The magic bottle is the size and shape of a beer bottle. The glass is red, and it looks hand blown. It was Monday morning, halfway through June, and Lula was in my apartment doing a pity pickup because my hunk of junk car was dead, and I needed a ride to work. Had a big carbuncle on his forehead. He was the one wandered out of the senior complex a couple weeks ago during that thunder storm, pissed on a downed electric wire, and electrocuted himself.

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Sizzling Sixteen Stephanie Plum 16 11 Janet Evanovich An hour later, they wheeled Grandma back to the waiting room with a big black boot thing on her foot. I can walk on it and everything. Step, stomp, step, stomp, step, stomp. The boot came to mid calf, was foam-padded and held secure with thick Velcro straps. The bottom of the boot was two inches of hard molded plastic.

When Grandma walked, she was tipped to one side, since one leg was two inches longer now than the other. One feels higher than the other. Grandma looked down at the boot.

I bet this could get us one of those handicap parking signs. And I got some pills for when the Jack Daniels wears off. And she face-planted on the grass. Lula and I jumped out of the Jeep and rushed over. Grandma Mazur broke her foot dancing to an exercise video, and we had to get her fixed up. I took my usual seat in front of the desk. They put her in an orthopedic boot and sent her home. We found Vinnie. And suppose you divert him out of the apartment, but he locks the door behind him?

What then? One of my outstanding qualities is my positive personality. Connie was already there, and Lula slid to a stop behind me. I was dressed in black. I had a loaded gun pressed against my backbone, stuck into the back of my jeans. I had pepper spray in my pocket.

I had my cell phone clipped to my jeans waistband, set to dial Rangeman. I had a stun gun also clipped to my jeans waistband. And I had premonitions of disaster. I had no confidence in the mission. Truth is, we sucked at this stuff. We were like the Three Stooges at Camp Commando. The only reason I was attempting it was because I knew Chet would spot me on Stark Street and send out a back up Rangeman car.

We assembled in front of the office to review the plan. Connie was wearing wedge heels, a short, tight skirt, and a sweater that showed about a quarter mile of cleavage. Ditto Lula, substitute thigh-high hooker boots for the wedge heels. And then we can bring Vinnie out that way. Lula got out at the corner and walked half a block to the apartment building. There was still a guard out front, but it was a different guy. I circled around and parked in the alley as planned. Oh jeez, it was going to come down to the bottle.

Connie got out of the Jeep and adjusted her girls. I reached under my seat and grabbed the two-pound Maglite that was standard equipment on all Rangeman vehicles. It was also the weapon of choice for head-bashing. There were streetlights in place, but the bulbs had been shot out. We walked to the back of the building and looked up. Shades were drawn on the fourth-floor windows.

The black SUV was parked nose-in to the building. I tried the back door. We both took a step back and waited in the shadows for Lula to unlock the door. I heard footsteps, the doorknob turned, and Lula looked out at us. And she motored through the door, down the short hall, and wasted no time going up the stairs. We reached the fourth floor and looked around. Three doors—4A, 4B, and nothing on the third door. I listened at the unnumbered door. I carefully tried the knob.

Utility closet. I stepped into the closet and pulled the door almost entirely closed. I heard Connie rap on a door. Heard the door open. Muffled words. Connie was handing the guy a line about her girlfriend passed out on the second floor. I slipped out and went to 4B. The door was unlocked. I stepped inside and scanned the room.

It was an efficiency with a small kitchenette on one side. Grease-stained pizza boxes on the counter. A card table and a folding chair. An ashtray overflowing with cigarettes. No couch. No television. No wonder Connie had an easy time with the guy who answered her knock. He had to be going nuts in here. I heard something rustle in the other room, and I was hoping it was Vinnie, because the last time I heard something rustle like that it turned out to be an alligator.

I poked my head in and spotted Vinnie handcuffed to a thick chain that stretched into the bathroom. Vinnie in black socks and briefs was a nightmare. This is what I was wearing when they snatched me. What kind of bounty hunter are you?

It was nice of you to try to rescue me. You should get out before Snake comes back. And he moves like a snake. The chain jumped and a link broke off. I rammed the gun back into my jeans, we ran to the other room, and just as we reached the door, Snake stepped over the threshold, gun drawn. His eyes flicked to Vinnie, and in that instant I whacked him in the head with the Maglite. He went to the floor on hands and knees, and I heard more men thundering up the stairs. I booted Snake out of the room, into the hall, slammed the door shut, and threw the bolt.

The door rattled, and a body slammed into it, but the bolt held. No time to think about it. I grabbed a railing for support, and the railing gave way. The fire escape groaned and separated from the building. And then the last bolt let go as we passed the second floor, and we were in a free fall.

One of the men leaned out the fourth floor window and fired off a shot. Two more shots were fired from the alley not far from me. I was on my back, on the ground, all air knocked out of me. I was lifted to my feet and yanked toward the Jeep.

It was Ranger. He had his hand clamped around my wrist, and he was running with me, half dragging me. We reached the Jeep, he hauled me up into the passenger seat, jumped in next to me, and spun the wheels taking off.

Connie and Lula were on the sidewalk looking like they were trying to stay calm, not having any luck at it. The door guard was gone.

Probably on the fourth floor. Ranger slid a look at me.


Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich Read Online (Free)

It just could fly. And the horse flew over top of you, and started dropping road apples, and you were running around trying to get out of the way of the road apples. Anyways, next thing a rhinoceros flew over you, and he was sort of hovering over top your head. And then I woke up.


Sizzling Sixteen Excerpt

And everyone wear black. Not to mention I had the lucky bottle. So maybe with all those things going for me, I could snag Chopper. I got a cheeseburger and a vanilla shake, and I sat at a table that would allow me to see almost the entire food court area.


Sizzling Sixteen


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