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"Action and romance in one mesmerizing story. A phenomenal start to the EXECUTION UNDERGROUND Series. Shadow Hunter will leave you breathless and demanding more." --Cecy Robson, author of Sealed with a Curse
"Taut with action, suspense, and romance that sizzles, Shadow Hunter is an evocative prelude to what's certain to be an exciting new series! Fans of J.R. Ward are going to love the sexy warriors of Kait Ballenger's Execution Underground." --Kate SeRine, author of Red and The Better to See You
Jace McCannon palmed the Mateba and clicked back the gun's hammer. The cold grip panels of the modified revolver sat comfortably in his hand. Six silver bullets for a rogue werewolf. Limited shots. But he was feeling lucky.
He gripped the gun with both hands and lowered it to his side, slipping in and out of the shadows. The rank scent of garbage, car exhaust and piss wafted into his nose as he reached the alleyway. Ah, the sweet aroma of Rochester's slums. He ran his tongue over his teeth, jonesing for a cigarette to drown out the smell and steady the adrenaline buzz creeping through his veins. Damn, he wanted to find this son of a bitch.
Resting his back against a brick building, he paused and glanced up. The white moon stared down at the Earth, calling him. Heat prickled beneath his skin.
He wrenched his gaze from the tempting sky and forced himself into the moment. Inhaling deeply, he rushed around the corner and scanned the area, pointing his gun into the darkness. No one. No werewolves, no hobos. Damn, not even the prostitutes were roaming.
Not that he blamed them. Regular killings weren't anything to call home about—happened all the time. But this was different. Innocent women being found with their organs slung around their corpses, Jack-the-Ripper style. The worst part? Jace had no idea where to find the sick fuck responsible, and the thought of the young women's pain sent his blood boiling.
He explored the alley, gun still at the ready and eyes searching for any sign of movement. A rustling noise hissed from around the next corner. Jace held his gun tight and sneaked down the narrow passage toward it. The sound grew louder, and he quickened his pace. When he reached the bend he stopped, listening closely. He threw himself around the corner, gun ready and his finger on the trigger.
A plastic bag caught on a Dumpster swished in the light wind. He cursed under his breath. Maybe he wasn't so lucky tonight. He pushed his fingers through his hair. The cell phone jammed in the pocket of his jeans vibrated. He pulled out the annoying piece of shit and read the screen: David.
He jabbed his thumb into one of the buttons, hoping it was the right one, and shoved the phone to his ear. "Yeah?"
"Meeting in an hour." David's deep voice rumbled over the line.
Aw, hell. Jace shook his head. "Don't toy with me. I've got business."
"I'm not shittin' you, J. One hour, and you better show or Damon's gonna rip my head off. I told him I'd get you here."
Jace frowned. He hated being forced to carry a damn cell phone. He didn't enjoy people contacting him whenever they pleased. "It's nearly the full moon, David. This is my prime time. You know that."
"You don't have to preach to me. Damon's the one riding your ass like a Grand Canyon donkey, not me." David paused for a moment. "He's gonna want a report tonight."
"Yeah, yeah, I hear ya. I'll have something."
"Sure you hear me, and I like to dress up in tutus while my girl spanks me and calls me Big Daddy."
Jace smirked. "Hey, if that's what gets you off.."
"Shut it," David said. "You've gotta report tonight or Damon will go postal. So what are you gonna tell him?"
Jace glanced into the empty darkness surrounding him. "Same thing I told him last time—jack shit. I'm not opening my damn mouth until I've got their packmaster bound and chained, or, preferably, I'm carrying his head on a silver platter courtesy of my bare hands."
David let out a frustrated sigh. "I thought you said you had something."
"I do." Jace lowered his voice. It didn't matter that he was alone; some things he couldn't say aloud if he wanted to keep his sanity. "I've got a scent, and it's familiar, so I smell it everywhere. Trailing this monster's stink is about as much fun as shooting myself in the foot."
"You better believe it's something. But what do you expect me to do, David? Tell the whole damn division their werewolf hunter happens to be so good at his job because he's a friggin' half-breed?"
Silence answered him from the other end of the line. Another rustling sound blew through the alley, but Jace ignored the noise. "Look, I'll deal with this, all right? Forget about it. I'll be at the damn meeting with bells on and a smiling face, but let me do it on my own terms."
