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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 2

I HAD BEEN in Arizona a week. A week of being with my mom and my half sister, Ella. A week of having everyone in my flock of winged kids injury free, all at the same time. We had plenty of food, nice beds, and Gazzy had managed to win almost forty dollars from my mom in poker before she wised up. Even now, the tantalizing aroma of chocolate chip cookies (homemade, from scratch, not slice'n' bake wannabes) wafted out an open window and drifted up to me, perched here atop a huge Apache pine, some ninety feet off the ground.

Everyone was happy and healthy—except me. I mean, I was healthy. No bullet wounds, black eyes, or cracked ribs, for once. But happy? Not in this lifetime, baby.

A mere eight days ago, I'd been about as happy as a fifteen-year-old girl with wings could be. And then Fang, my best friend, my soul mate, my first love—I mean, my only love—took off without a word. He left me a freaking note. Might as well have cut off my wings while he was at it.

I mean, he decided we'd be better apart, you know? It wasn't a joint decision. Like, if you're gonna make a decision about me and my life for my own good without consulting me, I'd better be dying and unconscious, and you'd better be following carefully written instructions.

Anyway. After I had been lying in a fetal position on my bed for twenty-four hours, Nudge called my mom. So embarrassing. I've been shot and needed less help than I did now. So the flock I've taken care of since forever—Iggy (also fifteen), Nudge (twelve), Gazzy (nine, also called the Gasman, for unfortunate reasons I won't go into here), and seven-year-old Angel—and I (my name is Maximum Ride, aka Max) had flown out here to Arizona. And now they were chillaxing—playing Cranium and baking cookies—and I was up a tree by myself, in too much pain to even cry.

Sorry to dump all this on you. You probably popped open this tome hoping to find some kick-butt battles, some pithy wisecracks, some unlikely but oh-so-possible end-of-the-world scenario, only to find me up a tree, wallowing in self-pity. I'm not good at self-pity. I have not done a lot of it. It's not pretty, I know.

You gotta believe I wouldn't be doing this if I could help it. The truth is, I'm hardly even myself anymore. Who is Max, if not part of "Max and Fang"? Every once in a while, I glanced down at the beautiful, old-fashioned promise ring that Fang had given me not long ago. I threw it away after Fang left, then pawed frantically through the trash until I found it again. Gazzy, watching me, had said, "Good thing you didn't flush it."

This week should have been one of the best weeks of my life. Instead, I would always remember it as a time of bleakne—

With no warning, a voice came from close behind me."Boo!"

Oh, thank you, I thought, as I jumped and stifled a scream. Someone to hit.

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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