Jun 21 2011 11:00am

Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum’s Big Decision: Ranger or Morelli?

Jason O’Mara as Morelli in One for the Money

Janet Evanovich’s Smokin’ Seventeen goes on sale today, and finally—maybe?—Stephanie Plum will make a choice between Ranger and Joe Morelli. Here’s the book blurb:

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 evidence proving the killer’s identity, things get even more complicated for Stephanie when family and friends decide it’s time for her to decide between long-time off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both, and choose a former high school football star who has just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.“ And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s Old World grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

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.

Daniel Sunjata as Ranger in One for the Money

Janet Evanovich conducted a poll on Facebook, and given the choice between Ranger and Joe Morelli, two-thirds of the respondents said Stephanie should pick Ranger.

Here’s Joe Morelli, according to Evanovich’s website:

“Probably I can find her breast without it, but it’s good to know there’s a navigational system on board if I need it.” — Morelli

Detective, Crimes against Persons, Trenton PD

Distinguishing Characteristics: Scar through one eyebrow, eagle tattoo on chest, molten chocolate eyes, rock hard buns

And here’s Ranger, according to Evanovich’s website:

“Last time you called me late at night you were naked and chained to your shower curtain rod. I hope this isn’t going to be disappointing.” — Ranger

Ricardo Carlos Manoso (AKA: Ranger).

CEO of RangeMan, LLC. Specializes in fugitive apprehension, body guarding, real estate, and other semi-legal, mostly-moral business ventures.

Distinguishing Characteristics: 200 watt smile, body that could stop a clock, pony tail.

Usual Attire: Black T-shirt, black cargo pants, Navy S.E.A.L.s hat.

Who would you choose?


Megan Frampton is the Community Manager, Romance, for the HeroesandHeartbreakers site. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband and son, and has Mary MacGregor’s song, “Torn Between Two Lovers,” running in her head at this very minute.

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Landra Graf
1. Landra Graf
Ranger all the way baby! When she chose Morelli over Ranger back in the beginning of this whole series I about died. I think it's time we all face the truth, Ranger and Stephanie are meant to be.
Landra Graf
2. Christie Taylor
Ranger. And it's not just because I want him for myself. They work well together. They have outstanding chemestry. And who doesn't love a 200 watt smile and the way he says, "babe"?
Landra Graf
3. Jennifer R
I vote she continues to boink them both forever.

Considering that the author has said she doesn't ever plan to make Steph choose anyway, might as well.
Landra Graf
5. Hellion
RANGER. God bless that man for ruining me to all other men. *LOL*
Landra Graf
6. fritzs_mom
Ranger. 100%. I don't want a wham bam "...and then they're together!" ending, though. But I would liek the focus to move over to Ranger and finding out more about him. I want to see both of them, Stephanie and Ranger, open up to each other more.
Landra Graf
7. Becky Leann
Sorry, but I totally disagree with everyone! I think while the series is still going on, the play between Ranger and Morelli is definitely run and intriguing. However, when it comes to the end and that final decision, I think it should definitely be Morelli. Ranger is smoking hot, mysterious, sexy, dangerous. Which is fun when you are wanting a bad boy and wanting to have some fun. But when it comes time so settle down and do the family thing, it has to be Morelli.
Landra Graf
8. plumfanatic
Joe who???
Becky, I have to disagree. Ranger is by far the more reliable and stable man. Life would neer be dull with him and Stephanie truly has little interest in having children. The only reason she ever thinks about it is because the community and her mother try to force motherhood upon her. Not every woman has to bear children to be happy. Ranger would be more than enough to help her fulfill all of her life's dreams, if she ever really had any of her own and introduce her to an amazing world she never dreamed of. Joe needs a housewife, not a Stephanie. He is boring, and has definite ideas about what he wants from a woman and in no way is Stephanie Plum that woman.
Ranger is NOT a "bad boy", he may bend things a bit but he is a truly good and honorable man. If he wasn't he would have shagged Steph every time he had her in bed.
Ranger all the way and a perfect woman is waiting out there for Morelli I'm sure.
K.M. Jackson
9. kwanawrites
I have to agree with Becky. Though Ranger is all that I say go with Joe. There is something to him but I would go nuts and I think Stephanie would too waiting for Ranger to pop out of a shadow when he felt so inclined. There is no tying that man down so why try? And I don't think Joe is boring they have great chemistry and who knows if either one wants kids or not. maybe yes maybe no.
Landra Graf
10. Georgiana
Ranger is the best choice, I think the majority of the women will pick Ranger, he has his own company and great expensive black cars who cares where they come from. I think Ranger is more Zen and who wants a guy (Morelli) who is always wanting Gorilla sex? Come on Range has far more class, a neat apt. and good wine. Plus Ranger knows how to make a woman want him.
Landra Graf
11. Melkei97
I am and have been a Babe since the first book. I don't think Stephanie will be happy with Morelli. He does want a house wife when that is the last thing that Stephanie wants. Ranger lets her be herself with a few extra guards covering her assets. Children, who knows but so far Stephanie is not yearning for them.
Landra Graf
12. Donna Jean
@Hellion, your comment says it all!! *LOL*