"Yeah, fine. I better see you there or the next time I'm around, I'll have a long rope and it'll be coming straight for your neck."
Jace huffed. "Talk to you later, Big Daddy."
"Yeah, you too sugar."
With a small click, the line went dead. Jace shoved the phone in his pocket again. The swishing sound continued, the noise growing. Jace rolled his eyes, ready to ball up the grocery bag and pitch it. He eyed the plastic.
Shit. The wind had stopped. The bag wasn't blowing.
The faint sound of footsteps echoed, and the rustling quieted. Jace lifted his revolver from his side, launching himself down the alley and around the corner. He held his gun tight, prepared to shoot.
Streetlights illuminated what lay in front of him. He stopped midrun and stared at the horror.
He gaped, all his breath escaping in one large rush. "Shit."
Blood. There was so much blood. Splattered everywhere. The light from the overhead lamps framed the corpse like spotlights at a play starring an innocent, mutilated victim. The girl's head hung crooked, touching her shoulder, mouth open and eyes lifeless. Her features were contorted in a look of pure terror. Her arms lay limp at what had once been her sides, and her legs were spread wide, with her pants and underwear wrapped around one ankle. The middle of her body had ceased to exist, ripped to shreds by what Jace knew were large canine teeth.
Anyone with a weak stomach would have tossed his cookies at first glance. Despite all the crazy shit Jace had seen in his years as a hunter for the Execution Underground, even his gut did a flip. What the hell was wrong with this guy? Guy? No, this killer wasn't a person. This sicko was subhuman, and not because he was a werewolf. This was beyond evil.
Jace fought the urge to punch his fist into the brick wall beside him. His rage overcame him, and the beast inside him longed to emerge. He growled, releasing the tension, and tried to calm himself. He needed to examine the body, and fast. If the police got here, he was screwed six ways to Sunday.
He knelt by the corpse. Bruises marred her forearms and neck. Based on their colors, they had definitely been made pre-mortem. She'd been dead at least thirty minutes. He breathed in, and underneath the overpowering smell of blood, the scent of sex lingered. She'd been raped before her death.
Power. That was what this freak was all about—power. He attacked young women, humans in their early twenties, who were no match for his supernatural strength. He preys on victims he knows he can take with ease. Deep down, he's a coward. And from the carnage of his attacks, this wasn't just about stealing women's sex or overpowering them. With this kind of blood display, these attacks were either personal or passionate, and Jace would bet on the second.
A sexual sadist. Anger excitation. It wasn't the sex that got this bastard off. It was the pain of these innocent women. Intestinal damage and blood loss: a slow death, so his victims suffered in front of his eyes. He attacks them as a wolf and violates them in human form as they die. The familiar anger built inside him again.
Jace pulled a pack of Marlboro Reds from his leather trench coat. He slipped one from the box and lit up. The smoke rushed into his lungs, the nicotine calming him instantly. This shit was going to kill him, but most days he didn't care.
A small amount of guilt rose in his chest as he stared down at the victim. Here he was, clearly not giving a rat's ass about his health or his life, with no family left to give a shit if he died. But he was living and breathing, while this innocent girl, who'd had a full happy life ahead of her, lay at his feet, violated and murdered. She'd had something to lose, people who would miss her.
He stared into the open cavity that had once been her chest. No heart. He eats their hearts when he's finished. Consumption shows a desire to keep part of the victim with him. No remorse. Jace grabbed the flask that always resided in his pocket. He unscrewed the cap and downed a long gulp of Bushmills Irish Whiskey. The liquor trickled down his throat in a warm rush. If this was any sign of how the night was going to go, he would need a lot more than the contents of the flask to keep his demons at bay.
He glanced at the dead girl again as he crouched at her side. He wracked his brain for any possible clues he could have missed. Careful to use only his sleeve and not leave a fingerprint, he lifted her hands and peered underneath her fingernails. No skin or fur. She hadn't put up much of a fight. Maybe the killer took her by surprise? Given his cowardly choice of weak victims, Jace wouldn't be surprised.
