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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.


Chapter 5

WHAT CAUGHT MY attention next was the incredible number of high-ticket toys at the party.

Sometimes it seemed like toys were all the world cared about in the second half of the twenty-first century. Humans and Elites had both fallen under their spell and become addicted to the endless pleasures and nonstop excitement they could provide. And the toys were only getting better, or worse, depending on your point of view.

Even in the presidential mansion—where you might think the serious business of the country would be getting done 24-7—toys were playing a big part in the celebration. Wide-eyed, deep-pocketed guests were crowded around a display where employees from Toyz Corporation were giving demos of some of the choicer items in the forthcoming, but thus far unreleased, catalog.

As Lizbeth and I reentered the ballroom, we were surrounded by a menagerie of cloned, genetically tamed animals—birds of paradise, GalEpagos tortoises, enormous butterflies, pygmy hippos—and then we almost got knocked over by a beautiful woman in a gold gown and matching high heels, who was laughing while riding on a thick-maned lion.

"Oops, sorry," she said breathlessly as she raced by. Then she called over her shoulder to Lizbeth, "You've got to try this, Liz. You've never felt such muscles."

"Now that's certainly not true," Lizbeth whispered as her hand delicately grazed my upper leg. "My beauty."

Other women were draping defanged cobras and wondrously patterned tropical vipers around their necks like mink stoles, and one demented man showed off by thrusting his head into the jaws of a docile baby Tyrannosaurus rex. I almost wished the toy would take a bite.

While Lizbeth admired the fauna—Elite and otherwise—I stepped up to a bank of SimStims, the hugely popular and addictive simulators that offered a variety of different experiences, all so intensely real that it was illegal to sell SimStim machines to anyone with a heart condition. You could choose from any number of simulations—have passionate sex with a movie or government star, for example, rock out onstage surrounded by a vast audience of screaming fans, or fight for your life in the heat of combat.

I slipped on a mood helmet at one of the simulators and scanned the on-screen menu. The range of choices was staggering: Moorish Harem, Eye of a Hurricane Experience, Pagan Barbarities, Tennis vs. the Pro, Pig Out: No Calories, Death Experience: A Final 60 Seconds, Visit Your Former Lives.

Movie buff that I am, I picked the general heading of Great Moments in Cinema.

I barely glimpsed the words"This Program Has Been Edited for Your Enhanced Pleasure," and then I was there. Bogie in Casablanca.

I gazed into the liquid blue eyes of Ingrid Bergman sitting across from me—then I raised my whiskey glass to touch hers.

"Here's looking at you, kid," I said, losing myself in her answering smile.

Then the door of the noisy café burst open and a toadlike little man ran in, looking around in panic. The great human character actor Peter Lorre had arrived.

"Rick, you have to help me," he gasped in a heavy accent, thrusting a sheaf of papers at me. "Hide these!"

I strode to the piano as he rushed out the back door, and I had just managed to shove the papers under the lid when gunshots sounded in the street outside. Suddenly, jackbooted soldiers stormed in—

My heart raced, and I felt myself instinctively backing away toward the bar. There was a Luger right there under the counter.

This was amazing. I was living Bogie's part in the film masterpiece. And then—surprise of surprises...

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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