Most of the similarities end there. Max and the other kids in the Maximum Ride books are not the same Max and kids featured in those two books. Nor do Frannie. Max and the other kids in Maximum Ride are not the same Max and kids featured in those two books. Nor do Frannie and Kit play any part in Maximum Ride. Max who escapes from a quite despicable School. Most of the similarities end there. Max and the other kids in the Maximum Ride books are not the same Max.

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Maximum Ride Max Pdf

Max and the other kids in the Maximum Ride books are not I started clicking through the pages of the PDF faster now, to get to the pictures. And then, when I. Read Max (Maximum Ride, #5) PDF Free. James Patterson's bestselling Maximum Ride series is back, with Max and the gang as The Protectors. Someone--or. Results 1 - 10 of 12 James Patterson's bestselling Maximum Ride series is back and Max and her flock are ready for their most daring rescue mission yet.

Want exclusive content, like free chapters, news, and sweepstakes? Register for the newsletter here! We use cookies to enhance your visit to us. By using our website you agree to our use of these cookies. Find out more. Sign Up. Max by James Patterson. Their objective:

Want exclusive content, like free chapters, news, and sweepstakes? Register for the newsletter here! We use cookies to enhance your visit to us. By using our website you agree to our use of these cookies. Find out more. Sign Up. Max by James Patterson. Their objective: The hitch: They must dive deep into dark waters, where gruesome evil dwells. With high-flying thrills, this soaring adventure takes Maximum Ride and the Flock into terrifying new territory — fans, hold your breath!

Maximum Ride Forever by James Patterson. Navigate a post-apocalyptic world and experience a thrilling finale with the ultimate Maximum Ride novel. Discover the ninth and ultimate Maximum Ride story! As Maximum Ride boldly navigates a post-apocalyptic world, she and her broken flock are roaming the earth, searching for answers to what happened.

Maximum Ride: A Maximum Ride Novel: Booktrack Edition adds an immersive musical soundtrack to your audiobook listening experience! But the Erasers return, forcing the Flock to abandon their search and make their escape once again. The tempo and rhythm of the score are in perfect harmony with the action and characters throughout the audiobook.

Gently playing in the background, the music never overpowers or distracts from the narration, so listeners can enjoy every minute. When you download this Booktrack edition, you receive the exact narration as the traditional audiobook available, with the addition of music throughout. Discover the first three books in the 1 New York Times bestselling series that inspired the movie and manga-now in one collection!

Join Max and her flock on three Maximum Ride adventures: From the deadly heat of Death Valley to the treetops of Central Park in Manhattan, this is one set of adventures you will never forget. School's Out--Forever by James Patterson. Nevermore by James Patterson. This is it: Maximum Ride and her faithful friends stand ready to face the two greatest threats that humankind has ever known, now combining forces in an unbeatable plot to destroy life as we know it once and for all.

Angel by James Patterson. Now he felt all eyes turn to him, and he looked up, the expression on his face making me shiver.

Fang sighed and wiped his fingers on his black jeans. He looked around the whole room, at the four agents, at the younger kids having a ball with this, at Total slurping Fanta out of a bowl, at me, sitting tensely on the edge of my chair.

Max (Maximum Ride, Book 5)

Fang slid the door open. It was windy on the balcony, and he raised his face to the sun. I hustled the rest of the flock outside, then turned and waved lamely at the four openmouthed, big-shot Hollywood agents. But then, you already knew that. No pressure or anything. The bullets whizzing past, the sniper, the exploding building? My pool of patience, never deep on the best of days, became yet shallower.

Trying not to cry, she flopped down on the hotel bed. I sat down next to her and rubbed her back, between her wings. I know it sucks. He was lying on the floor, half beneath our coffee table. My mom had gotten him some little Transformer cars, and he was rolling them around, making engine noises. Yes, he could best most grown men in hand-to-hand combat and make an explosive device out of virtually anything, but he was still eight years old.

Or so. I always seemed to forget that. I was torn. Someone had made him.

