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Cross Fire

Wedding bells ring
Detective Alex Cross and Bree's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.'s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories—is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?

A murderer returns
The case explodes, and the FBI assigns agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that they are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims' movements—information that only a Washington insider could possess.

Caught in a lethal cross fire
As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in D.C. and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good. With a supercharged blend of action, deception, and suspense, Cross Fire is James Patterson's most visceral and exciting Alex Cross novel ever.


Chapter 3

THE LEAD STORY in my life these days was Bree — Brianna Stone, known as the Rock at Metro Police. And, yes, she was all of that — solid, profound, lovely. She’d become a part of my life to the point where I couldn’t imagine it without her anymore. Things hadn’t been this sane and balanced for me in years.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Homicide at Metro was so quiet lately. As a cop, you can’t help but wonder when that next ton of bricks is going to fall, but in the meantime, Bree and I had an unheard-of two-hour lunch that Thursday afternoon. Usually the only way we see each other during the day is if we’re working the same murder case.

We sat in the back at Ben’s Chili Bowl, under all the signed celeb photos. Ben’s isn’t exactly the world capital of romance, but it is an institution in Washington. The half-smokes alone are worth the trip.

“So you know what they’re calling us around the office these days?” Bree said, halfway through a coffee milk shake. “Breelex.”

“Breelex? Like Brad and Angelina? That’s awful.

She laughed; she couldn’t even keep a straight face at that. “I’m telling you, cops have no imagination.”

“Hmm.” I put a hand lightly on her leg under the table. “With exceptions, of course.”

“Of course.”

Any more than that would have to wait, and not just because the bathrooms at Ben’s Chili Bowl were definitely not an option. We did in fact have somewhere important we had to be that day.

After lunch, we strolled hand in hand up U Street to Sharita Williams’s jewelry store. Sharita was an old friend from high school, and she also happened to do outstanding work on antique pieces.

A dozen tiny bells tinkled over our heads as we breezed in the door.

“Well, don’t you two look in love.” Sharita smiled from behind the counter.

“That’s ’cause we are, Sharita,” I said. “And I highly recommend it.”

“Just find me a good man, Alex. I’m in.”

She knew why we were there, and she removed a small black velvet box from under the case. “It came out beautifully,” she said. “I love this piece.”

The ring used to belong to my grandmother, Nana Mama, she of the impossibly small hands. We’d had it resized for Bree. It was a platinum deco setting with three diamonds across, which struck me as perfect — one for each of the kids. Maybe it’s corny, but it was like that ring represented everything Bree and I were committing to. This was a package deal after all, and I felt like the luckiest man in the world.

“Comfortable?” Sharita asked when Bree slipped it on. Neither one could take her eyes off the ring, and I couldn’t take my eyes off Bree.

“Yeah, it’s comfortable,” she said, squeezing my hand. “It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson

Read by Andre Braugher & Jay O. Sanders

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