Aubrey left to find Marley, and I turned to the makeshift bar on the kitchen counter for a soda. The ice chest was almost empty, so I scooted into the small utility room off the kitchen to get a new bag. Behind me, someone grabbed my right arm.
"Ma'am, you're under arrest," Sergei said, gently taking my other arm and circling handcuffs around my wrists. "You have the right to remain silent."
I laughed. "What are you doing?"
"You have to come with me." He laid his hand on my shoulder and steered me toward the back door.
We walked out into the damp night, and I twisted my neck to look at Sergei. "What am I being charged with?"
He didn't answer as he continued to nudge me ahead of him. We turned the corner of the house, and he spun me to face him while backing me against the wall.
Leaning toward me, Sergei locked his eyes on mine. The corners of his mouth tipped slightly upward. "Endangering the life of a police officer," he said.
"How did I do that?"
He momentarily lowered his gaze. "You're killing me in that dress."
A shiver accompanied my smile. "I didn't realize I was lethal."
"I'm going to need to frisk you," he said, putting his hands on my waist.
"By all means. I'm not hiding anything."
Sergei angled nearer, his mouth hovering and teasing mine, making my heart race with anticipation. As his hands slowly traveled up from my waist and settled on the bodice of my dress, our lips finally met. The long and lingering kiss that followed proved worth the wait.
"What's a girl have to do to get out of these cuffs?" I asked breathlessly.
He eyed me with amusement. "How do I know you're not going to grab my gun?"
I stifled a laugh. After regaining composure, I said, "I guess you're just gonna have to trust me."
Sergei appeared to ponder my statement, but his smile grew wider. Turning me around, he released my hands from the cuffs. I faced him again and said sweetly, "Thank you, Officer."
As he moved closer to me, I quickly reached for the plastic gun in his holster and yanked it out. Sergei grasped my wrist, but I already had the barrel pointed at his nose.
"Don't even think about it," he said.
With a big grin, I pulled the trigger, sending a spray of water all over his face. I giggled as he wiped his eyes with his hand.
"You think that's pretty funny, don't you?" he said.
The breeze rustling the trees and the faint sound of music from inside the house provided the only background noise until a voice exclaimed, "Oh!"
Sergei and I broke apart and looked toward the voice. Jeremy and his girlfriend stood there, both with their mouths hanging open.
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