That someone was still out there and possibly had made more things like him. On the other hand… the CSM was really counting on us to continue the air shows. These shows were taking place in some of the most polluted cities in the world: My mom was a member of the CSM.

She was helping the flock any way she could. How could I tell her that I wanted to bail? I may be fabulous in a lot of ways, but I know I have a couple tiny flaws.

One of them is a really bad knee-jerk reaction whenever anyone tells me no about anything. I raised my chin and looked him in the eye. The flock, being smarter than the average gang of winged bears, went still. Slowly, I stood up and walked closer to Fang. I heard the connecting door between the two rooms ease shut with the caution of prey trying hard not to attract its predator.

He let out a breath slowly and clenched his hands. His hands unclenched as he weighed his options. Brigid Dwyer, the eighth wonder of the world, was part of the CSM. That was why Fang had agreed to just one more — so he could get all caught up with his favorite brilliant, underage scientist. I walked stiffly to the bathroom, locked the door, and turned on the shower as hard as it could go. Then I buried my face in a fluffy towel and shrieked like a banshee.

So it was nothing new that I lay awake for hours that night, turning this way and that. Little bit of insider bird-kid info for ya there. Right now I was flopped on my stomach, my head hanging off the side of the bed I was sharing with Angel.

My wings were unfolded a bit, and I reached around to pull a twig out of my secondaries. I know, just another typical romantic story about the boy next door. Then Jeb see description above disappeared, and I became flock leader.

Maybe because I was the oldest. Or the most ruthless. Or the most organized. But I was the flock leader, and Fang was my right-wing man. This past year, things had started to change. In the midst of all this, Fang had kissed me. Several times. So now I was freaked and tempted and terrified and worried and longing — and also angry at him for even starting this whole thing to begin with.

Again, his fault. And now I was trying to brush my hair, you know, when I thought about it, and looking at myself in mirrors, wondering if I was pretty. A year ago, when my hair got in my eyes, I hacked it off with a knife. The only thing important about my clothes was whether they were too stiff with whatever to move fast in battle.

And Fang had been my best friend and an excellent fighter. Now everything was upside down. I pressed my face into my pillow and squelched some extracolorful words. Iggy can feel colors.

Nudge can draw metal stuff toward her and hack any computer. Gazzy can imitate any voice, any sound, with percent accuracy. His other skill is unmentionable. I can fly faster than the others, and I have a Voice in my head. And, you know, six-year-olds are famous for having excellent judgment and decisionmaking skills. I rolled over a bit. Brown and brown. I believe I have. Those chocolates?

There was no hope. So there you have it, the extent of my charms: And he loves you. Not Angel. Hate crying. Hate feeling sad. Am not even too crazy about feeling happy. So all this — the vulnerability, the longing, the terror — I desperately wanted it to all go away forever.

But right now, I needed Angel to shut up. I could be like a junior bridesmaid. Total could be your flower dog. How does she know this stuff? Not in a box, not with a fox! Now go to sleep, before I kill you! I guess there might be bigger burgs in like China or something, but boy howdy, Mexico City seems endless. Wonderful would be meeting us.

So we were over a ginormous open-air stadium, the Estadio Azteca, which held about , people. Every seat was filled. Around us, mile upon mile of densely packed buildings stretched as far as we could see, and we can see pretty dang far.

She was holding her nose with one hand. The people in the stadium were looking up to see us silhouetted against a thick gray sky. But it was not a cloudy day. The thing is, with nineteen million-plus people and four million-plus cars and a bunch of businesses making stuff, Mexico City is incredibly, horribly, nauseatingly polluted.

Which was why the CSM wanted us to be there — to bring international attention to it. When Dr. Now we were wondering if we were going to raise that number to half a million and seven. We split apart in a sixpointed star, with Total in the middle, and the crowd below went crazy. Like a huge, rolling wave of sound, the chants came to us. The future is now! Kids rule! He had his own fan clubs and everything. Girls sent him ridiculous e-mails about how wonderful he was, what a hero, etc.

