Smokin' Seventeen (Stephanie Plum)
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Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.
Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list. Short on time to find the murderer, Stephanie is also under pressure from family and friends to choose between her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom wants her to dump them both for a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, suggests a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Joe’s old-world grandmother gives Stephanie “the eye,” which may mean that it’s time to get out of town.
With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.
hundred pounds. Hot dogs boiled on the stove and grease ran down the walls from the fryer. I hung in the doorway, watching my car, and Lula stepped up to the counter. “I want a chili dog, a kraut dog, a barbecue dog, and curly fries with extra cheese. And my friend wants a chili dog. And which one of you guys is Lionel Cracker?” One of the men scooped four dogs out of the water and looked at Lula. “Who wants to know?” “I want to know,” Lula said. “Who the heck do you think?” “Do I know you?”
worse and worse. Vampires and bears and big guys with boners. Okay, so maybe I didn’t mind the big guy with the boner so much.” Connie wrote Belmen’s address on a note card and handed it to me. “If you want the whole file I have to go into the bus to print it.” “Not necessary. This is all I need.” “And when you’re done tracking down my bear you’re gonna need to figure out who’s dumping bodies in my lot,” Vinnie said. “Business was bad before and now it’s nonexistent. It’s like we got death
tackling guys on the street. And you want to stay away from Ranger.” “Too late for that.” “Omigod. Where are you?” “Rangeman.” “I want details. I want to know everything.” “I couldn’t possibly do it justice,” I told Connie. “There are no words to describe where I’ve just been.” I disconnected and went back to the bedroom. The lights were low, and Ranger was naked and lounging on the bed, waiting for me to return. I did a slow scan of his perfect body. “It’s not my fault,” I said. “It’s the
eat doughnuts, create mayhem. I pulled Belmen’s file out of my bag and read through the police report. “The shooting took place at Bumpers Bar and Grill on Broad.” “I’ve been there,” Lula said. “That’s a real nice bar. They got crab cake sliders and about seven hundred kinds of beer. I was there once with Tank when we were seeing each other.” I drove the length of Stark and turned onto Broad. Bumpers was a couple blocks down, set into an area of mostly office buildings. I parked half a block
houses,” I said to my mother. “He beat that rap,” Grandma said. “But Marion Kolakowski said he got fired and lost his big house in Atlanta. And then his wife left him and took the dog and the Mercedes.” My mother ironed a nonexistent wrinkle out of my father’s slacks. “Dave’s mother was at mass yesterday. She said it was all a mistake—that Dave didn’t do anything wrong.” Lula took a third piece of coffee cake. “He must have done something wrong if his wife took the dog and the car. That’s