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Two for the Dough : Stephanie Plum Series : Book 2 (USA Edition) - Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough

Stephanie Plum Series : Book 2 (USA Edition)

Paperback

Published: May 2007
Ships: 10 to 15 business days
10 to 15 business days
RRP $17.99
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BESTSELLING AUTHOR JANET EVANOVICH'S WILDLY ENTERTAINING STEPHANIE PLUM SERIES IS TOP OF THE CHARTS!

# 1 New York Times • # 1 Wall Street Journal • #1 Los Angeles Times • #1 Entertainment Weekly • #1 Publishers Weekly • #1 Dallas Morning News • #1 USA Today • #1 Booksense

THIS ONE'S DOUBLE THE FUN!

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is still learning the ropes at her cousin Vinnie's bail bond office, so when she sets out on the trail of Kenny Mancuso—a suspiciously wealthy, working class Trenton boy who has just shot his best friend—the stakes are higher than ever. That Mancuso is distantly related to vice cop Joe Morelli—who is trying to beat Stephanie to the punch—only makes the hunt more thrilling….

Taking pointers from her bounty hunter pal, Ranger, and using her pistol-packing Granda Mazur as a decoy, Stephanie is soon closing in on her mark. But Morelli and his libido are worthy foes. And a more sinister kind of enemy has made his first move…and his next move might be Stephanie's last.

About the Author

Over a decade ago, Janet Evanovich tossed aside a career as a romantic novelist in favor of a wacky world populated by thugs, crooks, hookers, and a certain sexy little bounty hunter named Stephanie Plum and the world of modern mystery fiction hasn t been the same since.

"Stephanie Plum is a Jersey girl with Bette Midler's mouth and Cher's fashion sense.... With her pepper spray, stun gun, up-to-here hair, and out-to-there attitude...who could resist this doll?"
"--The New York Times Book Review"

"Stephanie's mouth is as smart as her wits..."One for the Money" was great fun; so's "Two for the Dough"."--"The ""Orlando"" Sentinel" (FL)

"If an epidemic of sore ribs sweeps across the country, the Centers for Disease Control will be able to trace it back to Janet Evanovich and "Two for the Dough".... Get the book; read; enjoy. And watch out for the ribs."--"The ""Washington"" Times"

"While Evanovich's wry humor and quirky characters are reminiscent of Elmore Leonard, she puts a feminine spin on this inventive and fast-paced thriller, which places it in a class by itself."--"The ""San Diego"" Union Tribune"
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"A winning adventure."--"Library Journal"
" "
"[In] "Two for the Dough..."a truly gritty, ethnic, very complex Trenton, New Jersey, comes across beautifully."--"Boston"" Sunday Globe"

"Who could resist the USA original in Evanovich's sassy...Stephanie Plum? The less-than-perfect lady stirs up action and plenty of amusement with her wit and colorful circle of family and friends. "Two for the Dough" [is] a delight from the laugh-out-loud heavy-armor beauty parlor scene to the family dinner table and back onto the mean streets."--"Mystery Lovers Bookshop"
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"The sharp repartee and Stephanie's slightly cynical but still fond relationship with her family and the burg hold a treasury of urban-style charms."--"Publishers Weekly"

Chapter One

I knew Ranger was beside me because I could see his earring gleaming in the moonlight. Everything else about him—his T-shirt, his flack vest, his slicked-back hair, and 9-mm Glock—was as black as the night. Even his skin tone seemed to darken in shade. Ricardo Carlos Manoso, the Cuban-American chameleon.

I, on the other hand, was the blue-eyed, fair-skinned product of a Hungarian-Italian union and was not nearly so cleverly camouflaged for clandestine evening activities.

It was late October, and Trenton was enjoying the death throes of Indian summer. Ranger and I were squatting behind a hydrangea bush at the corner of Paterson and Wycliff, and we weren’t enjoying Indian summer, each other’s company, or much of anything else. We’d been squatting there for three hours, and squatting was taking its toll on our good humor.

We were watching the small clapboard Cape Cod at 5023 Paterson, following a tip that Kenny Mancuso was scheduled to visit his girlfriend, Julia Cenetta. Kenny Mancuso had recently been charged with shooting a gas station attendant (who also happened to be his former best friend) in the knee.

