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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 6

I don’t sleep but I dream: of a gun on a bathroom floor; of a woman prone on a sidewalk; of blood spatter on a shower curtain; of vacant, lifeless eyes; of a scream nobody can hear; of a blood droplet in free fall, taking the shape of a sphere before striking a surface without a sound.

“Diana,” I say aloud. My head pops up. I get up from the second-floor landing and rush downstairs. Did I hear her voice?

“Diana?”

I check the kitchen, the family room, the bathroom.

Outside, the darkness is gently dissolving. Dawn. Seven hours have passed in what felt like seven decades, torturous, agonizing. My body is covered in sweat and my pulse is just starting to slow. My limbs ache and I’m breathing as if someone is standing on my chest.

I race to the front door and look through the keyhole: a white panel truck is parked directly outside my town house. Coincidence? A couple of joggers are running through Garfield Park, across the street. My neighbor’s giant schnauzer, Oscar, is urinating on my brick walkway. Giant schnauzers freak me out. People should only have the small kind. They don’t make sense being that tall. They remind me of Wilford Brimley for some reason. That guy’s been sixty years old my entire life.

President Johnson had at least three dogs, mostly beagles, including two he named Him and Her. George Washington kept foxhounds, but he loved all dogs. During the Battle of Germantown, his troops came upon a terrier that belonged to British general Howe, his sworn enemy. His troops wanted to keep it as a trophy, but Washington bathed it, fed it, and then called a cease-fire so that one of his men could return the pooch to his owner across enemy lines under a flag of truce. FDR had a dog he took every—

Just then, a kid appears out of nowhere and hurls a newspaper at my front door.

I duck down, which makes no sense, then silently curse Paper Boy—he’ll get his, one day soon—and then decide that I should probably have taken my medicine last night. But no time for that now. I need to get out of here.

First I need to shower, because I stink with sweat and that vanilla body frosting from Diana’s closet. I think you’re supposed to have somebody else in the room when you use it. Calvin Coolidge liked to have Vaseline rubbed on his head while he ate breakfast in bed. “Vasoline” is second only to “Interstate Love Song” as the Stone Temple Pilots’ best song. I probably should have taken a pill last night, but I don’t like the side effects, which include mild nausea, ringing in the ears, and, oh yeah, impotence. It keeps you from getting down, and it keeps you from getting it up.

Not that impotence is my number one problem right now. You need another person in the room for that endeavor, too, last I checked. I’ve had sex with eight women a total of ninety-nine times. The shortest encounter, from foreplay to climax, was three minutes and roughly fourteen seconds. I say roughly because sometimes it’s a little awkward to go straight to the stopwatch afterward, so you estimate: it takes five seconds to withdraw and between five and ten seconds to pay her a compliment before checking your wrist discreetly.

The longest encounter, if you’re wondering, was forty-seven minutes and roughly thirty seconds. Taking all my encounters together, and using round numbers, the mean duration is twenty-one minutes, the median is eighteen minutes, and the mode is seventeen. My math tutor, Miss Green-lee, would be proud. Because every time with her was over thirty minutes.

I’ve never had a long-term girlfriend, though. For some reason, most of them thought I wasn’t romantic.

Until Diana. We connected. We’re all puzzle pieces on a huge board, and she and I, well, our jagged edges just fit together. Even if she hadn’t figured it out yet.

I turn on the shower water but whip my head back around. What was that?

I throw a towel around my waist and rush to the bedroom window, overlooking F Street. The white panel truck is still parked directly across from my town house. My quaint little tree-lined street is blossoming as the city awakens. More dogs are running around now in Garfield Park, but not that giant schnauzer.

I walk to my staircase and remain still, listening for anything on the two floors below.

Nothing.

Satisfied, I return to the bedroom. A blast of music erupts, thrashing guitars, thumping bass, almost knocking me to the carpet. “Fine Again,” by Seether. I take a moment to recover from what could have been a coronary. It must be 6:30 a.m. I have my clock radio alarm set to DC101.

I turn the shower water past hot and let the scalding water punish my neck. My eyelids are heavy and my legs are rubbery. Staying up all night has handicapped me now, when I need to focus more than ever.

Because now I’m going back to Diana’s apartment.

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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