Private vegas, p.1

Private Vegas, page 1

 part  #9 of  Private Series

 

Private Vegas
 


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Private Vegas


  Contents

  About the Book

  About the Authors

  Also by James Patterson

  Title Page

  Dedication

  Prologue

  One

  Two

  Three

  Four

  Part One

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Part Two

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Part Three

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Chapter 65

  Chapter 66

  Chapter 67

  Chapter 68

  Chapter 69

  Chapter 70

  Chapter 71

  Chapter 72

  Chapter 73

  Chapter 74

  Chapter 75

  Chapter 76

  Chapter 77

  Chapter 78

  Part Four

  Chapter 79

  Chapter 80

  Chapter 81

  Chapter 82

  Chapter 83

  Chapter 84

  Chapter 85

  Chapter 86

  Chapter 87

  Chapter 88

  Chapter 89

  Chapter 90

  Chapter 91

  Chapter 92

  Chapter 93

  Chapter 94

  Chapter 95

  Chapter 96

  Chapter 97

  Chapter 98

  Chapter 99

  Chapter 100

  Chapter 101

  Chapter 102

  Chapter 103

  Chapter 104

  Chapter 105

  Chapter 106

  Chapter 107

  Part Five

  Chapter 108

  Chapter 109

  Chapter 110

  Chapter 111

  Chapter 112

  Chapter 113

  Chapter 114

  Chapter 115

  Chapter 116

  Epilogue

  Chapter 117

  Chapter 118

  Chapter 119

  Chapter 120

  Acknowledgments

  Sneak Preview

  Copyright

  ABOUT THE BOOK

  Showgirls. Millionaires. Murder.

  Jack Morgan, head of Private Investigations, the global PI agency of the rich and famous, is being pushed to the limit. His car has been firebombed, his ex is dating someone else, and his twin brother is still out to destroy him.

  But Private doesn’t rest, and nor do its clients: not the LAPD who need Private’s help catching two scumbags with diplomatic immunity, and not the client who has just confessed to murdering his wife.

  Add to that Jack’s best friend being held on a trumped-up charge that could see him locked away for a very long time, and it seems like all bets are off ...

  ABOUT THE AUTHORS

  JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.

  James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust’s Children’s Reading Fund in the UK. James Patterson’s novels have sold in excess of 300 million copies worldwide, and he has been the most borrowed author in UK libraires for the past seven years in a row.

  Find out more at www.jamespatterson.co.uk

  Become a fan of James Patterson on Facebook

  MAXINE PAETRO is the author of three novels and two works of non-fiction, and she is the co-author of more than a dozen books with James Patterson. She lives in New York with her husband.

  Also by James Patterson

  PRIVATE NOVELS

  Private (with Maxine Paetro)

  Private London (with Mark Pearson)

  Private Games (with Mark Sullivan)

  Private: No. 1 Suspect (with Maxine Paetro)

  Private Berlin (with Mark Sullivan)

  Private Down Under (with Michael White)

  Private L.A. (with Mark Sullivan)

  Private India (with Ashwin Sanghi)

  ALEX CROSS NOVELS

  Along Came a Spider • Kiss the Girls • Jack and Jill • Cat and Mouse • Pop Goes the Weasel • Roses are Red • Violets are Blue • Four Blind Mice • The Big Bad Wolf • London Bridges • Mary, Mary • Cross • Double Cross • Cross Country • Alex Cross’s Trial (with Richard DiLallo) • I, Alex Cross • Cross Fire • Kill Alex Cross • Merry Christmas, Alex Cross • Alex Cross, Run • Cross My Heart • Hope to Die

  THE WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB SERIES

  1st to Die • 2nd Chance (with Andrew Gross) • 3rd Degree (with Andrew Gross) • 4th of July (with Maxine Paetro) • The 5th Horseman (with Maxine Paetro) • The 6th Target (with Maxine Paetro) • 7th Heaven (with Maxine Paetro) • 8th Confession (with Maxine Paetro) • 9th Judgement (with Maxine Paetro) • 10th Anniversary (with Maxine Paetro) • 11th Hour (with Maxine Paetro) • 12th of Never (with Maxine Paetro) • Unlucky 13 (with Maxine Paetro) • 14th Deadly Sin (with Maxine Paetro, to be published February 2015)

  DETECTIVE MICHAEL BENNETT SERIES

  Step on a Crack (with Michael Ledwidge) • Run for Your Life (with Michael Ledwidge) • Worst Case (with Michael Ledwidge) • Tick Tock (with Michael Ledwidge) • I, Michael Bennett (with Michael Ledwidge) • Gone (with Michael Ledwidge) • Burn (with Michael Ledwidge)

