Authors: Jennifer Snyder
Tags: #Speculative Fiction, #young adult werewolves paranormal supernatural romance
(Marked Duology Book 1)
Marked copyright © 2012 Jennifer Snyder
Cover Art by Stephanie Mooney
This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to
peoples either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names,
places, and characters are figments of the author’s imagination.
The author holds all rights to this work. It is illegal to
reproduce this novel without written expressed consent from the
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Also by Jennifer
Look for Changed (Marked Duology Book 2) coming
Because Tessa’s story has always been your
Wind is a force of nature I’ve always found to be
magical, something you can physically feel but never actually see.
It can be tame… barely light enough to ruffle your hair. Or it can
be powerful… strong enough to rip a tree straight out of the
ground. Either way, it is unpredictable and entirely
The same can be said about love.
I noticed him the first moment he stepped into the
diner, along with every other female both young and old. There was
something about him that made it hard to look away. Maybe it was
the smooth confidence in his stride, or his boy band good looks.
Whatever the reason, I found it nearly impossible to not stare,
even in the presence of my boyfriend.
His eyes shifted to mine and lingered long enough to
make my heart flutter. There was something in their glint that
struck me as lonely, but it was overshadowed by something else
swirling beneath the surface of the rich honey color, something
intriguing I couldn’t name.
Is it love at first sight, Tessa?
Because it sure looks like it to me and I’m not the only one
noticing. Sam seems like he could crumble the table with his bare
hands right now,” Rachel said, refilling a sweet tea
I glanced over my shoulder at Sam. Rachel was right;
he didn’t seem happy. I’d better get a grip on myself or else we
were bound to have another argument.
Hardly,” I muttered, grabbing out
a menu and tucking it under my arm before picking up Sam and Kyle’s
tray of food.
He is eye candy, though, don’t
deny it,” she said with a shit-eating grin.
I rolled my eyes. “I’m not, but I’m not about to go
Oh, I would.” She glanced over at
Kyle. “Well, maybe just a little, not full force or
Yeah, well not everyone can be as
And what’s that supposed to mean?”
Nothing.” I winked and headed
toward Sam’s table.
During the length of space from behind the counter
to Sam and Kyle’s table, I allowed myself one glance in Mr.
Dreamy’s direction and that was all it took to make my heart start
racing again. Golden blond hair, tanned skin, a muscular build—he
was the total package.
I fumbled setting their tray of food down, nearly
dumping crinkle-cut fries in Sam’s lap.
What’s up, Tessa, pretty boy over
there got you all flustered?” Sam asked with a slight chuckle, but
I could see the seriousness pooling in his baby-blue
Whatever.” I grinned, attempting
to seem nonchalant. “You guys need anything else?”
Nah, we’re good,” Kyle answered,
glancing between Sam and me nervously.
I need you to stop staring at
Prince Charming over there,” Sam muttered under his
I put a hand on my hip. “Really, Sam? Are you
seriously that jealous?”
Maybe,” he said firmly.
It’s part of my job to notice when
people come in and where they sit,” I snapped. “I’m gonna go hand
him this menu; don’t have a heart attack.”
Maybe I was being slightly defensive, the guilty
always are, but Sam’s jealousy had been way out of control lately
and for no good reason. We’d had one conversation where I’d told
him I didn’t plan on staying in this tiny town after graduation and
he’d been going bonkers since. At this point, Sam had become more
like a bad habit I found hard to break than a boyfriend.
I slowed my pace and relaxed the muscles in my face,
attempting to look friendlier before I reached Dream Guy’s
Hey. I’m Tessa; I’ll be your
waitress tonight. Can I get you something to drink?” I asked with a
smile, sliding the laminated menu across the tabletop.
His amber eyes met mine as he returned my smile with
a pearly white one of his own. “Hi, sure. I’ll take a sweet tea,
please,” he answered, his voice sultry and hypnotic sounding.
Sweet tea,” I repeated
unnecessarily as I walked away.
What was wrong with me? I didn’t normally act so
stupefied and giddy because of a guy.
Seriously girl, you’d better watch
that pep in your step from Mr. Cutie. Sam’s gonna start growling
and go all territorial on your ass,” Rachel insisted.
I pursed my lips together while I poured a sweet
tea. “He’s being a complete jerk tonight. I could be smiling at
eighty-year-old Mr. Garret and he’d pick a fight with me about
Well, Kyle and I are still wanting
to go camping with you guys tomorrow night, but if the two of you
are going to be at each other’s throats, then we’ll take a rain
check,” she said.
, it’s your birthday!
I’m not about to let mine and Sam’s problems ruin our camping trip
on your birthday!” I assured her.
Good, because I’d hate to have to
kick your ass.”
Funny,” I sarcastically said as I
pushed past her.
