Threatening 24

Chapter 21

Chapter Twenty-One

I woke up the next morning at five o'clock. Ranger's alarm was going off and he was sleepily reaching around me to reset it. "Are you getting up?" I asked.

"Not enough sleep", he mumbled and reset the alarm for two hours later. "I need at least four hours." It was true. Our night activities had kept us so busy that sleep was sacrificed. I drowsily snuggled back in to him as he gathered me into a hug, holding my breast in his hand, and fell back asleep.

At seven o'clock when the alarm went off Ranger was functioning for the day. I, however, was not. I slept through him making the coffee, his shower, and him getting dressed. I woke up to Ranger kissing me awake and a cup of coffee on the bedside table. I sleepily sat up, pushing my hair out of my face. It was still damp from the bath we had at around three in the morning. "You are already dressed?" I asked.

"I got out of bed very quietly. Like a ninja", Ranger said with a smile.

"I think it helped that I was really tired. Somebody wore me out", I said. "I had a really good time last night. And this morning. Thank you."

"I had a good time, too." My hair was flopping down on my face. Ranger pushed it behind my ears. "What do you have planned for today?"

"Not much. I am going into the bonds office to pick up the new files, and to give some kind of accounting to Lula and Connie about last night."

Ranger tensed. "What do you plan on saying?"

"I don't know. It was a special evening and I don't really want to share it. You also told me a lot about you and I suspect you don't want the whole world knowing your business. I don't want to share for that reason either." Ranger's body lost its stiffness. "I think I will just say we had a good time and Lula was right, when you saw me in that dress you considered cancelling our dinner plans and ordering in. And since they will know by looking at the smile on my face, I will tell them we had a very active night. Lula's mind always goes to the sex anyway and Connie will respect it when I dodge any personal questions. I think that is how I will handle it. Oh, and I think I will tell them you liked the underwear Lula picked out. That's it. Is that okay?"

"Works for me."

"It's okay. I know you are a private person and would like to guard that privacy. I get that. I will guard it for you as well." And I knew I had to. If I would ever have a chance at deepening the relationship with Ranger, I had to respect his boundaries.

"What else are you doing today?"

"I thought I would bring the files back to Rangeman and do the computer work here. I am sure Sales have sent me some files to research as well, and I would like to get caught up on Rangeman work. I thought, also, I might go down to the range today and try some more body targets. Do you have time to come?"

"Maybe. It will depend upon how well my morning goes. I am still preparing to go away. I am scheduled to leave early tomorrow morning."

"I will miss you."

"I will miss you, too." He leaned over and kissed the tip of my nose. "Ella made scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning. Are you ready to eat?"

I walked into the office to pick up my new files to find two sets of eyes staring at me, eyebrows raised. "So?" they asked.

"It was pretty fantastic. We went to a place in Newark he knew about. The food was excellent. We almost didn't make it there. Once he saw me in that dress, it was all bets off as to whether we were going to go. And afterward, he said he liked the underwear you picked, Lula. He liked them on as well as off."

"How many times did he see them off, if you know what I mean?" asked Lula.

"Many, many times. I'm a little stiff this morning." Connie's eyes glazed over and I think I saw Lula drool.

I heard Vinnie from inside his office. "Is that you, Steph? What are you doing here? I have outstanding skips. There's no time for yakking. You need to get moving. Time is money. I am bleeding out here. Go out and find those fuckers for me."

"Sure, Vinnie. I am doing the phone and computer work today, and perhaps we can go out tomorrow, Lula?" She nodded her head yes. "Don't worry, Vinnie. We'll bring them in", I said, fingers crossed behind my back for luck.

I picked up my new files and walked out the back door towards the car. I took my phone out of my purse to call Ranger to tell him the meeting with Connie and Lula had gone well. I had just hit speed dial when Lundel jumped out from behind Connie's car. I held the phone so that Ranger would be able to hear my conversation with Lundel.

"Remember me?" he asked.

"Yes, I do. How could I forget you? You drugged me and held me at knife point. My arm is still sore from the cut you gave me. I have a restraining order for you."

