***Playing with them, promise to put them back unharmed. Don't own anything and not making any money

Chapter 17

"Will You?"

Making a meal together took considerable time due to their state of undress, but finally they managed the task. After eating, they sat in the lounge with Stephanie snuggled between Ranger's long, dark legs and watched the stars make their appearance for the night.

He felt her shiver. "Cold Babe?"

"A little," she got up and handed him the lighter that was lying on the grill. "Light the tiki torches on the stairs and I'll meet you in the boat in a few minutes."

"Babe, it's a little late for a boat ride." Ranger stated with a raised eyebrow.

She turned to look at him over her shoulder as she entered the cabin, a saucy expression on her face. "Not goin' for a boat ride." She laughed at his reaction to her words, as he sprang into action.

He lit the torches as he made his way to the boat, thinking about the past couple of weeks and how much he loved Stephanie. He'd been crazy in love with her since he found her chained naked to the shower rod in her apartment. The anger, pride, and determination etched in her features and that sparked from her eyes had taken him by surprise and cemented his feelings for her.

Now that he was aware of how well she fit into his life, he realized that he wouldn't,….no couldn't, ever let her go again. And the sex was off the charts, but there'd never been any doubt about that. From the first time he'd touched her, it had seemed that his body knew her body and it was fire and magic every time.

He was so deep in his musings that he didn't hear the quiet patter of her feet on the stairs. He glanced up and saw her standing there in his shirt looking like pure sex. She held a bottle of wine, two glasses in one hand and a platter of food stacked on top of several blankets in the other hand.

He took the stack from her, laid them on the captain's chair and helped her into the boat. He took the wine and glasses to the the bow and began making them a pallet on the bench seat. When he was satisfied, he turned to see what she was doing.

She had switched the ropes that held the boat to the deck. The new rope was longer and as she pushed them off the dock, he realized that it would allow them to drift around the cove.

Under the covers, they drank the wine and ate the cheese, crackers and fruit that she had prepared. The only sound was the soft lapping of the water on the side of the boat as they were pushed around the cove by the current of the river.

When they had finished, Stephanie got up and cleared away the food and wine. Before crawling back under the covers, she began unbuttoning the shirt and silently slid it from her shoulders.

Ranger shivered at the sight of her in the pale moonlight, her beauty held him entranced. Her creamy white skin glistened as she walked seductively toward him. He lifted the corner of the blanket up to allow her to slide in next to him.

She trembled when his warm skin touched her cooled body. Under the night sky, the contrast of their skin tones was stark, more pronounced than in the day. She marveled that this beautiful man was hers and loved her as much as she loved him.

He ran his hands over the silky skin of her back as the blood pounded in his ears. He had to have her in his arms, touching her and showing her how much he loved her.

When his mouth found hers, it was with a feeling of desperation. She could feel the emotion rolling off of him in waves and she responded to his touch with equivalent force. Groping hands found each other's pleasure centers and exploited them until they were both panting.

Ranger ran his hands up her thighs to her mound needing to seek her warmth. "Open for me, amante."

A glint of possession twinkled in his eyes as she spread her legs for him. He loomed over her, taking in her beautiful body and her willingness to lay herself bare for him. He had honestly meant to be gentle and tender, making love to her slowly. But, the sight of her laying there, legs wide open, offering herself to him, well, something inside him snapped.

She couldn't get over how fast he went from soft, tender and loving to intense and primal. When he attacked her body with his mouth and hands, she felt the desire claw through her like fire and ice at the same time.

It seemed as though he couldn't decide which part of her body he wanted to taste. He nibbled first on her thighs, then her calves, moving to her stomach, and finally feasting on her erect nipples. His hands never stilled, tracing a scorching path from her head to her thighs.

When his magical fingers made the journey between her legs, her body sang for the release that she knew was coming. He plunged three fingers in deep and pumped wildly in and out until her body jerked with the first orgasm. She thought he would enter her then and she dug her fingers into his sculpted ass, encouraging the joining of their bodies.

He shook his head, "I'm not through with you yet, Babe. I want to hear you scream my name as you come repeatedly."

With those words, he buried his face between her legs and proceeded to lick and suck her from slit to clit. He hummed in his throat with pleasure as he fed on her juices.

