A/N: Ranger v Joe Smack down – Stephanie Style. BABE. MORELLI and CUPCAKE UNFRIENDLY.

Romance/ Humor /Action

Warnings: LANGUAGE and Sexual themes. Rated M.

Janet Evanovich owns all characters and anything from the Plum Universe.

Pino's Parking Lot – 12:30 pm


"Guys!" Stephanie screamed, standing between us once again. Reaching out I hooked and arm around her waist, drawing her behind me. She refused to stay put; I just wanted her safe. I did not want one of Morelli's stray fists marring any inch of her soft skin.

"Babe, please." I murmured, trying to soften my voice so she didn't assume I was ordering her around.

"Back off Manoso! Stephanie is mine. Let her go!" Morelli growled, his nostrils flaring, his face red with anger and his fists tightly clenched.

"Steph is not yours. She does not belong to anyone. However, she is my girlfriend which makes her my woman. But I don't order her around, I don't dictate her life. She makes her own choices; she chooses her own path. I'm just along for the journey. Now fuck off Morelli. You've lost her. " I advised, my voice deadly serious. I would fight for my Babe, and I would win, if that's what it came down to.

"Fuck you! You grovelling piece of shit! I know exactly what you're trying to do, sucking up to her, making her think you know her so damn well! You don't Manoso, she is mine. I have known her my whole damn life! I took her virginity for Christ's sake, she belongs to me!" I was itching to hit Morelli, and that fucking spiel did not improve his chances of getting away from this argument unscathed.

Steph dislodged from my grip once again and charged Morelli, her hand making sharp contact with his face. A bright red hand print emerged on his cheek. Go Babe.

"You're scum Morelli!" She spat, hands on hips before turning to the side, her eyes shifting between us both. I wanted to drag her behind me again, away from the prick. "Now both of you listen to me. There will be no pissing contest over me. Joe, Ranger is my one, I love him, more than I ever loved you and I'm in love with him too. If you both still feel like kicking the shit out of each other, then you will do it my way, or else." Babe threatened. I bit my lip, trying to resist the smug smile that threatened to overtake my face.

"Or else what Cupcake?" Morelli demanded. Steph rounded on him once again.

"Or else, Joseph Anthony Morelli, I will go to the chief and tell him how cosy you've been getting with Terry Gillman lately, or perhaps how you've been constantly harassing me for the past two months, or maybe even about your little tryst down on Stark Street the other week with Lady Luscious." Holy shit, how the hell had she known all that?! I watched Morelli get paler and paler and finally he sagged under her threat, defeated.

"What about him?" Morelli jutted his chin in my direction. Babe turned, smirking at me. Fuck.

"I'd call his mother, and tell her exactly what her perfect son has been up to...or maybe his grandma, she wouldn't be pleased to find out her Carlitos had upset me." Fluttering her eyelashes at me, she turned back to Morelli with a stony expression.

"Pussy." Morelli laughed, his eyes flashing dangerously in my direction. Dangerously for him.

"Oh is he now? So if I happened to mention to my grandma that you were back fucking the skank whore mob princess and that information got back to your mother and grandma Bella, you wouldn't be worried?" I choked on a laugh. Only my Babe.

"Let's do it your way." Morelli muttered.

"Excellent! Glad you pulled your head out of your hairy ass. You two will meet me at the Rangeman gym, four o'clock this afternoon. Just bring yourselves. No weapons or anything like that necessary." I couldn't resist grinning as Steph skipped back to my side and pressed a kiss to my cheek. Morelli cursed under his breath.

"But that's his home turf!" He argued. Fool should have learnt by now that he didn't get anywhere by arguing with Stephanie Plum.

"It's also my home. Deal with it. Four pm." Steph gave him a pointed glance, flipped her hair and sauntered over to my truck, climbing into the passenger seat.

I thought about smiling.

"Four pm." I repeated forcefully, turning my back and stalking to my car. He didn't have the balls to shoot me in the back.

I hoped Morelli hadn't just landed us in one of Steph's schemes...this could get ugly.

Rangeman Gym – 4:00 pm


It was four pm. I was standing outside the gym, facing Morelli, with a grinning Steph standing next to us. She wouldn't tell me what she had planned, or what was going on in the gym. The cameras had been shut off since we returned to Rangeman and Babe had made herself scarce and instructed my men, at all costs, to stop me entering the gym. I was slightly worried.

"Ok, here's how this is going to work. I'm going to give you each a present. Inside the present is what you are required to wear to participate in the fight. If you choose not to wear the item, then you automatically forfeit. If you both return, dressed in your outfits, then we proceed to round two. Inside the gym I have, with some help, set up a small fighting arena. If you choose not to enter the fighting arena, then you forfeit. If both of you enter, then the real fight begins. First man down for the count looses. Any questions?" I blinked, processed and shook my head. I really didn't want to find out what Babe had planned for us.

"Can we get this shit over with? I want to kick his ass and claim my prize." Morelli sneered, leering in Stephanie's direction. My jaw clenched.

"Did I mention a prize?! No. The only prize you'll be getting if you win is bragging rights. Let's begin." Steph ordered. I watched her reach into her purse and remove two small packages. They were both wrapped with black paper that shined. She handed one to me, the other to Morelli.

