May 4, 2013

Character Interview: Sgt Jonah Carver @kendallmckenna #RLFblog

Brothers in Arms
Kendall McKenna, welcome to Romance Lives Forever. Let's talk about your book, Brothers In Arms
Author: Kendall McKenna
Genre: M/M erotic romance
Length: 32,000 words
Heat rating: 3. There's more plot than heat but the heat that's there is HOT.
Jonah Carver--a Marine and combat veteran--and his former Captain, Kellan Reynolds, once shared a scorching night, but then lost touch; something Jonah has long regretted.
When an investigation into government corruption ends in a killing on Jonah's watch, the FBI arrives. With them is Kellan Reynolds. Together once more, sparks fly and Jonah begins to believe in second chances.
Nothing is that easy, though, as the suspects will stop at nothing to halt the investigation. Jonah must keep everyone in his charge alive while helping the FBI and Kellan find the proof they need.
What are your main characters' names, ages, and occupations?
Jonah Carver is in his mid-30's. He's a Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps.
Kellan Reynolds is a former Captain in the Marines. He's in his early-30's and currently runs a political consulting firm in Washington D.C.
"Excellent. We're done here then." Jonah crossed the room and managed not to take the door off its hinges. He headed right for the front door of the manor house.
Anger seared Jonah's insides. He wanted to run the perimeter of the firmbase, but he knew it wasn't safe. His fury nipped at his heels, driving him away from the manor house and toward—he didn't know what. Jonah needed to pace, to use up the energy of his rage. He kept running into cammie nets, Humvees, ammo cans, and trash. He balled his fist to punch something, and then stopped himself. He was right-handed and he needed that hand to pull the trigger. Jonah's wrath tangled with frustration and he kicked viciously at rocks in the dirt.
"I thought I'd find you here." Kellan's words carried to Jonah, even before he stepped around a Humvee and into view.
Jonah's temper dissipated slightly at the sound of Kellan's voice, even as desire edged up his spine and settled in his belly. He damn well needed to get that reaction under control. The rapid ricochet of Jonah's emotions threw him off and fucked with his equilibrium. He jammed his curled fists onto his hips. "You knew this was going to happen, Kellan?" Jonah winced at the accusation in his own voice.
Kellan drew a deep breath and seemed to weigh his words carefully. "I wrote an opinion for my consulting firm that dealt with the Big Three getting so many no-bid government contracts," he said as he slowly approached Jonah. "I concluded they have strategically placed allies in the government to ensure they continue to make billions of dollars off of America's armed conflicts."
"You wrote the synopsis for a Tom Clancy novel and the President decided to send you to Iraq?" Jonah wanted Kellan to tell him he was right and it was all fiction.
Kellan came to stand directly in front of Jonah. He chuffed a laugh. "The President was dubious too when he read it. Still, he thought my arguments were sound enough to warrant a cursory investigation."
Jonah took in Kellan's familiar features: his lashes, the small mole beneath his left eye, and finally his mouth. "Obviously, the investigation turned up something."
Kellan wet his bottom lip before he spoke. "The Attorney General has built a fairly strong case for corruption. She just can't go before Congress and the President and say she thinks American weapons and munitions are being provided to the enemy for use against our own military personnel. So, she reached out to the State Department to find evidence of the supply chain here in Iraq."
"They sent Grizzly?"
