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April 12, 2013

Excerpt: Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy

"What happened?" Eva asked.

"We were attacked by shriekers," I said. "Dozens of them."

"That's not good," Eva said. "Their bite is poisonous. How many hours has it been?"

"Yesterday at sundown," I said.

Suddenly Aquinas was by our side. "It may already be too late," she said. She produced a vial of blue liquid from a pouch on her side and poured it into Daniel's mouth. He sputtered and coughed the liquid back up. "A thin hope. Take him up into the Templar Tree. Hurry now. Every second matters."

We did as she told us and carried him as quickly as we could to the tree and up the stairs. Aquinas sped ahead of us and was busy in her laboratory when we arrived. Daniel clawed at the air in front of him, swatting away imaginary enemies.

"No...leave me...get them off me..." he shouted.

"Help him!" T-Rex called out to Aquinas.

Eva put a hand on T-Rex's shoulder to calm him. I turned to Aquinas. "What do you want us to do?”

Aquinas walked over, mixing a glass jar of glowing green fluid. "Hold him. The poison inside his body wants to turn him into a Creach. It does not want to be cured and will try to reject this medicine."

Eva and I each grabbed an arm and Will and T-Rex took hold of a leg. Daniel moaned softly, teetering on the edge of consciousness. Aquinas leaned in with the medicine. "Easy, now. Easy does it," she said.

Just as the jar touched his lips, Daniel's eyes opened. He glanced at each of us holding him down, the look in his eyes full of pure hatred. "No!" he shouted. He kicked his leg and T-Rex went flying across the room. With a savage growl, Daniel kicked across at Will and tagged him with a brutal uppercut.

"Hold him!" Aquinas shouted.

Will jumped onto Daniel's legs, wrapping his arms around them in a bear hug. Daniel bucked and kicked his body, trying his best to wrench his hands free, clawing at us like a wild animal. Aquinas tried unsuccessfully to pour the medicine into his mouth.

"Daniel!" she cried, her voice booming in the small room. "I command you to be still!"

It seemed like she had gotten through to him. The convulsions stopped and he looked at her as if recognizing her for the first time. I weakened my grip slightly. Big mistake.

A split second later, Daniel tore his hand away and shoved Aquinas. He punched at Eva who, unwilling to let go of Daniel's other hand, took the blows to her forearm and shoulder. Daniel snarled, his mouth foaming.

"Let go of me," he roared. "You'll never be able to—"


A potted plant smashed into Daniel's head, dirt and leaves flying wildly into the air. His eyes rolled back in his head and he fell back onto the cot.

We all looked back behind us where the potted plant had come from. T-Rex stood there, probably even more surprised than the rest of us over what he had just done. "I didn't kill him, did I?" T-Rex asked sheepishly.

Aquinas put her hand behind Daniel's neck and lifted his head. She poured the green glowing medicine down his throat and then carefully laid him back down.

"No," Aquinas said. "You may have just saved his life."

About the Author:

Jeff Gunhus is the author of the Middle Grade/YA series The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. Jeff is also the co-CEO of College Works Painting, a national company with over 4,000 employees that has been featured in national media for its unique opportunity for college students to learn entrepreneurial skills.  He is the author of the motivational career guides No Parachute Required (Hyperion) and Wake Up Call (Seven Guns Press). After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland by trying to constantly keep up with his kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the CIty Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.
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