I looked at Connie in exasperation “Oh no Connie, not again.”
“Yup.” Connie nodded without looking up from the nail she was currently filing. “He’s FTA on a drunk and disorderly.”
Lula came and looked over my shoulder, peering at the file I had in my hands. “You’re not getting me back into that cemetery. Nope, ain’t gonna happen,” she commented adamantly as she wagged her finger back and forth, “I had enough of that last time.”
“It’s the easiest way to pick him up, Lula.”
Lula took a step back and shrugged. “Fine by me if you want to go creeping over dead folks’ graves. But you gonna have to go it alone. You ain’t gonna convince me to back up your skinny white ass, this time. Last time we had that Binkie with us and we still didn’t manage to catch him. Yep, you’re on your own this time, girlfriend.”
“If you won’t come with me, Lula,” I shrugged, “I bet I can get Binkie to come with me again, he’s a man’s man. He won’t chicken out on me. Or better yet,” I grinned in her direction, “I’ll just ask Tank.” As I finished talking I heard the door to Vinnie’s office open and my neck started to tingle. I didn’t need to look round to know that Ranger had entered the outer office.
“I’ll take that bet, Babe.”
I turned and met his eyes as I heard Connie pushing stuff around on her desk as she muttered, “that bastard has bugged me again! When I find it I’m going to personally shove it where the sun don’t shine.”
I smiled at Ranger “You’re on. What stakes do you want?”
Ranger’s lips quirked up at the corners, for him that was as close to a full-blown smile as I was ever going to get. “We can work out the details later, Babe.” And he was gone.
It was a cinch getting Binkie to help me with Simon Diggery. I just batted my eyelashes and smiled seductively at him, and he ‘yes Ms. Plum’d’ me and followed me like a puppy dog. Now, after suffering very little in the way of embarrassment during the capture, I was on my way to RangeMan after cashing my check from Connie. With money in my pocket, I was on my way to add to it. Then suddenly, as I neared Haywood, I remembered Ranger and I hadn’t fixed the terms of the bet. Oh boy. This could mean either more money or something even better.
I keyed myself into the garage and used the key fob on the elevator control panel to get me up to the seventh floor. Opening the door to Ranger’s apartment I called out to see if he was home yet. Silence was the only reply I received.
Wandering over to the kitchen I took a bottle of water out of the fridge and then settled down in the living room to watch some TV. I surfed through the channels until I found a sappy movie, snuggled back into the cushions and before I knew it I was asleep.
“Mmmm,” I moaned. I like dreams like this, the smell of Bulgari and Ranger nuzzling my neck. Wait. I opened my eyes. It’s not a dream. This was even better. It was real.
“Oh, um, Ranger, I guess I fell asleep.” Doh, state the obvious, Steph. Like Ranger couldn’t have figured that one out. Heck, even my brother-in-law the dough-boy could.
“Kinda late for a visit, Steph.”
“I’m just claiming my money.” Ranger stared back at me with an almost totally blank expression. “I mean I got Binkie to help me with Simon Diggery,” I glanced over, and gave him a winning smile, that probably didn’t go over as would normally, since I was still suffering a bit from sleep fog. “So I’ve come to claim my winnings.”
“We didn’t discuss the terms of the bet, Babe.” Ranger began trailing his finger along my neckline, sending that familiar warmth straight down south. “Care to negotiate them retroactively?”
I narrowed my eyes at him. I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, but I knew he wouldn’t ask anything of me that I wouldn’t be prepared to give. But since I won the bet I had the upper hand.
“Okay, what did you have in mind?”
“I was thinking that if I won the bet I’d take you out on a date, but since you won I think your prize should be me…for an entire night.”
I think I must have looked stupid with my mouth wide open, because Ranger gave me his 1,000 watt smile, gently closed my mouth with his fingers and placed a soft kiss on my lips. “Nothing to say, Babe?”
I put my arms round his neck and pulled his mouth back down to mine. Before I kissed back I whispered against his lips, “I can’t think of anything I’d rather win more.”