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Titel: Cross
Autoren: James Patterson
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make an impression. The don suspected that a couple of the local capos were skimming on him. The Butcher figured he’d done his job.
    That was a part of his growing reputation: not just that he was good at killing, but that he was reliable as a heart attack for a fat man eating fried eggs and bacon.
    They were entering DC, taking the scenic route past the Washington Monument and other important la-di-da buildings. “My country ’tis of V,” sang Jimmy Hats in a seriously off-key voice.
    Sullivan snorted out a laugh. “You’re a corker yourself, James m’boy. Where the hell did you learn that?
My country ’tis of V?

    “St. Patrick’s parish school, Brooklyn, New York, where I learned everything I know about the three Rs—readin’, ritin’, ’rithmetic—an’ where I met this crazy bastard named Michael Sean Sullivan.”
    Twenty minutes later they had parked the Grand Am and joined the late-night youth parade traipsing along M Street in Georgetown. Bunch of mopey-dopey college punks, plus him and Jimmy, a couple of brilliant professional killers, thought Sullivan. So who was doing better in life? Who was making it, and who wasn’t?
    “Ever think you shoulda gone to college?” asked Hats.
    “Couldn’t afford the cut in pay. Eighteen, I was already making seventy-five grand. Besides, I love my job!”
    They stopped at Charlie Malone’s, a local watering hole popular with the Washington college crowd for no good reason Sullivan could figure. Neither the Butcher nor Jimmy Hats had gone past high school, but inside the bar, Sullivan struck up an easy conversation with a couple of coeds, no more than twenty years old, probably still in their late teens. Sullivan read a lot, and remembered most of it, so he could talk with just about anybody. His repertoire tonight included the recent shootings of American soldiers in Somalia, a couple hot new movies, even some Romantic poetry—Blake and Keats, which seemed to appeal to the college ladies.
    In addition to his charm, though, Michael Sullivan was a looker, and he knew it—slim but nicely toned, six one, longish blond hair, a smile that could dazzle anybody he chose to use it on.
    So it was no major surprise when twenty-year-old Marianne Riley from Burkittsville, Maryland, started making none-too-subtle goo-goo eyes at him and touching him in the way forward girls sometimes do.
    Sullivan leaned in close to the girl, who smelled like wildflowers. “Marianne, Marianne . . . there used to be a song. Calypso tune? You know it? ‘Marianne, Marianne’?”
    “Before my time,” the girl said, but then she winked at him. She had the most gorgeous green eyes, full red lips, and the cutest little plaid bow planted in her hair. Sullivan had decided one thing about her right away—Marianne was a little cock tease, and that was all right with him. He liked to play games too.
    “I see. And Mr. Keats, Mr. Blake, Mr. Byron, weren’t they before your time?” he kidded her, with his endearing smile turned on bright. Then he took Marianne’s hand, and he lightly kissed it. He pulled her away from her barstool and did a tight Lindy twirl to the Stones song playing on the jukebox.
    “Where are we going?” she asked. “Where do you
we’re going, mister?”
    “Not too far,” said Michael Sullivan. “Miss.”
    “Not too far?” questioned Marianne. “What does that mean?”
    “You’ll see. No worries. Trust me.”
    She laughed, pecked him on the cheek, and laughed some more. “Now how could I resist those killer eyes of yours?”

Chapter 5
    MARIANNE WAS THINKING THAT she didn’t really want to resist this cute guy from New York City. Besides, she was safe inside the bar on M Street. What could go wrong in here? What could anybody try to pull? Play a New Kids on the Block tune on the jukebox?
    “I don’t much like the spotlight,” he was saying, leading her toward the back of the bar.
    “You think you’re another Tom Cruise, don’t you? Does that big smile of yours always work? Get you what you want?” she asked.
    She was smiling too, though, daring him to bring his best moves.
    “I don’t know, M.M. Sometimes it works okay, I guess.”
    Then he kissed her in the semidarkened hallway at the back of the bar, and the kiss was as good as Marianne could have hoped, kind of sweet actually. Definitely more on the romantic side than she’d expected. He didn’t try to cop a feel along with the kiss, which might have been all right with her, but
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