"Correct. And when they did, I issued another opinion that postulated he would be killed, using American-supplied weapons, in order to halt the investigation."
"Hell," Jonah sighed, tilting his head back to look blindly at the sky. He remembered all the friends he'd lost since this conflict had begun. His earlier rage flared again.
"I intended that first opinion to be a neutral stand for my consulting agency. We've received substantial funding from the Big Three, and I wanted it clear their money couldn't influence us."
"And then Grizzly was killed, making the investigation FBI jurisdiction, and since you've accurately predicted how things so far would go down, the President decided you should come provide guidance," Jonah concluded with a harsh laugh.
"Which I could easily have done from DC, but I thought it would be fun to drop in and say 'hi'."
"There are these amazing devices called e-mail and cell phones, you know." Jonah's rage melted farther away as he smiled. "You didn't have to get yourself airlifted to Iraq."
"Well, the opportunity just presented itself." Kellan grinned.
Jonah was pretty glad he hadn't resorted to e-mail.
"You know, sir, I read that book of yours about the invasion" Jonah poked Kellan square in the chest with one finger. "When you run for President, I'm not voting for you if you run as a Democrat."
Kellan's laugh sent a shockwave rolling through Jonah.
"I have no intention of running for President," he said.
"Well, maybe not right away. You'll do some time in Congress or the Senate. Then you'll become the Governor of New York. Maybe Massachusetts. Then you'll make your run at the White House."
"Actually, I'm more a 'power behind the throne' kind of guy." Jonah felt a sort of perverse fascination as Kellan reached out and hooked two fingers into the waist of Jonah's trousers.
"Is that a fact?" Jonah searched Kellan's face.
"More to the point, some of the most powerful positions in DC are not elected but appointed." Kellan leaned in, voice conspiratorial.
"You're not an attorney, so you can't be a judge," Jonah mused. Kellan was standing so close; Jonah caught the scent of him and lost his train of thought.
"No, but there are cabinet positions. Say, Secretary of the Navy. Secretary of Defense." Kellan paused. "Secretary of State."
"Well then, Mr Secretary," Jonah said solemnly. He believed Kellan would someday achieve that very thing. He wondered in passing what Kellan would do if Jonah leaned in and kissed him.
"Stop teasing me," Kellan said, his expression serious.
Jonah became acutely aware of Kellan's hand touching him. It was only teasing if Jonah didn't mean it. He wasn't teasing. He didn't think Kellan was, either.
"When we're both Stateside again, I'll show you I'm not teasing." The words were spoken before Jonah could stop them. He swallowed hard, his throat suddenly tight. This was the part where Kellan would tell him how much he'd enjoy a passing friendship with a former Team Leader; as if he was unaware this was exactly how things had started between them before.
Instead, Kellan looked pleased, and Jonah realized, with deep satisfaction, that was the reaction he'd been hoping for.
"I'm holding you to that."
"I'm counting on it. For now, though, why don't you head back inside and I'll be in shortly."
One corner of Kellan's mouth lifted in a brief smile. "Good night, Jonah," he said quietly, before he turned and climbed the steps into the firmbase.
"Good night, Kellan."
Jonah took a cleansing breath and released it slowly. He rolled his head, stretching out the once tense muscles that had relaxed sometime during the last few minutes.
With a final upward glance, this time seeing the sky, Jonah followed Kellan inside, realizing he would finally be able to sleep.

