Saturday, February 2, 2013

Center Stage Has Been Taken Over by Sexy Marines and Wolves!

Once again I'm thrilled to welcome to The House of Taboo a wonderful friend and fellow author, Kendall McKenna. Today she shares her latest release Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf). As many of you know, Kendall was one of the authors who introduced me and my alter egos to the world of M/M romance and has inspired me to write my own.  Her new book just strengthens me love of this genre. It has everything you want: smoking HAWT Marines, alpha males and...hang on to your panties...alpha male WOLVES!  

Can I get an AMEN? (the crowd erupts in several "amens" and "hallelujahs")  The House of Taboo always welcomes authors who write about the "forbidden" and taboo...well, what others label as taboo. We call it pure unadulterated, lustful, sinfully sassy erotic romance and we want MORE!  

Hell Yeah! Hell Yeah! We Want More!

Is she here yet?

Karl! Get your ass backstage before she sees you. You're supposed to be a surprise.

I know, but I can't wait to meet her. Her writing is amazing. Do you think she'll be surprised to see me?

Not if you don't keep yourself hidden until I call you out. Now, scoot!

Well, it's time to bring out the fabulous Kendall McKenna to Taboo's Center Stage! 

(Kendall steps out from behind the black and purple velvet curtains and the crowd goes absolutely nuts! They leap to their feet and cheer wildly until she takes a bow and then waves them off asking them to please sit down.)

Wow! That's quite an entrance there, my friend. I have to tell you the line to get in here today was literally around the block.  Everyone wants to get their hands on your new book and they are already clamoring for more.  Let's get down to why we have you here today. What's the core premise behind Strength of the Pack?
It’s set in a world where shifters exist and werewolves serve openly, and fully integrated, in the U.S. armed services. When a Marine lieutenant is put in command of the Corps’ most powerful alpha werewolf and deployed to Afghanistan, he’s out of his depth. Then, something magical begins to happen and the two bond in a way only whispered about in legend.  

When and where does your book take place?
It starts out in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California before it follows the boys on deployment to Afghanistan. It’s a modern setting with no specific date, but early on in the current conflict, so around 2003/2004. 

How does the time and setting weave into the plot and persona of the characters?
The time and setting provide a form of ‘band of brothers’ bonding for the two main characters, but it’s also a modern occurrence of an ancient werewolf legend. It’s something ancient coming to life in modern times but in an ancient land. 

Who is Hero #1? 
That would be the POV character, Lt. Lucas Young. He’s a human Marine and a platoon commander who is suddenly put in charge of the most alpha werewolf in the Marine Corps. 

What drives him?
Duty, honor, loyalty, integrity. He needs to be challenged, but he also needs to know that he’s meeting the challenge. His self-esteem is sort of wrapped up in his own knowledge that he’s doing a good job and that he’s respected. He’s strongly driven by a sense of responsibility to the men under his command. He’s determined to do right by them. 

What is he running away from (literally or figuratively)?

He’s running from his attraction to one of the sergeants in his platoon. He’s running from what he perceives as inappropriate feelings. He refuses to take advantage of one of the men under his command so he’s running from the growing closeness.

What obstacles will he encounter in this story?

At first he’s got an incompetent company commander who makes his life harder. He has to overcome his own lack of knowledge about werewolves and their culture and social rituals. Then there are all the problems with being deployed to Afghanistan. He throws up his own obstacles by being so tied to his own sense of honor, he has trouble seeing past it. And then there’s a combat injury……

What draws him to Hero #2 in this story? What gives him that push away from him?

At first, Lucas doesn’t understand what’s drawing him to Noah. He thinks it’s good, old fashioned lust. And there is that, too, but it’s so much more and he just doesn’t understand it. The mutually strong feelings draw them together, but there is also something magical and metaphysical, too. Lucas is pushing himself away. He doesn’t have a clear understanding of what’s going on between himself and Noah and his honor and integrity are so strong he forces distance between the two of them. 

What does he need to learn to make the happy ending possible?

That the feelings he and Noah have for one another are mutual and strong. He needs to learn that his relationship with Noah is greater than the sum of its parts and that Noah’s consent to a physical relationship with Lucas overrides all issues of appropriate behavior. 

What about him will make readers sympathetic to him?

Lucas is the most earnest character ever! He believes in things like duty and honor without being na├»ve about it. He really wants to do what’s right and what’s best for Noah, even though (he thinks) it means denying himself what he wants most. Lucas is a serious badass Marine, but he’s still able to nurture a werewolf physically and emotionally. 

 Who is Hero #2? 

That would be Noah. Sergeant Noah Hammond is the Marine Corps’ True Alpha werewolf. In the world that I built, that has a very significant meaning. 