It was enough to turn your stomach. He and I suddenly soared upward, facing each other, about two feet apart. The crowd below gasped, and I knew it looked impressive as all getout. Total hovered way above us, like a star on top of a Christmas tree.

A hundred yards below us, Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel were a triple stack of bird kids, centered one over the other, moving their wings in unison: Fang, Iggy, Total, and I counted to ten, then angled downward also: Supposedly they were going to give us some kind of award. Amazing had said earlier, pushing her, yes, red hair out of her eyes while Fang watched her with interest. Who, exactly, had gotten up the nerve to speak to Congress?

That would be moi. It had been all I could do not to trip Brigid on her way out. Which was stupid, because why did I care? Never mind. Forget I asked.

The field below — big enough for the World Cup, the Olympics, and anything else where , people suddenly needed to be at the same place at the same time — beckoned us. There was a line of uniformed security guards hired by the CSM ringing the perimeter to protect us. I saw Nudge, Gazzy, and Angel land flawlessly and wave at the crowd as a hundred thousand cameras flashed. The crowd was roaring too loudly for us to hear guns. It was, pretty much, the most nightmarish situation I could possibly imagine, without literally involving a dog crate.

The actual nightmare part. An impossibly big open stadium in impressive but noxious Mexico City. The cast of characters: The flock, Total, Dr. Amazing, and some very nice Mexican officials who wanted to give us an award. Plus a TV crew. The plot: Just wait. Total, Iggy, Gazzy, and Nudge were working the crowd like old hands, bowing and soaking up the applause. Gazzy was spreading his wings and doing little six-foot hops into the air, and each time the crowd roared even louder.

Finally, one of the assembled officials tapped on a microphone located at the center of the stadium. Brigid Dwyer stood next to them, ready to give a speech about the CSM and what it was trying to accomplish worldwide. Then Brigid took the microphone and waited for relative quiet.

Gazzy saw them first: We had a second to exchange glances, thinking the same thing: Where had they come from? The officials, Brigid, and the TV crew gazed openmouthed as at least sixty slim, dark figures hit the ground and headed for us. I sized up the situation in an instant: It was like old times. They were just so — so dang adorable, sometimes. We were a tiny bit out of practice.

Liquid-fire adrenaline surged into my veins, making me jittery and lightning fast. As soon as one was within striking range, I jumped up and out, both feet forward. They connected heavily, slamming the New Threat in its middle. It doubled over but snapped upright quickly, its dark hood slipping back to reveal a weird, humanish face.

Humanish except for the glowing green laserlike eyes. I landed, spun on one heel, and snapkicked backward as hard as I could. I caught it in the shoulder and heard a crunching, breaking sound. With its good arm, it swung at my head, much faster than a human could and with more force. I leaped backward just in time, feeling the barest brush of its knuckles against my cheek. A second one rushed up, followed by a third.

One grabbed me from behind, tearing my jacket — my new jacket that my mom had given me. Brand-new, not from Goodwill or a Dumpster. Now I was mad. A split-second glance revealed that the flock was doing what it did best: No one needed help, so I balled my fists, put my head down, and went after my attackers. These skirmishes always seem to last much longer than they actually do. I felt like I was punching and kicking and swinging and whaling for two hours, but it was probably about six minutes or so.

During that time, I figured out that these New Threat thingies had a couple vulnerable spots: If you brought both hands down in a chopping motion right on top of their heads, their heads actually split open into several metallic strips, like a sectioned orange. Okay, a really gross orange, but you get the idea. Another vulnerable spot: One good strong kick, and they snapped like balsa wood. In less than ten minutes, thanks to us and the hired security force, the grassy lawn looked like a combination of an army field hospital and an automobile chop shop.

Brigid and the officials were white-faced, huddled together by the podium. A quick inventory of the flock revealed the usual bruises, bloody noses, and black eyes, but nothing serious. Fang came up to me, his face grim, his knuckles raw and bleeding.

I knew what he was going to say. She nodded tensely, struggling to maintain her cool. Right now I was hungry and a little shaky from the drop in adrenaline. I pushed my hair out of my eyes, and just then noticed that Dr. I felt like a truck driver next to Brigid Dwyer. A truck driver with bad hair, a black eye, dried blood around my nose, and ripped and bloody clothes.