He would report to the Execution Underground and then leave things to his fellow hunters. Shane could use the voice distorter he'd rigged up to call in the crime, if need be. Jace had what he needed for his report, but he couldn't notify the beat cops himself, not until he was certain he wouldn't need to recheck the body. And it would take them a while to find her in the back alley like this, if they ever did.
As he stood, ready to go to the damn meeting, another scent came to him on the wind. He paused for a long moment.
What the ?
Spinning so fast the world blurred, he had his gun out and the trigger pulled within seconds. A werewolf peeked its head out of the darkness as the bullet sped straight toward its head.
The wolf dodged the ammo and bolted from the alley. Jace dashed after his target as his cigarette fell from his lips and landed next to the girl's body. A werewolf's speed outranked a regular human's any day, but his boots clashed against the pavement as he tailed the monster with ease. The werewolf skidded sharply to the left with Jace on its heels, his pace never faltering. Adrenaline shot through his veins, charging him like a live wire.
He tapped the trigger of the Mateba and, aiming while he ran, he fired wide with purpose in mind, intentionally missing and using his silver bullets to herd the wolf. If he fired right, it turned left. He was careful, making each bullet count and ensuring he had one left for the kill.
One of Jace's shots ricocheted off the ground near the werewolf's feet. It jumped with a loud yelp and bounded into an alleyway. But he was prepared; he knew these back streets. He sprinted after the wolf. A smirk spread across his face as the monster ran into a dead end. It spun toward him and growled.
Right hand bracing his gun, he reached with his left and removed his silver dagger. When the wolf's golden eyes locked on the weapons, it backed into a corner, and Jace swore he heard it whimper before its growling continued. Stalking like a predator, he moved forward, ready to thrust the blade into the monster's heart. All his muscles tensed as he prepared for the animal to lunge at him. His whole body longed for a fight.
And damned if he wouldn't give this rapist mongrel the fight of its life.
Posted September 22, 2013
Jace McCannon is hunting the killer of innocent women left with their organs flung around their dead bodies. He's got a trail and he's following it on this full moon, and his prime time. Jace is outraged by the abuse and torture the women are put through before and after death. The killers scent is everywhere and hard to narrow down. Jace needs to find him now. The leader of the Execution Underground Rochester area unit is on Jace's tail. Could he be involved with the personalizing toward Jace that's surfaced? Jace has to solve the case to prove he's innocent. While checking over a recently killed woman, Jace comes face to face with what he hunts and hates, a werewolf and a female one at that.
Frankie Amato has tried to protect her kind as the Alpha and Packmaster she is, hunting the murderer killing in her territory, and now face to face with the rumored Hunter killing rogue werewolves. Having thwarted the mating ceremony and her estrus cycle at a high, the Hunter's smell and sound plays across her mind. She needs to try to stay focused and get away from the man holding her captive, or the night will heat beyond what either are ready for.
Knowing the history of his father and what he did to his mother, Jace doesn't want anything to do with the Alpha female he's got in handcuffs, but things grow to a point of not turning around. The killer is watching, waiting, acting. And Jace and Francesca stumble along trying to solve the case as they are distracted with their 'relationship'.
We get four POV's in this story. Jace, Frankie, Robert, and David. Hmm, Jace. He's got some issues, but man is he a hot number. He's a smoker, carries a flask of Irish whisky on him at all times, and curses worse than a sailor. And...he's got a bit of Daddy issues as well. He's even got a secret of his own. Then we have Frankie. She's fighting to keep hold of her position. Robert is the sicko doing all these horrid things to the woman he kills and mutilates. David is another Hunter, part of the Execution Underground, that's been friends with Jace for years.
I like the romance. It works great with Jace and Frankie. Jace is determined to fight what he finds he wants. Frankie is a bit weakened emotionally with it being her Estrus cycle and mating call, which seems to maybe have affected Jace too. When we get Frankie with her pack, she stands stronger as an Alpha. There are parts that could be a bit more fine tuned with why or reasoning, an explanation strong enough to take the story in that direction.
It's a hot romance with the road Jace and Frankie travel. And we even see a potential future for David and his love? Hmmm, only time will tell.
I look forward to the growth of this world and of the author. This is a series I'll be keeping an eye out for. Lovely romance here.
