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Toys

James Bond and Jason Bourne have just been topped! A battle for the world is set into unstoppable motion and Hays Baker is the only one who can save it.

Hays Baker and his wife Lizbeth possess super-human strength, extraordinary intelligence, stunning looks, a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do—they're Elites, endowed at birth with the very best that the world can offer. The only problem in their perfect world: humans and their toys!

The one with the most toys—dies
The top operative for the Agency of Change, Hays has just won the fiercest battle of his career. He has been praised by the President, and is a national hero. But before he can savor his triumph, he receives an unbelievable shock that overturns everything he thought was true. Suddenly Hays is on the other side of the gun, forced to leave his perfect family and fight for his life.

Now a hunted fugitive, Hays is thrown into a life he never dreamed possible—fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction. He enlists all of his training to uncover the truth that will save millions of lives—maybe even his own. James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyper plane—with a hero who rivals both James Bond and Jason Bourne.

Book One | FALL FROM GRACE

Chapter 2

AS LIZBETH AND I entered the glittering ballroom, Westmont DeLong, the world's most popular and most celebrated comedian, was at center stage, entertaining with his droll patter of antihuman jokes. When he noticed that the audience was momentarily paying more attention to Lizbeth and me than to him, he raised his voice to win them back.

"Listen to this one, folks. Eyes on me, gents—ladies too! Right here, you and me.... The star is up on the stage.

"So an Elite's out for a night on the town. He has a few too many, and he wanders into a tavern in a borderline human zone," DeLong announced with his trademark sly grin.

"He buys a drink—then says to the people around him, 'I've got to tell you the best human joke I've heard in years.' The tough-looking woman bartender gets in his face. She says, 'Listen, buddy, I'm a martial arts expert, my boyfriend next to you is a professional no-gravity wrestler, and the bouncer is ex-Special Forces. All three of us are humans and—guess what?—there are fifty others like us in here. You really want to tell that joke?' 'No, forget it,' the Elite says. 'It would take me all night to explain it fifty-three times.'"

The crowd laughed loudly. Clearly, they were fans of Westmont DeLong—as was I—and a barrage of antihuman quips sprang up:

"One human asks another which is closer, the moon or Mexico," someone called out. "The second one points at the moon and says, 'Duh—you can't see Mexico from here.'"

"Scientists have started using humans instead of rats for laboratory experiments. They breed faster, and you don't get so attached to them."

DeLong chuckled and contributed,"Know what happens when humans don't pay their garbage bill? The company stops delivery."

"Come on, Hays, your turn," said a voice behind me. "Let's see that quick wit of yours in action. Dazzle us."

The tall, athletic, and handsome man who'd spoken was none other than Jax Moore, the head of the Agency of Change, where Lizbeth and I both worked. Moore was enjoying one of his trademark cigars—smokeless, odorless.

Everyone around us went quiet and watched expectantly. Since the challenge came from our boss, I couldn't duck it, could I? So I smoothed the lapels of my tux, smiled, and told the best human joke that I could remember.

"Well, there's an office full of human workers. One human woman notices that her boss, who's also a woman, is leaving early just about every day," I said. "So the worker decides she can get away with it too. That afternoon, she waits until the boss leaves, waits another ten minutes, and then sneaks out herself. But when she gets home, she hears an awful commotion coming from her bedroom. She peeks in—and there's her boss in bed with her husband!"

I paused, just a beat—pretty good timing, I was sure.

"She hurries back to work. 'Well, I'm not going to try that again,' she tells her coworkers. 'I almost got caught!'"

The room echoed with genuine laughter, and Westmont DeLong's face reddened. His double chin sagged as well. Lizbeth managed to look appropriately blasé, like she'd heard it all before, but she shot me a surreptitious wink that said, Way to go, Hays.

"Not bad, Hays," Moore said. "OK, if you can spare a minute or two away from the limelight, the president wants to see you both."

The president! Lizbeth didn't look blasé at that news. Neither of us had ever met President Jacklin before. This was a huge honor, of course.

"We don't usually give interviews without an appointment...but we'll make an exception in this case," I said.

"I'm sure the president will be flattered," Jax Moore said wryly. "And Hays—no more jokes. Not even human ones."

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Matthew Bomer

Mathew Bomer currently stars Neal Caffrey on USA's White Collar. Bomer received a BFA Degree from Carnegie Mellon University and his feature film credits include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning and Flight Plan. Raised in Spring, Texas, Bomer is also a writer and currently lives in Los Angeles.

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