THREE 4 and 3.5 Stars for A Gentle Kind of Strength by Kendall McKenna #MM #Romance @MLRPress


Title: A Gentle Kind of Strength
Author Name & Publisher: Kendall McKenna (MLR Press)
Publication Date & Length: November 5, 2015 – 286 pgs


A police K9 handler believes he’s lucky when a romance starts with the local veterinarian, but then his canine partner is injured in the line of duty.

Sergeant Ray Lerner is a veteran sheriff’s department K9 handler. Damien Federov is the veterinarian caring for Harley – Ray’s canine partner. When taking a man as a lover, Ray’s always been confident. Around Damien, Ray becomes uncharacteristically shy and tongue-tied. When Damien begins their romance, Ray knows he’s lucky.

His obsession with a past tragedy blinds Ray to everything he has with Damien. When Harley is injured on duty, his life is in Damien’s hands. As Ray sits vigil, he has one final chance to allow Damien in all the way, or risk losing everything important, in a single night.

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So with this book you get Ray who is a K-9 handler for the sheriff’s department. He has a crush on the vet who looks after his German Shepard partner.

Damien is the vet that treats Ray’s dog Harley and who Ray has feelings for but will not admit to them due to what happened to him in the past.

This was definitely a slow burn.. Maybe a little too much for me. There were parts that sort of dragged for me and had me wishing they would just admit how they felt about each other already. But when they do they are just so good together I ended up loving them as a couple!
I did love the authors pretense of this story and the characters she wrote in this book! You get the sweet and steam with this book but not much angst.

So all together I really liked this book!
I would recommend this book!



This was a good book. As an animal lover, having a dog as a central character was one of the items that drew me in to this story.

I loved the plot line of the K9 Handler for the Sheriff’s Dept. and the vet meeting over the dog. It was very sweet. The sheriff, so big and burly, being so scared and insecure was very touching.

The only issue for me, was not enough dialogue and interaction between the characters and too much explanation. I feel communication is key in a relationship, so dialogue, for me, is significant. Otherwise, the story was really good.

I would recommend this book for animal lovers, dog lovers, and law enforcement lovers of m/m stories.



While I can appreciate the sentiment in this story, I felt that something was missing.  I have not read McKenna before, so I didn’t really have any expectations going in.

This was a gentle story about loss, strength and a little bit of love thrown in, but mostly, this book was about the training that goes in to a dog certification for police and military pups.

The main characters Ray and Damien were somewhat clueless when it came to the signals they both thought they were giving off, so right away, there was miscommunication.  Then, as they figured out that they were attracted to each other, their romance was just kind of ho-hum.  Nothing gave off a great burst of chemistry or lust – it was kind of a dry romance.

The conflict in the story was hard to take, but in the end, I felt that it and the competition overpowered what I thought would be a love story.  The love aspect was not bad, just not overly well done.



I enjoyed this book. I’ve read a few books by this author and always found them to be an easy read. The writing style makes it easy. I never completely connected with Ray or Damien but absolutely love Harley. What can I say I love dogs, lol. This book was basically a sweet romance, which is not what I expect from Kendall McKenna, but I do love a sweet romance. Overall this book was good and I enjoyed it I just didn’t love it.



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Kendall McKenna is an author of M/M erotic romance novels featuring well-developed characters, complex stories, and realistic action sequences.

Kendall McKenna is the MLR Press 2013 Author of the Year. Her 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.

Putting herself through college by working in a newly-created HIV testing clinic in her local Department of Health, introduced Kendall to the gay and lesbian community. Understanding and empathy has made her a lifetime advocate of GLBT issues.

A brief bout of unemployment gave Kendall the time and focus she needed to finally produce a novel worth submitting for publication. Her first novel, Brothers In Arms , introduced the world to her authentic military stories and characters. Kendall’s second novel, Strength of the Pack, was nominated for a 2013 Bookie Award, by Author’s After Dark.

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.


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