The chemistry between Janet's E.'s super-couple Stephanie & Ranger transcends beyond the physical. There is an undisputable connection that reaches out and grabs the readers imagination and keeps us coming back for more. They are considered by many to be the new Luke & Laura, Brad & Angie, (insert your favorite couple's names here) etc. for the ages. At least they are for me. :)
Nina Smith
13. cherryicee
Morelli. Joe and Stephanie NEED to be together. Ranger poses too many dilemmas and he can't be tied down and that isnt right for her. Ranger is hot and mysterious and all but at the end of the book Stephanie always chooses Morelli.
Landra Graf
14. Janie
Ranger!!!! I think he gets Stephanie on a level that Morelli will never get. He is always trying to change her.
Landra Graf
15. roselover
Ranger all the way for me. There is something wrong with Joe, I can't quite put my finger on. In this last book he is to understanding when Stephanie turns him down. So far she done this twice ( bladder infections) and Joe seemed to accept it to easily. Stephanie even remarks on it. I was upset that this new book continues in the next book coming out in November. Much to long to wait to see what she does with the gift cards.
Landra Graf
16. BellaLove
I am a cupcake girl! I think that overall Morelli is the better choice for our favorite bounty hunter. Ranger is mysterious and sexy, but he is not the settling down type of guy. He vanishes in the blink of an eye and do we know where all those black cars come from? Not that Steph is ready to settle, but Joe is someone who is going to be there for her in the end. The bad-boy turned good who just oozes sexy. I love the dynamic between these three, but when it comes down to it, the one who will be there is Joe.
Julie C
17. Jaya
Ranger, I'm a babe :P The reason why I think Ranger is better for her in the long term, is all the way through the series, he never puts her down, he always encourages her, gives her tools so that she can be a better bounty hunter and make better decisions.

Joe however, spends about six or seven books having screaming fights with her over the fact that she won't get a 'safe' job, and marry him and move into his house and basically become his mother. Stephanie's conversations with Joe seem to be the same conversations she has with Mrs Plum - why can't she be normal? Even when Ranger isn't having sex with her (which has happened what? Twice in the whole series?) he worries about her, and usually protects her without smothering her.
Landra Graf
18. purpleplaidpjs
I am a Babe fan. I can't stand the fact that Joe did Joyce..ugh!!! Ranger has never flip flopped about wanting Steph, he has always left the ball in her court, and not pressured her to change. Who says you cannot tame a bad boy? I did..and it's been the greatest ride of my life. 20 years strong and I am in love with him more and more every day. Of course he is no longer a bad boy :) In my opinion, Morelli is a self absorbed child who flitters in the wind. He is constantly playing power trip games. I don't like it that he is always trying to change Ms.Plum. I think she is perfect the way she is..
Landra Graf
19. Marci
Ranger, all the way. Joe wants Stephanie to be something she's not. He'll probably grow up to be like Stephanie's father, hiding in the den and ignoring everyone when things don't fit his idea of normal. Stephanie is definitely not like her mother--she's more like Grandma and will always be doing crazy things, even if she stops being a bounty hunter. Ranger appreciates her quirks and tries to help her stay safe.
Landra Graf
20. mysteryfan
Joe Morelli has a "tongue like a lizard." 'Nuff said.
Landra Graf
21. jezzerbells
Ranger, of course! He is always available to her whenever she needs him and never chastises her like a child, he makes her feel safe - I am optimistic that he will fully open to her when she fully opens to him ~~~ Morelli - let Joyce have him! He wants a stay at home italian wife who never questions him ~~~ Morelli wants to FORCE her into a mold that should have been broken in the 1950's.
Landra Graf
22. mysteriousfun
I think you all need to read the books again. Morelli has always loved Steph for who she is and throughout the series he has come to terms with who she is and her need for the chase. Morelli has backed off quite a bit in trying to change her or make her quit her job because he knows he can't and he loves her like he always will no matter what. And Joyce is no candidate for a housewife. Now as far as Ranger goes? What woman in her right mind wouldn't lust after him? And I think he has taught Joe how to see Stephanie for who and what she really is - untamable. As far as Stephanie being with Ranger long term, not so much. There is a chemistry of mutual respect, desire for what they both know can't be good in the end and Ranger is not going to give up his stoic tough guy, save the world attitude and settle down. It's to tame. But the real question is....why should she have to choose? She gets the best of both worlds, gets to have her cake and eat it too, something Ranger is always trying to change in her. So re-read the books and really think about it if you really think she should choose. Why does anyone need to get married? Steph is a rebel, marriage doesn't fit her style right now. Being bad in a Lucy Ricardo kind of way is.
Landra Graf
23. Mrs. Smith
As many of you pointed out before here are the facts:
Stephanie DOESN"T want to settle down yet. Shes NOT a house wife type of person. She doesn't cook, and she can barely take care of rex & herself. She wants to do what she wants to do.