The houses were packed tightly together here, and the streets were full of dogs and cars, the yards strung with lines of clean laundry. I automatically scanned the area for possible hiding places, points of vulnerability, whether the windows were breakable, whether the trees would get in our way. Fang got out first, raked the area with his stare, and determined that it was safe.

The rest of us piled out quickly and hurried to the back of the house. I felt tired and irritable and, worse, kept sensing Brigid looking at Fang. I just wanted to eat about three banana splits and then collapse. Warm yellow light spilled out a window, forming a slanted rectangle on the grass. Just as we reached the back door, it swung open. I stopped so suddenly that Angel bumped into me. I got on the balls of my feet, ready to leap into action if someone dangerous was behind that door.

At first all I saw was a silhouette. At the same moment, a delicious, familiar scent wafted out into the warm night air. Chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven. The silhouette was my mom, Dr.

Valencia Martinez, and she was smiling at me. And the world seemed loads better. He tipped back in his chair and patted his stomach, now full of enchiladas, tacos, chips and salsa, and cookies. I beamed at her. She quickly pushed a couple tortilla chips into her mouth, her eyes wide.

Ella and I have been stuffing envelopes and making phone calls for the CSM in every spare minute. Then I felt guilty. The fact was, my mom had had Ella in the normal way. I had been an egg donated to science and was fertilized in a test tube. Neither of us knew the other existed until this past year.

And now, no matter how much we cared about each other, it was still too dangerous for me to live in one place for any length of time. Being with my mom would also mean putting her and Ella at risk. I slowly let out a breath, not looking at him.

I would never get used to seeing him again, after thinking he was dead for years. Eight months? Time was so — stretchy, in my life. Somehow my mom trusted him. And I trusted my mom. But that was as far as it went, despite the fact that as far as I knew, he was my biological father, the other half of the test-tube cocktail that had produced me.

But I never, ever thought of him as my father. His hair was starting to go gray. None of us had ever reacted well to the amusing notion of having grown-ups decide things for us — like our future, or what we did, and so on. Jeb was used to it, having heard it from me since I was about three years old. I heard the eagerness in her voice, and groaned to myself. I hated to rain on her parade, but she knew this was crazy.

There was no way we could go to some school somewhere. It was like, regular usual nightmare, plus homework. Nudge turned pleading eyes to me.

It would be nice to be in one place for a while, and learn things. Remember the suicide-sniper guy? Guarantee our safety? How can you even say that with a straight face?

And the woman who runs it is one of my friends from college. This policy has paid off for me any number of times. The next person I trust after me is Fang. He will not break under torture; he will not sell me out. Flying alone at night. Nothing but you and the wind. Soaring way above everything, slicing through the air like a sword.

Up and up until you feel like you could grab a star and hold it to your chest like a burning, spiky thing… Oh, the poetry of a bird kid. Remind me to collect it all into one emotional, mushy volume someday, under some fake, poetic-sounding name, like Gabrielle Charbonnet de la Something-Schmancy. I saw that name on a backpack in France. Poor kid. I wheeled through the sky, racing as fast as I could, my wings moving like pistons, up and down, strong and sleek.

Breathe in, breathe out. Everyone was back at the house, asleep, I hoped. But right now I needed some time. Some space. Some breathing room. School was never actually a real choice. Frankenstein wannabes at the School had created. That pretty much cemented us to one road in life, one fate: Why did the rest of the flock keep pretending that we had choices?

It was a waste of time. You think I liked being the heavy? And Fang. He usually supported me. Which I appreciated. Sometimes that sounded really good.

But how long could that last? Sooner or later, Nudge was going to want new shoes, or Gazzy would run out of comic books, or Angel would decide she wanted to rule the world, and then where would we be? Stupendous and then making hot, dark eyes at me.

