A/N: About half a year ago I started writting this and have been writting on it more or less nonstop since - discarding chapters and rewritting a few. The story itself isn't finished yet, but about 23 chapters have been written - though the first 15 are not connected to the last 9 :) Apologies ahead for cliffhangars and maybe mistakes I make with the timeline or explanations at a later stage. My initial idea was to finish the story and then post it, but I have come to some sort of stop in my writting-frenzy so I hope starting to post now gives me hopefully a kick in the butt. Also since they more or less inspired the story..., I am a huge fan of the Babe stories "Gone Girl" by Kadyn and "Normal Time" by Harmne. So credit where credit is due.

Enjoy. As always, feedback is appreciated and if you find the time, review if you'd like.

"The darkest hour is just before the dawn" Thomas Fuller

When you look at the gossip magazines and there is a sensational story about the breakdown of some A-, B- or even Z-list celebrity, reporters are always quick at pointing out the exact breaking point. It always seems so "had to happen" afterwards and everyone is quick in saying why it would end in a train-wreck sooner or later. People found reasons, blamed family or friends or boyfriends. It was always so easy and so quickly explained.

Looking back at my life so far, I wasn't sure where the breaking point had been. I was always kind of average, never standing out specifically. Sure, I was good for a headline or another report on the news whenever I managed to set another of my cars on fire. Or got myself into more trouble than I could handle. But… it still was kind of average. I was ok, went on with life and brought in my men – and occasionally women.

My mother tried marrying me of to what could maybe be the best first choice there was as quickly as possible. My father was less involved in these choices. And my grandmother was definitely more on the "do whatever makes you happy" train these days. I had two great guys in my life who sooner or later would probably have made me choose. Or see that maybe I wasn't worth the trouble. I can say proudly I never managed to cheat on one of them with the other. We just always happened to be on a break or just not like that to begin with. Ranger and Morelli had a professional sort of respect for each other but secretly hated each other's guts – that's what I'd like to think anyway. Morelli was constantly warning me about Ranger and Ranger, well, he didn't speak much to begin with. So it was always a bit difficult to say what exactly his stand was on issues like this.

But all that was in the past. With Morelli I wasn't talking – and things were definitely very, very difficult right now – and Ranger, well Ranger was in the wind. There was no way for me to contact him – and even if I knew a way I wasn't sure whether he'd actually was willing to talk to me.

Ranger had been my endless supply of help over the past few years, but it seemed that one time when I would have needed his help more than ever before he wasn't available.

I'm Stephanie Plum.

Ex-Bounty Hunter


Ex-Girlfriend of Trenton cop Joseph Morelli

Ex-Law Abiding citizen (apparently)

And freshly crowned Fugitive. And right on top of Trenton PD's Most Wanted List!

Where had things gone wrong again?