Disclaimers: The characters are not mine, Janet Evanovich owns everything.
Alert: Minor spoilers though book Eighteen.
This is my first attempt into the writing world of Fan Fiction, any mistakes you see are my own. There will not be too many chapters to this story and it will be finished. Please let me know what you think- the good, the bad, and the ugly!
During the weekend that marks the unofficial end of summer, can a new beginning start? BABE Fluff!
I was currently sitting in 'The Lone Star' Trenton's new and first ever western themed bar looking like a cowgirl slut trying to lure out Trip Harper. My name is Stephanie Plum known to some as The Bombshell Bounty Hunter, to others as Bomber, and Beautiful, Pumpkin, Little Girl, Angelita*, and Cupcake by some specific men in my life. I'm also know as Babe to the one and only Ricardo Carlos Manoso, a.k.a. Ranger my personal Batman. I'm a 34 year old bounty hunter who splits time between working for my pervert cousin Vinnie bringing in F.T.A.'s with an ex-ho as my backup and working for RangeMan, Ranger's specialized security company. This work for RangeMan is what brings me to 'The Lone Star', as Mr. Harper has skipped out on his multimillion dollar bound and RangeMan has been contracted to bring him back into the system. Harper has been leading Ranger's Men, my Merry Men on a wild goose chase and they now have exactly ten hours left to deliver him to the Trenton Police Department or the bond is forfeited. This is where I come in, trying to use my god given assets to distract and lure Harper out of this hoedown while the men apprehend him right outside the cow colored doors. There is a slight little problem with this distraction; it is a RangeMan policy that the Merry Men are not allowed to run a distraction using me as bait without the man himself being present. Why is this a problem you ask, Ranger has been in "the wind" for the last twenty-one days. I am not particularly fond of this "policy" (insert eye roll here), and was able to convince the Merry Men to go against their leader so that we could get this scumbag off the streets. Normally I am not one to go against Ranger but Trip Harper is a bad guy, are real bad guy. He's charged with multiple counts of rape and battery along with attempted murder and because of this he is not someone I want on the streets on the city I call home with the people I love and even those who I don't care about.
Just while I'm about to stand up from the bar with Harper who hasn't been able to keep his hands off of me for the last fifteen minutes and whose suggestive comments make me think my night is going to be easy I get the tell tale tingle that runs across the back of my neck that alerting me that Ranger is close by. This is not good, so not good. I have a feeling that Batman is going to be unhappy. As I lead Harper out to the front entrance with a little extra swing in my step that keeps his eyes glued to my ass as opposed to his surroundings I get my first look at Ranger out of the corner of my eye and unhappy is an understatement. Ranger looks down right pissed, his jaw is locked so tight I'm afraid that he is going to crack his own teeth. That however is best not to think about right now as I have a job to do. I continue on with my swing out the front door where Tank and Hector step out of the shadows as soon as we cross the threshold and have Harper cuffed and being dragged off to the waiting SUV within a minute or two tops. While I spin around to look at the guys go about their work Ranger stalks out of the bar and directly over to me, gulp!
"Stephanie", Ranger calls- oh no, Ranger only calls me by my first name was he is either very angry or very serious "go wait over by my car, now!" I begin to protest first because I hate being order to do anything and second because I want to stay with him, to check him over with my eyes, reassuring myself that he is back and uninjured. One glance at his eyes tells me not to fight him on this and I quickly make my way across the street to where his Turbo is parked. I proceeded to lean against the door of the Porsche and watch the scene unfold across the street. Harper has been locked in the back of the SUV and it looks like Ranger is having some choice words with Tank, Hector, Bobby, Hal, and Cal the team from tonight. By the waves of tension rolling all the away across the street from the group, for once I am happy not to be a part of the conversation. I can't help but to feel bad for the men as I was the one who convinced them to go along with this plan to nail Harper.
These men are capable of running a distraction with me when Ranger is involved, they have been my backup on countless occasions, my bodyguards too many times to count and for the last six and a half months my coworkers a good thirty plus hours a week. If they are able to handle all of these situations, why aren't they allowed to run a distraction without Ranger. Today should be case and point that they are more then qualified as we got the bad guy off the street with no one, including myself any worse for the wear. Why Ranger does not see this I don't understand and I plan to ask him just that when he gets his pissed Cuban ass over to the car. As the little powwow brakes up and Ranger glides across the street I decide it is in my best interests to stray from that question tonight and go for avoidance as the lines in and around his eyes and mouth on his blank face say that his is on edge. To the normal observer of Ranger, his blank face wouldn't give anything away, but I am not the normal observer. I have learned to read his typical mask. Read what his eyes, mouth, jaw, posture, and even breathing mean to some extent.
Maybe being able to read Ranger is because he has been in my life for over four years now, and with each year that passes his role has become larger and larger. He started off as my mentor, became my friend, employer, lover during a few periods, tormentor during others, my current best friend and the man who single handedly holds my heart although I would never let him know that last fact because Ranger doesn't do relationships. The last characteristic is probably the reason for being able to read the unreadable man coming towards me. He spoke only two words when he got to the car "get in", and I continued to obey for the time being. As he took off down the road and headed to my apartment building he immediately slipped into his zone and I was once again lost in my own thoughts.
