Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waves Break My Fall by Kendall McKenna


Title: Waves Break My Fall
Author: Kendall McKenna
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Genre: M/M Erotic Romance
Release Date:  July 28th, 2012

What inspired the story?

Waves Break My Fall is a story that brewed in my head for quite a long while. I was born and raised in San Diego and Mexico is a very common place for people from Southern California to vacation. It’s cheap and it’s close. I am forever running into people down there, who live not far away from me, or that I share experiences and memories with.

I love Puerto Vallarta. It’s one of my favorite vacation destinations and I’ve been there several times. It’s almost always warm. The resorts are very tourist-friendly. As long as you stay within your resort, it’s fairly safe. It’s the perfect place to lie around on the warm beach all day, read my Kindle, listen to my iPod, and drink Mimosas.

San Diego is a military town. It has so many Navy and Marine bases, I can’t name them all. The Sailors and Marines all head to Mexico for the same reasons the rest of us do. It’s fairly inexpensive and drinking rules are liberal.

While I don’t do the heavy nights of drinking and dancing like I used to, I like to hang out in the bars and people-watch. I can identify the bar-flies. I can pick out who’s going to hook up and who’s going to strike out. I also enjoy watching couples flirt and frolic on the beach during the day. I realized it was really the perfect place for a hot, holiday hook-up. It would be semi-anonymous and have the expectation and understanding of ending when everyone went home.

Of course, the writer in me decided it couldn’t be that easy. I conjured an image of a lonely traveler who has come to Puerto Vallarta to escape. He’s running from a private pain. He sees a beautiful man across the way and they make a connection. They spend their vacations having hot sex and come to realize there is more to what they’re feeling than just mutual lust. For the longest time, the only scene I had fully formed in my imagination was the initial bar scene where Kage and Zach meet for the first time. I never pursued the story because there were other priorities. Also, I didn’t think I could develop it into anything of significant length. So, the idea languished.

One day, I was on Silver Publishing’s website looking to see if they had any interesting Special Submission calls. They did: Summer Heat. It was the perfect forum for my story. They were asking for stories that centered on summer vacation romances that take place in warm, exotic locales. The word count they wanted was right where I thought I could take this story. It was a perfect fit.

So, I sat down to develop my characters. One had to be damaged and in the process of running and hiding. Still, he had to be able and willing to heal, under the right circumstances. The other had to have an innate understanding of what the first was suffering through. He also had to gain something in the relationship, which would be missing in his previous relationships with ‘every-man’.

I love to write about US Marines, and you don’t have to go far to find a legitimate emotional issue one might suffer from upon returning home from combat deployment. Marines can be a rough bunch. They’re tender enough to cradle and injured child, but they’re primarily trained killers. I knew his love interest would have to understand this side of him and actually embrace it; get something from it that complimented a part of himself.

Once I had all that figured out, I sat down to write. The rest was easy, since I just wrote the characters falling in love while doing and experiencing things in Puerto Vallarta that I enjoy. By the end, I was really fond of Zach and Kage. I miss them, now that they’re at home together! I just hope I wrote their love story in an entertaining but believable way, that the readers will enjoy.

I like to think I did.

It had to be an hour before Kage realized he was completely relaxed. And, it wasn't entirely due to the beer. Zach was doing the majority of the talking, and the questions he asked were innocuous. Kage didn't mind answering. He found it easy to answer. He found he wanted to answer.
"Fuck, you are gorgeous," Zach suddenly said with an amazed expression and a genuine smile.
Kage choked on his laugh. He hadn't expected that at all. He wasn't gorgeous, was he? He was too hardened, too rough to be attractive to someone as refined and educated as Zach.
"Thank you," he replied quietly. Why couldn't he think of something more witty to say?
"You have such a beautiful smile and the sexiest laugh." Zach shifted on his lounge chair so he was facing Kage more fully.
Kage snorted. "I keep thinking the same thing about you. How is it you're here alone? Why don't you have a boyfriend smart enough not to let you out of his sight?"
Zach laughed in surprise, a warm sound that filled Kage with pleasure. "I can't find one man enough for me." Even with sunglasses hiding his eyes, his expression seemed meaningful.
"How…” Kage swallowed hard, his pulse hammering in his throat. “Do you mean in bed or out?"
Zach seemed to consider Kage's question. "Both, actually. If they're strong enough for me in bed, they usually aren't man enough for me out of bed."
Kage shook his head, confused. He stopped himself from twisting to face Zach, afraid it might inhibit him from speaking freely.
"I'm a grown man who can manage his own life just fine," Zach elaborated. "I've wounded more than one man's pride by not needing him to take care of me." His expression shuttered and he glanced around at the other people on the beach.
"You're a college graduate. Why would anyone think you need to be taken care of?" Kage reached for his beer, needing something to do with his hands.
"It's more than that, Kage." Zach sounded almost pleading like he needed Kage to understand this. "Like the other night when I asked if you'd be okay getting back to your hotel. It was stupid because we both know you don't need to be protected."
"Definitely," he agreed emphatically.
"I don't need protecting either, and you didn't treat me like I did. That was so fucking fantastic." Zach was looking directly at Kage again, and it was as unnerving as it was thrilling.
Kage shrugged, knowing he was missing some larger point Zach wanted him to understand. "You're at least six feet tall, and you obviously take good care of yourself,” he said appreciatively. “Who in their right mind would think you needed protecting?"
Whatever Zach might have answered was lost when two young women began to settle in the lounge chairs under the adjacent canopy. Kage's annoyance bordered on sheer anger. Not only did he want to understand what Zach was trying to tell him, he just wasn't up to polite social exchanges with women he cared nothing about.
At least Zach didn't appear any happier about the eavesdroppers.
"Hey guys" One of the women greeted as she adjusted her lounge chair.
Zach returned her greeting coolly while Kage gave a half-hearted wave. The women introduced themselves and Zach politely provided their names in return. Kage shifted uncomfortably, the muscles in his back and shoulders tightening.
The woman named Tanya asked, "How long have you guys been here?"
"A few days," answered Zach.
"How do you like it?" She pressed.
Zach looked at Kage when he answered. "The scenery is great. I'm having a blast."
The friend, Bonnie, chimed in. "Are the clubs in town any good?"
"Jalisco's is great," Zach said brightly.
Kage choked on his stifled laughter. Jalisco's was one of the smaller, sleazier bars on the Malicon.
"Awesome," replied Bonnie with a broad smile. "We were thinking of going into town tonight. Do you guys maybe want to come with?"
"That's a generous offer," Zach said solemnly. "But we've decided to stay in tonight." Before either woman could comment or protest, he stood up, faced Kage, and stretched. "I need the men's room." He announced. "I'll be right back, baby."
Kage was rendered speechless when Zach leaned down, grasped his face with both hands, and pressed a hard kiss to his mouth.  Kage's hand came up to span Zach's ribs. His skin was warm and silky beneath Kage's fingers. Zach pulled back, ending the kiss with a loud smacking sound.
Kage chased the taste with a swipe of his tongue over his own lower lip. His mouth was tingling, and he couldn't catch his breath.
Both women made sounds of disappointment.
"Oh, that is such a waste." Tanya called.
Kage glanced over to see them both smiling ruefully, but not the least bit hostile.
"Not from where I'm standing." Zach called over his shoulder as he crossed the sand to the restrooms.
The women laughed and reluctantly admitted they saw his point.

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