NEW: Introducing Tap. Addictive chat stories for your 📲 Now in 10 languages
DOWNLOAD NOW!

Emily and Sergei are spending the weekend alone on Martha's Vineyard at Em's aunt's house. They're getting ready to play croquet, which Em used to play with her cousins but Sergei has never heard of.

I set up the wickets around the expansive yard and gave Sergei a brief explanation of the rules. Once we started playing, he quickly moved around the course, and before long he was beating me rather handily.

"You're sure you've never played this before?" I asked.

He held up his hands and chuckled. "I swear, I haven't."

I stalked toward my red ball, cursing my apparent rustiness with the game. Later when Sergei gained an even bigger point lead on me, I took my mallet and knocked one of his balls clear across the yard.

"Hey!" he exclaimed. “What are you doing?"

"Oops, guess I slipped." I shrugged and widened my eyes with innocence.

He laughed. "You are such a sore loser."

"I haven't lost yet!"

"I'm giving you a three-shot penalty for misconduct," he said, trying not to smile.

"You don't have the authority to do that."

He crossed his arms over his chest and spread his feet firmly. "Oh, I have the authority."

My frustration was momentarily forgotten as I couldn’t ignore how hot Sergei looked in his stance. The aviator shades resting on his slightly sunburned nose, the T-shirt stretching over his tanned biceps, the khaki shorts that showed off his muscular legs...

I cleared my throat and folded my arms, mimicking Sergei. "Well, let it be known I am finishing this match under official protest."

"You know, we never said what the stakes are," he said. "I think the winner should be entitled to something."

"I think bragging rights will be a sufficient prize."

"No, there should be more... like the winner gets to pick the meal and movie of their choice next weekend."

I scrunched up my nose. "Ugh, then you're going to make me watch some weird foreign film with subtitles."

"Are you conceding the match?" He smiled.

"Not a chance." I pointed my mallet at him."Go get your ball and let's finish this."

It didn't take long for Sergei to complete the course, at which time he thrust his arms into the air. "Victory!"

"Yeah, yeah, you got lucky on your first time out. And I haven't played in a few years."

He grinned. "Yep, that's the sore loser I know and love."

"I'm just telling it like it is," I huffed.

He held his mallet in both hands and looped it behind my back, using it to trap me against him. "You can't admitI beat you fair and square."

I tilted my head upward. "If beating a girl at a country club sport means that much to you, then by all means, go ahead and gloat."

"Oh, I will. And I'm looking forward to picking out a good movie next week. Something Italian... or French... a very long movie. And you can cook a three-course dinner. What's something that takes a really long time to cook?" He lowered his mouth toward mine with a smile. "That's what I'll want."

"I might be a sore loser, but you're an obnoxious winner.” I pushed lightly on his chest.

"Uh-uh, you're not getting away. The fine print says the winner gets a victory kiss, too."

"You're gonna have to catch me first.”

I wrestled away from Sergei and took off running across the yard. He sprinted after me, so I turned and reversed direction. As I ran toward the side of the house, I heard Sergei cry out in pain.

Life on the Edge Deleted ScenesRead this story for FREE!