  NYPD RED SERIES

  NYPD Red (with Marshall Karp) • NYPD Red 2 (with Marshall Karp) • NYPD Red 3 (with Marshall Karp, to be published April 2015)

  STAND-ALONE THRILLERS

  Sail (with Howard Roughan) • Swimsuit (with Maxine Paetro) • Don’t Blink (with Howard Roughan) • Postcard Killers (with Liza Marklund) • Toys (with Neil McMahon) • Now You See Her (with Michael Ledwidge) • Kill Me If You Can (with Marshall Karp) • Guilty Wives (with David Ellis) • Zoo (with Michael Ledwidge) • Second Honeymoon (with Howard Roughan
) • Mistress (with David Ellis) • Invisible (with David Ellis)

  NON-FICTION

  Torn Apart (with Hal and Cory Friedman) • The Murder of King Tut (with Martin Dugard)

  ROMANCE

  Sundays at Tiffany’s (with Gabrielle Charbonnet) • The Christmas Wedding (with Richard DiLallo) • First Love (with Emily Raymond)

  FAMILY OF PAGE-TURNERS

  MIDDLE SCHOOL BOOKS

  Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (with Chris Tebbetts) • Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! (with Chris Tebbetts) • Middle School: My Brother Is a Big, Fat Liar (with Lisa Papademetriou) • Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill (with Chris Tebbetts) • Middle School: Ultimate Showdown (with Julia Bergen) • Middle School: Save Rafe! (with Chris Tebbetts)

  I FUNNY SERIES

  I Funny (with Chris Grabenstein) • I Even Funnier (with Chris Grabenstein) • I Totally Funniest (with Chris Grabenstein)

  TREASURE HUNTERS SERIES

  Treasure Hunters (with Chris Grabenstein) • Treasure Hunters: Danger Down the Nile (with Chris Grabenstein)

  HOUSE OF ROBOTS

  House of Robots (with Chris Grabenstein)

  DANIEL X SERIES

  The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (with Michael Ledwidge) • Watch the Skies (with Ned Rust) • Demons and Druids (with Adam Sadler) • Game Over (with Ned Rust) • Armageddon (with Chris Grabenstein)

  HOMEROOM DIARIES

  Homeroom Diaries (with Lisa Papademetriou)

  MAXIMUM RIDE SERIES

  The Angel Experiment • School’s Out Forever • Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports • The Final Warning • Max • Fang • Angel • Nevermore • Forever

  CONFESSIONS SERIES

  Confessions of a Murder Suspect (with Maxine Paetro) • Confessions: The Private School Murders (with Maxine Paetro) • Confessions: The Paris Mysteries (with Maxine Paetro)

  WITCH & WIZARD SERIES

  Witch & Wizard (with Gabrielle Charbonnet) • The Gift (with Ned Rust) • The Fire (with Jill Dembowski) • The Kiss (with Jill Dembowski) • The Lost (with Emily Raymond)

  GRAPHIC NOVELS

  Daniel X: Alien Hunter (with Leopoldo Gout) • Maximum Ride: Manga Vols. 1–8 (with NaRae Lee)

  For Suzie and John, Brendan,

  Alex, and Jack

  PROLOGUE

  START YOUR ENGINES

  One

  LORI KIMBALL HAD three rules for the death race home.

  One, no brakes.

  Two, no horn.

  Three, beat her best time by ten seconds, every day.

  She turned off her phone, stowed it in the glove box.

  On your mark. Get set.

  She slammed the visor into the upright position, shoved the Electric Flag’s cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” into the CD drive, pressed the start button on the timer she wore on a cord around her neck.

  Go.

  Lori stepped on the gas, and her Infiniti EX crossover shot up the ramp and onto the 110 as if it could read her mind.

  It was exactly ten miles from this freeway entrance to her home in Glendale. Her record was twelve minutes and ten seconds, and that record was made to be broken.

  The road was dry, the sun was dull, traffic was moving. Conditions were perfect. She was flying along the canyon floor, the roadway banked on both sides, forming a chute through the four consecutive Figueroa tunnels.

  Lori rode the taillights of the maroon 2013 Audi in front of her, resisting the urge to mash the horn with the palm of her hand—until the Audi braked to show her he wasn’t going to budge.

  Her ten-year-old boy, Justin, did this when he didn’t want to go to school. He. Just. Slowed. Down.

  Lori didn’t have to put up with this. She peeled out into the center lane, maneuvered around an old Ford junker in her way. As soon as she passed the Audi, she wrenched the wheel hard to the left and recaptured the fast lane.