What drives him?

Caring for his pack and being a Marine. When he meets Lucas, he realizes that they have formed a pairing that holds legendary status among the werewolves, and that what is best for his pack, and what makes him a better Marine, just happens to be the thing that makes him the most happy. Because Lucas is what’s best for the pack, Noah is driven to cultivate their relationship. 

What is he running away from (literally or figuratively)?

The fear of rejection. He’s afraid that Lucas can’t or won’t accept the werewolf part of him. The obstacles Lucas throws up between them because of his sense of duty appear to Noah to be disinterest, so he finds it difficult to simply reach out and communicate, for fear of being fully rejected. 

What obstacles will he encounter in this story?

Lucas’ stubborn sense of duty, his own inability to express his emotions, and one of them getting wounded in combat. 

What draws him to Hero #1 in this story? What gives him that push away from him?

Noah is drawn to Lucas for pure lust at first. Later, when Lucas proves to be interested in the werewolves, not intimidated by them, and turns out to be a good officer, Noah is drawn closer to him. Lucas is really the type of man Noah wants him to be. Noah feels pushed away by Lucas’ emotional distance. He’s trying to be human and live by human standards, and he doesn’t want to take advantage of his role over Noah, and Noah interprets that to be a lack of interest, so he keeps his own distance. 

What does he need to learn to make the happy ending possible?

Noah needs to learn to talk! He’s such a stoic, masculine, alpha male and he just doesn’t stop and talk to Lucas like he needs to. When Noah finally opens his damn mouth, things get better. 

What makes Hero #2 infuriating to the Hero #1, if anything?

That damn not talking thing! It frustrates Lucas that he has to go to someone else for information and to understand what’s going on. Also, Noah’s wolf-driven possessiveness and aggressiveness sort of drives Lucas nuts. 

What makes this hero hot and lovable? 

As big of a badass as he is, Noah is really just a big puppy dog who wants to roll over and have Lucas rub his tummy. He is genuinely fond of Lucas and he loves unleashing his gentler side for Lucas, knowing that it’s accepted and not judged. 

What about him will make readers sympathetic to him?

Like a lot of us, Noah just can’t quite figure out how to say the words that will help Lucas understand what’s going on and what’s happening to them. He just keeps hoping Lucas will somehow understand. In the meantime, since he can’t say the words, he goes out of his way to show Lucas how he feels.  

Is this book a part of a series?

It wasn’t supposed to be, but part way through writing it, my crit partner told me that Tim Madison needed his own story. Before I knew it, I knew exactly what that story would be. 

What is the theme of the overall series and how does this story fit into that?

That everyone has skills or traits that allow them to make contributions to the overall good of the group. Being different is a good and worthwhile thing. 

Will these characters show up in other books in this series? 

Yes, but as secondary characters. They’ll reveal more about their relationship and about the world I’ve built, but the next love story belongs to two other characters. 

How many books to you anticipate will be in this series?

Three total, for now. There’s no way to know what the future holds, though. All it takes is readers having a strong reaction to a secondary character and suddenly, I get an idea for a story for him. 

What are you working on now?

I’m editing the third book in the Recon Diaries, getting ready to send it to the beta. It’s called The Final Line. 

What’s coming soon?
I’m part of MLR’s Bloody March event. On March 15th I have a vampire themed novella coming out. It’s called Nights in Canaan.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask the readers to generate comments?
Readers keep making comments that Strength of the Pack is different from any other shifter story they’ve ever read. I don’t read shifter books. I have nothing against them, I just never made a point of seeking them out. I wrote SotP completely blind to any of the ‘usual’ stuff in shifter stories. I keep wanting to ask what exactly is different…NOPE! I’m not gonna do it! I don’t want to know. I want to write the next two books just as blind, without being influenced by other writers’ creativity. Although, after talking with Karenna Colcroft about world-building, I really do want to read about her vegan werewolf!

So, I thought you might like to read a little bit more about Lucas and Noah, and their friend Tim Madison. After you’ve read the blurb and the excerpt, if you’re still interested, there’s a chance to win an e-book copy of the book!

If you wouldn't mind, Kendall why don't you go ahead and read the blurb to the audience? They can follow along on the big screen on the left stage.
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.

Sounds fantastic, Kendall! Now I have a surprise for you. The House of Taboo invited a very special guest to join us today to read your excerpt. Of course he's been chomping at the bit to get out here to meet you and I nearly had to have my bouncers sit on him in his dressing room in order to not ruin your surprise.  So everyone put your hands together and give a big Taboo welcome to the super sexy actor from down under, Mr. Karl Urban!