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Posted June 11, 2014
A Serial Killer, Weres, Hunters and so much more
Jace is a Hunter of the paranormal kind, but when he runs into Frankie his life is changed forever. Isn’t that how it usually goes? She is Alpha to the Rochester Pack, so the last thing he needs to do is get involved with a were. I lived in Rochester for ten years, so I was very familiar with the territory, but I never did run into a were or a hunter. Drat, I wouldn’t have minded running into Jace myself. He’s a good guy that gets a bad rap and a great example for all the males. I love books about serial killers and this had twists and turns that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. Romance, lust, murder, jealousy and so much more abound in this novel of the paranormal.
I am looking forward to reading more about The Execution Underground. Rated for adults.
I won this signed first edition paperback on Dark Faerie Tales.
Posted September 16, 2013
There is a overuse of the word estrus in this book.
Apparently it wasn't memorable enough the first two, three or four times so it needed to be bandied around a bit more.
I think the author needs take a closer look at shifter and pack law. Yes, it is fiction and there are always ways and means of bending the rules, but if half the story hangs on the rules within the pack then they need to be adhered to a tad more.
Frankie is one weak derriere of an Alpha. She is not only led by her auspicious estrus, which she also uses as an excuse at every turn, she also acts like a lone wolf and not a leader of a pack.
Packmasters don't just up and leave their pack at a whim and they should also command respect from their pack. Then again Frankie was way too busy either being naked, crying in the corner or banging strange half-breeds to master any pack.
Jace also needs to work on his too hot to handle pick up lines when he is overcome by the infamous estrus of said naked wolf. Downright insulting, but then again perhaps he was just overcome by the size of his own gigantic manhood. Blood, brain and gravity.
Overall it was an ok read that could be a good one if more attention is paid to supernatural etiquette.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.
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Posted September 2, 2013
Twilight Hunter is a good throw-back to the Paranormal Romances I first read before I really knew what the genre was called. Girl and Boy meet, both have something they are hiding from the other, they think they make decisions that are for the betterment of others at their own sacrifice, and in the end realize they can't live without each other and must be together.
I did have a few minor issues with the story - mainly the falling in love after less than a week, but at least it isn't ISEEYOUANDILOVEYOU. But I mean really, with sex that hot I'd probably be in love after a week too ;-). I am not ashamed, I mean, WOW. Steamy scenes are steamy. Ballenger really took me by surprise with those, though they really shouldn't have, having read her story Shadow Hunter in the anthology After Dark. *fans self*
Jace is a sad angry big sexy man. He is certainly a survivor, and if you ask me, turned out to be as well adjusted as he could with the circumstances he had. And in Frankie he finds his mate; his equal. They are both stubborn stong-willed Alphas and butt heads time and time again, until they both realize they are being idiots.
And along with this will they won't they sex all the time, there is a murderer running around killing and kidnapping young women. And of course Jace and Frankie are the only ones that can find and stop the guy.
While at times predictable, Ballenger's Twilight Hunter puts a unique twist on the supernatural hunting Paranormal Romance story idea and I certainly look forward to following the other hunter's stories.
Posted August 29, 2013
REVIEW PROVIDED BY: Kelly
NUMBER OF STARS: 4 1/2
Jace has always felt ashamed of who he is, or more actually what he is. But he can’t change the past he can only move on. Try to look forward to a future free of at least a few of the beasts he hunts. But the very near future has slightly different plans for Jace. Jace is about to learn that he should not fear or be ashamed of what he is. Because it is the very thing that might be able to save everyone.
As if tracking a killer is not hard enough, Frankie has found herself in the crosshairs of a hunter from the Execution Underground. But there is something about the very sexy hunter that calls to Frankie. Something that she can’t avoid, something that is all consuming, something that could be deadly for her if he finds out who she really is.
Great start to a new series by a great new author!!! Kait has busted onto the scene with a new look at the paranormal with a twist of mythology. Twilight Hunter is book one in Kait’s Execution Underground series. She also released a novella Shadow Hunter, but you don’t have to read them in order. I was sucked into this world and never wanted to leave. I so can’t wait to see what Kait has in store for us next.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.