Joe DOES want a house wife. One who doesn't have a crazy job and won't forget to buy bread. He wants someone who will do what he says. He doesn't mind having kids.

Ranger DOESN"T want anything complicated. He is Ranger- hello. He can do anything and everything he wants. He's a take charge kinda guy.

I do honestly think the series needs to end soon though. I feel bad for JE because Im sure she must have wanted everyone to 'love' Joe (childhood sweetheart with history,etc). Then she finds out 70% of the people who read her books want Stephanie and Ranger to be together.

I am team Ranger all the way! i mean "Babe" says it all. And I cross my fingers that something will happen to get them together in the end. Whether Ranger gets hurt and Stephanie takes care of him forever stop trying to mold her. Thats the only reason he's so understanding now- thats the only reason he may get her in the end. Big deal that they have history (none of it was happy for her)- u dnt need child history to get serious about a guy. And Joe has had More than enough time. If he didnt make her happy before he lost his chance.

what type of person would YOU rather have? A controling 1950s never happy sexy man? Or a devil may care sexy man?

~BUT Janet Evanovich is the author and I have a feeling she'll some how make everything work out and Stephanie will end up with close minded Joe in the end anyways (*sad face* sucks)
All in all though Stephanie is getting old and she needs to stop bouncing around and stop feeding her fat face with cake & doughnuts. She should settle down with only ONE piece of Ranger cake.
Landra Graf
24. Jesslyn
Joe Morelli all the way! It will very much disappoint me if Stephanie chooses Ranger.
Landra Graf
25. PlumLoved
I just started reading the series last week and I'm already on book 7.
I think she should definitely go with Joe. Don't get me wrong I like Ranger but it's just lust. Joe has always loved Steph and can deal with her family. I think the reason why he wants her to get a different job is all there in book 6. When Steph got shot, he went to the hospital and was completely worried that he was going to lose her. I think in the end he will come to terms with her job. Like I said I'm only on book 7. Can anyone tell me what order the other books go in if any?
Love all the. Comments, especially the one about Morelli's tongue.
Landra Graf
26. Beau
JOE MORRELLI. i won't read these books or buy them unless it's joe
Landra Graf
27. Plumcrazy86
I agree with Mysteriousfun's comment completely. While reading everyone's comments, it's like they have had blinders on for the last couple of books. Joe has definitely come a long way in accepting her job choice. And that for me has always been the issue for him. He has never complained about her not being able to cook, or her not doing laundry for him and all that "housewife" stuff. I don't believe that's what he wants. I think he wants Stephanie just for who she is, I think her job choice and her strong sense of independence is the thing that he wanted to change in the beginning. But he has clearly started singing a different tune.
I think ranger is everything that everyone has said, sexy, successful, loyal... But hardly stable. He has kept the same stance on their relationship. Respect, love, and desire, never has he even softened a little on the full relationship status. He is just not one to be tied down in a commitment.
Obviously right now Stephanie is not ready to settle. And since that is the case, why choose. However, for me, when the series does end, I hope JE has her at least finally pick one and make that commitment, and for me it should be Joe.
They have this ease of chemistry, it's just there. Ordering meatball subs, walking bob, watching a ball game, sex, they fit together.
Ranger's chemistry is a different level, it's a severely physical attraction, and a professional respect. When they are together, what do they talk about, do they spend leisurely time together? No, it's all work talk, or sex. To me, that's fine while your not ready to commit. But when she is , it should clearly be Joe.
Landra Graf
28. lilith
Ditto on everything mysteriousfun and Plumcrazy86 said. Exactly how I feel about Steph, Joe and Ranger.
Landra Graf
29. A Joe Fan
I think Joe should dump her. I've read and re-read the series and think it's disgusting that Stephanie is sleeping with both of them. Ranger knows the deal but she's not being honest with Joe about Ranger, she always hides it from him. If he knew, I think he would dump her. I wouldn't wait around for sloppy seconds.
Landra Graf
30. A Joe Fan
