Disclaimer: All characters belong to Janet Evanovich

Warnings: Graphic Smut, All 12 Books

A/N: To Karen and Christie for editing, inspiration, laughter, and listening to me bitch, Muchas Gracias, amigas! Without you I'd still be hiding under my desk! I'm still a Review Slut, so please read and review! I hope you enjoy!

The Name of The Game

By: Stayce (XJerseyGirl)

Prologue: CandyLand!

Sometimes life offered us that one opportunity to have it all. It was the moment when everything in your universe clicked into place, and by the grace of God, or whatever you believed in, all was right in your world. This was his moment. They were laying in their bed ... THEIR bed, having shared an orgasm so earthshaking that neither of them could move. He was lying on top of her, his face close to hers, their lips almost touching, and they were sharing every breath.

Without opening his eyes, he brushed his lips back and forth over hers, nibbling at them, feeling her smile under his mouth. Her hands were in his hair and she scraped her nails across his scalp. The edges of his mouth turned up into a smile and he made a small, 'Ummm' sound before he whispered, "God Almighty, Woman. I think you're trying to kill me." He gave a small laugh before he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her, long and slow and soft.

It occurred to him that until he made love with Stephanie Plum, he had never laughed when he was in bed with a woman. Sex had always been a bodily function, enjoyable and physically satisfying, but not emotionally fulfilling. He had never smiled or laughed more in his life than he had in this last month. He was constantly amazed at the emotions this little white bread girl from the 'Burg could make him feel.

'Make him feel.' That's exactly what she did for him ... to him. She made him feel.

He had spent most of his adulthood trying to escape feeling anything. He always believed that being a slave to your feelings, to your emotions, made you lose your focus on the goal. He had focused on the goal to the exclusion of almost everything else. His focus had been so sharp that now, when he looked back, he came to the conclusion that he had an existence, but not a life. He had made a name for himself, he had acquired success, he had money, he had things …

Then Stephanie walked into that little cafe downtown. Initially, he had viewed her as a momentary distraction. Connie had called in a favor and he was a man of his word. No doubt that he could teach Stephanie what she needed to know. But was she willing to learn or was this just another middle class white girl who wanted a walk on the wild side? Wanted to play with the bad boys, maybe get laid and go back and tell her girlfriends all about it? Turned out that Stephanie Plum was a force of nature that rocked his world like nothing he had ever encountered before.

When he thought about it, Ranger realized that he probably started to fall for her when she called him to unlock her from her shower rod. He found her wet, cold, embarrassed, and furious. What should have been her ultimate humiliation only served to fuel the fire in her belly to catch the guy who did that to her. And she did, too. Against all the odds, and just using her natural abilities, she had brought in a seasoned police detective, and the urban legend of the Bombshell Bounty Hunter was born.

In the beginning she was absolutely set up for failure. There was no way she could succeed. She had no training in weapons or techniques, she was scared to death of her own gun, and had no clue what bounty hunting was even about. But what she lacked in skill, she made up for in guts. She had the tenacity of a pit bull, and the sixth sense of a gypsy fortuneteller. And she always got her man!

He smiled to himself as he nuzzled her face and neck, inhaling her unique scent. Rolling to the side, he brought her soft warm body with him and reached down to pull the blankets up over them both. She snuggled into him as he wrapped her in his arms, her curly head tucked under his chin. He let his hands run up and down her back as they lay there, savoring the moment.

To think that he had almost let himself miss out on this. He had lived a goal-oriented life, learning from his mistakes, building on his successes, meeting his obligations. He had worked hard and was proud of what he had accomplished. Now though, it all seemed a little hollow, a little superficial and empty compared to what Stephanie brought into the mix. And what was that? Flavor? Zest? It finally dawned on him and he snorted a laugh at the irony of Steph, the 'Burg girl, bringing 'The Spice of Life' to the Cuban.

He pulled back just a little so that he could look down at her, her beautiful aquamarine eyes closed, her fingers drifting back and forth over his chest and she gave a little sigh of contentment. In the end, it all came down to one thing: Stephanie Plum always got her man … including him. He had to smile when he thought about it. She had chased him until he caught her. Thank God!

For her part, Stephanie never thought that she would ever feel like this. She had loved before, and she was sure that she had been loved before as well. But this was different from anything she had ever experienced. Just the way he looked at her made her heart swell and brought tears to her eyes. If she could just stay here in his arms forever, she thought, with his warm hands running slow circles on her back, she would always feel safe and secure and free from self-doubt.

She tipped her head back to look up at him and he smiled down into her eyes. "What are you thinking about, Babe?" His voice was soft and warm as they basked in the afterglow of their lovemaking.

What was she thinking about? How do you tell someone that they've changed your life? Stephanie had always known that she had been a huge disappointment to her mother. She had never really fit into the Plum family or the 'Burg. She had always known that she was the proverbial square peg and that she was different from everyone else. Life was a little lonely always being on the outside looking in. For a little girl and a young woman, that wasn't a comfortable place to be. In a world where conformity meant acceptance and acceptance was everything, Stephanie traded that security for her independence.

