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Mistress
Mistress
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316211079
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455515892
$16.00/U.S.
448 pages
Grand Central Publishing

James Patterson's scariest, sexiest stand-alone thriller since The Quickie.

Ben isn't like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts, he's a man consumed by his obsessions: movies, motorcycles, presidential trivia-and Diana Hotchkiss, a beautiful woman Ben knows he can never have.

When Diana is found dead outside her apartment, Ben's infatuation drives him on a hunt to find out what happened to the love of his life.

Ben soon discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a shocking double life. And now someone is out to stop Ben from uncovering the truth about Diana's illicit affairs.

In his most heart-pumping thriller yet, James Patterson plunges us into the depths of a mind tortured by paranoia and obsession, on an action-packed chase through a world of danger and deceit.

Mistress
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316211079
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455515892
$16.00/U.S.
448 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Chapter 2

I take the stairs down the fire escape, all six stories, at a slow pace, gripping the railing fiercely. I don’t like heights. Presidents Washington and Jefferson wanted DC to be a “low city.” I’m with them all the way.

In the 1890s, the Cairo Hotel was built on Q Street to a height of 164 feet, towering over its neighbors. In reaction to the uproar that followed, Congress passed a law called the Height of Buildings Act a few years later. But they amended the law in 1910, making it even more restrictive. Now the heights of buildings in the capital are limited to the width of the streets they face plus twenty feet. Most streets in DC are no wider than 110 feet, so most buildings are no higher than 130 feet, which usually means thirteen stories or fewer.

Still too high for me. I can’t stand near ledges. I’m not so afraid of losing my balance or slipping. I’m afraid I’ll jump.

When I reach the bottom, I walk through the parking lot and take the stairs up to the brick path that follows the C&O Canal. Diana lives on a tiny, two-block stretch of 33rd Street between the Potomac River to the south and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal to the north. Hers is the last building before the dead end at the canal, so it’s a secluded walk for me as I come around to the front of her building again.

It’s sticky-hot outside in August. The capital was built on swampland, and our humidity is unbearable this time of year. I don’t blame Congress for staying away.

Two younger guys are standing outside the loft building across the street, smoking cigarettes and checking out my bike.

“Sweet ride,” one of them says. He’s small and mangy, like Joaquin Phoenix in To Die For—Nicole Kidman’s breakout role, in my opinion, in which she showed for the first time she could carry a movie.

“You like it?” I ask. I do, too. It’s a 2009 Triumph America. Dual overhead cams, 865-cc, twin four-stroke engine, twin reverse cone pipes, phantom black with chrome detail. Yes, like the one Colin Farrell drove in Daredevil. I’m not saying I bought it for that reason. Not saying I didn’t. But yeah, it’s a pretty sweet ride.

“You get this thing out on the open road much?” the guy asks me.

Colin Farrell was terrific in Phone Booth. I liked that cop movie he did with Edward Norton and that futuristic movie he did with Tom Cruise, Minority Report. He’s underrated as an actor. He should do a movie with Nicole Kidman.

“Yeah, I try to stretch her legs when I can,” I tell the guy.

I’m not supposed to be advertising my presence here, and yet here I am chatting up a couple of guys about my bike.

I look up into the darkness at Diana’s apartment, at the triangular brick balcony that juts out over 33rd Street. The balcony serves more as a garden than anything else. The ledges on the sides are all lined with potted plants and flowers, and some small trees sit on the balcony floor, all of which she treats with loving care.

A light has gone on inside her apartment, illuminating the kitchen window.

“What do you got on the front there?” the guy asks me, kicking my front wheel.

“A 110/90 ME880,” I say. “I like to ride with 880s front and back.”

Diana’s home already? That’s...interesting.

“Cool,” says the guy. “My tire guy doesn’t do Metzelers. I’ve been running Avons all these years.”

I look back at the guy. “They handle pretty well so far.”

He asks me for the name of my tire guy. I tell him while he scribbles it down on a scrap of paper. Then I jump on the bike and take one last look up at Diana’s balcony. Good night, Lady Di—

—what—

“No!” I cry.

A body is in free fall from Diana’s balcony, plunging headfirst six stories to the ground. I close my eyes and turn away, but I can’t close my ears to the sickening whump of a body hitting the bricks, of bones snapping and crunching.

Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson

Mistress
Fiction/General
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1611130425
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio
Read by Kevin T. Collins

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Mistress
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316211079
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 1455515892
$16.00/U.S.
448 pages
Grand Central Publishing

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