To elaborate more on my previous post - I like the series but it's getting repetative. I am about to read #18 and I can already tell you what's going to happen: Stephanie gets into a mess, calls Ranger to get her out of it and then goes home with Morelli. Something has to happen with that triangle or I am going to lose interest. If Morelli were to dump her it may get intersting again. I know the series is based on her experiences as a bounty hunter but why is she so determined to keep that job - SHE IS HORRIBLE AT IT!! She doesn't want to learn to be a better bounty hunter or get into shape for the job or even carry a gun because they scare her. All she does now is call Ranger and lets him deal with it. She doesn't even deserve the paychecks anymore.
Landra Graf
31. BIF2011
I am totally team Cupcake!! i cant believe how many people like Ranger!! Sure he is sexy and in my mind looks like the Rock with long hair .. which equals yummy... but then Joe cares about her so much!!! I have no doubt Ranger does too but he dosnt want anything with Steph! He never going to be in a relationship with her!! Plus when they do sleep togeather they dont even talk about anything! They never really talk its all physical with them! Which is fine but with all the diseaters that happen to her he needs to be held!! Joe is always there to hold her and the have really great sex!! Who wouldnt want that!! They have chemistry in so many different ways and with Ranger its only physical!! I really hope she ends up with Joe!! He trully wants to be with her and even Ranger himself has said Joe is better for her and is a good man!!! If i wasnt married yet i would be hunting down my own Italian Joe!!! hehehe
Landra Graf
32. reggie
Ranger, of course. The Ranger fans have said it all and I don't want to get repetitive, as the author herself has shown us how boring and stale that gets. The series started to downhill after Twelve Sharp. I think JE should take a step back and spend some time reconnecting with her characters so that she can return to good/great writing.
Lori Hinshaw
33. LoriHinshaw
I love both of them but if I had to pick it would be Joe. I love the two together. I have read all of them, and actually re reading them lol. I get a kick out of them. Its been a long time that a book will make me laugh out loud LOL. Love Love Love the Plum novels. and one for the money movie? omg fantastic, they all did a great job.
Landra Graf
34. Brenda70
Babe!!!!!!!! Ugh...is this even an issue? RANGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's the kind of hot, hot, hot that turns a girl to sloppy mush! He's consistent and unconditional...so thier kids grow up sporting tracking devices, no relationship is perfect, right?
Landra Graf
35. ProLifter2007
While Morelli contemplates Stephanie's job choice, I believe his character's evolving into accepting that it's not necessary her career choice but her human nature to have disaster/doom follow her (isn't that why he lives on antacids?) He truly loves her but too much of his macho nature is unfolding and being stripped, this champ is becoming a chump, loveable but no true Italian man would change completely. Ranger is a "babe" and always will be and he doesn't pressure Stephanie to change bcuz he himself will never change and doesn't want his life cramped with a "marriage", isn't that why he constantly reminds her he isn't marriage material???? Morelli does care and luv Stephanie and she has the same affections toward him. She thinks she loves both men, but in reality she lusts after Ranger (what woman in her right mind wouldn't?) but she LOVES JOE!! I know they can work through most any obsticle when they can manage to communicate without their tempers taking on a life of their own. Stephanie Plum & Joe Morelli for ever !!
Landra Graf
36. Meg2405
Its has to be Joe. Sure what Steph has with Ranger is special and once in a lifetime - its not for a lifetime though- its physical and opportunity based. Joe is her forever guy.

Think about it - Steph could give up Ranger, and he would be a friend with special memories. She could never give up Joe. It's always been him and will always come back to him.
Amanda Scott
37. BookLuva
As long as she pick someone now I could care less at this point!!! LOL but really its Joe hands down. No matter what they been thru they always come back together and I do love Ranger... for me not for Stephanie ;) She does wants to be married and have all the works that comes with it and Ranger is definitely NOT looking for that and there's also the slight problem that she knows nothing extremely personal about him so how can he be the one when he's still a mystery.
Landra Graf
38. April StarTrek
I think that JE should have Morelli and Stephanie break up.... write a few books with lots of steamy sex between Steph and Ranger to get it out of their system. Have Stephanie realized that it could never work out long term and get tired with it.... and have her reconnect with Morelli...

