Summary: While on a mission in Brazil, Ranger gets into some serious trouble. Will Steph and the Merry Men be able to rescue him in time to change his fate? BABE. BABE HEA.

Warnings: Violence, language and things of a sexual nature.

Disclaimer: All recognizable characters, settings, etc. from the PLUM series are the property of Janet Evanovich. No copyright infringement is intended. I am not making any profit; all credit goes to the aforementioned author.


CHAPTER SIX

As I was just beginning to doze again, I felt a delicious tingle race down my spine. Twisting onto my back, I propped myself up on my elbows and gazed across the room at the man I loved. He was leaning heavily against the open bedroom door frame, the light from the living room illuminating his fine figure and bathing the bedroom in a soft glow. He slowly walked towards the bed, his movements a little ginger before he sat down heavily by my side, lifting a hand to my face. I smiled at him warmly and nuzzled my cheek into his hand.

"Babe," he said, gazing at me with a soft look in his eyes. His face had been shaved, the stubble that had resided there was now gone. I missed the rugged look, but smooth was so much better.

"Carlos," I answered, leaning forward to give him a kiss. He smiled and drew me into his arms. The sheets fell to my waist, providing a small barrier between us. Our chests pressed together, skin against skin. Goosebumps rose along my arms and my nipples hardened. I loved the feeling of his chest touching mine. I could feel the heat from his groin against mine through the sheet. I wriggled against him, arousal flooding my body.

"Don't think you should take any more of those pills," he announced, chuckling against my hair as I whimpered.

"How long have I been out?" I wondered, running my hands over his shoulders and across his back. I loved the feel of his skin, warm and smooth.

"Eight hours." He pulled back and stared at me, worry shadowing his features.

"Oh," I muttered, "Maybe I'll just take ibuprofen from now on." That way I wouldn't be knocked out all day.

Sheesh, eight hours! I could have been loving Carlos for eight hours and instead I spent it sleeping!

With a small smile, he dipped his head down, his mouth meeting mine in a hungry kiss. I tangled my fingers in his short hair, scratching them lightly against his scalp, pulling him closer to me. A sound of pleasure rumbled from his chest, washing over me, heating me up in all the right places.

Carlos lowered me down on his bed. He threw back the sheets and covered my body with his. I shivered as his lips brushed feather light kisses along my jawline. It felt so good to have his body pressing down on mine, reassuring me that he was actually there, with me. Safe. He was safe from Medeiros and his men. The faint scent of his Bvlgari shower gel washed over me, sending my hormones into overdrive. I could feel him hardening against me, as his lips devoured mine, our tongues tangling together, stroking and tasting. It had been too long since we'd been together; almost two years. I'd forgotten how potent he was. He made me lose my mind in the most delicious way.

"Carlos, you're hurt," I protested softly, running my hand through his hair as I took in every inch of his beautiful face. As much as I wanted to share my body with his, I didn't want it at the price of his pain. I would wait for him, forever.

"Babe. I've been waiting for this moment for years," he whispered against my skin as he blazed a trail of hot kisses from my throat to my stomach. "You're hurt worse. Want me to stop?" he asked, his breath tickling me.

"No, don't stop," I begged, shaking my head slowly. I'd hardly even noticed my injuries. My ribs ached and my arm stung, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. I wanted him; I wanted to show him how much I loved him; I wanted to feel how much he loved me.

"I'll be gentle," he promised. His hand splayed across my left breast his fingers whispering across my skin as he teased my flesh.

"Carlos!" I cried out as his lips enclosed around my hard nipple, his tongue flicking against it gently in a slow rhythm.

"We're going to make love, and it's going to be good," he murmured, gazing up at me with molten eyes. I could feel his thick member pressing against my leg. My body ached for him; I was already wet, ready. I squirmed beneath him, trying to find some relief. One of his hands grasped my hip lightly, pressing it down into the mattress, holding me still.

Frustrated, I teased, "Just good?"

"Perfect," Carlos replied, his mouth engulfing my right breast, his teeth gently scraping across my skin, shooting heat down my spine.