Her clit was still sensitive from the first orgasm and she nearly jumped out of her skin, when his tongue swirled around her nub. He placed his hand on her stomach and gently pushed her back down. "Don't back away from it, Babe. Take it, take me."

Her response to him made him insane with need. When he felt her let go, he buried his tongue inside her and thrust in and out while he fingered her clit. Her juices flowed onto his tongue and he lapped them up as fast as they flowed. In the fog that clouded his brain, he could hear her chanting his name over and over.

It wasn't enough. He wanted more. He was mad with the desire for her. Like a predator, he crawled up her body nipping and biting as he made his way. Her whimpers were like a mating call to him, inflaming his senses.

He took one tender nipple in his mouth, pulling back to blow cool air on it and then flicked it with the tip of his tongue. Then he attacked again with fervor, sucking and nipping the pointed peaks. Reaching between them, he stroked another orgasm from her before he entered her hard.

He used such force that she felt him all the way to her cervix. Then he pulled back and repeated the process. She screamed, "More!" When he pulled back again, his rhythm became one of equal force and speed. He pounded into her over and over as her head thrashed back and forth. The madness that overcame her was dark and dangerous, as she screamed "Fuck me, Ranger, fuck me". And just when she thought her body wouldn't survive the intensity of his thrusts, he stopped mid-stroke.

He blinked his eyes and looked down at her, as if seeing her for the first time. His voice was strangled, rich with emotion, "Marry me. This is as close to heaven as we're ever going to get on earth. I love you more than life itself. Please, marry me and share it with me, forever."

With a strangled cry, she responded, "Yes." As the tears, rolled down her cheeks, he eased back inside her, leaning down to kiss them away.

This time, his strokes were slow and steady as he caressed her face. Their eyes locked on each other, brimming with love. He leaned down and took her in a deep, lingering kiss as he increased his rhythm. They could both feel the gradual building of their orgasms. With their tongues entwined, they exploded together.

Ranger pulled out, wrapped his arms under her ass and rested his head between her breasts. "I love you, Stephanie."

Her hand sifted through his hair as the emotion, so near the surface, streamed down her face. "I love you, Ranger."

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The next morning had been hectic with packing and making arrangements. Ranger didn't just want to get married; he wanted to get married TODAY! She was freaking out a little bit and he was calm and collected as usual. Before she even finished getting dressed, he'd already called and found out that in Selmer, they could get a license and get married in the same day. They didn't even have to have a blood test.

She heard him on the phone again as she sorted through her clothes looking for something appropriate to for her wedding. Most of her clothes were shorts and tank tops. She had a few jeans and one solitary dress that she'd picked up while they were in Corinth. It was a sundress printed with hibiscus flowers swirling down one side. The soft pale blue material had called to her in the store.

He was still on the phone when he walked in the bedroom. He cradled the phone between his head and shoulder, while he helped tie the halter top of her dress. He whispered in her ear, "Beautiful", and skimming his hands down her sides, before continuing his conversation.

"Yeah, pack all of her stuff and take it to the apartment. She's already called her landlord and informed him that you're coming. The furniture can wait until we get back." He listened while he put on his shoes, packed the last of their clothes and helped her with the strap of her sandals. Boy talk about a multi-tasker.

"I'll explain everything when we get back……two days….ok, here she is. Babe, Tank wants to talk to you."

"Yeah, Big Guy, what's up?.....No, I don't have any special instructions, except to keep Lester out of my panty drawer. Uh, you're not going to tell anybody are you?....Yes, I promise, we'll explain when we get back. Bye."

Ranger laughed when she pulled the phone away from her ear and looked at it with a sigh of frustration. "What, didn't he say bye?"

Her lip came out in a pout, "No. Is that something that you teach these guys? 'In order to conserve time and energy, forget all phone etiquette and never say good-bye.' I mean seriously Ranger, would it hurt your guys to say bye."

He smiled widely at her rather impressive impersonation of him. He pulled her into her arms, danced her in a slow circle, and then brushed his lips against hers. "Babe, it's our wedding day, don't pout. I promise to teach all my men proper phone etiquette, when we return home."

She knew he was joking, he would never teach them to say good-bye, but it was nice of him to pretend, for her sake. Besides, she was completely distracted by the word 'home'.

