Review: Strength of the Mate (The Tameness of the Wolf #3) by Kendall McKenna

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Rating: 4.5  stars out of 5

Strength of the Mate coverAdam Madison, convoy driver for the military contractor Ares in Iraq, is a good man suffering under a ton of issues.  Younger brother to Major Tim Madison, a officer assigned to werewolf military, Adam has long association of resentment of his brother and poor judgement calls he has made throughout his life. Plus the death of his youngest brother has continued to haunt him. Now assigned to Camp Fallujah, Adam is driving supply trucks for the Marines.  But things are tense at the camp.  The werewolves stationed there lack discipline and the Camp Alpha seems to reward bad behavior instead of controlling and dispelling it with his authority.  It’s affecting morale and their mission.

When Noah sends his Omega, Dawson Rivers, to get the camp and the shifters under control, Dawson finds that Adam helps him understand the conflicts inside and out of the camp.  Their old attraction flares up again as they work closely together to bring order back to Camp Fallujah.  But Adam has had little contact with shifters before and he lacks the necessary information and back history to understand all the issues at stake, including what Dawson’s actions towards him means.

As their relationship strengthens into a bond, the insurgents up their attacks on the Camp and the convoys.  When one such ambush succeeds, the end result is devastating. Only through Dawson and Adam’s bond might their relationship and each other survive.

Strength of the Mate, the third in The Tameness of the Wolf series by Kendall McKenna, brings back a divisive character from the previous stories, Adam Madison, Tim Madison’s younger brother.  In the last story, Strength of the Wolf, Adam’s scenes with his brother were full of anger, jealousy, and pain.  Long estranged from Tim, Adam’s actions were often petulant and explosive.  And while the reader was given part of the back history of Adam’s problems, it didn’t exactly make him a likable character.  Now he gets his own story and the switch in perspective changes everything.

I love Kendall McKenna’s characters.  Steeped in military tradition and settings, they always come across as gritty and real.  Adam is no exception.  He is cool under fire, fueled by adrenaline, and proud of his capabilities.  Adam has grown up in Iraq, and the long distance and his missions have given him a new slant on his brother and their relationship.  But the one thing they do not have in common is Tim’s close association and knowledge of shifters..  Adam works with them at Marine Corps Base Camp Fallujah, Fallujah, Iraq but the Camp Alpha has everything in such turmoil that Adam isn’t sure what and how a were should act.  As seen from Adam’s eyes, the Camp is as dangerous a place as the insurgent controlled outskirts of town.  Weres are fighting other weres, and harassing the human Marines as well.  It’s a horrible situation, one that Adam flees while he drives his truck.

Into this mess strides Dawson Rivers, the True Alpha’s Omega.  Sent to get the camp under control, what happens almost instantaneously is that the attraction between Adam and Dawson reignites as soon as they do.  Having met previously back in the States, working together to restructure the Camp and  out on the convoys, their attraction deepens into first a connection and then a bond.  It’s sexy, complicated and at times, uncertain but the author  always lets the reader know  that these men are intended for each other.

With Kendall McKenna, its hard to separate her men from their locations as it is so much a part of who they are as Marines or in Adam’s case, a military convoy driver.  McKenna’s descriptions are tight, gritty, and authentic in detail and atmosphere.  You can feel the blazing sun and the dust from the desert sands of Camp Fallujah.  The small showers, the cots and mess, they all are so vividly described that scene after scene pulls you down into their experiences and makes it yours.  Going about their duties in camp are a host of human and shifter Marines that play a number of important roles in Strength of the Mate.  Whether it is Corporal Jason Rodriguez, the young shifter who rides guard with Adam in the truck or Private First Class Roger Allen, as well as Lance Corporal Will Borovec, a shifter who gets picked on, you embrace these young Marines the more  you get to know them.  Kendall McKenna has paid as much attention to getting these  secondary characters right as she does to her main ones. Each is a marvelous portrait of a youngster at war. Some are cocky, a little arrogant, some like to kid around, others not so much.  But their actions and reactions to the situations they find themselves are recognizable and it makes them all easy to relate to.  How I love these guys, every single one.

