I realized I felt kinda sorry for you guys, since I’ve not published any new stories recently. You’ll get a full-length Hunter novel out of my present work, but still, that means you’ve been Hunter-deprived in the interim! I’m very sorry.
In apology, here’s a sneak peek into “Hunter – Eye in the Storm”!
Excerpt from Chapter Two Of “Eye in the Storm”
A reason becomes apparent as my back hits the wall of the building next to me. I grunt as the two bruisers pin my arms. One meaty hand goes into my coat, snagging the shotgun and yanking it out, snapping the leather straps. That was just rude. There are limits to be observed, even in a beating. They’ll pay for breaking that gun-sling.
“Alright, Hunter-boy. You think you’re tough stuff; you ain’t, not without your buck-shot cannon. You killed a man this morning, blew him away in the hotel on 6th Street.”
It wasn’t a question. These boys got around; that, or they had good ears and a quick grapevine. No point denying it. They look like they’re waiting for an excuse to toss a punch or two. I nod.
“That I did. You gents aren’t cops, are you?”
It was a dumb question, but I’ve got plenty of those and they don’t need to think I have any brains. The blonde snorts.
“We look like cops? That’s pretty close to an insult, mister. Now, we’re not going to pretend that guy didn’t give you a reason, but he was a friend of ours. We don’t like people shooting our friends.”
The fist in the gut punctuates the statement. I let my knees sag, so all that’s keeping me up is the tight grip on my arms. Ow.
“Look, guys, he shot first, so I blew him away. But if he was your friend, I’m a gopher. That guy was a hired killer and he wasn’t from around here. The shoes and jacket were an English cut, tailor-made. You two are New ‘Tonio natives, that’s obvious. Why pick on me?”
The blonde scowls at the other.
“I told you he wasn’t gonna fall for it. We ain’t got a reason for thrashing him, not one that’ll hold up with the cops.”
The grip on my left arm slackens, just enough to allow me to slip down another few inches. Perfect. My feet come off the ground, slamming my back hard into the wall as my boot-heels drive into the roughs’ knees. They stumble back, cursing and holding the injured members. My shotgun is on the ground a few feet away, leather strips still attached, but I know better than to go after it. These guys are professional knee-breakers and kicking them once isn’t going to hold them for long, no matter how much damage I did.
The blonde is stumbling upright, weaving a bit from the pain, but recovering fast. The other man is still on the ground, leg at a funny angle. He’s probably out of the fight for now. After letting the blonde move himself into a good position, I whip my foot around once more, the hardened leather connecting with the side of his head.
The crack is audible. I wince. That is going to give him a lovely headache. My foot already hurts, so I know his thick skull should let him survive the blow. My shotgun is a little dirty, but otherwise undamaged by the fall. Checking the loads takes barely an instant, but slinging it back under my arm requires some creative jury rigging.
After thinking for a moment, I inspect the unconscious rough’s pockets, coming up with fifty dollars and an army knife. Taking half of the money and replacing the rest seems fair, though it’s unlikely he’ll think so. The other looks up at me, still nursing his leg.
“He’ll come after you for that, Hunter. The kicking might’ve been overlooked, but stealing his money?”
“He broke my gun-sling. He’s lucky I didn’t take his shoes and shirt into the bargain. Now, crawl off, m’boy. My foot is sore enough without putting you to sleep, too.”
He sets off one way, slowly, but not wanting to stop, and I set off in the opposite direction. There’s a client waiting for me, even if he’s not aware of it yet.
(If you enjoyed this excerpt, you can read more “Hunter” stories here. For those of you who have already read these, the full-novel from which this excerpt was taken is coming, slowly but surely. )