"Is this all Babe?" I wondered. The package was fairly light ... and small, disturbingly small.

"Yep, that's it. Go change, you both have ten minutes to return. Morelli, bathroom is down the hall and to the right. Time starts, NOW!" Raising my eyes at Steph, I turned and jogged to the stairs, running to five to use my office to change.

Slamming the door shut, I tore the paper open and dropped the piece of cloth. She could not be serious. Oh Babe was gonna pay for this, big time.

Snatching the hot pink Speedo off the floor, I started shredding clothes before stepping into the ridiculous item of clothing. It barely covered me.

Leaving my weapons, clothing, shoes and socks on my couch, I slid my sunglasses onto my face and went to face my men. Fuck, I was never going to live this down.

My spine straight, I marched back to the gym, ignoring the looks. I walked in front of Babe, folded my arms across my chest and waited.

She licked her lips. Oh yeah, Babe was going to pay for this stunt ... all night long. I removed my sunglasses and carefully placed them on Steph's head. A bright grin was my reward.

"Good, you both returned. Round two!" I turned slightly and blanched at the sight of Morelli. His Speedo was purple...and it glittered. Thank fuck I wasn't in the glittery Speedo. I resisted shuddering and turned to watch Babe push open the gym doors.

My jaw clenched. No fucking way. How the hell had she managed it?

"A mud pit?! You want us to fucking wrestle in a mud pit?!" Morelli snarled, taking a step towards Steph, arms extended, ready to grab her. I yanked her behind me. Again.

"Don't fucking touch her!" I roared, advancing on him.

"Don't fight out here, fight in there!" I felt Steph shove forcefully against my back.

Suddenly I was in the damn mud pit, wrestling Morelli. I could hear Babe cheering me on.

"She should be fucking cheering me on!" Morelli shouted, his fist connecting with my jaw roughly.

I charged him, tackling him around the chest, driving him into the mud. We both went down, the mud was slippery. I couldn't get a solid grip.

"Mine" I hissed in his ear, fisting his hair and tossing him a few yards. He landed with a splat. That almost brought a smile to my face.

Something red briefly caught my eye. Glancing up, I found the camera was active.

"Stephanie!" I turned, but was abruptly side swiped by Morelli, who drove my face into the mud. Hard.

Issues about the fight being recorded were set to the back of my mind as I swiftly rolled out from under Morelli. Carefully rising to my feet I faced Morelli, spitting out a mouthful of mud. I was furious.

"Fucker." I snapped, gritting my teeth.

"You that pussy-whipped? You have to ask little burg girl Stephanie for advice during a man's fight?" Morelli taunted.

My hand instantly drew back and landed a solid punch across Morelli's cheek. Crack. I flashed a brutal smile as blood trickled from his nose and he slipped backwards, falling heavily on his ass.

"Get up. A little blood and you're ready to call it quits?!" I jeered, waiting.

He crawled along on all four, skidding around until he finally made it to his feet. His head lifted, eyes dilated, nostrils flared as his breathing turned ragged.

He had already lost the war, and he was about to lose another battle.


I sat down, a safe distance from the pit as both men charged each other, fists flying and connecting with flesh. Thwack. Thud. Slap.

They repeatedly clashed, over and over, sometimes slithering around in the mud, crashing to the ground in a pile of muscled, sweaty, muddy limbs.

I smiled to myself, satisfied with my delicious plan. I was watching the best show known to woman kind live ... two sexy men, well one incredibly sexy man and another slightly less sexy man, fight over me, not just fight, mud wrestle, in skimpy Speedos that revealed ... well an amazing sight.

And the best part of my plan? I had it all recorded, from multiple angles. Not only was it being downloaded by Lester in the control room, I also had the live feed going to my laptop. I was going to make a fortune.


We had been brawling for God knows how long, combating not only each other but the fucking thick, slippery mud too. This needed to be finished.

As Morelli came at me again, I sucker punched him in the guts, ruthlessly, landing more than one blow. He went down instantly, gasping for air. I finished him with a roundhouse kick, laying him out cold, flat on his back.

"One, two, three...Manoso is the winner!" Babe yelled, dancing around, smiling.

Wiping away the majority of mud from my face, discharging a mixture of blood and mud from my mouth, I crooked a finger at my woman.

She immediately ran over to me, throwing her small frame around me, hugging me tightly, and peppering my face with brief kisses. Mud had coated her clothing, her skin, her face. She didn't seem to mind in the least.

"Babe" I smirked as she wiggled around, her body slick on mine. My hands gripped her sweet ass, holding her firmly against me. "You're in trouble" I murmured, nuzzling her neck, burying my face in her hair.

"How much trouble?" Her voice dropped in volume, turning husky and sexy. "Are you going to punish me Carlos?" I groaned, grinding my barely clad groin into her.

"Absolutely," My voice rasped before I fell backwards, dragging Steph into the mud, rolling her underneath me, getting her thoroughly coated. "Right after I clean you up." Her light laughter rang out around me as Morelli lay groaning to the side.

I had won bragging rights ... but what mercenary, what man, wanted to brag about winning a mud wrestling match against a man in a glittered purple Speedo ... I'd much rather brag about having Stephanie as my woman, or my wife.

The End.

Words: 2061