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Angel

In the seventh book in the bestselling series, evil scientists are still trying to convince Max that she needs to save the world, this time by providing the genetic link in speeding up the pace of evolution. Worse, they're trying to convince her that her perfect mate is Dylan, the newest addition to the flock. The problem is that, despite herself, Max is starting to believe it.

Fang travels the country collecting his own gang of evolved humans, but the two separate flocks must unite to defeat a frightening doomsday cult whose motto is Save the Planet: Kill the Humans. And this time, the true heroine, for once, might just be little Angel.

BOOK ONE | THE SKY IS FALLING

Chapter 1

I KNOW HE'LL come for me. He has to come for me. Fang wouldn't let me die here.

I'd been in the cage for days. I couldn't remember eating. I couldn't remember sleeping. I was disoriented from all the tests and the needles and the acrid disinfectant smell that had permeated my entire childhood... growing up in a lab, as an experiment. And here I was again, disoriented but still capable of a blinding rage.

Fang hadn't come for me. I would have to save myself this time.

"You! Get back!" The lab assistant's wooden billy club smashed against the door of the Great Dane–sized dog crate I was being held in every time I peered out through the front. With each strike, the door's hinges sustained more damage. Right according to plan.

Steeling my nerves, I again carefully pushed my fingers out through the bars of the crate and pressed my face against it. Timing was key: if I didn't pull back fast enough, the gorilla-like lab tech could easily crush my fingers or break my nose.

"I said, get back!" he repeated. Smash! A split-second after the club hit the weakened hinges, I kicked the door with every ounce of strength I had left.

"Hey!" The lab tech's startled yell was cut short as I shot out of the crate, a rush of seriously ticked-off mutant freak, and launched a roundhouse kick to his head. I spun again, leaping onto a table to assess my adversary.

Already a piercing klaxon was splitting the air. Shouts and pounding footsteps from the hallway added to the chaos.

I grabbed on to a pipe on a low section of the ceiling, swung forward, and slammed my feet into a white-lab-coated chest. The bully sank to his knees, unable to draw breath. This was the perfect time for me to run to the end of the table, jump off, and spread my wings.

That's where the "mutant freak" part comes in.

As hands reached for my bare feet, I shot upward, flying toward a small window high in the wall, then veered off path when a familiar dark shadow suddenly loomed.

Fang!

He was on the roof outside, watching through the window. My right-wing man! I knew he'd come. He had my back, like a thousand times before. He would always have my back, and I would always have his. With relief, I readied myself to crash through the glass.

The room below me was now filled with shouting people. So long, suckers, I thought, as I aimed and got a flying start. I'd burst through quite a few windows in my fifteen-year life, and I knew it would hurt, but I also knew pain didn't matter. Escaping mattered.

Wham! My right shoulder smashed against the glass, but it didn't break. I bounced off it and dropped hard, like a brick. Time slowed. I heard the pop of a tranquilizer gun and felt a dart pinch my leg as I crashed to the ground.

Above me, Fang watched, expressionless.

In disbelief, I realized that he wasn't here to help me after all; he wasn't going to break through the window to save me. I writhed on the shiny linoleum floor, losing consciousness.

Fang didn't have my back. Not this time.

I felt like I was I falling again. Instinct made me scramble to grab on to something, anything.

My fingers latched on to a small, hard branch. As I gasped for air, my eyes popped open, and I realized I was near the top of a tall pine tree—not in a dog crate, not back at the School. The late-morning sun bathed the Arizona mountains in rosy light. It had been a nightmare. Or, rather, a daymare.

I inhaled deeply, feeling the icy claws of adrenaline still in my veins. Cold sweat tickled my forehead and back as I tried to calm down.

It had just been a bad dream. I was free. I was safe.

Except for the worst part of the dream, the one thing that had made everything else a thousand times worse, the one thing that truly terrified and paralyzed me...

Fang really was gone. He didn't have my back. Not in the dream, not now, never again.

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Rebecca Soler

Rebecca Soler is a New York based actress who voices numerous principal characters for the CW's Saturday morning cartoon lineup including: Viva Piñata (Ella and Simone), Huntik (Sophie) The Winx Club (Techna) and Chaotic (Sarah). Other audio books include Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen and After by Amy Efaw for which she was awarded a 2009 AudioFile Earphones Award. Rebecca is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Clip #1
Chapter 1 to 4
Clip #2
Chapters 5 to 8
Clip #3
Chapters 9 to 12
Clip #4
Chapters 13 to 16
Clip #5
Chapters 17 to 20
Clip #6
Chapters 21 to 23
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