When I was twelve years old I accidentally substituted
salt for sugar in a cake recipe. I baked the cake, iced the
cake, and served it up. It looked like a cake, but as soon as
you cut into it and took a taste, you knew something else
was going on. People are like that too. Sometimes you just
cant tell whats on the inside from looking at the outside.
Sometimes people are a big surprise, just like the salt cake.
Sometimes the surprise turns out to be good. And sometimes
the surprise turns out to be bad. And sometimes the
surprise is just friggin confusing.
Joe Morelli is one of those good surprises. Hes two
years older than I am, and for most of my school years,
spending time with Morelli was like a visit to the dark
side, alluring and frightening. Hes a Trenton cop now, and
hes my off-again, on-again boyfriend. He used to be the
hair-raising part of my life, but my life has had a lot of
changes, and now hes the normal part. He has a dog
named Bob, and a nice little house, and a toaster. On the
outside Morelli is still street tough and dangerously alluring.
On the inside Morelli is now the sexy guy with the
toaster. Go figure.
I have a hamster named Rex, a utilitarian apartment, and
my toaster is broken. My name is Stephanie Plum, and I
work as a bond enforcement agent, also known as a bounty
hunter, for my cousin Vinnie. Its not a great job, but it has
its moments, and if I mooch food off my parents the job almost
pays enough to get me through the month. It would
pay a lot more but the truth is, Im not all that good at it.
Sometimes I moonlight for a guy named Ranger whos
extremely bad in an incredibly good way. Hes a security
expert, and a bounty hunter, and he moves like smoke.
Ranger is milk chocolate on the outside . . . a delicious,
tempting, forbidden pleasure. And no one knows whats on
the inside. Ranger keeps his own counsel.
I work with two women I like a lot. Connie Rosolli is
Vinnies office manager and junkyard dog. Shes a little
older than I am. A little smarter. A little tougher. A little
more Italian. Shes got a lot more chest, and she dresses
like Betty Boop.
The other woman is my sometimes-partner Lula. Lula
was at this moment parading around in the bail bonds
office, showing Connie and me her new outfit. Lula is a
way-beyond-voluptuous black woman who was currently
squashed into four-inch spike heels and a sparkly gold
spandex dress that had been constructed for a much
smaller woman. The neckline was low, and the only thing
keeping Lulas big boobs from popping out was the fact
that the material was snagged on her nipples. The skirt was
stretched tight across her ass and hung two inches below
the full moon.
With Connie and Lula you get what you see.
Lula bent to take a look at the heel on her shoe, and
Connie was treated to a view of the night sky.
Crikey, Connie said. You need to put some underwear
I got underwear on, Lula said. Im wearing my best
thong. Just cause I used to be a ho dont mean Im
cheap. Problem is that little thong stringy gets lost in all
Tell me again what youre doing in this getup, Connie
Im gonna be a rock-and-roll singer. I got a gig singing
with Sally Sweets new band. You heard of the Who? Well,
were gonna be the What.
You cant sing, Connie said. Ive heard you sing. You
cant hold a tune to Happy Birthday.
The hell I cant, Lula said. I could sing your ass off.
Besides, half those rock stars cant sing. They just open
their big oversize mouths and yell. And you gotta admit, I
look good in this here dress. Nobody gonna be paying
attention to my singing when Im wearing this dress.
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...