Little, Brown and Company
An extraordinary portrait of true love that will move anyone who has a first love story of their own.
Axi Moore is a "good girl": She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn't tell anyone how all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson—who she also happens to be madly in love with.
When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out of control after the teens find themselves on the run from the police. And when Robinson suddenly collapses, Axi has to face the truth that this trip might be his last.
A remarkably moving tale very personal to James Patterson's own past, FIRST LOVE is testament to the power of first love—and how it can change the rest of your life.
Little, Brown and Company
WE LEFT THE DOG WITH ONE OF Robinson’s sticks of beef jerky, then headed to the end of the block, where Robinson pulled up short. “There it is,” he whispered, with real awe in his voice. He grabbed my hand and we hurried through the intersection.
“There what is?” I asked, but of course he didn’t answer me.
If things went on like this, we’d have to have a little talk—because I didn’t want a traveling companion who paid attention to 50 percent of whatever came out of my mouth. If I wanted to be ignored, I could just stay in Klamath Falls with my idiotic classmates and my alcoholic father.
“There is the answer,” Robinson said finally, sighing so big you’d have thought he just fell in love. He turned to me and bent down in an exaggerated bow, sweeping his arm out like a valet at some superfancy restaurant (the kind of place we don’t have in K-Falls).
“Alexandra, milady, your chariot awaits,” Robinson said with a wild grin. I rolled my eyes at him, like I always do when he does this fake-British shtick with my full name.
And then I rolled my eyes again: my so-called chariot, it turned out, was actually a motorcycle. A big black Harley-Davidson with whitewall tires and yards of shining chrome, and two black leather side bags decorated with silver grommets. There were tassels on the handlebars and two cushioned seats. The thing gleamed like it was straight off the showroom floor.
Robinson was beside me, whispering in some foreign language. “Twin Cam Ninety-Six V-Twin,” he said, then something about “electronic throttle control and six-speed transmission” and then a bunch of other things I didn’t understand.
It was an amazing bike, even I could see that, and I can hardly tell a dirt bike from a Ducati. “Awesome,” I said, checking my watch. “But we really should keep moving.”
That was when I realized Robinson was bending toward the thing with a screwdriver in his hand.
“Are you out of your mind?” I hissed.
But Robinson didn’t answer me. Again.
He was going to hot-wire the thing. Holy s—
I ran to the other side of the street and ducked down between two cars. Adrenaline rushed through my veins and I pressed my eyes shut.
There was no way this was happening, I told myself. No way he was going to actually get the thing started, no way this was how our journey would begin.
I had it all planned out, and it looked nothing like this.
Then the roar of an engine split open the quiet morning. I opened my eyes and a second later Robinson’s feet appeared, one on either side of the Harley.
We’re breaking the law! I should have screamed. But my mind simply couldn’t process this change in plans. I couldn’t say anything at all. I just thought: He’s running away in cowboy boots! That is so not practical! And: Why didn’t I bring mine?
“Stand up, Axi,” Robinson yelled. “Get on.”
I was rooted to the spot, my chest tight with anxiety. I was going to have a heart attack right here on Cedar Street, in between a pickup and a Volvo with a MY OTHER CAR IS A BROOM bumper sticker. So much for my great escape!
But then Robinson reached down and hauled me up, and the next thing I knew I was sitting behind him on the throbbing machine with the engine revving.
“Put your arms around me,” he yelled.
I was so heart-and-soul terrified that I did.
“Now hang on!”
He put the thing in gear and we took off, the engine thundering in my ears. My dad was probably going to wake up on the couch and wonder if he’d just heard the rumble of an early-summer storm.
We shot past the Safeway, past the high school football field, past the Reel M Inn Tavern, where every Friday night my dad hooked himself up to a Budweiser IV, and past the “Mexican” restaurant (where they put Parmesan cheese on top of their burritos).
Yeah, Klamath Falls. It was the kind of place that looked best in a rearview mirror.
Seeing it flash past me, feeling the rush of the wind in my face, I suddenly didn’t care if we woke up the entire stinking town.
Eat my dust! I wanted to shout.
Robinson let out a joyful whoop.
We’d done it. We were free.
Copyright © 2014 by James Patterson
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
Little, Brown and Company