They’re weapons of lethal force—
wild, clawed, and dangerous.
I wondered about the process of creating wolf shifter marines and Heather replied with
A Behind the Scenes of Bravo Team Wolf.
When Danger Bites, Bravo Team WOLF Book 1, introduces us all to the wolves of Bravo Team. Though I envisioned it as the first book, as I wrote it, I began to wonder if I should have made it later in the series in part because I had so much world-building to do, and in part because maintaining character integrity consistent with military service while building out the passionate wolves proved a fine tight rope to walk!
First on the board was Corporal Kaitlyn Amador human, dedicated to the Marines, the daughter of a Marine and an intelligence specialist. I knew she had to not only possess the physical chops to excel in the field, but also the discipline and intelligence to recognize what the hell was going on. Inspirations for Kaitlyn included 1st Lt. Shaye Haver and Capt. Kristen Griest who were the first female Army Ranger graduates from Fort Benning, GA in 2015.
She’s a badass, driven to excel and under pressure from her superior officer to follow orders and find out what makes Bravo Team WOLF so damn special. This presented a serious conflict for Kaitlyn. She’s a Marine. She wants to support her fellow Marines and digging into their history of success feels like questioning their honor and she hates it.
Which brings us to Jasper Raymond, Captain and the lead for Bravo Team WOLF. He’s a shifter, yes. And he volunteered for this gig to help protect his pack. The leadership of the Bravo Team is determined by the strongest among those sent by the various packs, so he’s earned this position. When his human CO hands him the assignment to wash Kaitlyn out, he’s frustrated because a) she’s human and b) she’s a tough cookie that he met before finding out she was assigned to his team.
There isn’t anything Jax wouldn’t do to protect the secrecy of the wolves, but screwing Kaitlyn over impinges on his sense of fair play and honor.
So where did all of this come from? Several years ago, I kicked off a very popular series called Always a Marine focusing on the healing Marines needed whether it was emotional, mental, or physical. The series remains one of my all time favorites, and I keep thinking I need to go back and visit my peeps at Mike’s Place (more on that later). In 2014, I launched my Wolves of Willow Bend series with wolf shifters.
I can honestly say I’ve loved all the characters in these books, and enjoyed weaving those stories. Several times while writing Always a Marine, readers asked if I’d ever add a paranormal/supernatural element, but I felt that didn’t have a place in the very contemporary grounded setting. Similarly, in Wolves of Willow Bend we met characters with a military background or who volunteered to serve during great wars, but their service was never the focus.
Marrying these two notions allowed me to create Bravo Team WOLF. Kind of cool, right?
My Favorite Scene
Choosing my favorite scene is a lot like choosing my favorite book or character, to be honest I love them all and I kind of have to, you know? That’s how I write the books and finish them. That said, I did have a couple of favorites.
The first scene is the opening one when Kat and Jax first meet on the side of the road. They are both minding their own business when her flat tire attracts his attention riding by. He can’t not help and she’s perfectly capable of doing the job. From the get go, these two were stubborn, charming, and determined not only to do their jobs but to excel. Just how do they get passed this wild attraction they feel for each other?
The second scene is a minor one, but it made me laugh is when Kat encounters Silver in the communal showers. His playfulness combined with gentle ribbing set a tone for what would make Silver a great ally for Kat later in the book, and at the same time, left me hungry to write more Silver!
Biggest Change from beginning to published
The characters pretty much remain exactly who they were except the team went from eleven wolves to eight. That meant three wolves Sullivan, Sawyer, and Chaney were removed and their scenes/traits blended into the other wolves. It makes sense in part because Silver, Sullivan and Sawyer all sound similar when read.
In the early drafts, we had a lot of training scenes I mean a lot. We could have called Kaitlyn, GI Kat, and we wouldn’t have been far off. Part of writing those scenes helped me determine Kat’s true character so massaging some out and adding in new scenes to display her more playful side going to Abel’s for the first time with Jax and discovering the guys were gone in the middle of the night. Not to mention a strange encounter with a wolf on base?
It made the story stronger and tightened the connection between Jax and Kat’s attraction and the conflict of their goals.
When Danger Bites kicks off a whole new series, with a host of characters, history, and tales just waiting to be told. So grab your copy and brace yourself we’re going to have a lot of fun.
Buttoned-up Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is dangerous on every level. As a human, she poses a threat to Marine Captain Jax Raymond’s special Force Recon unit. Though the team has a reputation among the other recon units, only their commanding officer knows their secret. As a woman, the danger posed is entirely different. Jax can survive the temptation for only so long before his wolf takes over and pursues what it wants.
Military intelligence specialist Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is the first woman in the Marines to be assigned to a recon team. And everyone’s watching her. Her mission? Not only prove herself worthy of her place in the group, but uncover the mystery of why Bravo Team is so successful. A mission that gets more difficult every time she’s near Jax…
As many of you know I am a big fan of Shifter and Military romance. So when the two were combined I started drooling even before I read the book. It takes talent to merge these two with a purpose none can argue. Heather does this brilliantly.