"I love you," I sighed.

He slid back up my body, his mouth finding mine in another devouring kiss that rocked me to my core. The man kissed like a Sex God.

I reached down and grasped him in my hand, rubbing my thumb gently across the moisture gathered at his tip, squeezing him.

He growled and caught my wrist.

"It's been too long, Babe. You keep that up and I'll explode," Carlos said hoarsely, bringing my hand up to his lips so he could press a lingering kiss to each finger.

I gazed at him through half hooded eyes as he lifted my arm and eased it down above my head.

His hand slid down my body until it cradled the curve of my hip, his fingers gently stroking my skin. I whimpered when his eyes locked on mine. Slowly, his hand slid down until he cupped my aroused sex in his hand. He hissed as his finger parted my folds, finding my slick arousal. I cried out as he brushed against my sensitive flesh, shooting pleasure through my body. He continued to tease me, pleasuring me and driving me closer and closer towards nirvana. I cried out as he eased back, lifting his finger to his mouth and deliberately cleaning off all of my juices. My body was shaking beneath his, trembling with arousal, right on the edge of orgasm.

"I'm not going to last long," he admitted, his voice a warm caress as he braced his weight on his elbows either side of my head. His mouth met mine in a kiss of possession, slowly gentling it until our lips were only just brushing against each other. I felt him, hot and hard nudging against my overheated flesh that was begging for release. I knew as soon as he'd slip inside me I'd come.

"Please." The breathless cry left my lips as I wrapped myself around him; my legs tangled with his and my arms, one around his neck, the other around his waist.

He guided himself into me, pausing as his tip slipped into me. I could feel him throbbing and heavy and wiggled my hips to encourage him to enter me. My hands pulled him closer to me. He slid in a little further, before almost pulling all the way out again. I cried out in frustration, my body wanting him most desperately.

Without warning, he entered me to his hilt. My body spasmed around him as I came forcefully, pleasure crashing over me in waves. He groaned and his mouth met mine, his body rocking against me as I rode out my orgasm.

His gentle rocking rhythm slowly gained speed. My hips rose and fell, meeting his tempo as we made love. I whispered his name, the sounds of our pleasure wrapping around us as they hung in the air. His hand slipped under me, tilting my hips upward. Our pelvises ground together, the friction quickly sending me higher and higher. I felt him tighten and tremble within me a moment before he grunted and exploded, his warmth coating my walls, taking me over the edge with him.

We lay tangled together, our bodies covered in a thin sheen of sweat as we shared sweet kisses occasionally, savouring each other.

"Stephanie," Carlos whispered after some time. Our bodies were starting to cool now, and I smiled softly at Carlos as he wrapped the duvet around us, encapsulating us our own little world.

"Uh oh," I teased, reminding him that he only used my full name when he was being serious. He smiled a little, brushing a kiss against my eyebrow that was raised at him in question.

"Babe. I just wanted to thank you," he murmured, tucking my curls behind my ears so he could better see my face.

"For what?" I frowned, trying to recall what he was thanking me for. Surely not the sex?

"For coming after me," he replied. I felt embarrassed. Oh. That.

"Why wouldn't I –" I started to protest softly, when his lips silenced mine, turning my body into mush. I melted against him.

"Shhhh, Steph. Not many people would have done what you did for me. Thank you," he repeated, his finger touching my cheek reverently as he spoke.

"You welcome. I just wanted you home," I uttered, on the verge of tears. I blinked rapidly, trying to keep them at bay.

"There's no place I'd rather be," he promised, kissing away the lone tear that managed to escape and roll down my cheek. Our lips met again, and we lost ourselves in each other once more.

~*S*R*~

The next week, we found ourselves cuddled up on the couch together watching TV. Bones had forbidden us from going downstairs for at least the next three weeks. We were confined to bed rest; I just don't think Bones remembered to explain to Carlos exactly what bed rest was. If Bones found out we'd made love three times our first night home, the shit would probably hit the fan. As it was, both Carlos and I were a little sorer the next day. We'd tried to be good the following days, with very little success.

