and timely plots.

I never intended to write a paranormal book, let alone a series. I never made a point of reading shifter stories, so I was completely unfamiliar with the common tropes and themes. These days, I know what the common tropes are, because I’ve been told how my stories don’t contain them. When it came time for me to try to write what eventually became the book, Strength of the Pack, I wasn’t sure where to start. I know Marines, I know wolves, and I had a fondness for some of the older werewolf mythology. We’re told to write what we know, so that’s what I did.

It was daunting in the beginning, but anytime I expressed self-doubt, an author with experience in writing paranormal stories would tell me one thing; you can make anything believable, if you’re consistent in your world building. It’s the one thing I heard over and over, I knew it was true, so I paid close attention to the details of the world I was building.

I’m a very character driven fan and when I began my writing career, it was immediately evident I’m a character driven writer. When I began writing Strength of the Pack, I knew my story was about Lucas and Noah, and the conflicts they faced as they fell in love. As I developed their characters and moved their story along, I created interesting and likeable supporting characters that added specific things to the story.

Characters are wonderful, and they’re important. They’re only half the formula, though. Characters have to have things to do, problems to solve, goals to achieve, and in the case of my characters, a war to fight. My plots are the vehicles in which my characters travel as they follow the courses of their character arcs. Each of my plot points is built around the emotional note I need a specific character to hit at that moment in the story.

All of this is pretty basic when writing a real-world contemporary romance, because existing and functioning within the rules of our world come wolves fightingnaturally. I don’t have to think consciously think about them. When I dove into writing Strength of the Pack, I used our modern world as my foundation, building Lucas’ and Noah’s world on top as I went. Taking the U.S. Marine Corps and Operation Enduring Freedom, I inserted a race of werewolves into that reality. I selected portions of old werewolf lore that appealed to me, coupled it with real-world wolf behavior, and layered that onto my Marines.

And from there, I built my world. I constantly asked the question, ‘how would this work if werewolves were real?’. How would a werewolf Marine handle entering a new platoon, as opposed to a human Marine? How would this training go if half the platoon was faster and stronger? How would a human officer command werewolves, when they’re stronger, faster, and require powerful leaders? If werewolves are faster, stronger, have better sight and hearing, how would that affect combat? How would the Marine Corps utilize these strengths in combat?

Word building is about attention to detail. It has to all make sense. Everything must seem possible within the context of the story. Consistency is critical; if one character can or can’t do something, it must hold true for all characters, and any exceptions have to make sense. If Noah the werewolf is able to save Lucas with a special skill in chapter five, but fails to use that same skill to rescue him in chapter fifteen, readers will mutiny! And they should. If I need Lucas in danger to create a dramatic moment, and I need Noah to rescue him to create an emotional moment, I can’t change the rules of my own world building simply because I’m in love with this idea I have for some good hurt/comfort.

If you’re curious to see what Strength of the Pack is all about, check out the excerpt below. I’m offering everyone the opportunity to enter for a chance to win an e-book copy. The winner will be announced on Thursday, September 12th, so be sure to check back then. I’ll also be sharing some insights into why my werewolves have some of the strengths they do, and why they’re missing others, what some of the problems were that I encountered in writing a paranormal story, and how I solved them.

You’ll also want to swing by tomorrow, the 11th, and find out how to win an authentic set of Lucas and Noah’s Dog Tags! These are just like the tags worn by U.S. armed forces personnel and are very highly coveted (and a little hard to get!).

You’ll find the Rafflecopter widget for the giveaway, at the end of the Strength of the Pack excerpt.

Blurb:
Lieutenant Lucas Young doesn’t know much about shifters. When Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned to Lucas’ platoon, the Marine Corps’ True Alpha werewolf challenges the Lieutenant’s authority and his self-control. As Lucas learns to dominate and command Noah, he struggles against a strong attraction and deepening emotional bond.

During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, Lucas and Noah begin mirroring legendary partnerships. Their bond and their power grow as they survive dangerous combat and ambushes. When one of them is wounded in battle, they both must embrace the strength of their bond before they lose each other forever.

Excerpt: Lucas pulled his SUV into the parking lot. The sun blazed orange and hung low over the ocean, streaking the sky with shades of red and purple. Lucas estimated it was about forty-five minutes before sunset. There were several vehicles already parked, but Lucas knew there would be many more rolling in.

Noah was easy to spot, leaning against the spare tire of a Jeep, legs crossed at the ankles. A thrill ran the length of Lucas’ spine as he took the parking place beside the Jeep. Stepping out into the still warm evening, he realized he wouldn’t need the jacket he’d brought.

