Read Imprinted By The Alpha (BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance) (The Marked One - Book 1) Online

Authors: Jocelyn Thomas

Tags: #shifters, #paranormal romance, #Urban, #werewolves & shifters, #werewolves

Imprinted By The Alpha (BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance) (The Marked One - Book 1)

BOOK: Imprinted By The Alpha (BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance) (The Marked One - Book 1)
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Imprinted By The Alpha

The Marked One Serial

Book 1

Jocelyn Thomas

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Copyright © 2014 By: Jocelyn Thomas

Ebooks are not transferable and cannot be sold, shared, or given away. The unauthorized reproduction or

distribution of this copywrighted work is a crime punishable by law. No part of this book may be

scanned, downloaded or uploaded from file sharing sites, or distributed in any other way via the Internet

or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher's permission.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Jocelyn Thomas holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 1

––––––––

A
va Bertrand pushed open the door to the Coyote Bar & Grill, a heavy doorbell chiming to announce her entrance. It was barely noon, and already, some of the regulars filled their favorite sets, surrounded by the dark and rustic décor.

Despite the recent sell, nothing had changed about the place while she was gone.

She wove through the six tables pushed back to leave room for a small stage and dance floor and toward the upper platform, set with four tables and the bar, as well as some quiet leather covered booths toward the back. The beams travelling the length of the open ceiling spoke to the cleanliness of the place, and the French doors opening to the patio containing four more tables allowed for a fresh breeze to flood the place, whipping through the long brown locks that cascaded down Ava’s back.

She took a seat at the bar and smiled at the lady behind the counter. “Is Lil here?”

“I’m Lil.” She didn’t even glance at Ava, busy with the cash.

“I’m Ava.” She held out her hand to Lil.

Lil passed the customer his change and turned her head in Ava’s direction. Her rich brown eyes landed on Ava, and she extended her hand. Li’s mouth twitched at the corners, but she didn’t take Ava’s hand. Instead, she planted her hands firmly on her hips as if to make a statement. Ava slowly retracted her hand and tried to hide her annoyance.

Waiting for the blonde woman to respond, Ava got the impression she was being sized up as the bartender surveyed her closely, and Ava didn’t much appreciate it. Lil made a clicking sound with her tongue. “The new girl.”

Ava bristled at her attitude, and she felt the air shift, the atmosphere changing.

“Tell me, are you one of those little cupcake girls that I’m gonna have to babysit all night? If you are, then you can just go looking elsewhere, honey.” The hint of a Cajun background lay somewhere beneath the heavy southern accent, and Ava thought her tone was firm but not harsh. Lil was definitely all business, which Ava respected. She sat a little straighter and met the unmoving gaze of the blonde, silently assuring her that she was no such flake and could be tough as nails when needed.

“I’m not exactly new,” she told Lil. “I worked here for the Jessups for three years.” She had wondered how this would go, considering that she didn’t know the new owners. The Jessups had been forced to sell when Mark Jessup had passed away, apparently shortly after she’d left for Baton Rouge.

Lil squinted at her, looking annoyed. “Ava, you said?” She shook her head and huffed a deep breath. “Well, you’re new to me. But come on around back and I’ll show you what’s changed.” Lil threw a cloth on the counter.

“Yes, ma’am.” Ava hurried toward the familiar hallway.

Lil showed her where the schedule hung and explained the way waitresses split the floor tables. The floor hadn’t been divided when the Jessups ran the place. They’d shared the entire load, and Ava found the new sectioning a little uptight, but she bit her tongue. Lil presented a no-nonsense attitude in the way she relayed orders with clear and direct speech. Every time Ava had responded, Lil had looked right through her, and she hadn’t smiled yet. She had a powerful disposition, and Ava thought she could possibly be a little dangerous under the surface.

Even with the handful of new rules, the Coyote was the place she remembered, and the real question was what to make of Lil. She was attractive, with blonde hair to her shoulders and toned body with a narrow waist that showed she took the same pride in her body as she did in her work. She was probably in her mid-thirties, and while she was strong, she presented a feminine façade, with her large chest spilling over the top of her plaid button-down, the top three buttons of which hung open.

But the real kicker had Ava’s eyes wide as saucers when Lil turned sideways, showing a ragged scar running from the woman’s collarbone to just below her earlobe. The raised scar sent a chill down Ava’s spine; it looked like a claw mark, and Lil hadn’t been meant to survive.

“It’s from a fight,” Lil smirked.

Ava snapped her eyes away from the scar sheepishly and caught Lil’s eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stare.”

Lil shrugged and shot her a wink. “It’s fine, I’m used to it.”

Ava appreciated the mischief dancing in Lil’s eyes and thought finally that they might become genuine friends.

Ava’s new boss wasted no time putting her to work. While the lunch crowd was mostly gone, there were tables to bus and a floor to clean. It would only be a couple of hours before the dinner crowd started trickling in. Willow Falls, Louisiana was a small town – one Ava had desperately attempted to leave – and it had one restaurant, with the Coyote being the only bar in town. If you were out to dinner in town, you were probably at the Coyote. Tonight would be standing room only, great for tips but hard on the back for afterhours cleanup.

“Hey, girl.” Ava looked up an hour into her shift and smiled as Kelly Davies walked in. Her best friend was one of only a handful of people who knew about Ava’s return from Baton Rouge. Kelly’s mother had grown up as her own mother’s best friend, and they had easily continued the legacy.

“Hey, sista!” Kelly sassed back. “Welcome back. How’s your shift going?”

