Murder of Innocence – James Patterson

CAREY FLUTTERS OPEN HER eyes, but she can’t see much of anything. Hot water is running down her face. Swirls of rising steam engulf her. Her head is spinning, and her legs and arms feel wobbly, like the Jell-O shots she and her sorority sisters make for their house parties. Carey has been drunk before. And stoned. More times than she can count. But this feeling, what’s happening to her right now, is different. Very different. Carey gropes blindly for something to hold on to. Her fingertips make contact with a wall of wet tile. She claws at the slick surface, feeling dangerously shaky. Then she forces herself to take some slow, deep breaths. And think. She’s standing upright in a hot shower.

That much Carey’s sure about. But she has no idea whose shower. Or where she is. Or how in the hell she got here. And—oh God—Carey realizes now that she’s completely naked. What happened to her clothes? The last thing she remembers is the start of the night. It was Friday, and she and some girlfriends decided to head off campus and go barhopping on State Street, Santa Barbara’s main drag. They ended up at O’Malley’s, a popular, proudly inauthentic Irish pub. The place was packed with fellow University of California students, all drunk and sweaty, sloshing their Coors Lights and moving their bodies to pulsing hip-hop. Most of the guys there were undergrads like Carey.

But one of them was older. Quite a bit older. It was hard to tell for sure in the dim bar, but he looked well into his thirties. He seemed out of place in this sea of students, but he was tall, with a great head of dark hair, and he had a charm and confidence about him that most boys Carey’s own age lacked. Their idea of flirting was leering at a girl, dropping a cheesy pickup line, then offering to buy her a couple of shots. Not this man. He came up to her with a glass of ice water from the bar already in hand—cold and refreshing, exactly what Carey was craving after hours on the dance floor—and struck up an actual conversation. He introduced himself as Andrew. He asked what she was studying and where she was from. Art history and Sacramento, she told him.

He said he’d grown up in California too. In Malibu and Brentwood, to be specific, which she knew were wealthy enclaves of nearby Los Angeles. He was a filmmaker. He loved to surf. He owned a bungalow on the beach in Mussel Shoals, a twenty-minute drive away. And he claimed he knew a secret recipe for the best margaritas in the entire world. Would Carey like to come over and have some? That’s where her memory begins to blur. Which is why Carey deduces with horror that she has been drugged. was hard to tell for sure in the dim bar, but he looked well into his thirties. He seemed out of place in this sea of students, but he was tall, with a great head of dark hair, and he had a charm and confidence She can recall the rest of the night only in vague, dreamlike snippets.

She remembers stumbling into the front seat of the man’s forest green SUV. She remembers gripping his shoulder for support as she tottered along the beach behind his house. She remembers collapsing, loopy and exhausted, onto his couch. But how did she end up in the shower? Her breathing quickens as she tries to formulate a plan. If she can just stop her head from spinning, if she can just make her muscles work again, she can step out of the shower. She can get dressed. She can go home. But Carey doesn’t get the chance. The bathroom door opens, and in walks the man from the bar. He strips off his white linen shirt and board shorts, pulls back the shower curtain, and steps in behind Carey, brushing his nude body up against hers.

Carey gasps. She’s filled with nausea and fear. She goes rigid from head to toe. “Feels good, hmm?” he says, nuzzling Carey’s neck and sliding his hands along her thighs and up to her bare breasts. No, it doesn’t feel good, Carey thinks. Stop, please. No. Stop! Carey wants to scream and yell but no words come out, only muffled sobs. She wants to fight off this monster. Spin around, knee this son of a bitch in the groin, dig her nails into his eyeballs.

But she just stands there in the running water. Frozen. Dazed. Helpless to speak up or resist. Praying for this nightmare to end as the man pushes himself inside her. She can recall the rest of the night only in vague, dreamlike snippets. She remembers stumbling into the front seat of the man’s forest green SUV. She remembers gripping his shoulder for support as she tottered along the beach behind his house. She remembers collapsing, loopy and exhausted, onto his couch. But how did she end up in the shower? Her breathing quickens as she tries to formulate a plan.

If she can just stop her head from spinning, if she can just make her muscles work again, she can step out of the shower. She can get dressed. She can go home. But Carey doesn’t get the chance. The bathroom door opens, and in walks the man from the bar. He strips off his white linen shirt and board shorts, pulls back the shower curtain, and steps in behind Carey, brushing his nude body up against hers. Carey gasps. She’s filled with nausea and fear. She goes rigid from head to toe. “Feels good, hmm?” he says, nuzzling Carey’s neck and sliding his hands along her thighs and up to her bare breasts.

No, it doesn’t feel good, Carey thinks. Stop, please. No. Stop! Carey wants to scream and yell but no words come out, only muffled sobs. She wants to fight off this monster. Spin around, knee this son of a bitch in the groin, dig her nails into his eyeballs. But she just stands there in the running water. Frozen. Dazed. Helpless to speak up or resist.

Praying for this nightmare to end as the man pushes himself inside her. CHAPTER 1 Four Years Earlier PADDLE FASTER, DUDE, YOU’RE gonna miss it!” Andrew Luster, still boyishly handsome at thirty-two, lies stomach-down on an eight-foot-long freshly waxed pinewood surfboard that glistens in the rising California sun. His arms are churning the water like a pair of twin-engine propellers. Behind him, a massive wave is surging—and he’s determined to catch it. Heeding his friend’s words, Andrew pumps his arms harder. A salty sea mist stings his eyes. His shoulders start to burn. But he doesn’t let up. He’s set his sights on that wave, and he’ll be damned if he’s going to let it get away. That’s the kind of man Andrew Luster is and always has been.