  This was it.

  At this point, three lanes headed north on the 110, and the lane on the far left exited and merged into the 5. Lori accelerated to seventy, flew past a champagne-colored ’01 Caddy that was lounging at sixty to the right of her, and proceeded to tear up the fast lane.

  As she drove, Lori amped up the decibels, and the eleven-speaker Bose pounded out the blend of rock and urban blues. Lori was now in a state that was as close to soaring flight as she could get without actually leaving the ground.

  Lori was six minutes into the race and had passed the halfway mark. She was gaining seconds on her best time, feeling the adrenaline burn out to the tips of her fingers, to the ends of her hair.

  She was in the hot zone, cruising at a steady seventy-two when a black BMW convertible edged into her lane as if it had a right to be there.

  Lori wouldn’t accept that.

  No brakes. No horn.

  She flashed her lights, then saw her opening, a sliver of empty space to her right. She jerked the wheel and careened into the middle lane, her car just missing the Beemer’s left rear fender.

  Oh, wow, the look on the driver’s face.

  “It’s a race, don’tcha get it,” she screamed into the 360-degree monitor on the dash. She was lost in the ecstasy of the moment when the light dimmed and the back end of a gray panel van filled her windshield.

  Where had that van come from? Where?

  Lori stood on the brakes. The tires screeched as the Infiniti skidded violently from side to side, the safety package doing all it could to prevent the inevitable rear-end smashup.

  The brakes finally caught at the last moment—as the van pulled ahead.

  Lori gripped the wheel with sweating hands, hardly believing that there had been no crash of steel against steel, no lunge against the shoulder straps, no shocking blunt force of an airbag explosion. She heard nothing but the wailing of the Electric Flag and the rasping sound of her own shaky breaths.

  Lori snapped off the music, and with car horns blaring around her, she eased off the brakes, applied the gas. Sweat rolled down the sides of her face and dripped from her nose.

  Yes, she called it the death race home, but she didn’t want to die. She had three kids. She loved her husband. And although her job was boring, at least she had a job.

  What in God’s name was wrong with her?

  “I don’t know,” she said to herself. “I just don’t know.”

  Lori took a deep, sobering breath and stared straight ahead. The Beemer slowed to her speed, and the driver, his face contorted in fury, yelled silently at her through his closed window.

  To her surprise, Lori started to cry.

  Two

  THE TWO MEN sat in the satin-lined jewel box of a room warmed by flaming logs in the fireplace and the flickering light of the flat-screen.

  The older man had white hair, strong features, catlike amber eyes. That was Gozan.

  The younger man had dark hair and eyes so black they seemed to absorb light. He was very muscular, a man who took weight lifting seriously. His name was Khezir.

  They were visiting this paradise called Los Angeles. They were on holiday, their first visit to the West Coast, and had rented a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel, palatial by any standard. This opulent three-bedroom cottage was as pretty as a seashell, set at the end of a coral pink path and surrounded by luxuriant foliage: banana trees and palms.

  It was unlike anything in their country, the landlocked mountainous triangle of rock called the kingdom of Sumar.

  Now, the two men held the experiences of this hedonistic city like exotic fruit in the palms of their hands.

  “I am giving you a new name,” said Gozan Remari to the rounded blond woman with enormous breasts. “I name you Peaches.”

  There were no juicy women quite like Peaches in Sumar. There weren’t many in Southern California either, where women with boylike shapes were considered desirable and ones like Peaches were called fat.

  As if that were bad.

  “I don’t like you,” Peaches said
slowly. She was doing her best to speak through the numbing effect of the drugs she had consumed in the very expensive champagne. “But…”

  “But what, Peaches? You don’t like me, but what? You are having a very good time?”

  Gozan laughed. He was an educated man, had gone to school in London and Cambridge. He knew six languages and had founded a boutique merchant bank in the City of London while serving on numerous boards. But as much as he knew, he was still mystified by the way women allowed themselves to be led and tricked.

  Peaches was lying at his feet, “spread-eagled,” as it was called here, bound by her wrists and ankles to table legs and an ottoman. She was naked except for dots of caviar on her nipples. Well, she had been very eager for champagne and caviar a couple of hours ago. No use complaining now.

  “I forget.” She sighed.

  Khezir got up and went to the bedroom just beyond the living room, but he left the double doors open so that the two rooms merged into one. He lay back and lounged on the great canopied bed beside the younger woman who was the daughter of the first. This woman was even sexier than her mother: beautifully fleshy, soft to the touch, with long blond hair.

  Khezir ran his hand up her thigh, amazed at the way she quivered even though she could no longer speak.

 
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