Strength of the Pack
Series: The Tameness of the Wolf , Book 1.0
By: Kendall McKenna | Other books by Kendall McKenna
Published By: MLR Press, LLC
Published: Jan 18, 2013
ISBN # 9781608208449
By: Kendall McKenna | Other books by Kendall McKenna
Published By: MLR Press, LLC
Published: Jan 18, 2013
ISBN # 9781608208449
Word Count: 95,000
Available in: Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc), Epub
Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf) by Kendall McKenna - Romance>GLBT>GayA Marine werewolf and his commander bring legends to life while surviving combat deployment in Afghanistan.
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.
Reader Rating: 4.8 (79 Ratings)
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?"
"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."
"Yesâ€¦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."
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 ofâ€¦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?"
"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.
Reader Reviews (24)
Submitted By: laralynx on Jan 27, 2015OMG! What a wonderful story, the charaters are great, the storyline is fantastic and though I don't know a thing about the US Army it doesn't matter... I know the book expensive but every cent is worth it!
Submitted By: mommakat49 on Jan 25, 2015I love this book. Love the MC's and there struggle. This story was well written. Hated to see the end. Recommend.
Submitted By: craft13 on Jan 22, 2015Excellent book. Love the way the story flowed and the characters seemed so well thought out and portrayed. Lucas's determination and confusion was amazing and Noah's inability to give a straight answer or explain what was going on really didn't help poor Lucas. The interaction between the characters was great and I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. Highly recommended and loved the whole series. Can't wait for more.
Submitted By: pissy on Jan 14, 2015This is my absolute favorite book and I have hundreds of them. Paperback and digital. (I'm a bit of a reading addict!) Kendall Mckenna can tell a story like no one! I love paranormal romance, (especially gay fiction), but this story has so much more. Werewolves and humans working side by side in the military. Mates and lovers fighting together in war torn areas of Afghanistan. Pompous military leaders being, well, pompous (go figure), and I even learned some military terms. A must read!
Submitted By: ashleye on Jan 7, 2015I've been putting this one off for a while. Though I love shifters, military men is just kinda meh for me. This was really awesome, though! McKenna really pulled me in with her unique power balances in this story. The conflicting military, werewolf, and personal heirarchies, along with a great steamy romance and great realistic details had me pretty hooked.
Submitted By: pammers on Sep 3, 2014I absolutely loved it! Kendall McKenna took the time to develop the storyline as well as the characters and am so thrilled she wrote this story! She makes it easy to fall in love with Noah and Lucas as well as the rest of the characters. I went from laughter to tears and I so did not want this book to end.....well done!
Submitted By: gazzapro on Jul 14, 2014I enjoyed the book so much I had to keep reading start to finish without stoping. I have read it a few times since I got the book. I have put the Author in my faverits list. the other books in the series are just as good and I have read them a few times as well.
Submitted By: jilrene on Jun 29, 2014Oh, crap! Why didn't I read this sooner? I've had this book for over a year. A year?!!?? I LOVED it! I stayed up reading much too late last night and couldn't wait to get back to it today. Not exactly first person POV, but close: everything is told from Lucas' perspective, but as a third person POV. That works for me. Lucas is such a straight arrow. What a goober. Noah is unique. I like Noah. This is different because weres are not only known, but an important part of the military. They're respected and treated well. Even though this is a military setting, the story is about the romance between Lucas and Noah. A lot happens both in their work and in their romance. The story moves quickly and easily from start to finish. If we had half stars, I'd probably go with 4.5 stars, but I'm rounding up since we don't. ;)
Submitted By: EvilSeahorse on Jan 27, 2014This is one of the best books I've bought from here. It's well developed and well thought through. The characters are believable and likable and strong and just so rawrrrr! Love the tension between them and I love this book! So will you.
Submitted By: n1kk1 on Jan 18, 2014I love this book, it's soooo good! It's a shifter book and a combat book in one, it's well written, and well developed. The second book in the series is good too, definitely read both!
Submitted By: tonihip on Jan 14, 2014Wolf shifter military (Marines) M/M romance. A realistic depiction of two strong characters finding a way to work together and become one so that they can lead their troop in the best possible way. Some serious violent moments and excessive use of acronyms (but unavoidable in military stories, so totally understandable!). Great story with a fully explained parallel world where werewolves have been integrated into the military service.
Submitted By: lilandra on Jan 12, 2014amazing book .the pace is a bit slow but the building up of the relashionship is amazing there are a lot of hot scenes and the angst is kept to a minimum
Submitted By: puddin on Jan 7, 2014This story builds a world that is very similar to ours just with werewolves integrated. I loved the slow build to romance with Lucas and Noah learning to work together and build first a military relationship and then a personal one. Definitely on the keeper shelf.
Submitted By: hooked on Jan 1, 2014nice read just felt a little rushed.
Submitted By: hnnaah on Oct 15, 2013When I finally made myself finish this book, it proved better than I anticipated. Once I got past what I expected a "True Alpha" to represent. Interesting world building. Im looking forward to the next in this series. The commanding officer gets his story. Highly recommend
Submitted By: Slipknot on Mar 23, 2013Verrrrry interesting. Usually shifter stories don't get much deeper than "I can't catch diseases so we don't need condoms, yay me!". We don't often get authors who consider how biology affects culture which influences history. Good job. Go do it again.
Submitted By: sami1979 on Feb 27, 2013I really enjoyed this book. Great writing and wonderful story line. I'm not normall a M/M reader but this was wonderfully done book. Not trasy in any way. Nice love story and so very real as to how some males can be clueless as to what is right their, or by lack of communication. Highly recommend this book as well as the author.
Submitted By: sophiarose1816 on Feb 25, 2013Paranormal plus Military plus romance? How could I lose! I got this book because I love the idea of combining all those elements. Boy, am I glad that I did because this was a stunning new world that offered a new take on werewolves. Lucas and Noah are wonderful characters that I just enjoyed reading about. Building up the sexual tension between these two was done with a deft hand and I just couldn't wait for them to finally get together because they were pretty awesome already. Recommend!!!
Submitted By: Jazyq on Feb 15, 2013Very well-written AU of a world where werewolves exist and can serve in the military. The world-building and plot are detailed and the romance was realistic (no sudden True Love). The sex scenes are hot without taking away the focus from the story. Great ending too. Recommended reading!
Submitted By: imarybug32 on Feb 10, 2013This book was PERFECT! Can't wait for the next one! It is a must read!
Submitted By: jenb178 on Jan 28, 2013I thought carefully before buying this one given the price. Well worth it, stayed up until 3am to finish it. Perfect balance of plot/romance/sex.
Submitted By: skykohai on Jan 20, 2013An OMG fabulous read. A well crafted exciting new look at the werewolf mythology that sucked me in and I could not put down. In so many m/m books there is often a very feminised male parter. Here we see real depth without compromising masculinity. The action and pace makes the novel feel smaller then the stated word length. There was no lingering "are we done yet" that I have experienced in other long stories. In fact I can't wait for more. Want it yesterday.
Submitted By: FireStair on Jan 19, 2013Compelling action, great characterisation and the sexual tension was electrifying. Fantastic read.
Submitted By: wikatu on Jan 19, 2013Brilliant. Superbly developed characters, plot, and descriptions. A solid yet new slant on werewolves and integration into human society. Amazingly detailed and immensely enjoyable. Can hardly wait for the next installment of this series.