"You don't need to be hurt any further. It is so easy. All you have to do is contact Jay Technologies and tell them they should hire me."

"Why do you want the job so much?" I asked, trying to keep him talking.

"Jay Technologies makes audio equipment. I have a buyer I already promised a few truckloads of equipment to. They aren't happy I have not delivered, but I cannot deliver the goods until I am in a position to send the equipment to the wrong address, to the thief's address instead of the buyer's address."

"But that is stealing."

"No, it is redirecting. I'm like Robin Hood, but the profits will go to me rather than to the poor."

"Is that how you do it? You get in a company, sell the goods to one buyer but send the product to another location? Then what?"

"Then I get the receiver of the goods to move locations. I take the money for the stolen goods, then do it all again."

"Why can't you tell the buyer you just can't deliver?"

"They will kill me."

I heard the distinctive whine of Ranger's car coming down the alleyway. Lundel wasn't paying any attention. The car stopped and I could not hear anything more. No doors slamming, no nothing. "How did you get involved with these guys?"

"They paid for some surgery for my wife. I had a good job then, and they wanted the connections. The surgery was life-saving, but now that it is over they keep threatening my wife, asking me to do more and more or they will kill her."

"What was the surgery for?"

"Prostate cancer."

"Why are you lying to me?"

"I'm not lying."

"Yes you are. Women don't have prostates."

Ranger creeped up behind the man, grabbed his wrist and snapped on cuffs. Lundel struggled and tried to get away. Ranger grabbed Lundel and threw him against my car, grabbing hold of his other wrist to cuff him. Lundel slid to the ground. As he tried to get on his feet again, Ranger smashed Lundel's face into my car. "Call Morelli, Babe."

I dialed Morelli's cell. "Hi", I said.

He sounded tired as he said "hi".

"We got Lundel."

"Now? Where are you?"

"We are at the bonds office. Ranger is onsite and captured him."

"He is making a citizen's arrest?"

"Yes, until you get here. Then you can arrest him."

"I'll be there in about ten minutes." He hung up sounding more energized than he did when he answered the phone.

"He will be here in about ten minutes."

"Police brutality! Help!" cried out Lundel. Ranger smashed his face into the car again.

"I will make sure you lose your badge over this", threatened Lundel.

"Go ahead", said Ranger. "I buy them over the internet anyway."

"It was so easy. All this bitch had to do was recommend hiring me to Jay Technologies. It didn't have to end this way. You know this won't stop me. You know I will come back to find you and kill you."

Ranger smashed his face into the car again. "No, you will not. Because if you come back and harass or assault any of my staff again, I will personally kill you and enjoy doing it."

"This is police brutality. You could get fired for this. I am friends with the mayor. He will have your badge."

"Lucky I'm not police then."

"Then this is assault. I am making a complaint to the police when I see them."

"Complain away. The policing community is a small one, and bounty hunters are one part of it. You fucked with one of their own. There will be no sympathy for you being subdued during your arrest."

Morelli drove up, Kojak light flashing. Lundel was hunched over the hood of my car, nose bleeding from being smashed against the metal. Morelli ran across the parking lot. "Help!" cried Lundel, trying to straighten up. "This man is assaulting me." Ranger smashed his face into the car again.

"I didn't see anything", said Morelli.

"Lundel has been resisting arrest. He is a little bloody, but he is in one piece which is more than he deserves."

Ranger took his cuffs off Lundel and Morelli snaps one half of the set of cuffs on Lundel's wrist. Lundel, realizing he was free, started to fight. He spat on Morelli, kicked out at Ranger and started towards me. Morelli's hand shot forward, and the sound of bone hitting bone jarred across the lot as Morelli broke Lundel's nose. As he shook his head to clear the pain, Morelli finished snapping on the cuffs. "You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent…" Morelli continued reading Lundel his Miranda rights as he walked him towards his car.

"I leave tomorrow morning, early", Ranger said over dinner. "I have to be at the airport at four. I hope to be gone no more than a week, but I don't have a return flight booked yet. Will you be here when I get back?"

"I will be waiting for you, although I'm not sure if I will be at your apartment or mine."

"When I get back, Babe, we need to talk."

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