“I will admit, Lieutenant,” Noah said by way of greeting, “I didn’t think you’d actually show up.” His eyes were glittering silver.

“I said I would, Sergeant,” Lucas replied. “Why would you doubt it?”white artic wolf

“Not a mistake I will make again,” Noah drawled laconically.

Lucas knew there was more meaning behind that statement than was immediately obvious. He held out the clipboard with the roster of werewolves expected to show tonight. “Do you already have one of these?”

Noah glanced at the list and back up into Lucas’ eyes. “I won’t need that, sir. But if it makes you feel better to use it as a back-up, by all means.”

He knew Noah was laughing at him, and Lucas bristled. “You can keep track of exactly who shows up tonight and if they make it back in the morning, without writing anything down?”

“Yes, sir, I can.” It was a simple statement of fact, devoid of any arrogance.

“Since we’re off duty, we can set rank aside for the evening,” Lucas said, wondering at the wisdom of his words even as he spoke them. “Explain to me how you keep track of such a large group of shifters.”

“Yes…Lucas,” Noah replied. His face was expressionless, but his voice was laced with humor. “At the end of the night there will be two distinct scent trails for everyone who turns out for the run. If there’s any trail that goes out but doesn’t return, I’ll use that to track down the missing werewolf.”

Lucas ignored the tug of attraction he felt at Noah’s subtle amusement. “Does that happen often?” he asked brusquely.

“No, Lucas. Not very.”

Lucas suppressed a shiver at the husky, suggestive way Noah said his name. It had to be due to his impending shift into wolf form. He watched as Noah’s nostrils flared slightly.

“When it does,” Noah continued. “It’s usually a case of someone misjudging how far out they’ve run. Occasionally, I have to deal with trapped legs or lacerated paw pads.”

Lucas thought of how Noah always seemed to be scenting him. “Is that how you all keep track of each other?” He silently chastised himself for hoping he was something special.

Noah’s eyes narrowed as he studied Lucas for several seconds. “Are you asking if every werewolf is able to differentiate between over a hundred individual scent trails and identify the age of each trail?”

Not really. “Yes.”

“No.”

The abrupt answer took Lucas by surprise. He waited for Noah to elaborate but quickly realized he didn’t intend to.

“So it’s a skill unique to Alphas?” Lucas persisted.

“Having the ability to monitor several different scent trails contributes to an Alpha being able to successfully lead a pack.”

Lucas forced himself to be patient. It was like pulling fucking teeth. He decided to meet Noah’s silence with his own.

Finally, Noah pushed off from the Jeep and said, “True Alphas can track and monitor larger packs. It manifests naturally; we don’t have to develop it.”

Lucas nodded thoughtfully. That was a hell of a useful skill to have.

“Listen up,” Noah suddenly shouted, causing Lucas to jump. “Everybody check in and out with my Lieutenant, here. He’s standing Sentinel, so make it easy for him.”

Lucas looked around, abashed that the parking lot had begun to fill up while they’d stood there talking, and he hadn’t noticed. How such a large group had remained so quiet baffled him.

As the Marines passed by, each one called out his or her name. Lucas checked the first box for each one on his alphabetized list. The entire process went quick and smooth. As the group checking in dwindled, Lucas turned to find Noah kicking off his shoes.

“Now what?” Lucas asked, surprised at his own informality.

Noah opened the back of the Jeep and pulled out several plastic tarps that he handed off to other Marines. “We walk out into the setting sun, get naked and shift into wolves.”

Lucas’ mouth went dry at the mental picture of Noah stripping himself naked. “And the tarps?” he asked distractedly.

“Nobody likes putting on clothes that have lain in the dirt all night.” Noah’s grin made Lucas’ chest tighten.

“Of course,” Lucas replied, wondering when he’d lost the power of deductive reasoning.

The large group had almost all moved out into the growing dusk. “I should warn you; some of us are going to show back up in different states of…arousal,” Noah said, looking like he was avoiding meeting Lucas’ eyes. “There could be squabbling. There will definitely be some fucking. It’s typical. Just ignore it.”

Lucas wasn’t sure how to respond. He stared wordlessly at Noah for several long moments. “Seriously?”wolves howling in group

“Ever been in combat?” Noah asked, finally looking directly at Lucas with his silver eyes.

“Yes.” Lucas wondered what that had to do with anything.

“Similar reaction,” Noah replied.

Lucas suddenly understood. “Copy that.”

“Are you really going to sit in your car all night waiting for us to come back?” Noah asked abruptly.