Mancuso had posted a bail bond via the Vincent Plum Bonding Company, insuring his release from jail and returning him to the bosom of polite society. After his release he’d promptly disappeared and three days later failed to show face at a preliminary hearing. This did not make Vincent Plum happy.

Since Vincent Plum’s losses were my windfalls, I saw Mancuso’s disappearance from a more opportunistic perspective. Vincent Plum is my cousin and my employer. I work for Vinnie as a bounty hunter, draggingfelons who are beyond the long arm of the law back into the system. Dragging Kenny back was going to net me ten percent of his $50,000 bond. A portion of that would go to Ranger for assisting with the takedown, and the rest would pay off my car loan.

Ranger and I had a sort of loose partnership. Ranger was a genuine, cool-ass, numero-uno bounty hunter. I asked him to help me because I was still learning the trade and needed all the help I could get. His participation was in the ballpark of a pity fuck.

“Don’t think this is gonna happen,” Ranger said.

I’d done the intel and was feeling defensive that maybe I’d had my chain yanked. “I spoke to Julia this morning. Explained to her that she could be considered an accessory.”

“And that made her decide to cooperate?”

“Not exactly. She decided to cooperate when I told her how before the shooting Kenny had been sometimes seeing Denise Barkolowski.”

Ranger was smiling in the dark. “You lie about Denise?”

“Yeah.”

“Proud of you, babe.”

I didn’t feel bad about the lie since Kenny was a scumbag felon, and Julia should be setting her sights higher anyway.

“Looks like maybe she thought twice about reaping the rewards of revenge and waved Kenny away. You find out where he’s living?”

“He’s moving around. Julia doesn’t have a phone number for him. She says he’s being careful.”

“He a first-time offender?”

“Yeah.”

“Probably nervous about checking into the big house. Heard all those stories about date rape.”

We turned silent as a pickup approached. It was a new Toyota 4¥4 fresh off the showroom floor. Dark color. Temporary plates. Extra antennae for a car phone. The Toyota eased up at the Cape Cod and pulled into the driveway. The driver got out and walked to the front door. His back was to us and the lighting was poor.

“What do you think?” Ranger asked. “Is that Mancuso?”

I couldn’t tell from this distance. The man was the right height and weight. Mancuso was twenty-one years old, six feet tall, 175 pounds, dark brown hair. He’d been discharged from the army four months ago, and he was in good shape. I had several pictures that were obtained when the bond had been posted, but they didn’t do me any good from this angle.

“Could be him, but I can’t swear to it without seeing his face,” I said.

The front door of the house opened and the man disappeared inside. The door closed shut.

“We could go knock on the door nice and polite and ask if he’s the man,” Ranger said.

I nodded in agreement. “That might work.”

We stood and adjusted our gun belts.

I was dressed in dark jeans, long-sleeved black turtleneck, navy Kevlar vest, and red Keds. I had my curly, shoulder-length brown hair tied in a ponytail, tucked under a navy ball cap. I wore my five-shot .38 Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special in a black nylon webbed hip holster with cuffs and a defense spray wedged into the back of the belt.

We walked across the lawn and Ranger rapped on the front door to the house with a flashlight that was eighteen inches long and eight inches round at the reflector. It gave good light, and Ranger said it was excellent for making serious head dents. Fortunately, I’ve never had to witness any bludgeoning. I’d fainted flat out watching Reservoir Dogs and had no illusions about my blood-and-guts comfort level. If Ranger ever had to use the flashlight to crack skulls while I was around, I intended to close my eyes . . . and then maybe I’d take up another profession.

When no one answered I stepped to the side and unholstered my revolver. Standard procedure for the backup partner. In my case, it was more or less an empty gesture. I religiously went to the range to practice, but truth is I’m hopelessly unmechanical. I harbor an irrational fear of guns, and most of the time keep my little S & W empty of bullets so I won’t accidentally blast the toes off my foot. On the one occasion I’d had to shoot somebody I’d been so flustered I’d forgotten to take my gun out of my pocketbook before pulling the trigger. I wasn’t eager to repeat the performance.

Ranger rapped again, with more force. “Fugitive apprehension agent,” he called out. “Open the door.”

This drew a response, and the door was opened, not by Julia Cenetta or Kenny Mancuso, but by Joe Morelli, a Trenton Police Department plainclothesman.

We all stood silent for a moment, everyone surprised to see everyone else.

“That your truck in the driveway?” Ranger finally asked Morelli.

