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Thank you to everyone who reviewed, I appreciate it. Thank you, Mud, for being my Beta, and Annie, for being my inspiration.

Chapter 38

The drive to the coast was rather uneventful.

I remembered that I had promised Tank to take care of Lula so I gave her a call. I explained what was going on and she wasn't happy. She wanted to spend time with him, which was understandable. When I told her that Tank would make it up to her, she calmed down a little. She tried to coax me into telling her, but I resisted, only telling her that she'd enjoy it. The guys were chuckling while I talked to her, but none of them wanted to take her on.

After the call I had snuggled up to Ranger. He was running his fingers through my hair, massaging my scalp in a soothing, but at the same time arousing motion.

"What are you up to, Babe?" He was whispering in my ear, his breath tickling the shell of my ear.

"Patience, you'll see soon enough." That was apparently enough for him, as we settled down in silence, content with being near each other, sharing caresses and kisses. The guys were bantering back and forth, as much as big tough ex-army guys banter, but it was more than usual.

The drove over took about an hour and a half and I didn't remember much about what the guys talked about. And I didn't care.

The part of beach we had stopped at was secluded. Well sure it was a private beach, but it was between cliffs, so you could only oversee it from the huge villa behind us. It was a beautiful villa, but way too big for my taste.

The beach was beautiful, the sand soft and without rocks, the waves crashing softly against the shore. I felt at peace, calm and content. I had always loved to come to the beach to relax, to regroup, and this time would be no different. Except now I wouldn't be alone

The guys were busy setting everything up, Ranger was getting everything out of the car. I stood beside him, watching that he left the things Ella prepared for us inside.

His gaze fell onto the sleeping bags I had packed and he looked up, catching my eye.

"Part of you surprise?" His voice was soft and sultry, his pupils slightly dilated.

"Yup, but there's more."

"What about the guys? They staying as well?"

I knew where he was going, but for once I had planned ahead. "Nope, either Ram or Hal is going to pick them up when we call them. It's only gonna be the both of us."

He drew me into his arms and kissed me, with love and adoration, and I put everything I had into the kiss as well. We kissed for several long delicious minutes, forgetting everything else around us. We quit when we had to come up for air. That was when I heard the cheering. Stupid men.

I was looking forward to our evening out, away from all the pressure at RangeMan, away from all the rules. That night, we could be who we really were.

I didn't know who it was, but one of them got a fire going and they had the blankets around it. I sorted out which baskets were to be left in the car for later and what was going to be used for all of us. Ella had packed us a lot of beer, so I had them help carry it.

Finally we settled down around the fire, sitting Indian style. It was funny as hell to see Tank sitting like this and I couldn't contain my giggles.

"What are you laughing about, Bombshell?" Tank wanted to know.

"Have you ever sat in front of a mirror like this?"

He looked a little irritated and shook his head.

"Tank, maybe you should do it sometime? Do you practice yoga in your free time?" I was full out laughing now, the look at his face, combined with how he sat was too much for me. And the others were cracking up as well.

"Okay, I give. I know it looks funny, but it's comfy. Why don't you laugh about the others? They look just as funny." He took it all in good humor, laughing along with us.

"Aww, poor Tank. Because the others aren't big enough to be called Tank. When you're honest, you can only believe it because you saw it. When I go into the office tomorrow and tell them that you guys sat Indian style nobody's going to believe me."

"True. Now give me a beer."

While we had been laughing Ranger had dragged me closer to him without me even noticing, but it was the place I wanted to be anyway, so I wasn't complaining.

"Uh, who's gonna drive home tonight?" Lil wanted to know. Good idea to ask before anyone got beer, but totally unnecessary.

"Nobody, I arranged for pick up service, so we could all enjoy the evening."

That got me a round of cheers and I passed the beer around. Even Ranger took one, telling me at the same time that I would only get two, because he had plans for me.

The evening was great. We talked a little, nursing our beers, making s'mores and grilling hot dogs over the open fire. At some point we fell quiet. All you could hear were the waves gently lapping against the shore and the crackling of the fire. I had moved from beside Ranger onto his lap, my back to his front and he was holding me to him with his arms around my waist.

We were watching the sunset together, cuddled up to each other, and it reminded me of Fariba's rescue. The mission held mostly positive memories for me. Sure, there had been parts that were pretty ugly, but I'd seen worse before. I didn't want to say that it was nice, but it wasn't as horrible as it could have been. I had enjoyed the closeness we developed while gathering Intel, the friendship and trust that had developed between the six of us. And I had won a partner, a partner whom I trusted to watch my back when we were working, to help me and to support me. And I would do the same for him. I would do it for all of them. This feeling had been there before we went overseas, but the mission had intensified it. And I was grateful for the safety net they provided for me.