Now the Military has rules, but so do the Wolves. In this tale we have wolves representing different packs to satisfy the pact made with the government. The only problem is wolves don’t fail, they succeed where others fail and injuries are quickly healed. Bravo Team is a recon unit and they excel at what they do, thus leading to suspicion as to why they have an impeccable track record.
Corporal Kaitlin Amador has worked hard for her chance at recon, unfortunately her boss in military intelligence has made this a mission to find out their secret.
Jax isn’t happy about having a human join his team, worse it’s a woman. A woman he finds himself attracted to on many levels.
This is a favorite scene when she has dinner with the team for the first time.
The family talk turned to talk of women and mates. Since none of the current team were mated, Patterson and Silver compared notes on their current conquests. Keeping score in many areas promoted healthy competition. Keeping score of the number of women they bedded during their leave bordered on the insensitive.
Amador didn’t appear all that impressed, however. In fact, she snorted when Patterson detailed three women in one night.
“No way you had them all together. No man has that kind of stamina.” Interestingly, she didn’t seem remotely offended by the sex talk. If anything, she sounded more bemused. “Before you tell me you had three women in three separate times in one night, I don’t know that I would own up to that in public.”
Despite the sound of knives and forks scraping against plates, the laughter in the room dwindled. Amador earned their attention. Jax met Kurt’s questioning gaze and shook his head. Part of being on the team meant interacting with the others, and he trusted his wolves to a point.
“I don’t only own up to it, lady, I’m proud of my accomplishment.” From a Wyoming pack, Patterson had been one of the shyest wolves during his first few weeks assigned to the team. The man didn’t like to say much, unless he had something to actually say. A wonderful habit, one they could probably all benefit from. “Since you seem so curious, let me be clear. The first time around it was one woman. When we were done, I went back to the bar. Couple of hours later, it was two women. Three women, one night.”
Turning her fork in her mashed potatoes, Amador met Patterson’s proud gaze with a considering look. “Let me guess.” She elongated the words, but something in her tone called to Jax, beckoned him to pay attention. A hint of knowledge, like she had a secret none of them did. His was not the only focus she’d gained. “It was a threesome, but you weren’t the one in the middle.”
Sharp shock rippled through Patterson’s scent, too piquant to be anything but honesty. Kat had nailed him to the wall. The other wolves didn’t even wait for him to respond before their laughter roared to life.
“How the hell did you know?” Genuine curiosity, not anger marked his words.
“Unlike some of you boys, I don’t kiss and tell.” On that note, Amador took another bite of her mashed potatoes. The quick call-out earned her a measure of goodwill amongst his men. If not for the fact that he was supposed to be making her want to leave, Jax’s would’ve been cheering her on.
“You do kiss, right?” Butler asked from directly across the table. He made sure not to meet Jax’s gaze when he asked the question.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Amador responded, the verbal riposte eliciting another round of laughter.
Yes, I would. He shouldn’t. Jax recognized the irony of wanting to know more about her—especially her kissing habits. Irony didn’t quench his thirst.
“Tell us about you,” said Troy Norton, Lance Corporal and the only wolf in the unit with a touch of a healing gift, turning the tables and the focus back on Amador.
“Not much to tell. I’m here because the rulebooks are changing and since women are now allowed in combat and in combat roles, we have to make the attempt at honoring not only the spirit of the law but also in following orders.” Direct, to the point, and respectful to boot. The woman really did nothing to make him dislike her, dammit. If he could find fault with her, it would make his life easier.
“I doubt that.” Norton had finished his second plate and, out of deference to their human tablemate, seemed to be fighting the urge to go get thirds. An act not shared by either Sawyer or Jeremiah. They were already working on their fourth plates. “Just saying women are allowed in combat doesn’t automatically qualify every woman for a chance to run with us.”
“I’ve run with the big dogs before.” Her quick quip sent a bolt of electricity through the men. More curious than concerned, Jax let her take the lead on this one. “I’ve been a Marine long enough to understand the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I plan to kick all of your asses and look good while doing it. The final say on my status belongs to Captain Raymond.”
The final say actually belong to the colonel, but Jax didn’t bother to correct her on that one. Bravo Team consisted of wolves, and she wasn’t one of them. It didn’t matter how fast she could go or how well she performed, she wasn’t a wolf and never would be.
Heather Long. When-Danger-Bites ARC (Kindle Locations 955-992). Kindle Edition.
Lots of quick wit, snark and sexual tension all with the intense training for Bravo Team.
Kat is one of my favorite Heather heroines, she is snarky, brave and above all loyal.
I almost felt sorry for Jax, he is in soooo much trouble with her.
A page turner with plenty of laughter, heat and action. I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
USA Today bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.