Now, by some miracle, she found herself lying here with this man who claimed that he loved her just the way she was. Everyone else in her world had tried to change her into their idea of what she should be. Her mother wanted her to be the perfect example of a Burg wife and mother, a clone of herself. Dickie had wanted a trophy wife, arm candy who would help his political career and turn a blind eye to his infidelity. Morelli wanted her to settle down and become his ideal wife with a safe little part time job at the local Hallmark store, home in time to have his dinner on the table.

And now here was this man, this wonderful, marvelous, delicious man who only wanted her to be herself. This was a man who loved her, all of her … imperfections, character flaws, foibles and all. 'How do I tell him,' she thought, 'that for the first time in my life, I'm not afraid to be Stephanie Plum.'

She reached up and placed her palm against his cheek, brushing her thumb across his lips. "I'm thinking about how happy I am."

He loosened his grip on her and slid down the bed so that they were eye to eye. Pushing her wild curls out of her face, he let his hand drift down her neck and over her shoulder, down her arm to her hand. He wound his fingers into hers and brought her hand to his lips, then wrapped her arm around his neck, bringing her body against his.

Ranger nuzzled the side of her face and neck, trailing kisses across her shoulder, then rolled her onto her back. Settling himself between her legs, he supported himself on his forearms, as he slipped his arms under her back, curling his fingers over her shoulders.

He looked down into Stephanie's wide blue eyes and took a breath before he spoke. "I never expected to be happy. Maybe it's because of all the things I've seen and done in my life. Maybe I thought I didn't deserve it. Whatever the reason, I never thought I'd be happy. But right now, if you asked me to describe myself in one word, that's what it would be … happy." He brushed his mouth over hers and whispered, "Thank you, Babe," against her lips.

The man of few words had made a speech and it brought the sting of tears to Stephanie's eyes. There was something so seductive about him sharing his feelings with her that it was like an aphrodisiac. Not that she needed one where he was concerned. She had never known passion like this before, this primal need she had for him. The constant desire for his hands or his mouth to touch her, for the feel of him moving inside of her, was almost overpowering. And by happy coincidence, she thought, his desire for her was practically insatiable.

When he lowered his head and captured her lips, she fisted her hands in his hair, holding him to her. The kiss that started slow and sweet soon became hungry and demanding. Their tongues danced and tangled and they broke apart breathlessly.

Steph trailed kisses along his jaw and down his neck. He groaned, at the sensations and arched his head back, exposing more of his throat. When she reached the scar left by Scrog's bullet, she feathered kisses over that still sensitive spot, sending a shiver through him. Every time she saw that scar, she immediately went back to that moment in her apartment; to how close she had come to losing him. Scrog, and then Stella, had almost destroyed their chance of a life together.

She pulled back to meet his eyes and she knew that he was reading her thoughts. Ranger smiled at her, then he trailed wet kisses down her throat to the tender flesh at the spot where her neck met her shoulder. Her fingers flexed into the muscles of his back as he laved the skin, running hypnotic circles with the tip of his tongue. A small cry escaped her and her nails bit into him as he sucked the sweet flesh into his mouth, marking her as his.

He scraped his teeth over her collarbone and the swell of her breast. His arms under her back raised her up so that her breast touched his mouth and he brushed his lips over the nipple, teasing it, feeling it pebble from the attention. He sipped at it gently, then sucked it firmly into his mouth. Steph gasped and arched her back, offering more of herself to him. He kissed his way to her other breast and captured that nipple, torturing it in the same way.

He nipped and kissed his way down over her ribs and dipped his tongue into her navel and swirled it around. Grazing his teeth over the skin on her belly, he finally settled between her legs. She moaned when his tongue found her center and she sobbed when he slid first one finger, and then another into her.

He made love to her with his mouth. He brought her to the edge, then backed away to bring her down, only to bring her to the edge once again. She writhed under his tender assault, hands fisted in his hair, panting and begging him for release. He thought about how long he had denied himself the pleasure of making love to this woman.

He had thought that their one night together would satisfy his craving for her, realizing afterward that he was an idiot. Instead, that one taste had haunted him, as he lay alone at night in his bed. All it had served to do was to whet his appetite for her all the more. What had possessed him to send her back to Morelli? Then Scrog had come close to ending any chance he had of making up for turning his back on her and walking out of her bedroom. He swore to himself that he would never leave her again.

Ranger finally took pity on her and she came calling his name, bucking against him. He stayed with her as she came down, nuzzling her and kissing her thighs. She pulled him back up her body and she kissed him, tasting herself on his mouth. They lay in a tangle of arms and legs while her breathing and heart rate returned to normal.

Steph rose up on one elbow and studied the man lying next to her. She looked at the silky black hair, his eyelashes fanned out on his cheekbones, his muscular body covered by satin skin, cobbled abs, narrow hips, and long legs. He was so physically beautiful, and yet the more she learned about him, the more sure she was that his character was as handsome as his perfect body.

She leaned over and feathered kisses over his forehead, eyelids, cheekbones, and chin. Touching the corner of his mouth with the tip of her tongue, he opened his lips to her. He reached up and cupped the back of her head as she angled hers to deepen the kiss and when she sucked on his tongue, she was rewarded by a groan that came from deep in his chest.