Just thinking about what they did to the girls had me shivering and I had to fight the urge to throw up. I desperately had wanted to help, had wanted to stop them, but I didn't know how. And I didn't like the method to eliminate the terrorist group. I didn't even like the fact that we had to eliminate them, but we were told to do so and didn't have much choice. I agreed that we had to eliminate the threat that came from this group. Thinking back I was relieved that we didn't have to take them down one on one, because that would have been too much for me.

Ranger had a blanket thrown over us, engulfing me in the heat his body provided, separated from the outside by a blanket, warding off the chill from bot the cool air as well as these memories. And he was driving me nuts underneath it. His fingers were drawing circles on my stomach, his breath was tickling my ear, whispering in my ear what he wanted to do with me later. I needed to do something to distract me or I would jump Ranger, not even caring about the audience.

The guys were staring into the fire, thinking about whatever, they seemed to be at peace. I felt content to be there as well, the peace of this place helping me, calming me down, easing the tension.

"Guys, tell me about the most embarrassing thing you've ever done." Ranger was chuckling behind me, knowing my ulterior motives, but he couldn't deter me. I just didn't do well with audiences.

"You really want to know?" Bobby asked me. I figured the booze had loosened them up a little and they would talk more freely.

"Sure, or I wouldn't have asked." I grinned at him, although he probably couldn't see my smile as it was already pretty dark.

"Bobby, you've got to start." I said, excited to hear about some of their mishaps. And I was sure the Intel I was about to gather would provide fantastic black mail material.

Bobby was groaning while the others were laughing, obviously it was good.

"Come on, spill it. It can't be that bad. And you've gotten the live show on all my mishaps so don't be a wimp."

The others apparently knew what was coming as they were all silent and I could feel Ranger chuckling behind me. "But remember you asked for it. We had just made it into the Rangers and were on leave. We went into a nearby bar to pick up some company."

I felt Ranger tighten his arms around me. I knew that he was uncomfortable about some things he had done in the past, but I didn't care. It had made him the man he now was, the man I loved, so I leaned back a little.

"It's okay, I love you anyways." That seemed to relax him and Bobby continued his story.

"We were all pretty successful, Lester even got two hot girls to go home with. Anyways, I walked up to that really hot girl. She was about as high as you, stunning blue eyes and had long blonde hair. I still remember the short black skirt ad the turquoise halter-top she was wearing. She was really beautiful and I bought her a drink. I had a good head start so after some talking I asked her to dance, she said yes and we danced and drank some more. I hadn't been feeling well that evening and I was kinda happy to get out of the bar when she asked me to walk her out to her car. I was happy to do so, hoping she would me take home with her."

I felt Ranger vibrate with contained laughter, guess now came the embarrassing part.

"We walked out of her car and I had my hand at her lower back. When we came to her car I drew her into me, to kiss her. That's when I vomited all over her. It was so embarrassing, especially as everyone walked out behind us. Needless to say I didn't get the girl that night and she never looked at me again."

"What was wrong? Did she have that bad breath."

"Actually, I had a case of food poisoning."

His story had me laughing and if Ranger hadn't been upholding me, I would have been rolling around. Breathing was hard enough as it was. Between fits of giggles I got out what I wanted Bobby to hear. "I'm sorry, but that's too funny." And I started into a new round of giggles.

When I finally calmed down, I asked the next one. "Lester how did you embarrass yourself?"

"I would love to tell you, Bombshell, but our chauffeur service awaits."


"I called them about an hour and a half ago. We need to get out of bed fairly early tomorrow."

I turned around and saw the second SUV parked beside the one we came in.

We all got up to gather our stuff, but Ranger and I let ours be and helped the guys. Tank saw it and pulled me aside.

"What's going on, Bombshell?"

"Only the four of you are going back. Ranger and I are going to spend the night here at the beach."

"Isn't that going to be a little cool? It's not that warm at night yet."

"Don't worry, Tank. We'll keep each other warm." I grinned at him, the moonlight barely illuminating my face so he could see me. I wanted a night alone with Ranger, without having to be afraid of a ringing phone or any other interruption that would cause that one or both of us had to go. I was getting a night without interruptions with Ranger, just like he would be getting uninterrupted time with Lula. He just had to wait a little longer. But he was way more patient than I was anyways.