“Yeah,” Morelli said. “Just got it.”

Ranger nodded. “Good-looking vehicle.”

Morelli and I were both from the Burg, a blue-collar chunk of Trenton where dysfunctional drunks were still called bums and only pansies went to Jiffy Lube for an oil change. Morelli had a long history of taking advantage of my naïveté. I’d recently had the opportunity to even the score, and now we were in a period of reevaluation, both of us jockeying around for position.

Julia peeked at us from behind Morelli.

“So what happened?” I said to Julia. “I thought Kenny was supposed to stop around tonight?”

“Yeah, right,” she said. “Like he ever does anything he says.”

“Did he call?”

“Nothing. No call. Nothing. He’s probably with Denise Barkolowski. Why don’

Read a Sample Chapter

...Kitty and Eugene lived in a narrow row house at the corner of Baker and Rose, across from the old Milped Button Factory. The front door sat flush to the sidewalk without benefit of yard or porch. The exterior was maroon asphalt shingle with weathered white trim. Curtains were drawn in the front room. Upstairs windows were dark.

I had pepper spray easily accessible in my jacket pocket, and my cuffs and stun gun stuck into my Levis. I knocked on the door and heard scrambling going on inside. I knocked again, and a man's voice shouted something incoherent. Again, more shuffling sounds, and then the door opened.

A young woman peered out at me from behind a security chain. "Yes?"

"Are you Kitty Petras?"

"What do you want?"

"I'm looking for your husband, Eugene. Is he at home?"

"No."

"I heard a man's voice in there. I thought it sounded like Eugene."

Kitty Petras was rail thin with a pinched face and large brown eyes. She wore no makeup. Her brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of her neck. She wasn't pretty, but she wasn't unattractive either. Mostly, she was nothing. She had forgettable features that abused women get after years of trying to make themselves invisible.

She gave me a wary look. "You know Eugene?"

"I work for his bonding agent. Eugene missed his court date yesterday, and we'd like him to reschedule." Not so much a lie as a half-truth. First we'd reschedule him, and then we'd lock him up in a dingy, smelly cell until his new date came around.

"I don't know..."

Eugene reeled into my line of sight through the crack in the door. "What's going on?"

Kitty stepped away. "This woman would like you to reschedule your court date."

Eugene shoved his face up close. All nose and chin and squinty red eyes and 100-proof breath. "What?"

I repeated the baloney about rescheduling and moved to the side so he would be forced to open the door if he wanted to see me.

The chain slid free and clanked against the jamb. "You're shitting me, right?" Eugene said.

I positioned myself halfway into the door, adjusted my pocketbook on my shoulder, and lied my little heart out. "This will only take a few minutes. We need you to stop in at the courthouse and register for a new date."

"Yeah, well, you know what I have to say to that?" He turned his back to me, dropped his pants and bent over. "Kiss my hairy white ass."

He was facing in the wrong direction to give him a snootful of pepper spray, so I reached into my Levi's and pulled out the stun gun. I'd never used it, but it didn't seem complicated. I leaned foward, firmly pressed the gadget against Eugene's butt, and hit the go button. Eugene gave a short squeak and crumpled to the floor like a sack of flour.

"My God," Kitty cried, "what have you done?"

I looked down at Eugene, who was lying motionless, eyes glazed, drawers at his knees. He was breathing a little shallowly, but I thought this was to be expected from a man who'd just taked enough juice to light up a small room. His color was pasty white, so nothing had changed there. "Stun gun," I said. "According to the brochure it leaves no lasting damage."

"Too bad. I was hoping you'd killed him."

"Maybe you should fix his pants," I said to Kitty. There was already too much ugliness in this world without having to look at Eugene's Mr. Droopy.

Copyright © 1995 by Evanovich, Inc.
Janet Evanovich

No. 1 bestselling author Janet Evanovich is the recipient of the Crime Writers' Association's John Creasey Memorial, Last Laugh and Silver Dagger awards, as well as the Left Coast Crime's Lefty award, and is the two-time recipient of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's Dilys award. She lives in New Hampshire, where she is at work on her next Stephanie Plum adventure.

Visit Janet Evanovich's Booktopia Author Page


ISBN: 9780312948962
ISBN-10: 0312948964
Series: Stephanie Plum Novels
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 346
Published: May 2007
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Dimensions (cm): 17.1 x 10.9  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.17