Disclaimer: The characters from the world of Stephanie Plum are the sole property of the very talented author: Janet Evanovich. I only borrowed them and do not wish to make money off of them. This story, however, is copyrighted to the mentioned author. This story is for entertainment purposes ONLY.

Summary: Ranger's thoughts during the drive back to RangeMan after that night. Set during "Hard Eight"

Rating: G

Driving Back to Haywood

By JanG

Fool!

I can't think of another word to describe myself right now. I keep trying to reach my 'zone' as Steph calls it, but I can't.

Why did I leave her?

I have just spent the best night of my life making love to the most beautiful and amazing woman I have ever known, and here I am driving home alone instead of staying with her and letting my heart show her how I really feel.

Why did I let my head rule my heart?

I'm falling in love with her. That much is obvious. I can't compete with Morelli though, he'll give her what she wants, what the Burg expects her to want. He'll give her stability despite his job. What can I give her? Only disappearances without explanations and worry if I'll even make it back alive. She deserves more than that, more than I can give her. But she makes me feel alive. Alive like I've never felt before. Can I give that up? Do I want to give that up?

Questions. That's all I've got, questions, and it's up to me to find the answers. I need to walk away from her; She deserves more than I can give her; I need to tell her to make a life without me. She needs to go back Morelli.

Hell, I know I won't be able to stay away from her, I need her, need to see her, need to touch her, like I need air to breathe. I know one thing for sure – if Morelli stays away from her I will be back in her bed and nothing will drag me away from her again, not duty, not conscience… nothing.