Posted August 27, 2013
I've got to be honest. I love a book and ultimately an author who can show you one thing and then give you something even more than expected. When reading the synopsis, I see that a werewolf hunter falls in love with a werewolf. But what Kait delivers is so much more than that. There are not only layers to the romance aspect but to Jace's character as well. Not one character (secondary characters included) in this book who are one dimensional. Heck, even the bad guy in this story comes out of nowhere and has reasons for why he's a killer.
Jace is half werewolf/ half human. However, his father continually beat both himself and his mother and that hatred for his father has rolled over to all werewolves. He even hates himself a little bit because of his mixed heritage. He's constantly drinking and when he isn't in his apartment getting drunk, he's out killing werewolves. So imagine his surprise when out investigating the latest murder site he chases down a female werewolf and finds himself between the sheets with her.
On the night of Packmaster, Frankie's, mating ceremony, she decides to go out and investigate the latest murder scene. Something is out there killing women and she's had enough of it. She's heard the rumors that there was a hunter in the area but she had no idea that it was true or that he'd be at the murder scene. Pretty soon she's wishing that she'd stayed away from the scene because not only does she find herself captured by a man who hunts her kind but her mating cycle is about to hit and the call is irresistible for werewolves to ignore, even if they are only half werewolf.
Like I said, I thought the whole enemies falling in love thing would be the story but that's only a piece of it. Not only do we follow Jace while he figures out who and what he is but we follow Frankie as she comes to terms with the fact that she's mated to a man who is not only a hunter of her kind but who doesn't want her. We also follow the killer as he chooses and stalks his victims while taunting and baiting Frankie and Jace in the process. And then there's Jace's fellow hunter, David who helps Jace throughout the book and Kait starts developing his story with a certain Fae. (which will be the next book)
I'm really glad I read the prequel to this story because had I not, I'd have thought that Damon (the hunter leader) was a complete douche. However, since I read the previous novella, I understand his frustration and his anguish. So the fact that he takes no b.s. from anyone and is quick to attack, I understand it because of reading Shadow Hunter.
Kait may be a debut author but I have a feeling that this series is going to take off with a major BOOM. She doesn't just give readers a sweet romance that you see coming. She adds texture to the story to keep the readers on their feet. She doesn't overwhelm the reader with too many characters and pov's like some series out there. The main focus is the MC's with a kiss of what's in store next. This is most definitely a series that I'll will be keeping up with . Kait is an amazing PNR writer and has become a must read for me.
Posted August 27, 2013
I loved this book. Kait Ballenger's Twilight Hunter will keep you reading. I have waited for seems like forever for a great book. I have read some good books lately, but none great. I read this book in one sitting, and that never happens, I couldn't put it down. Twilight Hunter is definitely not a book you want to start reading if you have something that needs to get done, its hard to put down. This book for anyone who likes a good paranormal romance thrillerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2013
Great series: TWILIGHT HUNTER is the first full length novel (second story) in Kait Ballenger’s new paranormal romance series- Execution Underground - focusing on an elite group of warriors/hunters who protect humanity from the supernatural beings out to destroy or control the world. This is Jace and Frankie’s storyline. And in true paranormal style, not everyone is as they appear to be. Even the good guys are something ‘more’.
Jace McCannon is on the edge. With a string of unsolved murders, Jace is the best werewolf hunter the Execution Underground has ever commissioned but his inability to find the ‘werewolf’ responsible for a rash of grizzly murders forces Damon Brock, the leader of the EU to take action. And when clues begin to add up, Jace will find himself face to face with a female werewolf who is trying to uncover the person responsible as well. Only for Frankie, it is personal. As the pack master of the local werewolf pack, it is her responsibility to ensure the murderer isn’t one of her own.
The relationship between Jace and Frankie begins as Jace captures Frankie hoping to get information about the person responsible for the murders. But Frankie is no ordinary wolf-she is the pack master, alpha and about to enter her ‘once yearly fertile period.’ And Jace is not immune to Frankie’s condition-he is of mixed blood and his ‘other’ half wants to mate. The sexual tension is high as their attraction to one another is over the top: but there is always a caveat and both believe the other made a huge error in judgment.