Karl! Karl! Karl! (the crowd is on it's feet once again when the Aussie came across the stage quickly to give Kendall welcome I'm sure she'll never forget! hehehehe) He reluctantly leaves the Center stage to take his place on the right stage. The screen behind him comes to life with the excerpt he's about to read.)

Lucas was dripping sweat when Noah called a break. For several minutes they were silent save for heavy breathing and drinking water. 

"Have you ever taught these tricks to an officer before?" Lucas asked when his breathing steadied. 

Noah didn't meet Lucas' eyes for a long while. "No, sir. You're the first I've met who's competent enough to learn."

"Thank you," Lucas replied. "I appreciate it."

"You realize it's not enough to just counter our greater speed and strength, don't you?" Noah finally turned to Lucas. 

Lucas didn't know how to answer. 

"Shifters fight dirty, Lucas." Noah's expression said there was more to his words than appeared on the surface. "We use claws and teeth every chance we get. You have to be willing to do the same."

"I don't exactly have claws." Lucas curled the fingers of one hand in illustration. 

"No, but you do have teeth."

"But no fangs."

"You don't always have to break the skin to win the fight," Noah said enigmatically. "You won't always have to fight in order to win."

Lucas started to ask Noah what he meant, when something subtle in Noah's posture changed. Lucas planted his feet and braced for impact. 

This was Lucas' final exam. Noah wasn't holding back now. He used all of his were strength and speed to try to pin Lucas to the floor. 

Noah captured Lucas from behind, preparing to lift him and toss him down. Lucas slithered around so they were face-to-face. He was stunned to see Noah's eyes glowing silver and looking just like a wolf's. His surprise almost cost him the fight, and Lucas realized he had to get his reactions under control. 

Lucas shifted his weight, and Noah lost his footing. Together they crashed to the floor. Noah's speed had him on top of Lucas in heartbeat. Lucas found enough leverage that he was able to topple Noah and slide out from under him. Pressing his unexpected advantage, Lucas shifted around to Noah's back and carried him to the floor, face down. 

He dug his knees into Noah's legs to restrict his movements. Lucas shoved Noah's left shoulder into the floor with one hand. His other hand he curled under Noah's right shoulder and lifted slightly. Lucas had Noah pinned, unable to gain the leverage he needed to dump Lucas off his back. 

As impossible as it seemed, Lucas was a tap-out away from beating a werewolf in hand-to-hand. 
He felt Noah shift and get his left hand under his chest. With his shifter strength, he'd be able to do a one-armed push up, even with Lucas on his back. Lucas realized he had to do something and do it quick. His mind raced. He remembered what Noah had said about claws and teeth. 
Before his brain could catch up with his body, Lucas lowered his head and sank his teeth into a tendon at the back of Noah's neck. 

Beneath him, Noah froze. Lucas didn't bite hard, just enough to get Noah's attention. He could taste the tang of Noah's sweat and the musk of his skin. Lucas inhaled and his senses filled with the scents of skin, sweat, warm fur and, as absurd as it seemed, petrichor. Within seconds, his cock was hard and pressing into the swell of Noah's firm ass. 

All motion stopped for the span of several heartbeats before Noah moved again. Lucas sank his teeth deeper into Noah's neck, and to his own surprise, he fucking growled. 

Beneath him, Noah made a high-pitched sound that could have been a whine. It might have been a whimper. In response, Lucas flexed his hips and rubbed his erection against Noah. He was losing his fucking mind. 

As Lucas watched, Noah's long fingers shifted until they were thick, sharp claws. Releasing Noah's neck, Lucas pressed his lips to the shell of Noah's ear. 

"Put those the fuck away," he snarled. "Don't you ever use your claws against me."

Immediately, Noah's fingers shifted until they were tipped only with blunt fingernails. 
Noah slowly lowered himself to the floor, and Lucas released him. Noah pressed one cheek to the floor, baring the unbitten side of his neck this time. He stared sightlessly and breathed heavily through parted lips. Lucas sank his teeth into the unmarked side of Noah's neck and when he did, Noah's entire body went limp. The feel of Noah's submission had Lucas' blood singing in his veins. He could hear it rushing in his ears. He rutted hard against Noah's ass, realizing he was fucking close to getting off just like this. 

Suddenly, Lucas understood. Dominating Noah was only part of it. Lucas' true victory was Noah's willing submission. Still, a part of him, the human part of him, resisted the urge to rub his dick against Noah's ass until he came. A primal part of him that recognized Noah's wolf bit down harder and growled again. Noah whimpered again, lifting his hips to push himself against Lucas' erectio
n. He matched Lucas' rhythm, moving in counter point and rutting himself against the floor. 

Something didn't feel right. Lucas released Noah's neck and started to kneel up. 

