Prologue

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"Well, the boy on my arm has to be the most gorgeous," A girl next to me boasted to her friends. "It's already forming! I should be able to see who it is in a few weeks!"

The rest of them began bragging about their Marking, how dark theirs were getting, how cute the names of their soulmates were. They insisted that theirs was the most attractive, had the coolest hair, and everything about them is perfect regardless of never seeing or knowing who these boys even were.

"What about you Teagan?" One of them asked me. "Who's your match?"

I subconsciously pulled my sleeve down, not wanting her to see my bare arm with no trace of a name there. Most girls my age were either just beginning to get theirs or already had their Marking, whereas I had not gotten mine.

'You're a late bloomer,' my mother always said. 'You'll get it eventually.'

Just as I was about to open my mouth to lie about how amazing my future spouse was going to be, the girl from earlier beat me to it.

"She doesn't have her Marking yet," she scoffed. "She probably doesn't even have a match, let alone someone who will actually like her!"

The rest of the girls began laughing, but instantly forgot about me as they began fawning over their own soulmates. I huffed out, pulled my backpack on, and headed home. Getting your Marking meant everything to someone my age. It's who you were destined to be with, the one who you're going to be spending the rest of your life with.

I did my chores. My homework was completed. I ate dinner in silence with my family. And I went to bed. It was a normal routine and each night I wished so greatly that I would wake up with my Mark finally appearing. Each night I've been disappointed.

The next morning I stretched out my limbs, rubbing at my eyes to rid them of the deep sleep I had just undergone. While I was putting my arm down, I noticed the faintest black mark just beginning to form. I immediately jumped up, running and screaming for my mother to see who, indeed, confirmed that I was finally getting my Marking. It wasn't much right now, but soon it would say everything.

A few months later I was greeted with just enough clarity and darkness to see exactly whom my soul mate is:

Jonah Alexander Ward.

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