"Okay, as long as you guys don't get sick." He thought for a second, the alcohol in his system slowing him down a little. "So that's what all the extra baskets Ella had were about. Breakfast at the beach while watching the sunrise, huh? Never thought you were such a romantic."

I just nodded and he engulfed me in a hug before walking over to help cleaning up.

I followed him to help as best as I could, but they were nearly finished. I couldn't wait for them to finally leave, as Ranger had worked me into a state, and he knew what he was doing. He was driving me slowly crazy. He knew all my buttons he had to push.

Eventually the guys left, and the night fell silent around us, only the ocean and the fire could be heard. I walked over to the car to get the sleeping bags and all the other stuff we would need and Ranger met me there. He pulled me to him and kissed me. A kiss that spoke of promises of what was to come that night, but also for as long as we would live. When we drew back to get some oxygen I was breathing hard and my state was worse than before.

"Help with the bags so we can get settled in for the night." I gave him a last peck on the lips and then set out with the task at hand.

"You seriously intend to sleep tonight?" He looked incredulously, the moonlight accenting his masculine features.

"Nope, but we'll be way more comfortable in the sleeping bags. I don't like to get sand in all the important places."

That got me the wolf grin and I knew I had him.

"I just hope you got that bags that can be zipped together, or you'll have to deal with the sand."

"Ella was my ally, she made sure of it." I grinned up at him. I had made damn sure that the sleeping bags fit together. I had even endured some teasing about it when Ella had seen what I was checking.

That made him grin and finally we got it all arranged. The basket with breakfast was still in the car, as well as a change of clothes for the both of us. Another bag with sweatshirts and drawstring pants to fight off the chill was beside the sleeping bags, which were placed near the fire. Near enough to soak up some warmth, but far enough away that we didn't risk getting burned.

After a lot of laughing and teasing we finally slid into the sleeping bags, roomy enough to engage in some fun. He had convinced me to forgo the clothing for the moment.

We settled down on our sides, my back to his front and my head pillowed on his muscular arm. He had rolled his sweatshirt to be more comfortable. The arm I was lying on was cupping one of my breasts, the other one was rubbing circles on my stomach again. His breathing was even and I relaxed into him, trying to get as much contact as possible.

"Thank you for tonight. We all needed to kick back and relax a little."

"You're welcome. I needed it badly, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to get the rest of the team a little downtime as well. They seemed to enjoy themselves." I was wiggling my butt in his groin, eliciting a groan from him.

"They enjoyed it, I'm sure. But I'm also sure that wasn't the only thing you had in mind for tonight. So tell me, what did you plan or at least what do you fantasize?" The circles he made on my stomach were getting larger, brushing against the underside of my breasts and over my hips. The hand on my breast started drawing little circles around my nipple, but not touching it. "Tell me, don't be shy." He added kisses along my neck into the mix and I was a goner. He knew I couldn't resist him.

"I always dreamed of making love at the beach while watching the sun rise." I had trouble to get it all out in one go, his ministrations making it harder for me to control my breathing.

"What else? That can't be everything." He knew me too well.

"And...and making love with the stars above us, watching them."

"You know what that means?" His voice was whisper soft, gentle, and his breath was tickling my ear.

"Yeah. And I trust you."

We spent the night exactly like I had always dreamed of, making sweet, tender love. It was one of the best nights of my life, the emotions and energy between us nearly overwhelming. And it was perfect.

We fell asleep after sunrise, having spent all the energy we had. I woke a few short hours later to the feeling of someone watching me. When I finally got my eyes to cooperate Ranger was looming over me, watching me intently.

"Morning, Babe."

"Hmm, morning." My voice was still rough with sleep, but I was already smiling. My smile probably matching the one Ranger wore.

He leaned over to press a soft kiss to my lips. "So, was it everything you dreamed about?"

"Everything I dreamed about and more. It was the best night ever."

We lay there quite some time, cuddled up to each other, until my stomach growled.

"Ready for some breakfast?"


"Ella packed us some." He chuckled and got up to fetch the basket. I got the bags and we cleaned up a little before having breakfast.

After a delicious breakfast we packed all the bags and baskets and everything that was still lying around into the SUV and drove back into Trenton.

We made the drive in silence, holding hands. I wanted to keep the peaceful mood as long as possible knowing that once we returned it would be back to the everyday operations.

The End... for now

A big Thank you to everyone who supported me while writing this story. I'm thankful for every review I received, every little bit of advice you gave me. Without you I couldn't have done it.