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11th Hour

Your best friend

Lindsay Boxer is pregnant at last! But her work doesn't slow for a second. When millionaire Chaz Smith is mercilessly gunned down, she discovers that the murder weapon is linked to the deaths of four of San Francisco's most untouchable criminals. And it was taken from her own department's evidence locker. Anyone could be the killer—even her closest friends.

Or a vicious killer?

Lindsay is called next to the most bizarre crime scene she's ever seen: two bodiless heads elaborately displayed in the garden of a world-famous actor. Another head is unearthed in the garden, and Lindsay realizes that the ground could hide hundreds of victims.

You won't know until the 11th hour

A reporter launches a series of vicious articles about the cases and Lindsay's personal life is laid bare. But this time she has no one to turn to—especially not Joe. 11TH HOUR is the most shocking, most emotional, and most thrilling Women's Murder Club novel ever.

Book One | The House of Heads

Chapter 1

YUKI CASTELLANO OPENED her eyes. She was in her lover’s arms, in her mother’s bed. If she was dreaming, it was a pretty funny dream.

She grinned to herself, almost seeing her dead mom sitting in the green slipper chair by the dresser, a look of disapproval on her face—and, as sometimes happened, her mother’s voice got into her head.

Yuki-eh, you want to have hus-band. Not lover.

Mom. Mom, he’s so great.

He so married.

Separated!

Jackson Brady stirred beside her, pulled her toward him, lifted her hair, and kissed the side of her neck.

She said, “It’s… early… you can sleep for another…”

Yuki sighed as Brady ran his hands over her naked body, started her engine, and revved it up.

Pillows went over the side, blankets bunched up at the footboard, and he fitted himself inside her. She cried out and he said, “I’ve got you.”

He did. He had her good.

Gasping, they bit at each other, moved together in a race that they both won. They finished entangled in bedding and each other, both of them sweating, satisfied, amazed.

“Oh my God.” Yuki sighed. “That was… just… okay.”

Brady laughed. “You’re too much.”

He kissed her again, put his fingers in the thick black curtain of her hair, watched as the strands fell through his fingers.

“I have to go,” he said softly.

“Not without coffee.”

He gave her bottom a smack and got out of bed. Yuki turned on her side and watched Brady walking away from her. She took in his perfect body, his pale hair hanging almost to his shoulders, the simple Celtic cross tattooed on his back.

When the bathroom door closed, Yuki got out of bed and put on a silk robe the color of watermelon, a gift from Brady.

She stepped over the clothes they’d dropped on the floor last night, took one of his clean shirts out of a drawer, put it on the green chair. She listened to the shower and thought about Brady being in it.

Tsutta sakana ni esa wa yaranai, said Keiko Castellano. A man won’t feed the fish he caught.

Shut up, Mom. I love him.

In the kitchen, Yuki opened the cupboard, got out the coffee beans, filled the coffeemaker with water. She put bread in the toaster.

It wasn’t even 6:00 a.m. She didn’t have to be at her desk in the DA’s office until nine. But she didn’t mind getting up with Brady. She wanted to do it, because, jeez, she loved him. It was almost embarrassing how much, but God, she was happy. Maybe for the first time in her adult life.

Nah, no maybe about it. This was definitely the happiest she’d been in twenty years.

Brady came into the kitchen. His tie was knotted, shoulder holster buckled over his blue shirt, and he was shrugging into his jacket. He looked worried, and she knew he was already working on the case that had been tearing at his guts.

She poured coffee, put buttered toast on a plate.

He stirred a lot of sugar into the coffee mug, took a sip. He took another, then put the cup down.

“I can’t eat, sweetie. I have to—Christ, I have a meeting in fifteen minutes. You okay? I’ll call you later.”

He might not call her later.

It didn’t matter. They were good.

She kissed him good-bye at the door and told him she hoped that he’d be safe. That she’d see him soon, whole and well.

She hugged him a little bit hard, a little too long. He tousled her hair and said good-bye.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Read by January LaVoy

January LaVoy is a New York-based voice, stage, and television actress. She has performed on and Off-Broadway, and appeared extensively in regional theatres across the country. She is best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the long-running ABC daytime drama One Life to Live.

Audio Excerpts (MP3)

James on 11th Hour and The Women's Murder Club

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