It was enough to make a girl nuts or more nuts — Pssshh! It took several seconds for the pain neurons to fire all the way from my right wing to my befuddled brain. I was plummeting to the ground. I sent all available power into my unharmed wing and desperately tried to get some lift, managing to look like a dying loon, rising awkwardly a few feet, then sinking, all the while spiraling down like one of those copter toys.

This was it. I felt sorry for whoever would find me. I thought about everything I had left unsaid to virtually everyone in my life, and wondered whether that had been a good — Boing!

The impact jolted my hurt wing, making me wince and suck in a breath, and then I was bouncing again, not so high, and again. I pulled my injured wing in tight, feeling warm, sticky blood clotting my feathers.

A couple more bounces and I managed to stand up, looking around me wildly. There were about a hundred of the New Threat guys, standing around the trampoline, watching me bounce, as if I were a mouse and they were all cats, honing in on me with bright eyes.

They tipped me off the trampoline and immediately surrounded me, eight deep, not taking any chances. There were too many of them for me to realistically break free. This is probably how most humans feel all the time.

It sucks. My family had no idea where I was. My right wing had a big hole in it, and one of its bones was probably broken. Instead, I pushed and shouldered and kneed these things away and curled up on my left side, keeping my injured wing carefully on top. Just — killing machines with delicate heads and ankles. Kind of geeky. Machine geeks. Now they had a name, at least in my head. I was very tired. And I went to sleep.

The next thing I was aware of was the pain in my wing. It hurt so much that I wanted to cry. Or at least whimper loudly.

I loved that name. I opened my eyes and coughed. I was on a blanket on a floor. The floor was shifting subtly in a way I immediately recognized: I was on a boat. I got to my feet, trying to keep from shrieking in pain. He was stocky and wore glasses and the kind of plain, navy Chinese jacket you see in old movies.

Thick black hair was brushed back severely from his face. Could I — oh.

Max no fly. Chu, seeming to grow more and more agitated. My group will survive the apocalypse. We are the only ones who will not become extinct after the world leaders succeed in their quest to destroy one another. My lightning-fast reflexes had let me whip my head to one side as he lunged forward, but he still gave me a good clip on the cheek. Slowly I straightened, feeling my cheek burn, my rage growing.

We can use you on our team. But if you keep up with the wisecracks and your stupidity, you will soon be eliminated. There will be no room for you in the new world. So all I can say is, Bring it! Instead, the man leaned closer. He smelled of cigarettes. But my scientists will enjoy taking you apart to find out what makes you tick. Chu was practically steaming with anger, but he stuck to his script. What I say is true. It is as real as the pain in your wing and on your face.

And speaking of pain, Maximum… you should know that we are experts in the art of persuasion.

Maximum Ride 07 – Angel

Guess who got the better deal here? I landed on my hurt wing, of course, and winced as I rolled to a crumpled stop. My hands were bound behind my back. I got to my knees as soon as I could, then to my feet, feeling shaky and ill. My wing was streaked with clotted blood. I was lightheaded and starving. My face hurt, and my cheek was swollen and warm. The flock and I all have an acute, innate sense of direction, so after a minute I turned and started trotting east.

Once I reached the safe house, I headed for the back door, which was locked, of course, because I had gone out through a second-story window hours before. My plan to be all sneaky so that no one would notice I was missing had been blown to heck. Sighing, I turned around and headed for the front door. This whole sucky episode ended with my having to actually ring the doorbell at the front of the house with my shoulder.

Total even barked like a real dog. A curtain twitched, and then my mom opened the door, her brown eyes wide. She patched my wing while she and Jeb tried unsuccessfully to find out what had happened. I wanted to mull things over for a while, maybe do some research on the Chu-ster, so I just mumbled something about getting hit by a stray bullet in a freak accident. I instantly interpreted that to mean three days.

Later that day, the CSM moved us to another house, this time in the Yucatan, which is a jungley part of Mexico. But what did the air quality matter, anyway?

By the afternoon of the first day, the flock was staying out of my way. They went out and did flocklike things. Total was practicing his takeoffs and landings, both of which he still sucked at. I warned them to be careful, to be on guard, not to stay out too long. They were fine. Had no problems. Did not get shot at. Did not get kidnapped and taken to see a short, angry Asian man.