The romance and bonding of Adam and Dawson is the center thread of this tapestry and it runs passionate and bright through all the turmoil at Camp, the insurgents whose actions are increasingly putting the convoys and the Marine’s mission in danger, and all the other elements McKenna has introduced into the plot.  It helps to introduce Adam to more of the shifter history, it gives him a better perspective on Tim and his mate, Jeremy, and it provides a needed solace to his old pain.  I wish we had a little more of Dawson’ s internal thinking and emotions but I loved what the author delivered to us.  Dawson is amazing.  Although, I did find myself wishing that his “violet eyes” had been mentioned a little less throughout the narrative.  That was my only issue here. Had the author cut back on the epithets for Dawson’s eye color, than this would have been a five star story.  As it is, that issue is a minor irritation, nothing more.  And others may find it doesn’t bother them at all.

There is already another story in the works, Strength of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf, #4).  I can’t wait for that to come out.  Kendall McKenna has created an amazing soldier shifter universe here and with each new story, she strengthens and deepens her world building and the incredible characters that are so much a part of this series.  I loved Adam and Dawson.  Their story was alternately, gripping, suspenseful, lusty, and romantic.  Or sometimes all at the same time.  I couldn’t put it down.  Strength of the Mate is one of ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords Favorites and Most Highly Recommended Stories and Series.

Cover Art by Jared Rackler.  Love this cover, hot, hot, hot!

 

Buy Links:      MLR Press            All Romance (ARe)                Amazon      Strength of the Mate

 

Book Details:

ebook, 356 pages
Published June 20th 2014 by MLR Press (first published June 2014)
original titleStrength of the Mate
edition languageEnglish
seriesThe Tameness of the Wolf #3
charactersAdam Madison, Dawson Rivers, Tim Madison, Lucas Young, Noah Hammond

Books in The Tameness of the Wolf series include in the order they were written and should be read:

Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf, #1)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf, #2)
Strength of the Mate (The Tameness of the Wolf, #3)
Strength of the Warrior (The Tameness of the Wolf, #4) coming soon at MLR Press.

September 2013 Summary of Reviews

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September and Fall

September 2013 Book Review Summary

What a wonderful month it was for books and reviews!  Most of the books I read fell into the 5 and 4 star category, a few into the  3 star and none below that.  Series predominated the ratings this time.  Most notably the series offerings from the Pulp Friction authors. There 3d-person-sit-pile-books-reading-book-26141531were new books in well established series such as Katey Hawthorne’s Superpowered Love series as well as followup stories and new series  from such talented authors such as Kendall McKenna (The Tameness of the Wolf series) and Aleksandr Voinov (Memory of Scorpions series).

Other new series includes Poppy Dennison’s Pack Partners , Cat Grant’s Bannon’s Gym) and Harper Kingsley’s Heroes and Villains series too.  My cup (and yours) runneth over with series, all promising more great stories featuring characters we have come to love. And believe it or not, October is starting the same way!  What a fall!

So grab a pen or notebook and jot down those books and authors you may have missed the first time around.  I have linked my review to each one listed.  Happy Reading!

5 Star Rating:

Crucify (Triple Threat #4) by L.E. Harner
Defiance (Triple Threat #3) by L.E. Harner
Re-entry Burn (Superpowered Love #5) by Katey Hawthorne (supernatural)
Retribution (Triple Threat #2) by L.E. Harner (contemporary)
Scorpion (Memory of Scorpions #1) by Aleksandr Voinov (fantasy)
Strength of the Wolf (The Tameness of the Wolf #2) by Kendall McKenna

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Accidental Alpha (Pack Partners #1) by Poppy Dennison (4.5 stars)(supernatural)
Black Dog (Bannon’s Gym #1) by Cat Grant (4.5 stars)(contemporary)
Blessed Curses by Madeleine Ribbon (4 stars) (fantasy)
City Knight (City Knight #1) by T.A. Webb (4 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Heroes and Villains (Heroes and Villains #1) by Harper Kingsley (4 stars)(supernatural)
Sonata by A.F. Henley (4.5 stars out of 5)(contemporary fiction)
Summer Lovin’ Anthology (4.75 stars out of 5) (contemporary)
The Crimson Outlaw by Alex Beecroft (4 stars)(historical)
Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L.E. Harner (4.5 stars)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz (3.75 stars)(historical)
Roughstock: Blind Ride, Season One by BA Tortuga (3 stars) (contemporary)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating: none

1 to 1.75 Star Rating: none

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

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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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Don’t Miss Out! The Tameness of the Wolf Insanity Continues with Contests and Dog Tags!