"You have to finish this," Noah literally growled. 

"I don't understand," Lucas gasped. 

Noah shifted, started to turn, started to dislodge Lucas. Surprising himself, Lucas pushed his hands into Noah's back, pinning him back to the floor. 

"I didn't say you could move," Lucas hissed in Noah's ear. 

"Yes, sir," Noah moaned, lifting his hips backward into Lucas once again. 

Lucas rubbed his cheek against the soft bristle of Noah's hair. He inhaled deeply and caught the edge of a new scent. He couldn't identify it, but it caused blood to surge into his cock, and Lucas' only course of action was to rub himself against Noah's ass. 

They were going to do this. Lucas realized Noah needed him to see this through to its obvious conclusion. It had to be a werewolf thing. He didn't understand it, but if Noah needed this, Lucas would give it to him. 

However, Lucas wasn't a dog, and he refused to hump like one. 

Sitting up to give Noah room to maneuver, Lucas ordered, "Turn over."

Noah moved so fast, Lucas didn't see it. As soon as he realized Noah lay on his back, Lucas' hand snaked out and wrapped around his throat and squeezed slightly. Noah's lips pulled back in a snarl, and in the blink of an eye, he'd grown four fangs. 

Lucas dropped down over Noah, their faces separated by no more than a breath. He tightened his grip on Noah's throat and said, "Don't you fucking dare threaten me with your fangs. Put those goddamn things away." 

Noah's silver eyes widened, looking all wolf now. His nostrils flared even as his fangs disappeared. He breathed heavily through parted lips, struggling to drag in air past Lucas' grip. 
Without looking away from Noah's eyes, Lucas reached his free hand into Noah's shorts and withdrew his straining erection. Noah's brows furrowed at the first touch of Lucas' hand, and he moaned. Lucas stroked him, and Noah lifted his hips roughly. 

Releasing Noah and reaching into his own shorts, Lucas took out his hard cock and stroked himself several times. Noah pushed up with his hips, seeking contact. He made a frustrated sound and started to reach between their bodies. 

"Put your fucking hands down," Lucas said through clenched teeth. "You don't touch unless I tell you to."

"Yes, sir," Noah breathed, hips pushing up into Lucas desperately. 

Aligning their erections, Lucas wrapped his hand around them both and stroked. It took him several tries to find the right rhythm, but finally, he stroked their cocks in counter point to the thrust of their hips. 

Noah's wolf-eyes glazed over and his breath moved hotly over Lucas' cheek. His face was flushed, and his lips were dark red. Lucas' balls tightened and began to rise as his climax built. Before he knew what he was doing, Lucas lowered his head and kissed Noah. 

It was a searing kiss. Noah's mouth was hot and wet. He opened readily for Lucas' tongue and met it with his own. Lucas licked into him deeply, eager for more. He'd been told wolves don't kiss. Lucas thought he remembered hearing that shifters didn't kiss. Fuck it. Lucas was human, and he was enjoying kissing Noah. 

Noah whimpered into Lucas' mouth, and the sound of it, the vibration, slammed through Lucas and settled in his cock. He tore his mouth away from Noah's as he cried out and came. Lucas rocked and shuddered against Noah's body. His cock pulsed in his hand, hot jets of come rolling down over his fingers. One last violent tremor rolled through Lucas before he nearly collapsed on top of Noah.

Wow! I think I need to turn the AC up in here. (fans self). Special thanks to Karl for lending his sultry voice to the reading and to the fabulous Kendall for stopping in to visit with us today. Make sure you visit Sassy Vixen Publishing on February 11th and Behind Closed Doors on February 28th to get even more from Kendall and Strength of the Pack.  Here are the links so you can get your very own copy of this amazing book.

Click below to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Pack!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you so much for stopping in with us again, Kendall! You know I always have a blast when you are here so make sure you don't take too long to come back!


    1. It is always an absolute blast to visit here! I'll have to make it a regular stop for each title release!

  2. I hope you were surprised by our special guest today!

    1. Oh, that was a lovely surprise, thank you! All that hotness being read by that bone-melting Aussie accent! *sigh*

      Yes, please turn up the AC while I change my panties.....*giggle*

  3. I absolutely loved the show,! Thank you for the chance to enter! wendynjason04(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Always happy to entertain! Glad you enjoyed the show! Good luck in the drawing!

  4. I enjoyed the interview and the steamy excerpt. Luke is one tough Marine.
    strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com

  5. He is! He really is a badass Marine, but he knows when it's time to be a little softer!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  6. Wow, that's one heck of an interview. I love Karl Urban, thanks for the awesome excerpt reading, loved it!

    1. LOL! It was a fun interview! Thanks for coming by to comment.


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