Why was this so fucking hard to believe? “I’ve got a book, a thermos and a cell phone. If something goes wrong out there, send someone with a message, and I can get help.”

Noah gave a slight shake of his head. “Are you for real?” he muttered.

“Excuse me?” Lucas had no clue how to answer, or if he even should.

“The first of us should start showing back up just as it gets light,” Noah said over his shoulder as he walked into the dark, his hips rolling slowly, broad shoulders cutting a defined silhouette.

Lucas locked down the sudden spike of lust that rocketed through him. “What’s the appropriate thing to say, right now?” he asked, hoping levity would dispel the sudden awkwardness. “Good luck? Stay safe? Play nice with the other wolves, and don’t pick up any strange fleas?”

Noah stopped in his tracks and slowly turned back. Lucas was sure he’d crossed some sort of line of inappropriateness. He mentally berated himself for openly flirting with an NCO under his command.

Relief washed over him when Noah suddenly grinned. “I wondered if there was any spirit to go with that brain.”

Lucas stayed rooted to his spot, speechless, blood thundering in his ears, as he watched Noah walk into the darkness.

Strength of the PackENTER HERE FOR A CHANCE TO WIN AN E-BOOK COPY OF
STRENGTH OF THE PACK!
The winner will be announced right here on September 12th!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1bf30761/

(please leave comment to enter if the link doesn’t take you to the appropriate page, sorry for the inconvenience)

Love and Dog Tags,
Kendall

A Little Something Different This Morning and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Good morning all.  Usually this is the space where I ramble on about whatever has captured by attention.  Those stray thoughts that glitter in the mind like so much pretty baubles that like a magpie I can’t help but snatch them up.  And I do.  But today they are going into a Sunday column of their own called Sunday Ramblings.

On Sunday mornings I like to nurse my coffee along, read The Washington Post as leisurely as I want without having to be too organized.  So I am going to separate these two things (the schedule and scattered thoughts) out and see what happens.  Maybe I will like it and maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Today’s ramblings will be posted in an hour or so.  What captured my thoughts and whimsey today?  Words.  I love words.  And new ones were just accepted into the dictionary.  So be on the look out for It’s All In How You Word It, my first Scattered Thoughts Sunday Ramblings.

Now, this coming week, we really will have the two book contest and author blog from Kendall McKenna. Her new book is superb and I can’t wait to give away a copy and that of the first book in the series, Strength of the Pack.  I am also continuing the L.E. Harner series, Triple Threat before moving on to the last author and series in the Pulp Friction offerings.

It’s a great day and a wonderful week ahead.  Please join me all week.  I look forward to hearing from you.

This week’s schedule:

Mon, Sept 9:         Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 1 – Start of contest
Tues., Sept.10:      Repost: Strength of the Pack review
Wed.,Sept 11        Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 2,winner of 1st book announced, start contest for 2nd book
Thurs., Sept 12:    Review : Strength of the Wolf, Winner of Strength of the Wolf announced
Friday, Sept. 13:   Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Sat., Sept. 14:        A Surprise!

Missing Spring, Rejuvenation, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Sigh.  The Vernal Equinox has come and gone, the calendar proclaims its spring without refute for all who look at it but the weather will not cooperate!  One day of nice weather is quickly followed by a week of sullen skies, cold winds, and the threat of snow or sleet.  And while we have been truly lucky here in the DC metropolitan area in that all the snow and ice have gone around us, others like my daughter in Gainesville received over a foot of the white stuff.

To add insult to injury, I just received my first order of plants from a catalog nursery and each morning as I get my coffee, I see them lined up on the windowsill looking out over the gardens where they will live if this weather ever changes.  I swear I can hear them sigh along with me as we gaze over ground as hard as concrete and a bird bath filled with ice crusted water.

All the squirrels and birds wait for me to fill the feeders each day as they are emptying them as quick as I top them off.  I am sure they too are wondering if the weather will ever turn clement.   Red-tailed Hawks along with their smaller cousin, the Red-shouldered Hawks are wheeling over head in their aerial courtship displays. The black capped chickadees are inspecting the nesting boxes in the backyard so I know that soon the weather will change for the better and this cold, glum seasonal waiting room will be just a memory.  But at the moment, it just feels as though we are stuck in a pattern that refuses to let us go.

Sometimes that happens in life, whether we recognize it at the time or not.  What does it take for us to see that we are stuck in a rut? When does routine translate into a holding pattern?  I am not sure of the answer, only that  sometimes, if you are lucky, a change happens to bring about a seasonal changeover in a person’s life and you feel renewed once more.  Old hobbies are picked back up, or new interests in life are discovered. Much like the small green sprouts I see trying diligently trying to emerge from the ground in my gardens, your outlook on life changes and things take on a bright, new patina. Other aspects of your life that previously seemed dull and uninteresting are rewarded with a double take as they too reveal a different side of themselves.