I stayed home and was forced to heal. He smiled and raised his eyebrows at me. Where did you hear that name? Later I watched my flock fly away without me, off to have loads of bird-kid fun. My mom stood there. I felt a little bad about snarling. Me, my mom, and Ella spent all afternoon in the kitchen, chopping up things, stirring, mixing.

My mom showed us how to tell when onions had cooked enough to be sweet, and how to tell when meat was done usually I just try to wait for it to stop moving. Typical family stuff. With a nonflock family. His face was flushed, hair permanently tousled from the wind. Nudge, Fang, Iggy, Angel, and Total all crammed into the kitchen and stared at the wooden spoon in my hand. I heard someone murmur something about ordering a pizza. And that was how I spent my three days of forced rest.

The flock saw all the Mayan wonders of the Yucatan, and I learned how to cook something besides cold cereal. So there was much amazement all around. But my wing healed, and soon it was time to leave. I was thinking of maybe going to South America. But the flock had different ideas. The team leader glanced up from the radar images on his desk. He sighed. The history of these genetic mistakes was a litany of embarrassing failures.

Even Itexicon — with its massive, global resources, the years of research, the trillions of dollars spent — had ended up a shattered shell, unable to stop six children. And the Erasers! People were still making jokes about them. All of which the mutant kids had already defeated.

Read Max (Maximum Ride, #5) PDF Free - dgrews4y2

Since then, it had been basically the same old, same old — one generation of enhanced individual tracking and killing machines after the next. Given all kinds of fancy names, tweaked this way and that. None of them seemed up to the task. The team leader was truly surprised that Devin had failed. Truly, truly surprised. Devin had never failed at a job for as long as the team leader had known him.

However, there did seem to be a sufficient quantity of version 5. Someone like him. The team leader shook his head. Just surveillance at this point. So did Mr. In one of the western states with all the ninety-degree angles. Many mushy tears, soggy hugs. All that stuff I love. Watching me. What is on his freaking mind?! My mom had gotten her some stuff to put in her hair, and now it floated around her face in delicate, caramel-colored tendrils. Delicate, caramel-colored tendrils.

We all got ready. We were wearing clean clothes. We went to school with various levels of enthusiasm. The school was long and low and spread out, painted in dusty pastels so it coordinated with the desert. It was not fenced in. There was a ton of open space around it, plenty of places to take off from, land, escape from.

Jeb stood by the car, knowing better than to try to hug any of us good-bye. I was almost inside when he called my name. I just ate. He makes Itex look like Sesame Street. Which cheered me up but only a little. We were met at the door of the school by a woman holding a clipboard. Her smile reached her eyes, an important trait. Hamilton, Max. Your mom and I went to college together. Welcome to the Day and Night School. I frowned, trying to remember. It was ages ago, or at least a week.

A week can seem like a really long time in my life. Was I down to just one personality inside my head? Hamilton went on cheerfully. I managed a slight grimace in return. We walked down a couple of hallways. There were exits at reassuring intervals. Through glass-paned doors, we saw large, sunny classrooms with small groups of kids in them. The kids looked happy to be here. Hamilton took us to an empty classroom. We sat down in chairs that were designed to accommodate the wingless.

I shot pained looks at everyone who met my eye, letting them know that this was not my idea of a good time. They actually thought this situation would be better — which, I might add, included not being led by me.

Now my stomach hurt, and I felt weighed down by a gray cloud. How many people had tested us over the years? Do you have some that are, you know, paw-ready? Hamilton stopped and stared at Total. I snickered to myself. I had almost forgotten how much fun it could be to bait people.

I sat up a little straighter. Then Ms. Hamilton smiled. At Total. Four hours later, Ms. Hamilton told us that our reading levels ranged between first grade and twelfth grade and that we had amazing vocabularies. Angel was not the one who read on a first grade level, and Fang, Iggy, and I were not, sadly, the ones who read on a twelfth grade level. We spelled about as well as four-year-olds do but had off-thechart visual memories.