Lets be honest, long term, stable and loving relationship is Morelli all the way.
Landra Graf
39. Trac71
It should be Joe. Stephanie should change her focus to researching, like maybe in the police station, instead of bounty hunting. She's good at that, and Joe would be supportive. Her intuition makes her good at finding people, just not capturing them. A romance with Ranger scares her, so I think it would be a mistake.
40. Bluetiger16
Babe - Ranger all the way. The first time he "didn't" say he loved Stephanie but made her say it instead, I was smitten. It's all about his reluctance to want her, but his inability to stay away. I LOVE that! Morelli seems to not want to care at times and is, to me, very bland.
Landra Graf
41. MarthaR
Joe Morelli. He REALLY loves her.
Landra Graf
42. Spriggse
It should be Joe Morelli.
Landra Graf
43. TraciMam
Babe :)
BUT that's my own personal preference, Ranger I just think is more attractive (and I'm a sucker for smiles)

As for who's better for Stephanie...
That's a hard one. I don't think Janet Evanovich has done enough character development to really be able to tell.
In the first few books, she really focused on developing Joe and showing a different side of him and yada yada..yet as the books went on that shifted.
But, instead of developing Ranger so we can get a clearer image, she gave several hints of developing him (a couple books you start seeing more) and then she just flatlines both him and Joe, and I think that's what makes this debate so hard.
Joe has morphed into the sexy cop who yells, is obsessed with sex and basically is comfortable with Stephanie, but that's about all you see- it's like friends with benefits.
Ranger- you just know there's more to him than we know so far, but all Evanovich really shows is that he cares a ton and is suupper sexy. And has a killer smile. And is pretty much perfect.
She really needs to develop Ranger more and make Joe as dynamic as he used to be, and I don't think Stephanie will really be able to decide until she's had a legitimate fling with Ranger- because otherwise she'd already be hitched to Morelli.

But from what we know of the characters, I personally think Ranger is a better fit. Stephanie doesn't like following the law super closely- which fits with Ranger, she needs someone she can't read super well and manipulate-Ranger, someone that keeps her on edge-Ranger, and Ranger is more suited to her accident prone lifestyle. Plus, his worry and emotions come out calmer and Stephanie's more willing to accept them than Joe when he yells cause he's worried; Ranger makes Stephanie a better person. Plus, Evanovich already developed Joe and Stephanie's not satisfied with him.