I love spring and the changing seasons.  It doesn’t matter whether it is the spring slowly occurring outside my window or the one happening deep inside.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate winter too for one is necessary for the other to be truly glorious and appreciated.  The plants have needed their rest, some seeds requiring the cold in order to germinate in the spring, and a winter chill will keep some insect populations under control.  A cold winter’s night can make the moon and stars glow with a beauty found only during the winter months.  But oh, how wonderful the first warm, moisture laden air of spring!  It smells of rejuvenation, of new life, and I can’t wait to throw open my window and feel its breath on my face again.

It’s coming and soon.  I just need to be patient, along with my plants on the windowsill.  Sometimes, that is the hardest thing to do.

Here is the week ahead in reviews:

Monday, March 25:          Covet Thy Neighbor by L.A. Witt

Tuesday, March 26:          Storm Season by Nessa L. Warin

Wed., March 27:               Creature Feature by Poppy Dennison, Mary  Calmes

Thursday, March 28:       Diversion by Eden Winters

Friday, March 29:             The Mayfield Speakeasy by LA Witt

Saturday, March 30:        Collusion by Eden Winters

Snowquestration, A Time Change and the Week Ahead in Book Reviews

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For those of you outside of the  DC Metropolitan Area, you may not have known but on Wednesday last week this area was expecting a snow storm of “historic” proportions.  Forecasters got out their shovels and measuring sticks as the TV channels were full of giddy meteorologists pantomiming digging out driveways and anchors were busy imploring people to be prepared and stay home. Hour by hour the weather alerts increased the amount of snowfall we would see, Pepco our dysfunctional power company sent out text messages and robo called homes letting everyone know that they were on top of things, getting in crews from as far away as Alabama to keep the power on and lines clear of snow (for once).  Schools in countries around the area from MD, DC and VA quickly cancelled classes the day before and the Federal Government closed all offices with all local governments following suit just as quickly.  Grocery stores ran out of milk and other essentials, so did the liquor and wine stores. Streets emptied, stores shut down and our normally hyped up busy region turned into a ghost town.  And we waited for the storm to start.

And we waited for the storm to start some more.  Curtains were pulled back, and necks craned up as all eyes searched the sky for the first flakes to fall.  And soon they did.

Big, fat, ginormous flakes fell.

And then they stopped falling.  And it started to rain.  And rain.  And more rain.

Why did it rain?  Because it had been f*&king warm all week long.  A kindergartener could have told you that when it is that warm, it is not going to snow.  And it didn’t, at least not here.  It snowed in Pennsylvania, and in the mountains of VA, and the Midwest, and New England and  out west, everywhere but here.  Where it rained.  OK we needed the rain, so that was great.  But really, our entire region shut down because of rain.  Is is any wonder that people outside the Beltway  (the huge highway that encircles DC) think our area has lost our collective mind?  That common sense and sound judgement are but vague concepts that make only fleeting appearances in the thoughts of those who inhabit Congress, run the World Bank, plot the course of the country on levels both small and  large?

What name did we call this “historic” snowstorm?  Why Snowquestration of course.  That alone made perfect sense.  A name that conjures up thoughts of dysfunction, of something that doesn’t work on the most basic level, something thought up in Congress that unfortunately affects everyone but Congress.  Really, is that not  perfection in labeling?  I think so.  It was the only thing that rang true for this storm and our area.  Pundits will be using this for years in their columns.  Ah, Washington, DC you have done it again.  So proud to be from this area. But on the other hand it really is good for a laugh and we all need those.   We closed the Federal government and schools because of rain. Have you stopped laughing yet?

The time changed.  We sprang forward an hour.  I hate this.  Leave the time alone.  Enuf’ said.

So spring is back (not that it ever really left), our DC Metro Book group is meeting today and I must be off.  So without further ado, here is the week in reviews:

Monday, March 11:                 Blacque/Bleu by Belinda McBride

Tuesday, March 12:                 Venetian Masks by Kim Fielding

Wed., March 13:                       Silver/Steel by Belinda McBride

Thursday, March 14:              Metal Heart by Meredith Shayne

Friday, March 15:                    Open Cover Before Striking by Willa Okati

Sat., March 16:                         Unconventional Union by Scotty Cade

March Came Roaring In Like a Lion and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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Remember last March in Maryland?  The sun was shining over plants newly emerged from the ground,  our temperatures hovered in the high 70’s after experiencing absolutely no winter at all.  Birds were nesting, the butterflies were flying, and thoughts of picnics and outdoor barbecue dinners molded our grocery lists.  Even now I can bask in the memories….