Kissing him right below his ear she trailed open-mouthed kisses down his neck and over his shoulder. Stephanie sat up and pushed him onto his back, straddling him. He immediately grabbed her hips, trying to maneuver her so that he could enter her. She took his hands and pressed them onto the bed, letting him know she wanted him to keep them there. Laughing softly she smiled down into his half-open eyes and she shook her head, "Nuh-unh, Carlos. You made me beg. Now it's your turn."

Stephanie kissed him deeply, slowly, erotically, breaking the kiss only to trail more along his jaw. She leaned down and brushed her nipples back and forth over his chest, then pressed her breasts against him as she ran her tongue down his neck to lave the hollow at the bottom of his throat. He groaned as she ran wet kisses and licks along his collarbone. She blew on the wet trail and felt a shudder pass through his body.

She made small wet circles with the tip of her tongue, on that sweet spot where his neck and his shoulder joined. When she sucked the skin into her mouth, she swore he purred and arched his neck. She marked him, the same way he had marked her, hard and deep.

Scraping her nails lightly over his nipples, she felt him shiver as she slid down his body to suck and nip at them. He moaned while she ran wet kisses down his stomach and his muscles instinctively clinched as she outlined his abs with her tongue. When she French kissed his navel, dipping in her tongue and swirling it around, he tangled his hands into her hair and tried to pull her up to his mouth.

She immediately stopped her sweet torture and sat up. "No hands, Carlos. I told you, it's my turn to play." He groaned loudly, in mock frustration, but moved his hands back to the mattress.

His breathing changed as she nibbled her way from his navel, and when she sank her teeth into his hipbone, his hands fisted in the sheets. She felt him, rock hard, under her as she moved further down his body, nuzzling the line of silky black hair that ran like an arrow between his navel and his thick shaft.

She trailed little nips and licks across the tops of his thighs and as she positioned herself between his legs, he twitched in anticipation. Finally, she wrapped her fingers around him and stroked the length of him with a feather light touch. He growled, deep in his chest, making an almost painful sound. Barely touching him, she scraped her nails over him then continued to move her fingers up and down his shaft with agonizing slowness.

He shivered when he felt her hair brush against his skin as she lowered her head and his eyes locked on her mouth as she wet her lips. Ranger held his breath as she grasped the base of his shaft and slowly licked the length of him again and again. The tip of her tongue teased him as she delicately touched the drop of pre cum that had formed on the slit.

While she stroked him with one hand, she cupped his balls with the other and massaged him firmly. His breathing became ragged as she scraped her nails over him, torturing him, pushing to find the limits of his self-control.

They never broke eye contact as she finally lowered her head and took him into her hot mouth. She sucked gently, then stroked her tongue over the slit and swirled it around the length of him.

His hands fisted the sheets when she took as him as far as she could into her mouth and when she made an "Mmmmmm" sound his hips lifted off the bed. She sucked him firmly, sometimes scraping her teeth up his shaft to suck on the head, changing rhythm whenever he seemed close to coming.

By now Ranger's head was shifting from side to side and he was muttering in Spanish, either blessing her or cursing her.

Finally, when she was sure he'd had enough, she increased the pressure and speed of her movements, sucking and stroking him as he passed the limits of his control.

No longer able to restrain himself, he wound his fingers into her hair as he thrust into her mouth. He ground out her name as he lifted his hips and came. She stayed with him, milking him until he was empty.

He lay there, slack-limbed and breathing hard, like he had run a race, as she slid back up the bed to lie next to him. Dragging his eyes open he managed to give her a small smile before he ran his hands over his face. He licked his lips and said with a laugh, "I don't think there's any blood left in my brain."

He turned on his side and wrapping his still shaking arms around her, he pulled her close and kissed her on the tip of her nose. They lay there, wrapped in each other, until his aftershocks had passed.

She shifted away from him slightly. "Come on, let's go take a shower and get some sleep. Tomorrow it's back to real life."

He barked a laugh and turned his head to look at her. "I couldn't walk now if the building was on fire. My brain hasn't reassigned enough cells to replace the ones that you just killed off. You're VERY talented."

"Well, thank you, sir, but I'm sure I can get even better with practice." His only response was a growl.

She arranged the blankets over them and he tipped her chin up to look into her smiling eyes and shook his head a little. It was amazing, he thought as they snuggled together, all the things she had brought to his life in these past few weeks and how much he had learned from her.

He ran his hand up her spine, finding the pearl that had slid around to the back of the chain. Tugging it gently around to the front, he placed it between her breasts. From the day he dropped the heavy gold chain around her neck, she had never taken it off. He told her then that the chain had no clasp, it was a circle, it had no beginning and no end. For him, it meant forever. For her, it was the only ring she would ever need.

They were happy and they were in love.

They had been together for one month, 4 days, 16 hours, and fifty-one minutes.


Ranger and Steph had a great vacation, but they missed all of your wonderful reviews. They're also wondering if there's too much smut and if they should tone it down. So please leave a review and let them know what you think. Thanks!