We have become a lot closer over the last six or some months. After the entire Hawaii debacle followed by the love potion fiasco, mine and Joe's on and off again relationship moved to permanently off. We both came to the point of agreement, we were not what the other person needs or wanted even though there was love between us. I was never going to be the safe girl from the burg who wanted to be settled down, married, keeping house with dinner on the table by six and popping out kids that Joe had begun to want so badly and he was never going to be the man to help me fly. So we parted ways and continue a casual friendship. I am happy to report that he is dating a very nice elementary school teacher from Bristol, PA a town on the outskirts of Trenton. Bridget is everything that Joe seems to want while not being totally submissive like a typical Burg woman. From everything I have witnessed they are on the road to a wonderful life together.
After Joe and I broke up I began to make some changes in my life. I went to Ranger and asked for some extensive training for which he agreed with one stipulation. That stipulation was that I come back to RangeMan at least part time. I was a little taken back by this at first because he always offered to train me. However after he explained his two reasons, one being that it would be easier to train me if I was in his building more and we can work around his crazy schedule as opposed to trying to specifically schedule time which would be more limited. The second one being because business was growing so rapidly that he could really use my skill set in both investigations and background checks along with possible client meetings. This would mean we both would benefit and there is nothing I wouldn't do for Ranger, so I agreed. The training was not the only thing I changed, I began to take my personal safety and happiness more seriously as well and although I will still say that my relationship with my mother is rocky at best, she is trying to understand me more and has stopped fixing me up completely.
My training time gave me more Ranger time which is something that I crave. Although we have spent a lot more time together while not training or working then we ever did in the past be it dinner on seven, or movie/tv time cuddled on my couch I still wish he would open up to me more on a personal level. It is so incredibly frustrating to me and is one of the reasons our growing friendship has not moved in a more intimate direction. Over this time we have shared, my feelings have grown by tenfold and casual sex without a romantic relationship is just not something I am able to do with Ranger any longer. Batman seems to sense this because although we share the occasional toe curling kiss the sexual innuendos are typically gone. Not that I need those to feel hot and bothered when he is around with my Hungarian hormones they do that all by themselves but it does help me from jumping him. Trust me when I tell you sex with Ranger is mind blowing but it also leaves my heart a little broken from the longing of wanting more with this incredibly trust worthy, generous, and sexy man. Before my mind had a chance to drift too far into the danger zone we had parked in the lot to my apartment building.
As I turned to Ranger to thank him for the ride he spoke up first letting me know that he would walk me up, knowing the mood he was in there was no point in arguing and I got out of the car with him in tow. When I made a b-line for the elevator I swerved at the last minute and headed for the stairs, no reason to make 'the man in black' anymore irritated this evening. Once we got to my door Ranger proceeded to take my keys from me, open the door and head inside. I assumed he found everything secure because he came back to the door and motioned me in. He was heading back out when I decide to turn to him and talk.
"Thanks for the ride home Batman" I said, using his nickname in the hopes to lift some of tension that has been present since he arrived at 'The Lone Star'.
"Anytime Babe" was my reply and I knew the use of my nickname worked because of the slight smile that tugged at the corners of his lips and how I was no longer Stephanie. He proceeded to head to the door again until he stopped and turned around to look at me when I spoke up again.
"When did you get back?" I asked while scanning his body up in down to look again for injuries. From the softening of his eyes he knew exactly what I was doing.
"I headed straight the bar once I got into Trenton. Night Babe." was his reply.
It had been twenty one days since I had last set eyes on him and I desperately didn't what him to leave yet. I followed him to the door and gently rested my hand on his arm while his back was to me, which caused him to turn towards me, we were toe to toe. Then I did something very un-Stephanie like, I stepped up on my tip toes and placed a soft kiss on his delectably lips. When I pulled back a bit I would be inclined to say the expression on Rangers face was one of complete shock as I am never the once to initiate this type if physical contact between us.
I spoke softly, "I'm happy you're back Ranger."
"Me too Babe, me too" was Rangers equally soft reply. With that he turned and reached for the door handle again, just as he was about to open it his smooth voice washed over me as he spoke with his back to me.
"Babe would you like to go away with me for the long holiday weekend?"
Now I was the one to be shocked, and I am sure that my face showed something to the effect of a deer caught in headlights. With my non verbal response Ranger turned to look at me and continued "we would leave tomorrow after a lunch meeting I have with my lawyer and we would be back Monday evening in time for the monthly full team meeting".
Just when I was about to respond Rangers phone rang, and a very commonly overheard conversation took place.
"Be there in ten."
With that Ranger turned back to me and asked "Babe?"
"Ummmm" I know real eloquent Stephanie here, when I got my brain back I asked one of the questions that I needed to know "Where are we going."
For which my response was "got to go Babe, I will pick you up tomorrow at one, I'll have Ella take care of packing" and with a quick peck to my forehead he was gone.
After stumbling into my bedroom, stripping of my cloths, positioning myself in my thinking position I could not help but wonder what did I just get myself into.
*Angelita is little angel in Spanish according to freetranslation . com