He’s a man who knows exactly what he wants. A man used to getting exactly what he wants. No matter the cost. Soon, the wave begins to swell. Andrew leaps up onto his board in a squatting position. As the water crests, he stands upright, turns sideways, and feels himself picking up speed. “Yeah!” he shouts. He pumps his fist, savoring the thrill. “Hell yeah!” But Andrew’s joy is short-lived. Without warning, his board jerks.

He loses his balance and bellyflops into the surf. He quickly fights his way back to the surface, coughs up seawater. His friend Jon Balden—his neighbor and occasional early-morning surfing partner—is floating on his own board nearby, pointing at him and cackling. “Nice wipeout!” For a moment, Andrew is overcome by a rush of shame and fury. He hates being laughed at almost as much as he hates not getting his way. But then Andrew forces a smile, reverting to his typical, easygoing self. “I meant to do that!” he calls to Jon. “I just wish I’d gotten it on tape!” He’s only half joking. As much as he loves his surfboard, Andrew loves another toy even more: his Super VHS camcorder. His video camera is practically attached to his shoulder whenever he’s not in the water.

He films snippets of his daily life, documents his travels, interviews his friends. Constantly. He especially likes turning the camera on himself. Some might call this habit odd. Eccentric. Narcissistic. Andrew calls it his passion. Andrew spins his surfboard around and is preparing to head back out when he sees his companion paddling toward the shore. “Come on! You’re not quitting on me already, are you, Jon?” “Wish I could stay out longer. But I’ve got somewhere to be this morning.

It’s called a job. J-o-b. Ever heard of it? You go to an office, sit at a desk, earn a salary? You should try it someday.” Andrew rolls his eyes. This isn’t the first time his friend has teased him about his enviable lifestyle. One of the great-grandsons of Maksymilian Faktorowicz—better known as Max Factor Sr., founder of the mega-successful global cosmetics company that bears his name—Andrew was born into a life of incredible wealth and privilege. When Andrew turned eighteen, he was given access to a hefty trust fund, a portion of which he used to buy a cozy oceanside bungalow in the sleepy California freshly waxed pinewood surfboard that glistens in the rising California sun. His arms are churning the But Andrew’s joy is short-lived. Without warning, his board jerks.

He loses his balance and bellyneighbor and occasional early-morning surfing partner—is floating on his own board nearby, pointing He’s only half joking. As much as he loves his surfboard, Andrew loves another toy even more: his into a life of incredible wealth and privilege. When Andrew turned eighteen, he was given access to a hefty trust fund, a portion of which he used to buy a cozy oceanside bungalow in the sleepy California beach town of Mussel Shoals. That was almost fifteen years ago. He hasn’t worked a single day since. “Yeah, yeah,” Andrew says, brushing off Jon’s dig. “I’ll probably hit the waves again later, around sunset, before I head downtown. You should join me. For both.” Jon shakes his head good-naturedly, well aware that when his neighbor says “downtown,” he means the strip of bars he likes to haunt in nearby Santa Barbara.

College bars. Women, the younger the better, are Andrew’s third great passion in life. If he’s not surfing or shooting home movies, he’s talking about girls. Or chasing them. Or bedding them. Fit, tan, charming, and rich, Andrew has no trouble bringing home a different beautiful girl practically every night of the week. He rarely sees any of them twice. “Sounds tempting, but maybe another time,” Jon says. “I’ve got to go to work tomorrow morning too. Imagine that.

” The men say goodbye and head their separate ways—Jon toward the shore, Andrew toward the waves. As he scans the shimmering water looking for the next big swell, Andrew can’t get Jon’s mocking comments out of his head. So what if he doesn’t work a traditional nine-to-five? So what if he was born wealthy? He gets to spend his days and nights doing what he loves. Which suddenly gives Andrew an idea. beach town of Mussel Shoals. That was almost fifteen years ago. He hasn’t worked a single day since. “Yeah, yeah,” Andrew says, brushing off Jon’s dig. “I’ll probably hit the waves again later, around sunset, before I head downtown. You should join me.

For both.” Jon shakes his head good-naturedly, well aware that when his neighbor says “downtown,” he means the strip of bars he likes to haunt in nearby Santa Barbara. College bars. Women, the younger the better, are Andrew’s third great passion in life. If he’s not surfing or shooting home movies, he’s talking about girls. Or chasing them. Or bedding them. Fit, tan, charming, and rich, Andrew has no trouble bringing home a different beautiful girl practically every night of the week. He rarely sees any of them twice. “Sounds tempting, but maybe another time,” Jon says.

“I’ve got to go to work tomorrow morning too. Imagine that.” The men say goodbye and head their separate ways—Jon toward the shore, Andrew toward the waves. As he scans the shimmering water looking for the next big swell, Andrew can’t get Jon’s mocking comments out of his head. So what if he doesn’t work a traditional nine-to-five? So what if he was born wealthy? He gets to spend his days and nights doing what he loves. Which suddenly gives Andrew an idea.

.

PDF | Download



Thank you!

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chapter1.us © 2018 | Descargar Libros Gratis | Kitap İndir |
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x