Now switch to present day and the snow flurries I saw swirling around in clear defiance that it was March.  It was cold and dark clouds made sure the sun never made an appearance.  I stopped to look at the pansies with their smiling faces at Good Earth and thought “not in a million years am I hanging around outside to plant you so bugger off”,  channeling some Brits I know.  Those of you in the middle of huge snowstorms or still in recovery from the same are probably wanting to smack me over such piddling weather.  Me too.  I do realize it could be so much worse but this dang climate change has upped our expectations for March beyond all reasonability, hence the whining.

On the other hand, it does give me time to spend with plant catalogs, and go to a whine oops wine and cooking demonstration like I did  yesterday.  Had the weather been gorgeous, I would have been outside and missed a Mahi Mahi cooked in a buirre blanc sauce to die for, a lovely Coq au vin and a porc du rose, just a lovely 3 hours spent with nice people, great wines and food and a very funny Chef Read.  So highs and lows, cold and hot, one friend moves away and I get the chance to meet others. Life, the weather and changing climate keeps springing changes upon us whether (ha!) we are ready or not, usually mostly not.   Hmmmm,..rambling here again.

So where were we? Ah yes, the week ahead.  Hopefully that will see the Caps win, the Nats all heathly and happy in Florida, honestly don’t care what’s going on with the “Skins, and new recipes to try out.  I will be finishing up the Cambridge Fellows Mysteries series this week and it will be sad to say goodbye to Jonty and Orlando.  Look for a post full of Q & A with Charlie Cochrane to post the day following.  She was wonderful in answering all the questions that kept popping into my brain as I finished All Lessons Learned.  We have a mixed bag of new and familiar authors here, something for everyone I believe.  So here is the way it is scheduled so far:

Monday, March 4:                     Spot Me by Andrew Grey

Tuesday, March 5:                     Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C

Wed., March 6:                           Velocity by Amelia C. Gormley

Thursday, March 7:                    Lessons for Survivors by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, March 8:                         A Cambridge Fellows Q & A with Charlie Cochrane

Saturday, March 9:                     His Best Man by Treva Harte

So there it is, a really good week ahead.  Now if just those blasted snow clouds would go away I might just think about planting some pansies….

Super Bowl Sunday and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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It’s Super Bowl Sunday and the Battle of the Harbaugh brothers.  The Baltimore Ravens versus San Francisco  49ers. The Purple vs the Gold!  Not surprisingly, since I live in Maryland, I will be rooting for the Ravens and cheering along with their mascot Poe.  Gotta love a team that has a raven for a mascot and named it after a favored son, Edgar Allen Poe. Will the 49’s win? Quote the Raven “Nevermore”.

And it also means it is time for all those Super Bowl ads, great, good and awful.  Some have been previewed  and the best so far (judging by my sniffle count) is the new Budweiser ad starring a week old Clydesdale colt.  Sniff.  Check it out here.

I have found two new authors for me and I can’t wait to share their books this week.  One is the beginning of a new shifter series by Kendall McKenna, it just blew me away.  Black Hawk Tattoo by Aundrea Singer did the same, what beautiful writing.  Two more books are also featured, they are by an author I just adore, LA Witt.  A Chip in His Shoulder and its sequel, the just released Something New Under The Sun. Both are must reads, must read agains! So get ready to run, don’t walk to the nearest eBook store and grab up the best this week has to offer:

Monday, Feb. 4:                          Strength of the Pack by Kendall McKenna

Tuesday, Feb. 5:                          Black Hawk Tattoo by Aundrea Singer

Wed., Feb. 6:                               MIA Case Files 3: Craving by KC Burns

Thursday, Feb 7:                        A Chip In His Shoulder by LA Witt

Friday, Feb. 8:                            Something New Under The Sun by LA Witt

Saturday, Feb 9:                        My Choice or Lets See If I Finish in Time!

There you have it.  Off to start on the hot wings and buffalo sauce.  I need to grab up my bunny slippers (vampire bunny slippers of course), my four pawed kids with bones to keep them happily occupied, and friends for Super Bowl Sunday.  I may tune into Puppy Bowl too because , really who can resist that?  There is snow on the ground and it is threatening to snow some more.  But we will be snug, and happy, and yelling our hearts out.  Go, Ravens!