And as another aside, if Stephanie keeps up her stupid-ness, and if Ranger is developed and she still doesn't choose- they both should ditch her because she's undeserving.
Landra Graf
44. Tiffany K
Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE Ranger!! I cannot emphasize that enough..whenever he is mentioned I smile and I get excited when I read about him and Stephanie interacting and flirting with each other. With all that being said however, I believe that in the end Stephanie should end up with Morelli. No, he isn't perfect, but he fits Steph and he loves her despite her crazy family and job. I don't see how people are calling him boring...how many of you ladies out there are dating/married to someone like Ranger? Do you go on crazy missions and do bounty hunter things/break the law? Probably not. Sitting in at home, watching tv, having sex, and eating pizza with your hubby are probably more accurate things that occur in your home. Joe looks out for her, loves her, and trusts her enough to be around Ranger (even though he shouldn't). So I say go Morelli!! However, until that commitment happens, I wouldn't mind more scandalous scenes with Ranger and Steph ;)
Landra Graf
45. CupcakeLover
I think Stephanie should end up with morelli they are perfect for eachother and he is always there and cares so much about he. Sure they have there ups and downs but doesn't every relationship have that? If she has to make a choice I think she should go with Joe!
Landra Graf
47. Mona1999
RANGER!!! I think Joe is great too, but lets face it, he has become a little boring. Other than the great sex, he doesn't give Stephanie any boost in the self esteem dept. He complains about her driving all the company vehicles, but never offers her any other solution. He does admit that he is glad that Ranger is watching sometimes. Ranger never demands anything and lets Stephanie do her thing. I think we need to know more about Ranger and more steamy encounters. I am a RANGER fan!!!
Landra Graf
48. CupcakeCaro ;)
Morelli ! Don´t get me wrong ,I love Ranger and I like it,when she is with Morelli and works with Ranger a lot ,but if she had to decide( I don´t want),I really think she should take Morelli :) Ranger doesn´t eat dessert !!
And I love the way Morelli and Steph know each other ,he wrote poems about her in school ;)Ranger´s hot and sexy ,but nobody you could live with !!And in the beginning of ten big ones she says how easy it is to live with Joe ;)
Joe ,Joe ,Joe ,,:) ...but for me it would be the best if she hadnt to decide ,I like them both and I cant see her without Joe ,or without Ranger !! And I really can´t se her married :)
Landra Graf
49. CupcakeCaro ;)
Morelli ! Don´t get me wrong ,I love Ranger and I like it,when she is with Morelli and works with Ranger a lot ,but if she had to decide( I don´t want),I really think she should take Morelli :) Ranger doesn´t eat dessert !!
And I love the way Morelli and Steph know each other ,he wrote poems about her in school ;)Ranger´s hot and sexy ,but nobody you could live with !!And in the beginning of ten big ones she says how easy it is to live with Joe ;)
Joe ,Joe ,Joe ,,:) ...but for me it would be the best if she hadnt to decide ,I like them both and I cant see her without Joe ,or without Ranger !! And I really can´t se her married :)
Landra Graf
50. looklike...
I think she votes Morelli. I love Ranger, but hes like a cake, deliciuos for the moment but you can`t eat it everytime. And with Morelli she can always live togehter!
Landra Graf
51. zahrah
Ranger no doubt. Though he dosn't want to get married and neither does Stephanie how good would it be if they did marry it would give the entire series a new twist as Stephanie finds out all of Rangers secrets one by one.
Landra Graf
52. Lee3gr
Joe all the way! Ranger is exciting but not long term. Joe and Stephanie have history and so much in common ! Ranger always trying to change her from food to carrying a gun ! Joe don't care as long as she safe! I hope JE makes the right choice and it's Joe!!
Landra Graf
53. Lee3gr
Joe all the way! Ranger is exciting but not long term. Joe and Stephanie have history and so much in common ! Ranger always trying to change her from food to carrying a gun ! Joe don't care as long as she safe! I hope JE makes the right choice and it's Joe!!
Landra Graf
54. Luvdbi
Babe!! Ranger all the way, he fits Stephanie perfectly!!!
Landra Graf
55. Cait12
It all comes down to trust. Ranger doesn't trust Stephanie like Morelli does; look back through the books and you'll see that. While Ranger is sexy and mysterious, #19 just told us that Morelli and Stephanie love each other. The matter's a done deal for me.
Landra Graf
56. Baraka Elmadari
Umm... All you Ranger lovers don't get your hopes up. Ranger id freakin' Hot As Hell, but we all know who J.E. is going to pick. Not trying to be rude, but J.E. is older than us, and Joe is the real man wih a dog. I'm 16, and I noticed the young girls like the fantisy type guy...Ranger. I love him but even though I think he is way better, Stephanie and Morelli should go together. But I would perfer Ranger finding a girl who is as cool as him, and they can shoot people into the sunset.
Landra Graf
59. robynlouise
I'm with Becky - have some fun with Ranger, but settle with Joe. He really loves her.
Landra Graf
61. Gracie
When I was first reading this series I honestly could not decided. I mean who could? Joe Morelli the slightly bad but still good cop or Ranger mysterious and sexy ex-special forces bounty hunter... Decisions, decisions. I can finally say I have made up my mind. Most definitely Ranger, even though he is mysterious and is not ready for a normal "relationship". Sure Stephanie and Joe have history but he can be restricting, especially with his ultimatums concerning Stephanie's current employement. Ranger supports Stephanie but he still does protect her. The way Janet Evanovich portrays Stephanie and Joe's relationship is great sex and some down and dirty Jersey fights. She's worked with Ranger so there is a camaraderie and respect there that just does not come across with Joe... so yeah Ranger.
Landra Graf
62. DonnaRowe
I'm married to a Joe-type person. Joe may issue ultimatums, but Stephanie does have the option of not obeying them. Joe's attitude comes from concern for Stephanie's safety. He's not trying to control or dictate to her, although it probably feels that way for her, no doubt.

I'm really undecided about this. Joe is a better fit for her on a personal level, but she can grown more professionally with Ranger. At the very least, she should go work for RangerMan. If after all this time as a bounty hunter she is still so woefully inept, it's not the best career choice for her. She has shown some real talent for the detection and tracking end of the job. She needs a partner who can do the takedown, and Lula is not that person.