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It’s been a week since Strength of the Wolf was released and the insanity continues!!StrengthoftheWolf4

If you missed yesterday’s post, go check it out really quick. I talked about the werewolves in, Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf, how I created them, and why I gave them the characteristics that I did. There’s still time to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Wolf, so go get yourself signed up! The winner will be announced, right here, tomorrow!

Today, you can enter to win a set of authentic Dog Tags for the main characters of Strength of the Wolf! These are highly coveted dog tags, featuring the vital statistics of Tim Madison and Jeremy Wagner, from Strength of the Wolf. These are brand new! No one has a set, yet, so you might be lucky enough to be the first!

KM Dog TagsHere is everything you need to know to get entered for your chance to win! The winner will be announced tomorrow, as well, so don’t wait! Get entered!
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1bf30764

Love and Dog Tags,

Kendall

www.kendallmckenna.comBlack Wolf from the back

www.facebook.com/kendallmckenna

www.facebook.com/thetamenessofthewolf

www.facebook.com/therecondiaries

Buy Links:

MLR Press LLC

Amazon

All Romance 

More Kendall McKenna, More Marine Werewolves and 2nd Contest Begins!

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Whew! Welcome back, everybody! I don’t know about you, but this last week has been crazy! I’ve had my usual schedule of guest blogs and blog hops surrounding the release of my new book, but the reaction to Strength of the Wolf has exceeded the reaction to the first book, and I can hardly keep up with the email and PMs! If I still had my day job, I wouldn’t have been able to keep up at all!

Thanks for taking time to swing by and get updated. I’ve got a winner to announce later on, but first, pull up a chair, pour yourself a drink, prop your feet up, and let’s chat.

A couple of days ago, I discussed world building and how I construct my stories and my characters. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty today. Let’s talk about werewolves; specifically, the werewolves I created for my series, The Tameness of the Wolf. Creating a world in which werewolves serve in the Marine Corps, are fully integrated with humans, fall in love, and make love, with both humans and other werewolves, was more complex and complicated than I had anticipated. It’s not difficult, but it can get tricky.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve read less than a handful of paranormal romances. As a child, I loved ‘monster’ movies. In addition to the classics, I also had a fondness for the Hammer films of the 60s. Also being a history buff, I read all about the origins of the various myths and legends of my two favorite ‘monsters’; vampires and werewolves. Technology has made for some entertaining movies, and has led to the blending of shapeshifters with werewolves. I created my werewolf mythology from the most intriguing aspects of shapeshifting, anchored it in history, then used it to color my characters and my story.

Black Wolf in snowThere are two characteristics that separate werewolves (or any were-animal) from general shapshifters. One is that the individual is cursed, most often by receiving a bite from a werewolf. The second is the necessity of shifting into a wolf at the full moon. Full werewolves shift completely into a wolf. There has always been the existence of legends about a ‘wolfman’, which is a creature possessing the traits of both wolf and human.

As I built my world for The Tameness of the Wolf series, the concept of the curse became problematic because my werewolves are not evil, and are not villains. I chose to make the curse feature a part of the werewolves history, so it has bearing on my characters, but in an historical capacity. At this point, I can’t elaborate any further without spoilers!

The feature that is arguably, quintessentially ‘werewolf’, is the need to shift into a wolf with the full moon. This is what captured my imagination, more Black Wolf   White Wolf Full Moonthan anything else, so it features prominently in my mythology. My affection for wolfmen manifests itself in my werewolves being able to control their shapeshift by degrees. Unless it’s the full moon, my werewolves are able to shift some or all of their body parts at will.

When it came to the behaviors of my werewolves, both conscious and instinctive, I rooted everything in the natural world. When my werewolves become wolves, they behave just as wolves in the wild do. They have a pack hierarchy, they possess a great deal of aggression, they are able to run for nearly a day, at a steady pace. They’re stronger than they are as humans, they hunt wild prey during the full moon, and they function as a pack-like team. They retain small aspects of their humanity, but for all intents and purposes, they’re large, dangerous Dire wolves.