We were majorly lame at math but could solve most problems anyway. Hamilton laughed. Was I the only one? They have llamas. You like llamas. But it was still part of a bigger confining situation, and my skin was crawling. Nudge shrugged. And Ms. Hamilton told us about all the safety measures — the alarms, the lights, the radar. And it would have worked.

There had been a couple of times when the flock had almost split up. I needed a new way to bend them to my will. And Nudge had found something she wanted even more — more than me, more than the flock, maybe even more than survival.

She wanted to learn. I promise! I mentioned the Big Mission, the apocalypse, the end of the world, and so on. Jeb said everything that had happened to me, to us, was to toughen me up and teach me survival skills. And as hard as all that was for me to accept, it had to be even harder for the younger kids.

She looked down at her tan feet, side by side on the new, clean carpet. We have to go. This has been, well, not fun exactly but better than a punch in the gut. Nudge was always on my team. She was the agreeable one. Sure, she talked a whole lot and had a weird interest in clothes and fashion, but she was my… Nudge.

Almost never in a bad mood. Never fought with the others. I want to be like other kids. I want a home. And I know how to get one. Her tears got my shirt wet and her hair kept tickling my nose so I had to keep blowing little puffs of air to keep it away from my face.

More special than any other kid in the whole world, including the ones you want to be like. Remember that guy in the junkyard when we were stealing those bits of cable? Whose idea was it to hit him with a two-by-four, huh? Who was it who taped his mouth shut with duct tape while he slept? He went down like a lead balloon, and we got away. Fang frowned and rubbed his forehead. His eyes were the same color as the sky — just as deep, just as dark. You have to choose. I was just about to say something really important about Nudge, and it flew right out of my mind.

He leaned closer. When had he gotten so much bigger than me? We had kissed a couple of times before, but this was different. This time, I squelched my immediate, overwhelming desire to run away screaming. I closed my eyes and put my arms around him despite my fear. Then somehow we slid sideways so we were lying in the cool sand. I was holding him fiercely, and he was kissing me fiercely, and it was… just so, so intensely good.

Our arms relaxed as we held each other in the cool desert air. Our breathing calmed, and my thoughts began to sort of connect to each other again in comprehensible chunks. Like I usually did. I slanted my gaze up to him, and Fang was… smiling. Then you see stars that you never even knew existed. He was smiling, and his face looked softer and less closed. I was instantly full of sharp, witty jibes, and it took every ounce of Maximum selfcontrol not to say them.

To just lie there and feel vulnerable, and think about everything that had just happened between us, and wonder how it had changed things, and wonder when I had started to love him so much, so painfully, and feel how terrified I was and how elated, and how every cell of my body felt so alive. It was pretty much the worst thing that could ever happen to a girl.

I highly recommend it. When Fang asked if it was time to get back, I thought hazily, Back to what? This is my brain: O This is my brain after making out with Fang: Then a couple neurons fired in unison, and I remembered.

Oh, back to the entire rest of my family, including Nudge who wants to get her wings cut off. We hit the sky, and I flew powerfully, wincing only a little at the recently patched section. It was good, it was solid, but it needed a few more days. I checked the stars — it was about 2 a. Our newest safe house, alone in the desert, was ablaze with lights. Every window, every doorway. Never a good sign. How stupid could I get? We came down fast, hitting the ground hard in a running stop that kicked up dust.

The front door flew open; Gazzy ran out. I grabbed his arms. He swallowed. I thought they had gotten you! My heart seized just as she appeared, with Total behind her. Thank God. Suddenly it was quiet, the kind of quiet you have out in the desert in the middle of the night when everyone around you goes silent at the same time. I looked from one to the next.

She glanced at the others, then tried again, meeting my gaze bravely. My hair-trigger responses have saved our hides more times than I can count. So my brain kicked in to high gear right away as I cut to the heart of the matter. Martinez just went to the restroom and never came back.

Ella was going to call him after she talked to us. Then we heard the phone ringing inside.

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