The storyline focus is on the murders and the person responsible but it also introduces several potential storylines, relationships, and the acrimonious relationship between Damon Brock and the other members of the Execution Underground. In the introductory novella to the series Damon found then lost the love of his life and in this, it has transformed his personality and caused rifts in his association with the men who work in the EU.
The story development is fast paced; the characters are as likeable as they are flawed. No one is perfect. The personalities are as diverse as the number of supernatural species introduced into the story-demons, wolves, vampires, fae, beserkers and more.
Kait Ballenger does a magnificent job with TWILIGHT HUNTER as she blends a complicated storyline with a building romance and a premise filled with murder, suspense and forbidden attraction.
Posted August 27, 2013
~Reviewed by ANGELA & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
Ms. Ballenger did not disappoint. After reading Shadow Hunter (Execution Underground #0.5), I was anxious and excited to get to this installment. Ms. Ballenger’s introduction to this series was remarkable. Twilight Hunter has a gripping story line with nonstop action, suspenseful twists, and well developed characters. Just like its prequel, Twilight Hunter was an awesome read.
Left with no choice, Jace is forced to work with the very beings he hunts. There is a mystery to be solved , and this seems to be the only solution. Frankie, as the Alpha Female of her pack, agrees to work with the hunters. With Jace being a half breed, they believe he is the only person to beat the perpetrator. Frankie would have to teach him to embrace his shifter side. Wait until you find out what kind of a shifter he really is. Here’s a hint. Ms. Ballenger infused this novel with a bit of Norse mythology which Jace is connected to. Though I’m not too familiar with this Mythos, I did find it very intriguing.
Jace and Frankie’s relationship was a bit complicated. I think Frankie being an alpha female had a lot to prove. She constantly had to prove herself to the pack , and though she didn’t need to prove herself to Jace, she constantly compared herself to him. There was also a lot of misunderstanding and assumptions that could’ve been solved by simply talking it out. It was sometimes annoying , but I guess I could understand her position. Overall, they were sweet , and they were pretty hot together.
If you read Shadow Hunter, you know that Jace was handpicked by Damon Brock to be part of EU. Here’s what threw me off. I really liked Damon from the prequel and Ms. Ballenger really gave his character a different persona. Jace says he has a “stick shoved up his ass” and really, the way he acted, it seemed that way. None of this crew knows exactly what happens to him since Jace, David, Ash and Trent came long after the tragedy that hit him. Shadow Hunter ends in such a cliff hanger that I was hoping we get more of Damon and Tiffany’s story. Alas, no sign of Tiffany. =( The next installment, Immortal Hunter is suppose to be about David and Allysun. I’m hoping we get a glimpse of Damon and Tiffany as they were the first couple I fell in love with.
*ARC provided by Author in exchange for an honest review
Posted August 27, 2013
I LOVE This New Series From Kait Ballenger! Passion! Thrills! Shifters! Romance! WooHoo! I had previously read Kait's E.U novella in After Dark and enjoyed it very much... rating it 5 stars. Therefore... I had high expectations for this book and Kait certainly has not disappointed me. Shifters, romance, fights... the passion and thrills will keep you on the edge of your seat. Warning! This is not a book to read to lull yourself to sleep!
Jace is a werewolf specialist with the EU, i.e., The Execution Underground. The EU is tasked with protecting humanity and keeping the existence of paranormals hidden from humans. Jace is stationed in Rochester with a crew of other EU specialists. Rochester has been experiencing an unexplained surge in paranormal activity and the EU crew there are being pushed to their limits. A sadistic killer has been targeting young women, raping, killing and grossly mutilating them. Jace is on the case looking for the werewolf responsible...
Frankie Arnato is a very attractive pack leader, a rare position for a woman. As the pack leader, she will do absolutely anything to protect her pack. To that end, she's tracking a rogue werewolf who is viciously killing women in her territory which would expose and endanger her pack. While investigating the latest murder, she comes face-to-face with Jace...
I have fallen in love with Kait's characters and her stories. I'm looking forward to reading the story of every EU member. Once you start this book, you won't want to put it down until you're done. I actually read this book in 2 days - that's fast for me! I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys paranormal stories, shifter romances, or just a thrilling story. I rate it 5 stars!!!!!! AND I can hardly wait for the next EU installment!