BY James Patterson & Howard Roughan

You've been asked before, "Don't tell anyone the ending." With Honeymoon, don't tell anyone the beginning either.

All writers have a book that they know is their best book, ever. Welcome to James Patterson's HONEYMOON.

How does it feel to be desired by every man and envied by every woman? Wonderful. This is the life Nora Sinclair has dreamed about, the life she's worked hard for, the life she will never give up. Meet Nora Sinclair.

When FBI agent John O'Hara first sees her, she seems perfect. She has the looks. The career. The clothes. The wit. The sophistication. The tantalizing sex appeal. The whole extraordinary package - and men fall in line to court her. She doesn't just attract men, she enthralls them. If you dare.

So why is the FBI so interested in Nora Sinclair? Mysterious things keep happening to people around her, especially the men. And there is something dangerous about Nora when Agent O'Hara looks closer - something that lures him at the same time that it fills him with fear. Is there something dark hidden among the unexplained gaps in her past? And as he spends more and more time getting to know her, is he pursuing justice? Or his own fatal obsession?

With the irresistible attraction of the greatest Hitchcock thrillers, Honeymoon is a sizzling, twisting tale of a woman with a deadly appetite and the men who dare to fall for her. In his sexiest, scariest novel yet, James Patterson deftly confirms that he always "takes thrills to the next level" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).



THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS as they appear. One minute, I'm totally fine. The next, I'm hunched over and clutching my stomach in sheer agony. What the hell is happening to me?

I have no idea. All I know is what I feel, and what I feel I can't believe. It's as if the lining of my stomach is suddenly peeling away with a corrosive burn. I'm screaming and I'm moaning, but most of all I'm praying - praying for this to stop.

It doesn't.

The burning continues, a blistering hole forms, and the bile trickles out of my stomach with a sizzling . . . drip . . . drip . . . drip . . . over my entrails. The smell of my own melting flesh fills the air.

I'm dying, I tell myself.

But no, it's worse than that. Much worse. I'm being skinned alive - from the inside out.

And it's only just beginning.

Like a firework, the pain shoots up and explodes into my throat. It cuts off all air and I struggle to breathe. Then I collapse. My arms prove useless, unable to break the fall. Headfirst I hit the hardwood floor and bust open my skull. Blood, plum red and thick, oozes from above my right eyebrow. I blink a few times, but that's all. The gash doesn't even factor in. Needing a dozen stitches is the least of my current problems.

The pain gets worse, continues to spread.

Through my nose. Out to my ears. Right smack into my eyes, where I can feel the vessels popping like bubble wrap. I try to stand. I can't. When I finally manage to, I try to run. All I can do is stumble forward. My legs are leaden. The bathroom is ten feet away. It might as well be ten miles. Somehow I make it. I get there, lock the door behind me. My knees buckle and, again, I collapse to the floor. The cold tile greets my cheek with a horrific crack! as my back molar splits in two.

I can see the toilet but like everything else in the bathroom it's moving. Everything is spinning and I reach for the sink, arms flailing, to try and hold on. No chance. My body begins to thrash as if a thousand volts are coursing through my veins.

I try to crawl.

The pain is officially everywhere, including my fingernails, which dig into the tile grout and inch me forward. I desperately grab the base of the toilet and drag my head up over the lip.

For a second, my throat opens and I gasp for air. I begin to heave and the muscles in my chest stretch and twist. One by one, they tear as if razor blades are slashing through them. There's a knocking on the door. Quickly, I turn my head. It's getting louder and louder. More a pounding now. Were it only the grim reaper to put me out of this excruciating misery.

But it's not - not yet, at least - and that's the moment I realize that I may not know what killed me tonight, but I know for damn sure who did it.

Copyright © 2005 by James Patterson

Read by Campbell Scott & Hope Davis

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