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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 3

I jump off my bike and sprint toward her. No. It can’t be. It can’t be her—

“Did you see that?”

“What happened?”

I reach her second, after two women, from a car in the circular driveway, have jumped out and knelt down beside her.

Oh, Diana. Her body lies just short of the street, spreadeagled and facedown. Her luminous hair spills over her crushed face and onto the curb. Blood runs over the curb onto the street. I stand by the two women, looking over their shoulders at the only woman I’ve ever—

Why, Diana? Why would you do this to yourself?

“Did anyone see what happened?” someone shouts.

“That was Diana’s balcony!” someone running toward the building shouts.

A crowd has quickly gathered. Nobody can do anything but stare at her, as though she were a museum object. She is—I can’t say the word, but she isn’t breathing, her body has been crushed, she...isn’t alive.

Leave her alone, I say in my head, maybe out loud, too. Give her space. Let her have some dignity.

At least it’s dark, which, mercifully, shrouds her in a semblance of privacy. You can’t see her damaged face, can’t see the pain. It is, in a strange way, consistent with Diana’s fierce pride that she would hide her broken face from the public even in death.

Somebody asks about an ambulance. Then ten people at once are on their cell phones. I sit back on my haunches, helpless. There is nothing I can do for her. Then I see, to my right, between the feet of some onlookers, pieces of a broken clay pot and dirt. I even detect a whiff of cinnamon. I look up at her balcony again, not that I can see anything from this angle in the dark. Must be her apple geraniums, which she kept in pots outside during the summer, near the tip of the triangular balcony overlooking the street.

I pull back and part the growing crowd of people, moving back onto 33rd Street, suddenly unable to be part of their morbid curiosity.

I turn and vomit on the street. Before I know it, I’m on all fours on the pavement.

Diana’s hand on my cheek. Diana giggling when she spilled creamer all over herself at that new coffee shop on M Street. Diana showing me her hair a month ago, when she dyed it brown, wondering what I thought, caring about my opinion. That look she had when something was on her mind but she didn’t want to say anything. Turning and looking at me, realizing it’s me, and smiling. Smiling that carefree smile but maybe not so carefree. She was taking lorazepam, you idiot; how did you miss that? How did you miss the signs?

She needed my help and I wasn’t there for her. I didn’t take the steps necessary to be proactive. It never occurred to me that suicide could be an option.

Murder can be made to look like suicide, and suicide can be made to look like murder.

“Hey, bro—”

The apple geraniums.

“—dude’s freaking out over here!”

Run, Benjamin, run.

Sirens now, flashing lights cutting through the darkness, sucking away the air—

“Hold steady,” I coach myself. “Hold steady, Benjamin.” I take a deep breath and get to my feet.

“Okay.” I jump on my motorcycle and speed away.

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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