Disclaimer: JE & Stephenie Meyer own them. I do not.


Tween Pressure


"C'mon, Aunt Steph," Angie whined. "You have to read it! It's my favorite book ever!"

"I don't know, Ang," I said, sighing. "I'm not a big reader. You and Julie both keep telling me I need to read it, but I don't know if I really want to."

"Please," she said quietly. "For me?"

Oh, now she'd done it. I looked over to see Val laughing quietly on the other side of the room. She knew what hearing my now eleven-year-old niece say please did to me! "Fine, fine. I'll pick up a copy on my way home."

Nothing like a little peer pressure—or tween pressure, as the case may be—to make me fold like an accordion, I thought.

She squealed and threw her arms around me. "That's awesome! I gotta go email Julie and tell her!"

My niece and soon-to-be stepdaughter had hit it off when they met after the Scrog kidnapping and had been friends ever since. Every time Julie came down to visit, they spend the night at either RangeMan or at Val's house. Actually, usually both.

I laughed and looked at Val. "You knew they would wear me down, didn't you?"

She grinned and nodded. "They wore me down, too. I loved it. Twilight isn't just for young girls, you know!"

I groaned and decided to put it out of my head until after my visit with the girls was over.

Later that afternoon, I stopped by the bookstore on my way back to RangeMan to pick up the book. Sticking it in my purse when I got out of the car, I hurried to the elevator and up to seven. The guys would tease me hard if they saw me with it!

Carlos was in his home office when I got up to the apartment, and I went in to say hello.

"Hey, Batman," I said, wrapping my arms around him.

"Babe." He pulled me around and drew me into his lap, tangling his fingers in my curls and kissing me like only Carlos could. "How was the afternoon at Val's?"

"It was fun! We talked and I played with Lisa while Val helped the other two with a project that's due at school on Monday."

"Did you stop and pick up the book on your way home?" He grinned and then laughed at my expression. "Not ESP, Babe. Julie emailed me because she was so excited that she and Angie had finally convinced you to read the hottest book of the year."

I groaned. "Yes, yes, I bought it. I'll read it soon, sheesh!"

Carlos laughed. "Better start reading it now, Babe. I don't think the girls will let up until you do!"

"Fine, fine. I'll be in the living room."

What a way to spend the rest of my Saturday, I grumbled to myself. I grabbed a Coke from the fridge before making my way into the living room and flopping down on the overstuffed chair in the corner. I sat sideways, my head resting on the back of the chair and my legs hanging over one arm. Getting comfortable, I opened the book and began to read.


Four Hours Later
Ranger's POV

I checked the clock on my desk and found that it was 1800 hours. I hadn't heard from Steph in four hours. Maybe she'd fallen asleep reading. Shutting down my computer, I headed out to the living room to see if I could find her.

When I walked into the living room, I could see Steph's head bent over the book in intense concentration. She was sprawled out in the chair by our window, her Coke forgotten on the coffee table in front of her.

"Babe? Enjoying the book?"

"Shhh! Don't interrupt!" her voice reprimanded me.

I stood in shock for a minute before laughing silently. "Do you want some dinner, Babe?"

"Not now. I'll eat later," she said hastily, turning the page.

Huh... Apparently I'd been dismissed.

I walked over to the intercom and pressed the button to call Ella. "Ella, we'd like dinner now. Please bring something easy to reheat for Stephanie. She's pretty involved with something and may not break away, even to eat..."

"Stephanie not eating? Is she feeling all right?" Ella asked, sounding concerned.

I laughed. "She's fine. Julie and Steph's niece, Angie, got her hooked on the book Twilight. She's been reading non-stop for four hours. I'm not sure when she'll want to take a break," I explained.

"Oh, I read that! I'm on the third book, Eclipse, now. I'm sure Stephanie will enjoy them. I'll bring up dinner in thirty minutes, all right?"

"That would be perfect," I told her. "Thanks, Ella." I grabbed some files from my office and went back to the living room, sitting down on the couch to study them until dinner arrived.

A few minutes later, there was a soft knock at the door, and then Ella walked in, pushing a tray with a few covered dishes. "I'll set it up on the breakfast bar for you, Carlos," she said.

I nodded and set down my files. Standing up, I made my way over to the chair and pushed a loose curl behind Steph's ear. "Babe, Ella's here with dinner," I said quietly.

She looked up at me and smiled that beautiful smile before saying, "Not yet. You go ahead and eat. I only have a hundred pages or so left, and I want to finish."

I chuckled and leaned down to kiss her forehead gently. "Okay, Babe. I'm going to go eat. We'll reheat yours when you're ready." I kissed her again before walking off to the kitchen to eat my dinner.


Two Hours Later
Stephanie's POV

Finally! I'd finally finished the book. I couldn't believe I'd sat there for over six hours reading. That's definitely a record. I looked around and didn't see Carlos, so I listened and heard him back in his office. I stood up to stretch and then headed back down the hall.

"Babe," he said as I walked into the room. "Did you finish?"

I grinned. "I did. They were right! It's a fantastic book. You and Edward are so very much alike," I said, laughing.

Carlos grimaced. I guess he wasn't comfortable being compared to a fictional seventeen-year-old vampire.

"What? It's a compliment!"

"Sure," he said, raising a single eyebrow. "Whatever you say. I'll have you know that Julie's email said that you and Bella are a lot alike, as well. Did you ever think of that?"

I grimaced. "Really? I dunno... I don't see it. I guess I'll have to email Julie and find out."

He laughed and pulled me down into his lap, giving me a long, hot, sexy kiss. "Ready for dinner?" he asked.

I leaned up and nibbled on his ear. "No, but I am ready for dessert," I said, grinning wickedly.

The next thing I knew, Carlos swooped me up into his arms as he stood, and I was being carried down the hall to the bedroom for what I knew would be a night filled with fun, happiness, and love.


To: Ranger Manoso
From: Stephanie Plum
Date: April 7, 2008
Subject: How you and Edward are alike!

I figured you wouldn't believe me unless I listed them, so here they are!

Mysterious, dark past
Protect their woman at any & all cost
Incredibly sexy
Dangerous (both feel they are more dangerous than they really are)
Unable to keep their hands off their woman
Both have more money than they know what to do with

Love always,


To: Stephanie Plum
From: Julie Martine
Date: April 8, 2008
Subject: Dad said you didn't believe me...

...when I said you and Bella were alike. So here's how you are!

Always says what she's thinking
Cares about others more than herself
Danger magnet
More beautiful than they realize or will admit to themselves
Attracted to the "bad boy"

Miss you guys! Can't wait to come out and see you, Dad, and Angie!



To: Stephanie Plum
CC: Ranger Manoso
From: Val
Date: April 9, 2008
Subject: Since we're comparing Twilight with you guys, I thought I'd throw my 2 cents in!

Hey guys!

Julie emailed Angie to let her know about comparing the Twilight characters with you both, so I thought I'd show you how I think you compare!

The two of you have a relationship very similar to Edward and Bella's.

Each from totally different backgrounds/worlds
Strong chemistry that anyone can see
Can't keep their hands off each other
Being together is dangerous, especially for her
Worked through major issues to be together
Both guys like to spend their crazy amounts of money on their significant other, even though the s.o. doesn't like it

Don't hate me!