cover

Contents

About the Book
About the Author
Also by James Patterson
Title Page
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Copyright
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What you are holding in your hands right now is no ordinary book, it’s a BookShot.

BookShots are page-turning stories by James Patterson and other writers that can be read in one sitting.

Each and every one is fast-paced, 100% story-driven; a shot of pure entertainment guaranteed to satisfy.

Available as new, compact paperbacks, ebooks and audio, everywhere books are sold.

BookShots – the ultimate form of storytelling.
From the ultimate storyteller.

ALSO BY JAMES PATTERSON

ALEX CROSS NOVELS

Along Came a Spider

Kiss the Girls

Jack and Jill

Cat and Mouse

Pop Goes the Weasel

Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

Four Blind Mice

The Big Bad Wolf

London Bridges

Mary, Mary

Cross

Double Cross

Cross Country

Alex Cross’s Trial (with Richard DiLallo)

I, Alex Cross

Cross Fire

Kill Alex Cross

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

Alex Cross, Run

Cross My Heart

Hope to Die

Cross Justice

Cross the Line

THE WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB SERIES

1st to Die

2nd Chance (with Andrew Gross)

3rd Degree (with Andrew Gross)

4th of July (with Maxine Paetro)

The 5th Horseman (with Maxine Paetro)

The 6th Target (with Maxine Paetro)

7th Heaven (with Maxine Paetro)

8th Confession (with Maxine Paetro)

9th Judgement (with Maxine Paetro)

10th Anniversary (with Maxine Paetro)

11th Hour (with Maxine Paetro)

12th of Never (with Maxine Paetro)

Unlucky 13 (with Maxine Paetro)

14th Deadly Sin (with Maxine Paetro)

15th Affair (with Maxine Paetro)

16th Seduction (with Maxine Paetro)

DETECTIVE MICHAEL BENNETT SERIES

Step on a Crack (with Michael Ledwidge)

Run for Your Life (with Michael Ledwidge)

Worst Case (with Michael Ledwidge)

Tick Tock (with Michael Ledwidge)

I, Michael Bennett (with Michael Ledwidge)

Gone (with Michael Ledwidge)

Burn (with Michael Ledwidge)

Alert (with Michael Ledwidge)

Bullseye (with Michael Ledwidge)

PRIVATE NOVELS

Private (with Maxine Paetro)

Private London (with Mark Pearson)

Private Games (with Mark Sullivan)

Private: No. 1 Suspect (with Maxine Paetro)

Private Berlin (with Mark Sullivan)

Private Down Under (with Michael White)

Private L.A. (with Mark Sullivan)

Private India (with Ashwin Sanghi)

Private Vegas (with Maxine Paetro)

Private Sydney (with Kathryn Fox)

Private Paris (with Mark Sullivan)

The Games (with Mark Sullivan)

Private Delhi (with Ashwin Sanghi)

NYPD RED SERIES

NYPD Red (with Marshall Karp)

NYPD Red 2 (with Marshall Karp)

NYPD Red 3 (with Marshall Karp)

NYPD Red 4 (with Marshall Karp)

DETECTIVE HARRIET BLUE SERIES

Never Never (with Candice Fox)

Fifty Fifty (with Candice Fox, to be published July 2017)

STAND-ALONE THRILLERS

Sail (with Howard Roughan)

Swimsuit (with Maxine Paetro)

Don’t Blink (with Howard Roughan)

Postcard Killers (with Liza Marklund)

Toys (with Neil McMahon)

Now You See Her (with Michael Ledwidge)

Kill Me If You Can (with Marshall Karp)

Guilty Wives (with David Ellis)

Zoo (with Michael Ledwidge)

Second Honeymoon (with Howard Roughan)

Mistress (with David Ellis)

Invisible (with David Ellis)

The Thomas Berryman Number

Truth or Die (with Howard Roughan)

Murder House (with David Ellis)

Woman of God (with Maxine Paetro)

Hide and Seek

Humans, Bow Down (with Emily Raymond)

The Black Book (with David Ellis)

BOOKSHOTS

Black & Blue (with Candice Fox)

Cross Kill

Private Royals (with Rees Jones)

The Trial (with Maxine Paetro)

Chase (with Michael Ledwidge)

113 Minutes (with Max DiLallo)

The Verdict (with Robert Gold)

French Kiss (with Richard DiLallo)

Taking the Titanic (with Scott Slaven)

Killer Chef (with Jeffrey J. Keyes)

The Christmas Mystery (with Richard DiLallo)

Kidnapped (with Robert Gold)

Come and Get Us (with Shan Serafin)

Hidden (with James O. Born)

The House Husband (with Duane Swierczynski)

Malicious (with James O. Born)

French Twist (with Richard DiLallo)

The Exile (with Alison Joseph)

The End (with Brendan DuBois)

The Shut In (with Duane Swierczynski)

Private Gold (with Jassy Mackenzie)

After the End (with Brendan DuBois)

Diary of a Succubus (with Derek Nikitas)

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

Epub ISBN: 9781786531599
Version 1.0

Published by BookShots 2017

1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Copyright © James Patterson, 2017
Cover images © Shutterstock
Cover design by Blacksheep

The BookShots name and logo are a trademark of JBP Business, LLC.

