Playing to Win

By: Stephanie Street

The Trouble with Tomboys #2





PROLOGUE





Two years ago . . .

One three-week summer sports camp shouldn’t have spawned such a tight knit friendship—but it did. Camp Haversham in Upstate New York was where Hannah, Jordan, and Alex met during the summer before their freshman year. Like most of the young athletes who’d flocked to the training camp, they hailed from different towns and schools. They might never have met if it hadn’t been for Camp Haversham, and they definitely wouldn’t have formed their little “Tomboy Trio” if it hadn’t been for one brainless moron by the name of Noah Ackerbaum.

Noah and his crew were an obnoxious group of alphaholes who paraded around the grounds like they owned the place. Were they skilled at their respective sports? Yes. No one would deny that.

But these girls were better.

Noah and his minions were nice to the girls at the camp—particularly the hot girls—but for the most part, boys played boys and girls played girls.

Until they didn’t.

That was Alex’s fault. A phenom with the bat, the daughter of a professional baseball player hadn’t loved the idea of being segregated. She wanted to play the best—whatever gender that might be.

After Jordan kicked Noah’s butt in touch football, and Hannah took him down in soccer, it was Alex who decided they ought to have a soccer scrimmage that was boys versus girls. Noah begrudgingly agreed. From the way he’d talked it was like they were still in elementary school and kids actually used phrases like “you throw like a girl” as if that were a bad thing.

Lame.

Led by the three top female athletes at camp, the girls’ team totally trounced the boys’ team in a humiliating defeat.

Well, it probably wouldn’t have been quite so humiliating if the losers hadn’t been such poor sports about it.

Hannah was putting away her equipment when Noah entered the gymnasium behind her. “We let you win, you know that, right?”

She straightened, her dark brown ponytail swinging over her shoulder as she turned to face Noah. Two of his friends had come up behind him and were snickering—a dead giveaway that Noah was going into full bully mode.

Anyone who’d ever seen any movie set in a high school knew how to spot a bully a mile away, and Noah fit the part to a tee. Tall and handsome, he might have been charming if he had any sense of humility or dignity. As it was, he was petty and crass, his sense of humor having peaked at pranks and poop jokes.

“Excuse me?” Hannah said politely. She wasn’t afraid of these guys, but she wouldn’t deny that she was relieved to see her new friends trailing in behind Noah and his gang.

“What’s going on here?” Alex asked. The tall, lean brunette stepped between Hannah and the boys, her shoulders back as her chin held high.

Jordan looked between Noah and the other girls warily before hurrying over to stand on Hannah’s other side. “You okay?” she asked Hannah under her breath. The blonde was pretty in a very girlie sort of way, almost . . . dainty. One would never guess that she rocked it on in the hockey rink.

“I’m fine,” Hannah said, not bothering to lower her voice. She waved a hand toward the guys. “Noah here was just about to explain how they let us win.” She couldn’t quite hide the amusement in her voice . . . and truth be told, she didn’t really try.

Alex gave a little huff of amusement as well. “Oh yeah? This ought to be good.”

“You’re girls,” Noah said.

“Way to state the obvious,” Alex replied.

“We’d get in trouble if we hurt you,” one of the guys behind Noah added.

“Oh, I see,” Hannah said. “So that’s why you lost. You were being chivalrous and trying not to hurt us.”

Even Jordan was laughing now, the idea so ludicrous. They’d all been out there on that field. No one had played dirtier than Noah.

“Really?” Alex said. “Is that what you think happened?”

Noah held his hands up, his head falling to the side with smarmy smirk that made the girls’ skin crawl. “Hey, you guys go ahead and celebrate your little victory. But I thought you should know the truth.”

“Uh huh,” Hannah said. “And what truth is that? That we wiped the field with your butts?”

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