One more thing: Ranger doesn't want to get married. Joe does. Does Stephanie? If yes, Joe is her man. If no, then Ranger. She needs to decide for herself which path to choose. I'm personally Babe, but it wouldn't bother me too much if she chooses Joe, since, like I said, I'm married to that type.
Landra Graf
63. Kimmie A
JE has a challenge: does she continue the series with Stephanie and Morelli doing the on-again, off-again dance, which canlast only so long before reader interest wanes? Or, as a writer working her craft, should JE begin more character development for Ranger--as she did in her earlier books--which would give Stephanie a clearer view of the potential partner Ranger could become, in a long-term relationship? Already we know what Morelli is like, and there doesnt seem to be much room for growth. He is what he is what he is.

As one reader pointed out, an older JE will probably go with the more traditional approach and opt for Morelli. However, from a marketing standpoint--and out of fairness to the majority of her (polled 70%) reader--JE should nudge Stephanie toward Ranger. Logistically speaking, there is more potential for a future relationship between the two, as they are equals (in their own ways) in their fields, and would make a good team, running a business. Steph could even go into PI work! But a future with Morelli as a cop will eventually hinder Stephanie's professional life.

Most importantly, although Ranger never uses the L word with Stephanie, when she asks him if he does love her, he answers yes. Through his actions it is clearly apparent that he cares for her deeply and to most readers, his is the more mature love. He sees Stephanie for what she is and who she is. Just because a man doesn't gush endearments doesn't mean he doesn't feel them. Still waters run deep!
Landra Graf
64. Zara
If stephanie marries Joe she will be expected to become a housewife while with Ranger the stories can escalate and become alot more interesting because Ranger is a lot more interesting character....Yeh maybe i should mention that i am a Ranger fan ;p
Landra Graf
65. marvt
i think she should choose Ranger. Every woman wants a guy who protects her and gives her space. i think Ranger fills these needs for Stephanie. He's always there when she needs a car, protection, a job, a sounding board, a house, money. He's that knight in shining armour all women are looking for. She's also more honest with him. Love Morelli to bits but not as a mate for Stephanie.Want more of the vordo. Also would love to see a book where Morelli is really worried abuot Stephanie's relationship with Ranger finding them having dinnerin restaurants and at her mum's and seeing the chemistry between them - kiss for a whole book. Would also love Ranger to stay in character. Mysterious, amused, hot not domesticated at all
Landra Graf
66. PlumLover2018
I am Team Ranger all the way! At the beginning of the Plum series i was Team Morelli but as we progress through the books I have slowly become a Babe lover! Ranger helps Steph when she needs help and is not trying to change her. Joe is always fighting with her telling her that she needs to get a new job and start to settle down. If I was in Stephanies position i would pick Ranger. Joe is trying to make Steph into something she isn't and what she doesn't want to be. Ranger is with her all the way not trying to change her and is always protecting her because he LOVES her. I think Ranger and Stephanie are a match made in heaven because the both aren't ready to settle down. When they are, they will be there for each other! TEAM RANGER all the way
Landra Graf
68. Jersey girl
Morelli forever. Xoxoxo!!! Never a question! Time for them to get married! It has gone on too long. Please, Janet:)
Landra Graf
69. Moodieschick
Ranger. Definitely Ranger. Joe is kind of a jerk and he is always trying to change Stephanie. Ranger takes her as she is and understands her. She would be happier with him. She needs to get rid of Joe and stay with Ranger.
Landra Graf
70. Annyjay
Having dealt with bad boys I would say at some point in time Stephanie will want to settle down. Bad boys are fun and exciting but can lead to a whole lot of frustration. Getting rid of Joe would be a mistake, he's sexy, reliable and as someone else pointed out has that tongue. A girl could do a whole lot worse.
Landra Graf
71. Yolian
Joe doesn't accept her for who she is. Ranger does, he can actually protect her and he can give her what she need, freedom. Joe is fun and playful but he wants her to be a housewife and that's just plain wrong. I mean how long has she been living the bounty hunter life? Would she really abandon it. Just for Joe? No way! RANGER! The most unlikely choice but ultimately the right for herself.
Landra Graf
72. Debbie M.
Joe Morelli!!! Stephanie should just pick Morelli in the end they're perfect for each other!
Landra Graf
74. Kate224
Steph should choose Ranger! He's hot, successful and always there for her! Ranger is the better man and he will make Stephanie happier than Morelli ever could!
Landra Graf
75. Savyss