Sam caught my wrist as I walked past his table. “Can
you tone down your smile a bit; I can’t stand seeing you flirting
with someone in front of me.”
Are you freaking serious? It’s
called being polite. Waitresses who want a tip generally are
polite,” I said, jerking my wrist free.
What the hell was everyone’s problem? It wasn’t like
I was drooling over the guy!
Here’s your tea. Are you ready to
order?” I asked without looking at him. I didn’t need anymore crap
from anyone tonight.
Yeah, actually I am,” he started,
but then paused. “Look, I don’t mean to speak out of my place here
but… is that guy bothering you?”
I raised my eyes to his. “What guy?”
A crooked grin sprang on his face. “The one who’s
looking over here like he’s going to tear into me any minute.”
I’m so sorry.” I sighed. “That’s
actually my boyfriend and I’m not real sure what his deal is
Some guys just don’t know how to
handle having a beautiful girlfriend.” He smiled, his eyes never
wavering from mine.
Was he for real? Because I was far from beautiful
compared to a lot of girls in this town. I was flat-chested with
the body of a twelve-year-old. I had dirty-blond hair and mud-brown
eyes. Seriously, beautiful didn’t even come close to what I was; he
should try average.
Nonetheless, my cheeks blushed all school-girl like
at his words. I tore my eyes away from his and focused back on my
pad and pen in hand.
Thanks,” I replied. “So, what can
I get you?”
Right, sorry. I’ll take a bacon
cheeseburger with double bacon and fries, please.”
Okay.” I scribbled his order down
as fast as I could. “It’ll be out shortly.”
The sound of my name coming from his mouth stalled
my heart for a split second and sent a jolt of warmth through me.
Not because of the sheer fact that he’d remembered my name—I knew
I’d only given it to him five minutes ago—but because of the way my
name had rolled off his tongue... like he was caressing each
syllable with his mouth. It was enough to make me blush a shade
I ripped out his order and placed it in the basket
before making my refill rounds. When I came to Sam’s table, he was
Are you hanging out with me
tonight after your shift or your new boyfriend?”
You’re being a real jerk, you
know?” I snapped before stalking away to finish my
You can do better,” Dream Guy said
once I’d reached his table again.
My lips formed into a small smile at his words.
“He’s not usually like this,” I lied.
I chuckled unintentionally. “Well, most of the time
Life’s too short to waste on
someone who’s not a complete jerk
most of the time
insisted. “I’m Jace, by the way, Jace Fowler.”
Nice to meet you, Jace,” I said,
enjoying saying his name maybe a little too much. With a smile on
my face, I moved to the next table of mine and continued with my
After learning Jace’s name, I found it extremely
hard to concentrate on much of anything else besides him. My eyes
seemed to always find their way to him and each time our gaze
locked, my lips curved into a tiny smile.
Tessa Morganton, am I witnessing
you flirting with your eyes?” Rachel asked, startling me so badly I
dropped the tray I’d been wiping clean.
Flirting with my eyes? Is that
even possible?” I countered, bending to pick up the
Sure is. It’s a skill I happen to
have mastered,” she said and then shot me a look that made me think
she wanted to eat me up like a piece of strawberry
Yep, you’ve got that one mastered
all right.” I chuckled.
I could have been mean and told her she needed to
practice more, but the truth was she didn’t. Rachel was practically
a teenage goddess. If she looked at any guy the way she’d just
looked at me, he’d more than likely be fine with it. At 5’6 with
chin-length, dark-brown hair, big hazel eyes, a slender frame, and
a full set of pouty lips, Rachel could get away with a lot of looks
Order up!” Dewey shouted from the
kitchen window. My heart beat a little faster when I realized it
was Jace’s food.
I made my way to his table trying not to seem eager,
especially while passing Sam.
Here you go,” I said, setting the
burger basket down in front of him. “Do you need anything
I’m fine, thank you.” He
My eyes traveled over his face looking for any
imperfection, but found none. There was no acne or freckles, only a
tiny scar above his right brow, but even that seemed perfect. I
crammed my hands into my apron pocket and walked away before I
began salivating at the mouth.
Ten minutes later I noticed Jace waiting in line to
pay and couldn’t help but feel disappointed he was leaving already.
I was cleaning off his table when he came up behind me and gently
tapped me on the shoulder.
Here, I’m not cheap. I swear,” he
said, handing me a ten.
I didn’t—thanks,” I cut off my
fumbled words and took the ten.
Our fingertips made the briefest of contact then,
and flickers of warmth sparked under my skin from it. Startled, I
jerked away and met his gaze. A wild sense of awe and suspicion
mixed within his eyes.
I’m sorry,” he muttered softly.
“What did you say your last name was?”
I didn’t... but it’s Morganton,” I
answered carefully, thrown off by his odd question and the strange
way he stared at me.
Tessa Morganton,” he whispered
like he knew me, but couldn’t place me.