Carlos was gently playing with my curls as he flicked through the television channels.

"Carlos? There was something I wanted to ask you," I murmured, tilting my head back slightly to gaze at him.

"Shoot, Babe," he answered, flashing me a panty melting smile.

"Are you in the real estate game?" I wondered.

"That's how I make most of my money," he confided, tucking my head down onto his shoulder as he brushed his lips against my head.

"Really? Not from the government paying you trillions of dollars to invade third world countries?" I giggled softly.

"Babe."

"How'd you get into it?" I said, taking his hand in mine so I could play with his fingers. They were so rough from working on the plantation, but I really didn't mind. The sensation of when they ran across my bare skin made me shiver.

I almost fell off the couch when he burst into laughter.

"Babe. If I tell you, I might have to kill you," he replied, still chuckling as he drew me closer to him.

"Now I'm really curious. In fact, even Tank smiled when I asked him about it," I exclaimed. "Please, Carlos?" I begged, pouting out my bottom lip as I glanced up at him from beneath my eyelashes.

"Babe," he murmured hoarsely, tucking me more tightly against his chest.

I waited silently, hoping he was going to tell me. I'd learnt over the years, that if he was going to tell me something, I was more likely to get a result by keeping my mouth shut.

"When I was younger, my family had a pet goldfish," he paused and was quiet for a few long moments.

I bit my bottom lip and concentrated on not smiling.

"His name was Mr Twinkles. Celia named him," he muttered, almost darkly. Bet he didn't think Mr Twinkles was a manly enough name for his goldfish.

"What did you want to name him?" I asked with a knowing grin.

"Babe."

"C'mon Carlos, I know you had another name for him," I teased.

"Maverick." As in Maverick from Top Gun? Oh Boy.

"Nice." I tilted my head back, giving him a cheesy grin. He captured my lips in a playful kiss, before pulling back marginally.

"Babe. I read army based comics as a child, watched any military shows on the TV. I somehow got it into my head, that our goldfish was an undercover military agent that was trying to recruit me."

I couldn't hold in my laughter this time.

"Babe."

"Sorry," I gasped, easing off on my laughing. I brought his hand to my lips, apologizing silently.

"It gets worse."

"I'll bet," I muttered.

"Whenever he opened and closed his mouth, I thought he was trying to send me a message through Morse code. If he did it fast, that was a short signal, and slow was a long one. My father had an old book on Morse code from his army days. I spent hours translating what he was saying. Most of it didn't make any sense, but the one phrase he kept saying was, go into real estate."

Typical, even as a child, Carlos was military minded.

Shaking my head I whispered, "I love you. Thanks for sharing."

"You just have to ask, Babe," he replied, gently turning me over so we lay chest to chest, thigh to thigh.

"I'll remember that," I promised quietly before our lips met and we lost ourselves in each other for a few long minutes.

When we parted, our breathing was laboured, our chests rising and falling rapidly. My ribs ached, but it was so worth it.

Carlos cuddled me down against his chest, manoeuvring me so I could see the TV once more. A news report was playing from Brazil.

"Turn it up," I whispered.

"We have recent confirmation that a covert US government operation has been successful in bringing down a notorious multi-million dollar people smuggling operation here in Para, Brazil. Our sources tell us that a small team of Army Rangers infiltrated the organization, gaining essential intelligence for a team of Navy Seals and FBI agents to go in and make the arrests. We have not yet received confirmation on how many arrests have been made, but we've had reports on a number of prominent politicians both in Brazil and the States being called in for questioning. I guess time will tell on how far this illegal operation has reached across the globe. Back to you, Geordie," the man nodded to the camera, before the shot switched back to the studio hosts.

I sat there stunned. We'd done it; we'd actually made a difference; our gathered intelligence had been enough to take down Medeiros and his whole operation. It had very nearly cost us our lives, but the world would now be a better place.

"Proud of you, Babe," Carlos murmured, startling me out of my daze.

I turned to the man I loved and kissed him softly.

We were both alive and together. That was all that really mattered.

The End.