By the time she came out of her reverie, Ranger was standing in front of her smiling broadly. "Where'd you go? I've loaded the truck and checked the house twice for anything that we might've left behind and you're still standing where I left you."

Her cheeks flamed with embarrassment, "Sorry, I got caught up in the whole 'home' comment that I kinda zoned out for a minute." He was ushering her outside and toward the truck.

She turned to look back at the cabin. She had a moment of sadness over leaving their little nest of solitude. Ranger's arms wrapped around her and pulled her against his chest. "Can we come back?"

He could hear the sadness in her voice. "Actually, I was thinking that this would make a perfect safe house and was planning on buying it." Her squeal of delight made his day. "C'mon Babe, we have to go to the jewelry store and pick rings before going to the court house."

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She looked down at the engagement ring with awe. The ring was an emerald cut three karat stone set in white gold with one karat sapphire baguette's on each side. The stones were slightly sunken into the band that was encrusted with sapphire chips. They had chosen matching wedding bands made of polished white gold that almost looked like a band of white pearl.

When the truck stopped, Stephanie took a deep breath and looked out the window at the courthouse. She felt Ranger take her hand and give it a squeeze.

"Having second thoughts?" He couldn't tell what she was thinking for a change and it worried him slightly.

"No, I've never been more certain of anything in my life. It's just that," she turned to him, placed a hand on his cheek, "I've never loved anyone the way that I love you. I'm so afraid that I'll screw this up."

He kissed the palm of her hand, "We're in this together, just you and me, Babe."

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They stood before the Justice of Peace, holding hands, looking deeply into each other's eyes as they said their vows. As Ranger placed the wedding band on her finger, her heart flooded with love at his words, "With this symbol of undying love, unity and devotion, I take you, Stephanie Michelle Plum, my Babe, to be my wife. Today, I make a solemn vow to be ever-faithful to you, to be the guardian of your heart, to be the shoulder you cry on, to be your pillar of strength, to be your best friend, and most of all, to be your never-ending fountain of love and support.

He smiled tenderly as she took a deep breath, trying to quell the tears that were threatening to spill. She placed the wedding band on his finger and spoke with a strong voice, "With this symbol of undying love, unity and devotion, I take you, Ricardo Carlos Manoso, my Ranger, to be my husband. Today, as I give myself to you, my mind is clear and my commitment is strong and without reservation. I make a solemn vow to be ever-faithful to you, to be the guardian of your heart, to be your best friend, and most of all, I pledge to you my eternal love and support."

Neither of them, heard the rest of the ceremony as their lips fused before the JP even pronounced them husband and wife. The clerk fanned herself and then giggled as Ranger swept Stephanie up in his arms spinning her around. They quickly signed the marriage certificate, shook hands with the JP and walked hand in hand out of the room.

Ranger swept his bride up into his arms and carried her out of the courthouse, down the steps and to the truck. He placed her in the truck, buckled her seatbelt and kissed her deeply. "Babe, I know this is going to sound corny, but, thank you, for making me the happiest man alive."

Stephanie placed her hands on the sides of his face and pulled him toward her for a soft kiss. "Yeah, but I like it. Now, take me home, Batman."

His smile was almost blinding, as he replied, "As you wish, Mrs. Manoso."

The End

***Author's Note: I really hope that you enjoyed this story. I enjoyed writing it so much and decided about three chapter's ago to finish this story and write a sequel. However, another idea occurred to me and now, I believe this is going to be a trilogy. So, if you liked this story, be on the lookout for 'Just You and Me, Babe." Thanks to all of you who have followed this story, wrote in wonderful reviews and helped to encourage me along the journey.

***Angie, I can hardly believe that at the beginning of this story, you and I didn't even know each other. Look at us now, we can hardly go a day without chatting online. You have been a blessing to this story and a constant support to me through this process. Without your great beta-ing, this story would have been filled with typos, mis-communication and loads of grammatical errors. Thanks, Babe.

***BabeSquad, I got my trophy and it's great. It was an honor to be the first ever spotlight author of the month!!!

***To all you Babes, keep writing those HEA's, oh, alright, a little angst every once in awhile is okay too, but don't get too carried away, my little old heart can't take too much.