Conversely, when my werewolves are human, they’re fully human. Some wolf-like aspects bleed through, such as stronger senses of sight, smell and hearing. They retain the wolf’s use of scent and touch to aid in communication. They’re territorial, but they function extremely well in teams.
What this all means is, everything that happens in my stories, and all the traits and features of my characters, occur in reality. Neither human, nor wolf; have any habits, rituals or behaviors that aren’t found in the natural word. For all that my characters defy the laws of physics, and don’t exactly adhere to the law of equal mass, my werewolves – and therefore my stories – are believable. They feel realistic

Once I set up the history of my werewolves, and the rules of my universe, I began to write my story.  Again, I know where I want my characters to go, and where I want them to end up. I know the same things about the plot. I design scenes to do what it is I need done at that point in the story, and I ensure every detail adheres to the rules of the world I built. Building that world, clearly defining it, and sticking to the rules is crucial, and it makes the stories compelling and enjoyable.

I took the world that I built in Strength of the Pack, and I expanded and elaborated on it in Strength of the Wolf.  I continued to weave werewolves into the myths and legends of our reality. I showed what it is to be a True Alpha werewolf, and how Noah and Jeremy got there. I gave insight into how the packs work, and sometimes don’t work. I expanded on the role of the Beta, and I introduced the beloved Omega. And along the way, I showed humans and werewolves learning how to wage modern warfare, side by side.

And along the way, Tim and Jeremy fall in love.Marine with dog tags

Strength of the Wolf continues to rocket its way up the bestseller lists. Tim and Jeremy have captured hearts. If you’re curious, you can read a little bit about them:
Blurb:  
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.

Excerpt:
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. 

 

In just a little bit, I’m going to show you how you can enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Wolf. First, I have a winner to announce:
WINNER of the e-book copy of Strength of the Pack:

Penumbra!
CONGRATULATIONS! (just let me know what format you need)

Now, here’s your chance to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Wolf!
 StrengthoftheWolf4

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

You’ll also want to swing by tomorrow, the 13th, and find out how to win an authentic set of Tim and Jeremy’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!).Strength of the Wolf Dog Tags

Love and Dog Tags,

Kendall

www.kendallmckenna.com

www.facebook.com/kendallmckenna

www.facebook.com/thetamenessofthewolf

www.facebook.com/therecondiaries

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Strength of the Pack Contest Continues! More from Kendall McKenna On The Tameness of the Wolf Series!

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It’s a very good thing you checked in today!

First, if you missed yesterday’s post, you should go check out. I discussed world building for paranormal stories, and some of the features I included in my books, Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf. There’s still time to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Pack, so jump back and take a read, then throw your name in the hat! The winner will be announced, right here, tomorrow!tim_jeremy_paw

Second, Strength of the Wolf continues to claw its way up all of the bestseller lists!  Jeremy and Tim are winning hearts, and their ongoing struggles are keeping readers engaged! The story expands the werewolf universe, and provides glimpses into the lives and families of the beloved characters.

Strength of the Wolf Dog TagsBEST OF ALL, you can enter to win a set of authentic Dog Tags for the main characters of Strength of the Pack! These are highly coveted dog tags, featuring the vital statistics of Lucas Young and Noah Hammond, from Strength of the Pack.

Here is everything you need to know to get entered for your chance to win! The winner will be announced tomorrow, as well, so don’t wait! Get entered!

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

Love and Dog Tags,
Kendall

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

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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

Scattered Thoughts Welcomes Kendall McKenna and the book contests for The Tameness of the Wolf series

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Greetings! My name is Kendall McKenna and I write gay erotic romance novels that feature U.S. Marines (www.kendallmckenna.com). I’m really happy to be back here again, sharing the release of my new military paranormal book, Strength of the Wolf. We have a lot planned for you, and a lot to share over the next few days. It’s a major book release celebration!

