Author Note: For anyone who has had the chance to read an advanced copy of Twilight Hunter, book one of the Execution Underground series, you know that despite being fellow hunters of the supernatural, vampire hunter Damon Brock, leader of the Rochester division of the Execution Underground, and werewolf hunter Jace McCannon don’t exactly see eye to eye. In Shadow Hunter, a prequel novella to the series in the After Dark anthology, we see Damon assemble the hunters for his team based on their initial profiles, but what we don’t get to see is the follow up interviews with Damon’s potential division members. So after some discussion, the lovely Jennifer here at The Book Nympho and I thought it would be interesting to see the first time Jace and Damon meet face-to-face. Enjoy this exclusive scene!
Two hunters down, three to go. Damon Brock leaned back in his chair and read the next name on his roster. He shook his head. This was the one he’d been waiting for. It’d only taken Damon one initial look at his profile to know he’d have trouble keeping Jace McCannon in line, but if the werewolf hunter wanted his request of transfer to Rochester to stick, he’d shape up or Damon would send his sorry ass straight back to headquarters. Near perfect kill record or not.
Glancing down at the initial profile information, Damon made mental note of the basic stats.
Name: Jace McCannon
Hometown: Honeoye Falls, New York
Specialty: Werewolf Hunter
Experience: Three years field training.
Current location: Atlantic City, New Jersey
Without warning, the door to the warehouse creaked open and a man stepped inside. McCannon, no doubt. He looked exactly like his profile photo, aside from the cloud of gray smoke surrounding him.
Jace slipped inside, a Marlboro in hand. “Hey.” He nodded toward Damon before he dropped his cigarette to the ground and butted it out with the heel of his boot, just slightly more forceful than necessary. It didn’t take Damon even five minutes to analyze Jace and figure out who he was. Something the Execution Underground had taught him well. From the way Jace carried himself all the way down to the look in his eyes, Damon knew he’d be a royal pain in his ass. But he couldn’t argue with a 95% success rate on cases.
Jace walked toward Damon. Damon eyed his fellow hunter as he approached the interview table. Around 6’4 and well muscled but not bulky. Built like a linebacker. He’d be able to hold his own against a werewolf.
And a face Tiffany had whistled at...She’d called Jace his best looking prospect. He clenched his jaw. He wasn’t going to go there. Not now.
Damon stood before he stuck out his hand.
Jace grabbed Damon’s hand and gave it a strong, forceful shake. Confidence was not a problem for McCannon, that much Damon could tell. Damon cleared his throat. “Good. You’re on time.”
Jace flashed a grin that was more trouble than kindness. “I can be when I feel like it.”
Damon huffed. Definitely no problem with confidence. “Sit.” He gestured toward the chair across from him. Jace took a seat across from Damon, before leaning back and propping the edge of his massive snow covered boots on the table. Damon frowned. Better to get this little tea-time chat over with. Snatching his clipboard of the desk, he rolled his ballpoint pen between his fingers.
“We’ll get right to it. Why are you requesting a transfer to Rochester?”
Jace placed his hands behind his head and stretched himself out. “I’ve been working Atlantic City for a while and it was getting a bit dull. The cases there are pretty cut and dry. I’m up for more of a challenge and I hear the wolf packs here in Rochester create a shit ton of cases, lots of rogues passing through the area. And I’m sure you saw in my paperwork I’m from here originally. No place like home sweet home.”
Damon tapped the edge of his pen against his clipboard. “How good are you with a knife?
Jace reached inside his coat and removed a dagger. He held it up for Damon to see. The smooth surface of the blade glinted off the overhead drop-hat lights. “Pure silver.” Jace used his free hand to point to an empty wooden crate on the other side of the room. “Third crate down from the top, on the left hand side.” He throws the knife with all his strength. The dagger tumbles over in the air several times before it pierces the wooden crate. The now damaged wood holds the dagger parallel to the ground. Jace turns toward Damon again. “That good.”
Damon made a note on his clipboard for the files for Headquarters. Excellent accuracy with a blade. He’d give Jace that much. “How good of a shot are you? And don’t demonstrate for me this time.”
Jace crossed his arms over his chest and met Damon’s gaze. An angry fire burned behind the hunter’s eyes. “When I shoot, I don’t miss. My dad gave me my first gun when I was five. Should’ve used it on the bastard when I had the chance.”
Harsh, but Damon didn’t give a flying shit about whatever family issues Jace had. Not his problem. His problem was how Jace would operate as a member of his team. “Do you follow orders well?” he asked.
Jace grinned and removed his boots from the tabletop. “I have a problem with authority figures, but yeah, I can follow orders well...when I choose to.” He leaned forward in his seat. “You gonna keep asking me a million questions or let my stats speak for themselves?”
“Two more questions,” Damon said. First, one from the shrinks at H.Q.” Damon glanced at his paperwork again to make sure he was reading this correctly. He shook his head. “What kind of tree would you be?”
Jace chuckled as he leaned back in his seat again. A wide smirk crossed his face. “A lemon tree. Life doesn’t give me lemons. I’m the one who gives the fucking lemons.”
Damon clicked his pen one last time before pointing it straight at Jace. “Most important one: why should I hire you?”
Jace met Damon’s stare head on. “Because I’ll get the fucking job done.”
Kait Ballenger is a full-time paranormal romance author, wife, professional bellydancer, graduate student, and soon-to-be-professor. She is the multi-published author of the Execution Underground paranormal romance series about an international network of supernatural hunters who fight to protect humanity alongside the powerful women they seduce.
With a B.A in English from Stetson University, Kait is currently a student in Spalding University’s M.F.A in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, where she studies dual-genre in screenwriting. She writes dark paranormal romance with drool-worthy heroes and kickass heroines as Kait Ballenger, and sassy YA urban fantasy under her maiden name, Kaitlyn Schulz.
When Kait’s not preoccupied with paranormal creepy-crawlies, she can be found slaving over endless amounts of schoolwork or with her nose buried in a book. She lives in Florida with her husband, their doggie-daughter Sookie (yes, like the heroine in Charlainne Harris’ books), and two mischievous cats Elliot and Olivia (yes, like the Law and Order characters), near the love and care of her supportive family. Kait believes anything is possible with hard work and dedication. One day, she will be a bestseller and have people name their pets after her characters too.