Ava considered. “Good, I think. It’s good to be back.” Sort of.

Kelly moved up beside her and whispered, “You met the new boss?”

Ava glanced around and made sure Lil was out of hearing range. “Yeah, she’s a little rough around the edges, but she seems nice enough.”

Kelly waggled her eyebrows. “Oh, she’s nothing. I’m not on for half an hour. Can you take a break?”

Ava blew hair back out of her face. “Sure, let me grab some fries.” She claimed a quick order from the kitchen and joined Kelly at the far end of the bar. “So, what’s the big deal?”

Kelly scoffed. “You obviously haven’t met any of the other Minors.” Ava shook her head, and Kelly rolled her eyes as if she’d just bit into a delectable chocolate cake. “Lil’s is the older sister out of the bunch. The brothers, though, are fine. And Caleb...holy shit!” Kelly fanned herself as she shot Ava a very serious look.   “I’m talking, tall, ripped, and gorgeous. Very fuckable. And the tattoos! Oh my god, Ava.” Kelly’s smile spread from ear to ear.

Ava raised an eyebrow. “That hot?”

Kelly nodded. “Rip your clothes off and let him devour your body hot.” She laughed out loud.

Ava shushed her friend, her eyes darting around to be sure Lil wasn’t watching and listening. “So, have you made a move yet?” Kelly shook her head and snatched a fry from her plate. Ava frowned. “Why not?”

As she leaned in for another fry, she whispered, “Caleb’s a werewolf.”

Chapter 2

––––––––

A
va stared at her friend in disbelief. “Either you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid around here, or you forgot to take your medication while I was away. Why would you ever say something like that?” Kelly couldn’t be serious.

But the expression on her best friend’s face told her that Kelly was completely serious. “The whole family is, Ava.”

Louisiana was saturated with superstition, and Willow Falls in particular was steeped in supernatural history that had been rumored and passed on through the generations of folks who never seemed to make it out of the sleepy town. Ava had heard all the stories herself, time after time, and she’d always enjoyed the mystical tales. But she’d never actually witnessed anything, and she believed that the stories had started as a means to scare off outsiders and, eventually, had backfired and killed what excitement and life there was in Willow Falls. She supposed it served them right for being greedy and superstitious.

But for Kelly to buy into the stuff was ridiculous. “How would you know if they were werewolves?”

Kelly gave her a withering look. “We’ve always suspected some crazy things around here, right? Don’t tell me a few months away convinced you there was nothing weird about this place.” Ava tapped her fingers on the counter, waiting for a better explanation. With an exasperated sigh, Kelly told her, “I met Caleb just before Christmas, about a week after they moved here. We’ve actually become friends. And, you know, I just have that sense. I always have,” she insisted before Ava could argue.

“Kelly, you can’t just make accusations like that on a hunch, or a gut feeling.”

The girl’s blue eyes flickered. “My mom said that their blood line dates back in Willow Falls for generations, but about two decades ago, the whole family picked up and left town. Now, they’re back, and Mom thinks something has drawn them here. She says it’s not something good, either.” Kelly nodded ominously.

A strange tingling ran down Ava’s spine. She had trouble processing everything Kelly told her because she was focused on the last statement.
Something has drawn them here.
It was far too familiar. She’d left Willow Falls, with its dirt paths and dangling signs on abandoned storefronts for Baton Rouge to go to college and start a new life. She’d had no intention of returning to this place after graduation. But after a single semester at school, something she couldn’t understand had tugged at her from the inside and drawn her back to her home town.

Ava had a hard time believing in coincidence.

“You just totally creeped me out,” Ava mumbled to Kelly, finishing the last of her fries.

She started to say something, but Lil came up beside them on the other side of the counter. “Five more minutes, girls. We’ve got customers to serve.” She flipped the cap off the beer in her hand.

Ava clamped her mouth shut, and Kelly shifted uncomfortably, and Ava knew instantly that Lil noticed how shaken they both were. The woman didn’t say anything as she walked away, but the glance back over her shoulder was suspicious.

Ava welcomed the unusually heavy business for a Thursday night; her shift flying by as many of the families she’d grown up with welcomed her back. At the end of the night, she cleaned up the last table and brought the dishes back to the kitchen, shedding her apron and stretching her arms over her head. She smoothed her shirt back down and fixed her denim shorts over her full hips, then grabbed her satchel from the office and headed to the front of the restaurant.

“You wanna hang around and grab a ride from me?” Kelly asked, wiping down the bar.

Ava shook her head. “No, I’m just going to walk. It’s a beautiful night.” Walking to the bar had reminded her how much she missed the fresh air that was unburdened by the industry of the city.

“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Ava nodded and waved, and she called, “Goodnight, Lil!” as she walked to the front door. Lil gave a short wave from over by the pool table.

Left alone as she started home, Ava’s mind went back to the unnerving conversation with Kelly. She’d managed to put it aside all night, but now, she shivered, and her mind whirled. She didn’t know if she could wrap her mind around the existence of real werewolves, or any other paranormal creatures, for that matter.   Ava firmly felt that seeing was believing, and she had lived twenty years without any sort of evidence of anything science didn’t endorse. Unlike Kelly, who came from a long line of wiccans who held to extreme superstitions and claimed to have seen just about anything you could imagine, including vampires, Ava’s family were realists. Her mother, Sarah, had never been a believer in anything she hadn’t seen with her own two eyes, and Ava was a fruit that fell very close to the tree.

BOOK: Imprinted By The Alpha (BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance) (The Marked One - Book 1)
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