Strength of the Wolf released Friday, September 6th on MLR’s website . Strength of the Wolf is Book #2 of The Tameness of the Wolf, and is the followup to Strength of the Pack. Noah and Lucas are back, but they’re taking a backseat to Tim Madison, and the civilian Alpha who quickly realizes just how lucky he’d be to have a Marine Corps officer as his mate. Terrell Hubbard, Elijah Chandler, and Logan Grant are all back a well, along with a new cast of fascinating characters – both human and werewolf, Marine and civilian. There are new werewolf behaviors, rituals, and legends. And of course, there’s an intimate romance and some hot, hot sex!

If you’re new to the universe of The Tameness of the Wolf and my werewolf Marines, you’ll have a chance to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Pack. Once you read it, you’ll understand why all of the book reviewers are competing with each other to be the one to review Strength of the Wolf for their site.

Along the way, I’ll share with you how I built the world of The Tameness of the Wolf, and how I created a breed of werewolf unlike any other found in the genre. I’ll discuss how I managed to write unique werewolves, despite the fact they seem to be everywhere!
If you’ve already read Strength of the Pack and are a fan of Lucas and Noah, you’ll have a chance to enter to win a highly coveted set of their authentic Dog Tags. If that’s not enough, I’ll be offering a chance to be the first reader ever to win a set of Tim and Jeremy’s authentic Dog Tags. These are brand new, created just for the release of Strength of the Wolf, and have never before been offered as a prize!

Finally, in a culmination of fun and excitement, I’ll be offering THE GRAND PRIZE of a chance to enter to win an e-book copy of the highly anticipated Strength of the Wolf!

Beginning tomorrow, September 10th, you can enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Pack. 
September 12th I’ll announce the winner of the e-book copy of Strength of the Pack. You’ll also be able to enter to win a copy of the follow-up novel, Strength of the Wolf. 
September 14th we’ll all celebrate my birthday by announcing the Grand Prize winner of Strength of the Wolf!

Along the way, I’ll be offering opportunities to enter to win AUTHENTIC DOG TAGS for the main characters of Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf. These are highly coveted, genuine military dog tags for Lucas and Noah, from Strength of the Pack. With the release of Strength of the Wolf, Tim and Jeremy now have their own set of tags! I’ll be offering chances to win a set of each, over the course of the week so be sure to keep an eye out.
Join me back here tomorrow, September 10th, to kick off the festivities, and find out how to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Pack!

Love and Dog Tags,StrengthoftheWolf4Strength of the Pack
Kendall

www.kendallmckenna.com

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It’s Contest Time! The Release of Strength of the Wolf by Kendall McKenna is Almost Here!

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Note: This event has been postponed until Monday, Sept. 9.

Good morning, everyone!  I have several great announcements to make today.  On September 6th, Friday, the long awaited sequel to Kendall McKenna’s Strength of the Pack releases from MLR Press and to celebrate, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is hosting a two – part guest blog by Kendall McKenna as well as a two- book contest/giveaway.

On Thursday,  Part 1 of Kendall McKenna’s blog will be posted as well as kick off the first book giveaway.  For those of you new to Kendall McKenna, she is one of my absolute must have authors.  Her stories include some of the most authentic, gritty military characters in recent memory, so realistic that she has garnered the approval of soldiers who have read her books and commented on her remarkable details and knowledge of the military universe.  In this series, The Tameness of the Wolf,  Kendall McKenna gives us a new  twist on wolfshifters. In her stories, the wolfshifters and the military work together in special units, each with their own commander.  It is a new arrangement and not without its own unique issues and misunderstandings.  I love the way her universe combines the boredom and terror that goes hand in hand with combat units abroad with the supernatural element of wolf shifters with their pack rules and hierarchy.  It’s amazing and compelling.

The first book in the series, Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf #1), revolves around the dynamic relationship between  Lt.. Lucas Young and the True Alpha pack leader Sargent Noah Hammond, who has just  transferred into his platoon.  We watch as they first establish a working relationship and then a personal one, a bond steeped in myth and old legends.  It’s raw, primal, disciplined and oh so real.

There is a power and strength to McKenna’s characters equal to the intensity of the military actions and battles the platoons and soldiers find themselves in.  McKenna’s wolfshifters have a true primal feel to their characters, you never forget the animalistic behaviors  exhibited are their true natures, not ones they assumed.  The author’s Marines exude the  military discipline and attitudes  that Marine training and experience have ingrained in them.  These are not characters easily forgotten.