So, here's what I've decided. Stephanie is in a really big pickle because she loves both Joe and Ranger. Just like with any love triangle, not everyone is going to be happy with the ending. With that said, I think she could be equally happy with either of them. Joe loves her with all his heart and she loves him as well. Ranger loves her deeply too, but he keeps his emotions more to himself. I think this is partially because Ranger wasn't exactly expecting to fall for anyone. He's always been a keep-to-yourself guy because he gets into some dangerous situations, and to him, I feel like caring for someone is something his enemies will always try to take advantage of to hurt him. I think that has something to do with his stance on settling down. With Joe, he has been faithful to Stephanie, despite his reputation for short attention spans for women. I feel like Joe is what many women would consider "Prince Charming". And like I mentioned earlier, Stephanie could be equally happy with Ranger or Joe, but now she's always going to have some heartbreak for the one she doesn't choose. Yes, I think Stephanie will choose because too many people would be unhappy if the series ended like that. Here are a couple of things I think could happen.
I think the author is going to make Stephanie and Joe end up together. I say this because I feel like this was Janet's original plan. I don't think she expected so many readers to favor Ranger. I think her soft spot is with Joe and has been this whole series. Joe is more of a family guy and would give what many women want. A content, happy life. I don't think many people would disagree that she could be happy with Joe, even if you're a Ranger fan.
To do this, Janet can't leave Ranger in the series. She might end up having Ranger die for Stephanie, but I don't think the author is planning on having Stephanie end up with Ranger.
Now, before anyone gets snippy, I want to say I'm a Ranger fan. It's not that I don't like Morelli, but in every book, I find myself skimming over the parts with Joe because he just doesn't do anything for me anymore. Yes, he was my number one guy at the start of the series, but he's too dull for me. This is an action-mystery series and Ranger has always been the action-mystery man in the books. Even though I think Stephanie will end up will Joe, I only keep reading because I hope she won't. I can live with her ending up with Joe, but I will always wish she hadn't.
And anyway, with all that aside, am I the only one upset about Stephanie's actions? She's sleeping with Joe, but flirts and kisses Ranger. I know that Steph and Joe have that off-and-on relationship, but I feel like it's morally wrong to kiss someone else when you're practically someone's girlfriend. Within the series, Joe even calls her his girlfriend multiple times and she admits that Joe is basically her boyfriend. Like, honestly? I don't really think Stephanie deserves either of them. If I found out that the guy who was basically my boyfriend was kissing another girl, I'd dump him and never look back. Maybe it's just me... But that just isn't cool.
Well, I guess we'll see how this story finally ends. I understand that all of this is just what I think and some of it could be wrong, but I just thought I'd share some thoughts.
Landra Graf
76. Maresy
Hmmmm....Joe. Love the history, his deep love for her even when she isn't sure. He might want a housewife but would be crushed if she wasn't intereting, I do love the HOT encounters with Ranger and don't find her behavior 'slutty.' She is technically single, has an open relationship and is honestly in love with both. Joe is hot, smitten, smart, fun and sexy - by no means a 2nd choice!
Landra Graf
77. Piper
Guys It is obviously MORELLI. Ranger fans are either too young or too old like Grandma Mazur. Really Stefanie is a little go arouond. Joe loves her too much. Ranger is just just ughh. Morelli calms her down and that is what she needs. Plus Morelli really loves her all those times she almost died he got really worried. In book 12 Stefanie says she loves him and that iis the truth. All that Ranger has going for him is that he is sexy. Morelli has much more.... Janet Evanovich c'mon. Just lets get them married. I want to see what SP does when she is pregnaut. LOL MORELLI ALL THE WAY.
Landra Graf
78. Moslee99
Didn't I read in one book that Ranger has a son? We never read of visits or taking time with him...yet everyone thinks he is so devoted? Just saying. Team Morelli all the way for me but wished JE would stop making him look like such a chump. Just have hard time believing this guy would put up with his "girlfriend" sleeping at her "sometimes" boss apartment. Really wished Morelli would get hot female partner, make Stephanie see what it feels like.
Landra Graf
79. C Mac
It's Joe Morelli - he is a family man, driven, protective, hotter than hot. There's no doubt Ranger is hot and capable of protecting Stephanie but he's not the real deal - elusive and just in it for the passing sex. Is that really what life is all about? be serious ... Joe Morelli is stimulating, challenging, he really talks whereas Ranger comes up short on the emotional side. Team Joe Morelli allllll the way
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