Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing. I just get to play a little with the characters. –grin-

Chapter 1


It was seven o'clock in the morning when my alarm clock woke me. As usual my first stop was the bathroom where I got my next shock – my hair!

Sleepily I greeted Rex who already run merrily through his cage. I asked myself how he got that disciplined to do sports so early in the morning, and decided it had to be the male genes.

Ranger also jogged early in the morning.

I put on some dark blue jeans and a black Rangers' tee-shirt and left the apartment. As always I met Mrs Bestler in the elevator.

"Good morning, Stephanie! Where may I bring you?"

Shaking my head I stood next to her in the elevator and let me drive to the first floor. No question needed, all of the old people in the other apartments of that house were nice and affable, but each of them got a spleen.

The spleen of Mrs Bestlers was driving people in the elevator in her spare time.

I climbed into the Buick and drove to the next bakery. I bought some donuts and went back home in a cheerful mood in anticipation of my breakfast.

Rex welcomed me with shaking moustache.

I put some salad into his cage and took a seat on a chair in front of him, while eating my donuts.

"You know, Rex, my life really sucks."

The black button eyes of my hamster darted to me and his teeth were busy stashing his food away somewhere in the back of his little mouth.

"I got a mother who wants to transform me into a perfect Burg-housewife; an on-again, off-again boyfriend who is a Cop and who hates my job; an ex-Ranger with questionable morals as almost-lover; and all those psychos who want to kill me on a regular bases...and last but not least: I'm driving a Buick!"

That ugly baby blue thing was family property. My Dad loved it more than anything else and during the last couple of months I often had had no other choice than driving Baby Blue.

Because annoyingly this car was indestructible.

I, Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter by profession, have destroyed about a dozen cars… And half of them even hadn't been mine, only borrowed ones…

Hastily I grabbed another donut.

"Maybe Mom was right and I really should make another attempt to find a job at the button factory…I certainly will be safe there. At least now that Con Stiva has been caught…"

Rex paused for a moment and looked at me disapprovingly.

"Okay, okay, I won't go to the button factory…You're right, that's nothing for me. Mmh, but what then? I really need a distraction…Well, how about vacation? You and me in the Caribbean? Huh? Wouldn't that be great?" I had to smile to myself at this thought. "Yeah, I guess, a little vacation of everything here would be good…"

The intention in mind to ask my cousin Vinnie for holidays, I grabbed the keys and drove to the office.

When I went through the door Connie and Lula stopped working and looked up at me, grinning stupidly.

"Hey Steph!"

"Yo, girl!"

I lolled on the sofa and watched Connie and Lula, trying my best to ignore their annoying smirks.

"Is there a new FTA?"

The grin widened.

"Hell, yeah!" Connie said and burrowed through her files.

"That's going to knock you off your socks, ol' girl!" Lula assured me and slapped her portly thighs.

I stood up cluelessly, took the file Connie handed me over, and read through the personal details of the FTA.

I stared in shock at the name on top of the file.

"Dickie Orr!"


O my god.

"Wow…" I fell back onto the couch and tried to handle that piece of information.

Every thought of vacation which had crossed my mind was instantly blown away.

"Shall I get ya a bagel?" Lula asked as she sank on her knees right in front of me, worriedly, as I remained silent for about five minutes.

I only shook my head and looked at Connie.

"What has he done?"

Connie shrugged. "Nothing great, actually. He drove through Burg like a kook and rammed several cars. But he just went on driving. An owner of one of those cars noted his number plate and reported to the police. However, Dickie didn't show up at the Court."

Thoughtfully I furrowed my brow. This was so unusual for him. Don't get me wrong, I knew a whole lot to tell about my ex-husband that would be good stuff for the Burg gossip machine, but, well, he was nobody who did criminal actions on purpose. He wasn't the type doing something like that…he was rather the type cheating on your wife curtly after the wedding on the diner table…

I shivered in disgust and tried to get away from those thoughts.

Slowly I rose to my feet and made my way to the door.

"I guess, I go and visit him at his office then."

"Hey, wait! You can't leave without me! What if he's going all the mob boss on you and grabs a hidden gun out of his desk and shoots two bullets in your head, so nobody will ever be able to recognise you?"

Connie and I stared at Lula.

Lula shrugged. "What? You certainly need a tough hand there, you skinny white ass. Lucky you that I just have my break."

"You've had your break half an hour ago when you went to the bakery to buy a dozen donuts."

Shrugging once again, she asked. "Your point?"

Suddenly the door to Vinnie's office burst open to reveal my cousin who looked awfully red and sweaty in his face.

"You're staying here and work! I'm not paying you for playing bodyguard for one of my bounty hunters and buying tons of food!" he barked.

Hands on hips, Lula put on her best glare. "Yo, don't tell me what I have to do, otherwise I'll come and cut off your-"

Before she could say something that would certainly would have cost her her job, I elbowed her. "It's all right, Vinnie, it won't last long."

Vinnie grunted reluctantly and very squirmy, before turning around and vanishing into his office, slamming the door behind him.

Lula beamed and stepped next to me. "That was fun."

I decided to just roll my eyes.

Waving her car keys in front of my face, a rather stubborn look crossed her face. "Yo, girl, we're gonna drive with my car. Even not that hot ass of Ranger's gonna get me in yours!"

She snorted disapprovingly. "It'd just cause damage to my reputation."

This time I suppressed the urge to roll my eyes.

Running excitedly out of the office while yelling "This is so gonna be fun!" I wondered if some alien had invaded my mind when I agreed to take her with me. Since my hands weren't wrinkled or green coloured, I thought that maybe I instead had lost my mind.

Or Lula lost hers.

I said goodbye to Connie and stepped outside.

Looking up into the clouded sky, I decided it was a really depressing day. No holidays, no hot sweaty sex within three days, just an ex-husband to search for.

I loved my life.

"Hey, are you adhered to the ground? Swing your little white ass over here! Time is money!" Lula yelled, already seated in her red Firebird.

I was just about to go over to her car, when I felt a presence straight behind me. Okay, it wasn't really feeling, rather just a certain certitude and the traitorous prickle in the back of my neck.

When you've been working with Batman for a little over three years, you acquire special abilities, which in common knowledge are known as the sixths sense.

"Do you know something about Dickie Orr?" I asked without turning around.

Ranger's hand clasped around my neck effortlessly. My skin burned under his touch.

"He's a bad driver, Babe," he said a little husky into my ear.

Typical Ranger humour.

I ignored the sensations he caused by this simple action – inwardly thanking the donuts – and rolled my eyes.

He leaned into me, his muscled body brushing lightly against me, and I could hear the amusement in his voice, when he said, "Saw that, Babe."

I shrugged out of his grasp and simply walked away from him. Well, okay, I admit: It was everything but simple.

I felt his gaze burning holes into my head and tried to walk as casual as possible to Lula's car. My legs felt like wobble pudding.

When I eventually managed to climb into the Firebird on the passenger side, Lula gasped in complete awe.

"What a man!" she exclaimed breathlessly.

Never heard something truer.

Just an idea.

What do you think about it?