That first story earned a 5 – star rating and a multitude of fans.  And now finally we get a sequel.  The wait is almost over. So here is the schedule for Kendall  McKenna’s guest blog and book contests.  All you have to do is leave a comment at the end of each days blog, its that easy.  So mark your calendars and join us for a 4 day celebration of Kendall McKenna’s The Tameness of the Wolf series and new book release.

Thurs., Sept. 5:  9/9  Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 1 – Start of contest
Fri., Sept.6:         9/10 ,Repost of The Strength of the Pack review
Sat.,Sept 7:          9/12Kendall McKenna Guest Blog Part 2,winner of 1st book announced, start contest for 2nd book
Mon., Sept 9:    9/14  Review of The Strength of the Wolf and Winner of Strength of the Wolf announced

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It’s All In The Writing, Folks and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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To prepare for my time at GRL in Atlanta in October, I am trying to get ahead in my reviews for September and October.  And that means reading tons of books and of course writing about them.  And books read in volume will highlight the most common flaws I am seeing across the boards from person reading stacks of booksauthors seasoned and brand new to publishing.  Surprisingly it’s not one sided.  Just yesterday I finished a book from a favorite author of mine only to get to the end and find that not only did the story not have an ending, it was missing a hugely anticipated “aha” moment.  I was astonished, and quite a bit frustrated to say the least.

I don’t know what is going on but these same issues are everywhere and I am not the only one who has noticed.  Currently I am working on my next mini rant “The Case of the Missing Aha Moment”.  It will pair up nicely with my mini rant on missing endings.  *shakes head*  Really there is no excuse.  The most immediate remedies to these issues that pop into my brain are 1) get a great editor and 2) super concrit partners or betas.  Both could and should point out issues such as these in a person’s writing.

For a humorous look  at writing do’s and mostly don’ts visit  http://tom.mcallister.ws/?p=868. It’s Tom McAllister’s 107 Ironclad Rules for Writers Who Want to Be Better at Writing.  Some I agree with and of course, some I don’t.  But they are fun, and thought provoking.  Here are the first six to give you a sample:

1. Write every day. Except on days when you don’t feel like writing that much and you don’t have anything interesting to say.

2. Never write when you’re too hot. Beads of sweat are ideas leaking from your brain.

3. Nobody really eats turnips. They are a ridiculous food. Characters cannot eat turnips.

4. Hypnosis is the writer’s greatest tool.

5. Skinny people are often the cause of conflict. Fat people are often the solution. NO MEDIUM SIZED PEOPLE.

6. If you must write about the travails of being a writer, at least give yourself a glass eye or a cyborg hand or something.

If you want to read more, check out the link above.  Next week we will talk about the new words added to the dictionary.  Srsly?

Now on to the very exciting week ahead.  Next week I start on the third series in the offerings from the Pulp Friction authors.  This is the Triple Threat series from L.E. Harner.  It’s menage, it’s kinky, and its wonderful.   And drumroll please…….Kendall McKenna is also releasing her long awaited sequel to Strength of the Pack.  It’s titled Strength of the Wolf and it releases Sept. 6th from MLR Press.  To celebrate, Scattered Thoughts is hosting a 2 part guest blog with Kendall McKenna and a two book contest for a lucky person who comments during the contest time.  Might even be another surprise giveaway too, more about that later.  So many great things to look forward to.  Mark your calendars, and check them twice.  Hope to see you all here all week long.

Monday, Sept. 2:                   Coliseum Square by Lynn Lorenz

Tuesday, Sept. 3:                   Triple Threat (Triple Threat #1) by L.E. Harner

Wed., Sept. 4:                          Contest Announcement and Dates

Thurs., Sept 5:                        Kendall McKenna’s Guest Blog – Part 1

Friday, Sept. 6:                       Strength of the Pack  by Kendall McKenna – Review (reposted)

Sat., Sept. 7:                            Kendall McKenna’s Guest Blog – Part 2
Winner of first contest announced

For those of you here in the States, have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.