James Patterson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.

This is a work of fiction. All characters and descriptions of events are the products of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons is entirely coincidental

First published in Great Britain in 2017 by BookShots

BookShots
The Penguin Random House Group Limited
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA

www.penguin.co.uk

Penguin logo

BookShots is part of the Penguin Random House group of companies whose addresses can be found at global.penguinrandomhouse.com

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Chapter 1

THE GIRL

IMAGINE SHE’S YOUR sister.

Smart, shy, six feet tall—and she has absolutely no idea how beautiful she really is. Her fellow students at St. Paul’s Prep gravitate toward her. They like her sweet nature and silly sense of humor. Her closest friends have the twin impulses to protect her and maybe corrupt her a little, because it’s just too much fun. Come on, have a smoke. Let’s shotgun a beer!

Now, your sister’s never had a drink before—not even a secret sip of Mom’s wine at the Thanksgiving dinner table. So she almost always says no, thank you. Or takes the faintest puff or smallest sip, just to appease her friends.

Your sister’s a good kid.

But when her two best friends invite her to a very private beach party on Turks and Caicos during spring break—all expenses covered—she can’t help herself. She feels like a kid who was denied sweets growing up and one day stumbled into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.

Of course she grew up hearing the usual advice about partying smart, pacing yourself, and keeping your hand over the top of your drink so nobody slips a roofie into it. And she believes in that advice. But she’s also never been invited to a party like this before. Someone has spent a lot of money to lay out an array of culinary delights, yet everybody seems to ignore the food. Instead they drink and dance to throbbing electronic music under strings of lights and palm fronds. Or steal away to a quiet corner for a more intimate conversation.

Your sister’s best friends from school, an adorable pair of twins, press a cocktail the color of a bruised sunset into her hand and encourage her to take just a sip. C’mon, just one! So she does.

And it tastes…amazing. Nothing like the cheap beer they’d sneak on campus. Before she knows it, she’s finished her first and the twins are handing her another. And she downs that, too. Easily, and it’s as refreshing as a glass of orange juice.

And after the second drink the twins manage to drag their normally shy friend onto the dance floor and begin to twirl under skies so beautiful she can hardly believe this is real. Any of it.

Of course, the men notice her because there’s no one else at this party quite like her. In a sea of bodies trying too hard, she is an effortless beauty, full of laughter and light.

First comes the handsome Italian lifeguard, just a few years older than your sister, but much more experienced in the ways of the islands. So he’s not entirely surprised when he’s nudged aside by a trust fund kid with a yacht—and this kid mentions the yacht a lot. Soon your sister and her twin friends are tipsy enough to agree to go see the yacht, a Squadron 60 (whatever that is—your sister doesn’t know), anchored just off the beach.

Once they’re on board, however, the yacht’s captain cozies up to your sister. He’s in his forties, but the captain is charming enough to make your sister fall for him just a little, even though a voice in the back of her mind screams, He’s twice your age! But he pours her shots of clear, sweet rum between dances, and she kind of loves how she feels in his muscular arms.…

Sometime after midnight, the party is broken up by local cops. It’s not so much a raid as a gentle shakedown, in which the trust fund kid is expected to fork over a tiny sliver of said fund. When your sister looks around, she realizes the twins have already left the yacht, pretty much abandoning her.

One of the cops is kind enough to offer her a ride back. He’s very friendly. So friendly, he insists on a good-night kiss before she goes home. She offers him one. He pushes things further. She pushes back. He gently insists with the manner of someone who is used to hearing no, but also used to completely ignoring it.…

Now imagine your sister coming to her senses a little. Those old warnings from Mom and Dad are nagging at her, so she parts ways with the cop and decides to go for a walk to clear her head. Sand beneath her feet, ocean spray on her face, and all that. This was a nice diversion to fantasyland, but now it’s time to return to reality.

But it’s darker on the beach than she realized. And before she can make it back to the party—hands reach out from the darkness and grab her.

She fights back. With everything she’s got. Deep down, at the animal instinct level, she knows: this person means to do her harm.

But the stranger’s hands, they’re too powerful, and she’s had too much to drink. They pull on her wrists and she’s brought down to her knees, then tumbles down onto the sand.

Still, she refuses to give up. Whatever those hands want with her, it can’t be good. She punches, she kicks, she scrambles up to her feet, and she thinks she’s just about to make it when…

She’s tackled, hard—her face smashing into the beach. She inhales to scream and sucks coarse sand down her throat.

Her attacker does not care. The hands, so incredibly powerful, drag her choking body down to the water’s edge. She tries to hold on. Struggles to undo the mistakes she thinks she’s made tonight. If she can only hold on a little longer…

But the tracks from her fingers, as they claw at the beach, will be erased by the tide the next morning.