Interview with Gunnery Sergeant Jonah Carver

Tell us about yourself. What are you like?
This is ridiculous. Did Kellan really say I had to do this? He did? That's because he had to do it last time. He's better at this. He wrote that damn book and he gives interviews all the time. (sighs)
I'm a United States Marine. I act like a Marine. Next question.
What do you think is your strongest point?
I'm a good fucking Marine.
Do you have a weakness? (If so, what do you think it is? What does your lover think it is? What does your enemy think it is?)
My weakness is that I keep getting surrounded by incompetent morons who can't strategize, navigate, command, or shoot as well as I can. What? It's true. I haven't served under a decent officer since Kellan left the Corps. I have no weaknesses. I am made weaker by the incompetence that surrounds me.
(long pause)
Kellan thinks my weakness is that I hold other people to an impossibly high standard. He says it's not fair to expect other people to meet the same standards that I do. My enemies know I have no weaknesses because I killed them all in combat.
Seriously, though...Kellan is my weakness. (clears throat)
What drives you to do the things you do? What makes you want to be the "good guy?"
Are all the questions this ridiculous? I do the things I do because they're right. I don't want to be the 'good guy'. I'm not a good guy, not at all. I just do what I have to do and I do what's right. Now Kellan...he's the good guy. He needs to feel like he's making a difference.
Kellan and my father...the two best men I've ever known.
What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Racing my bike along a stretch of open road, clocking almost 200 mph. And the only reason it's a guilty pleasure is because Kellan worries.
If you didn't know how old you were how old would you be?
That is such a stupid question. What does that even mean? Ask another question. Did Kellan answer that question? He probably gave some sort of philosophical answer like, 'I would be as old as I am because I am that old'.
A biography has been written about you. What do you think the title would be in six words or less?
"Warrior". Kellan keeps joking about writing my biography. He'd probably come up with a good title, you should ask him that question.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
On a beach someplace with good surfing. Maybe Hawaii or Australia. (long pause) But Kellan would get a little stir crazy. He'd want to be back in D.C. doing something important. So I guess I want to live wherever Kellan is.
What song would best describe your life?
The Marine Corps Hymn
If you were a tool, what would people use you to do?
(long pause) Are you fucking serious? (heavy sigh) A Swiss Army Knife. I would be the perfect tool for whatever needed to be done at the time. What did Kellan say? He probably said something like 'I would be a pen and people would use me to write words of wisdom'. (snort) He's so smart it's easy to forget he was a badass killer Marine, too.
Picture yourself as a store. Considering your personality and lifestyle, what type of products would be sold there?
M16s. Motorcycles. Beer. Condoms.
As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
Precision drills. What? My parents sent me to military school.
Tell us an embarrassing story that has to do with a pet. If you have no pets, a story about a significant other will do. ^_^
We don't have a pet. We talked about getting a dog, if we ever ended up living in the same city, let alone the same house. Maybe we could talk about that again, since we're both at the Pentagon, now. I'm not telling any embarrassing stories about Kellan. He trusts me to have his back.
If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
I think it should say 'Danger', but Kellan would probably say it should read 'Doesn't play well with others.'
Waves Break My Fall

Please Fill in the Blanks (as Jonah)

I love pizza with beer.
I'm always ready for sex with Kellan.
When I'm alone, I enjoy it.
You'd never be able to tell, but Kellan can sing. Really well, actually.
If I had a halo it would be someone else's I was holding for them.
If I could fly I'd take Kellan anyplace he wanted to go.
I can never win an argument with Kellan because he's too fucking smart.

About the Author

Kendall McKenna is a writer of M/M erotic romance. Kendall's first work of fiction was written at the worldly age of nine, and was a transformative work that expanded on the story told in a popular song of the time. She tried her hand at vampire and cowboy fiction, winning high school poetry and short story contests along the way. It wasn't until she discovered the world of m/m erotic fiction and found her stride with cops, Marines and muscle cars, that she felt inspired to share her stories with readers who enjoy the same things. Kendall was born and raised in Southern California, where she still lives and works. A non-conventional relationship has kept her happy for the last decade. Her four dogs enjoy it when she writes, as she sits still long enough for them to curl up around her.

Previous Books

Brothers In Arms
Waves Break My Fall

Books Coming Soon

Strength of the Pack
Nights in Canaan

Find Me Here


  1. Jonah (and Kendall) I got such a kick out of reading your answers. Very different from Kellan's -- although his were just as honest. Thanks for hanging out with us today!

  2. I always love coming here to share! It's so much fun!

    And yeah, Kellan is used to dealing with press so he answers questions more easily than Jonah. Jonah's all business. He's also humble. He doesn't really get why anyone would WANT to ask HIM questions.

  3. Awesome interview. I just love Jonah's attitude. My faves definitely have to be 'Picture yourself as a store' and 'If you came with a warning label', lol :D I really enjoyed Waves Break My Fall, so I can't wait to read Brothers In Arms!


  4. Very tantalizing interview--the book looks lovely!



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