The scariest and most satisfying James Patterson novel since Kiss the Girls
A breathtakingly beautiful supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after she goes missing, Kim McDaniels's parents receive a terrifying phone call. Fearing the worst, they board the first flight to Maui and begin the hunt for their daughter.
...WILL NEVER BE...
Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. The ineptitude of the local police force defies belief—Ben has to start his own investigation for Kim McDaniels to have a prayer. And for Ben to have the story of his life.
...THE SAME FOR YOU AGAIN.
All the while, the killer sets the stage for his next production. His audience expects the best—and they won't be disappointed. Swimsuit is a heart-pounding story of fear and desire, transporting you to a place where beauty and murder collide and unspeakable horrors are hidden within paradise.
Part One | THE CAMERA LOVES HER
KIM CAME to consciousness.
She was lying faceup on a bed inside a glowing, yellow-painted room. Her arms were tied and anchored behind her head. Her legs, a long way away, were roped to the metal frame of a bed. A white satin sheet was tucked under her chin, draped between her legs. She couldn't be a hundred percent sure, but she thought she was naked under the sheet.
She pulled at the rope holding her arms behind her, and she got terrifying glimmers of what might happen to her next, nothing that matched the man's promise that "everything's going to be ﬁne." Then she heard grunts and squeals coming from her throat, sounds she'd never made before.
She got nowhere with the ropes, so she lifted her head and as best she could, looked around the room. It seemed unreal, like a stage set.
To the right side of the bed were two closed windows, hung with gauzy curtains. There was a table beneath the windows loaded with lit candles of all heights and colors, and there were tropical flowers.
Birds of paradise and ginger—very masculine to her eyes, sexual really—stood erect in a vase beside the bed.
Another look around, and she took in cameras, two of them. Professional grade, mounted on tripods on either side of her.
She saw lights on stands and a sound boom she hadn't noticed at ﬁrst, positioned above her head.
She became aware of the roar of surf, loud, as if the waves were crashing against the walls. And there she was, pinned like a butterfly at the center of it all.
Kim took in a deep breath, and screamed, "HELP MEEEEEE."
When her scream faded, a man's voice came from behind her head. "Hey, hey. Kim. No one can hear you."
Kim turned her head harder to the left, stretched her neck with tremendous effort, and saw a man sitting in a chair. He was wearing earphones, and he pulled them down from his head so that they were resting on his collarbones.
Her ﬁrst look at the man who'd taken her.
She didn't know him.
He had medium-length hair, was maybe in his late thirties. He had regular features that could almost be called handsome. He was muscular, wearing form-fitting, expensive-looking clothes, a gold watch she'd seen in Vanity Fair. Patek Philippe. The man in the chair looked to her like the actor who played the lead in the latest James Bond movie, Daniel Craig.
He put the earphones back on and closed his eyes as he listened. He was ignoring her.
"Hey! Mister! I'm talking to you!" Kim shouted.
"You should hear this," the man said. He named the music, told her that he knew the artist, that this was a first studio cut.
He stood, brought the headphones over to her, and put one of the earpieces against her ear.
"Isn't that great?"
Kim's escape plan evaporated. She'd missed her big chance at seduction. She thought, Whatever he wants to do, he's going to do. But she could still beg for her life. Tell him it will be more fun if she participated—but her mind was scrambled from the injection he gave her and she felt woozy, too weak to move.
She looked into the man's light gray eyes, and he looked back as though he felt affection for her. Maybe she could use that. She said, "Listen to me. People know I'm missing. Important people. Life Incorporated. You've heard of them? I have a curfew. All the models do. The police are already looking for me . . ."
"James Blond," as she suddenly thought of him, said to her, "I wouldn't worry about the police, Kim. I was very careful." He sat beside her on the bed, placed his hand on her cheek admiringly. Then he put on blue latex gloves.
He lifted something from a nail in the wall, a mask of some sort, and when he put it on, his features became distorted. And very scary.
"What are you doing? What are you doing?"
Kim's screams ricocheted around the small room. The man said, "That was great. Could you do that again? Are you ready, Kim?"
He walked around to each of the cameras, checked the angle through the lenses, turned them on. The bright lights blazed.
Kim followed the blue gloves as they whisked the satin sheet away from her body. It was cool in the room, but the sweat immediately beaded up on her skin. She knew.
He was going to rape her.
"You don't have to do this," she said.
Kim started keening, a whimper that rose to a cry. She turned her face away, stared toward the closed windows, heard the nameless stranger's belt buckle hit the floor. She began sobbing without reservation as she felt the drag of latex running over her breasts, the feeling in her groin as he opened her with his mouth, the blunt feel of him pushing his way in, her muscles tightening to stop him from entering her.
His breath was soft against her face as he spoke into her ear.
"Just go along with this, Kim. Just go along. I'm sorry, but it's a job I'm doing for a lot of money. These people watching are big fans of yours. Try to understand."
"I want you to die," she said. She bit down on his wrist, drawing blood, and then he hit her, slapped her hard on each of her cheeks. Tears made her skin sting.
She wanted to pass out, but she was still conscious, very much under the blond stranger's body, hearing him grunting, feeling—too much. So she did her best to block out everything but the sound of the waves and thoughts about what she would do to him when she got away.
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
Christian Rummelhas appeared in several episodes of Law & Order and has done a great deal of acting on stage, including his recent work with Theatre for a New Audience. Christian is also an accomplished audiobook narrator who has recorded a number of titles for Hachette Audio.
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