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In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they're trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it.

Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.


Chapter 3

I WHIRLED AROUND on my branch, muscles coiled to launch myself at my attacker. That's what I'm good at: Fighting. Evading capture. Outwitting bad guys 'n' gals. I am not good at being heartbroken. But then you already knew that.

And what saw I, upon whirling? The Bane of My Existence, Part Deux. (Fang is Part Un.) Part Deux's name is Dylan.

Instantly my eyes narrowed and my fists clenched. The hot, dry Arizona wind lifted my hair and rustled the pine needles all around us.

Dylan, on a branch not two feet from mine, gave me a mischievous grin. He'd sneaked up on me, and my hearing is exceptionally good. The only other person who could do that was Fa—

"What do you want?" I scowled at him.

"What's the matter?" he asked. "Don't know who you are without him?"

"I'm so sure!" My eyes glowered, and faster than he could say "Uh-oh," I shot out a hard side kick and knocked him off his branch. I wouldn't have done that a week ago, but a week ago he'd been sweet and lovesick and not a great flyer. When Fang had left and I still wanted nothing to do with Dylan, Dylan had taken a new tack: toughening up, sharpening his sarcastic edge, and honing his flying skills till they were kick-butt.

Dylan is not part of my flock, no matter what he thinks or what he might tell you. He's another recombinant-DNA life-form, a birdkid somewhat like us, except that he was cloned from some original Dylan person, who died somehow. We, the flock, were created in test tubes from mostly human genetic material. And each of us had a little festive dash of avian DNA stirred in, which explains the wings and other amusing physical attributes.

Dylan caught himself before he went splat, shooting out his fifteen-foot wings like sails, letting them fill with wind. With strong strokes, he rocketed upward, determination on his perfect, male-model face, his dark blond hair glistening, and before I could think "Oh no, he wouldn't," he came at me with everything he had, barreling right into me, knocking me off my branch.

My arms windmilled as I fell back, my wings extending. I was dropping fast, fury building, then suddenly Dylan was below me, grabbing me under my arms.

"Get your hands off m—" I started to say, but in the next second, he pulled me close and kissed me—hard.

I gasped and my brain just—froze. I couldn't think or feel a single thing.

He let go of me unexpectedly and swooped off. I forgot to flap my wings, and the ground rushed up to me at nauseating speed.

My obituary would read "Killed by love."

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Rebecca Soler

Rebecca Soler is a New York based actress who voices numerous principal characters for the CW's Saturday morning cartoon lineup including: Viva Piñata (Ella and Simone), Huntik (Sophie) The Winx Club (Techna) and Chaotic (Sarah). Other audio books include Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen and After by Amy Efaw for which she was awarded a 2009 AudioFile Earphones Award. Rebecca is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Clip #1
Chapter 1 to 4
Clip #2
Chapters 5 to 8
Clip #3
Chapters 9 to 12
Clip #4
Chapters 13 to 16
Clip #5
Chapters 17 to 20
Clip #6
Chapters 21 to 23
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