Read The Naturals (The Naturals #1) online free by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Home > The Naturals (The Naturals #1)

The Naturals (The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

PART ONE: KNOWING

YOU

You’ve chosen and chosen well. Maybe this one will be the one who stops you. Maybe she’ll be different. Maybe she’ll be enough.

The only thing that is certain is that she’s special.

You think it’s her eyes—not the color: an icy, see-through blue. Not the lashes, or the shape, or the way she doesn’t need eyeliner to give them the appearance of a cat’s.

No, it’s what’s behind those icy blues that brings the audience out in droves. You feel it, every time you look at her. The certainty. The knowing. That otherworldly glint she uses to convince people that she’s the real deal.

Maybe she is.

Maybe she really can see things. Maybe she knows things.

Maybe she’s everything she claims to be and more. But watching her, counting her breaths, you smile, because deep down, you know that she isn’t going to stop you.

You don’t really want her to stop you.

She’s fragile.

Perfect.

Marked.

And the one thing this so-called psychic won’t see coming is you.

CHAPTER 1

The hours were bad. The tips were worse, and the majority of my coworkers definitely left something to be desired, but c’est la vie, que sera sera, insert foreign language cliché of your choice here. It was a summer job, and that kept Nonna off my back. It also prevented my various aunts, uncles, and kitchen-sink cousins from feeling like they had to offer me temporary employment in their restaurant/butcher shop/legal practice/boutique. Given the size of my father’s very large, very extended (and very Italian) family, the possibilities were endless, but it was always a variation on the same theme.

My dad lived half a world away. My mother was missing, presumed dead. I was everyone’s problem and nobody’s.

Teenager, presumed troubled.

“Order up!”

With practiced ease, I grabbed a plate of pancakes (side of bacon) with my left hand and a two-handed breakfast burrito (jalapeños on the side) with my right. If the SATs didn’t go well in the fall, I had a real future ahead of me in the crappy diner industry.

“Pancakes with a side of bacon. Breakfast burrito, jalapeños on the side.” I slid the plates onto the table. “Anything else I can get for you gentlemen?”

Before either of them opened their mouths, I knew exactly what these two were going to say. The guy on the left was going to ask for extra butter. And the guy on the right? He was going to need another glass of water before he could even think about those jalapeños.

Ten-to-one odds, he didn’t even like them.

Guys who actually liked jalapeños didn’t order them on the side. Mr. Breakfast Burrito just didn’t want people to think he was a wuss—only the word he would have used wasn’t wuss.

Whoa there, Cassie, I told myself sternly. Let’s keep it PG.

As a general rule, I didn’t curse much, but I had a bad habit of picking up on other people’s quirks. Put me in a room with a bunch of English people, and I’d walk out with a British accent. It wasn’t intentional—I’d just spent a lot of time over the years getting inside other people’s heads.

Occupational hazard. Not mine. My mother’s.

“Could I get a few more of these butter packets?” the guy on the left asked.

I nodded—and waited.

“More water,” the guy on the right grunted. He puffed out his chest and ogled my boobs.

I forced a smile. “I’ll be right back with that water.” I managed to keep from adding pervert to the end of that sentence, but only just.

I was still holding out hope that a guy in his late twenties who pretended to like spicy food and made a point of staring at his teenage waitress’s chest like he was training for the Ogling Olympics might be equally showy when it came to leaving tips.

Then again, I thought as I went for refills, he might turn out to be the kind of guy who stiffs the little bitty waitress just to prove he can.

Absentmindedly, I turned the details of the situation over in my mind: the way that Mr. Breakfast Burrito was dressed; his likely occupation; the fact that his friend, who’d ordered the pancakes, was wearing a much more expensive watch.

He’ll fight to grab the check, then tip like crap.

I hoped I was wrong—but was fairly certain that I wasn’t.

Other kids spent their preschool years singing their way through the ABCs. I grew up learning a different alphabet. Behavior, personality, environment—my mother called them the BPEs, and they were the tricks of her trade. Thinking that way wasn’t the kind of thing you could just turn off—not even once you were old enough to understand that when your mother told people she was psychic, she was lying, and when she took their money, it was fraud.

Even now that she was gone, I couldn’t keep from figuring people out, any more than I could give up breathing, blinking, or counting down the days until I turned eighteen.

“Table for one?” A low, amused voice jostled me back into reality. The voice’s owner looked like the type of boy who would have been more at home in a country club than a diner. His skin was perfect, his hair artfully mussed. Even though he phrased his words like they were a question, they weren’t—not really.

“Sure,” I said, grabbing a menu. “Right this way.”

A closer observation told me that Country Club was about my age. A smirk played across his perfect features, and he walked with the swagger of high school nobility. Just looking at him made me feel like a serf.

“This okay?” I asked, leading him to a table near the window.

“This is fine,” he said, slipping into the chair. Casually, he surveyed the room with bulletproof confidence. “You get a lot of traffic in here on weekends?”

“Sure,” I replied. I was starting to wonder if I’d lost the ability to speak in complex sentences. From the look on the boy’s face, he probably was, too. “I’ll give you a minute to look over the menu.”

He didn’t respond, and I spent my minute bringing Pancakes and Breakfast Burrito their checks, plural. I figured that if I split it in half, I might end up with half a decent tip.

“I’ll be your cashier whenever you’re ready,” I said, fake smile firmly in place.

I turned back toward the kitchen and caught the boy by the window watching me. It wasn’t an I’m ready to order stare. I wasn’t sure what it was, actually—but every bone in my body told me it was something. The niggling sensation that there was a key detail that I was missing about this whole situation—about him—wouldn’t go away. Boys like that didn’t usually eat in places like this.

 

Recommended
» November 9 read online
» The One (The Selection #3) read online
» The Elite (The Selection #2) read online
» The Selection (The Selection #1) read online
» A Court of Thorns and Roses read online
» End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days # read online
» Red Queen (Red Queen #1) read online
» The Fill-In Boyfriend read online
» P.S. I Still Love You(To All the Boys I've read online
» We Were Liars read online
Hot Series
» Surrender Your Love series
» Fixed series
» Beautifully Broken series
» Falling series
» The Arcana Chronicles series
» The Immortals After Dark series
» Stage Dive series
» Ten Tiny Breaths series
» Fallen Star series
» The Coincidence series
» The Secret series
» In the Company of Killers series
Most Popular
» Love, Chloe
» Hawke (Cold Fury Hockey #5)
» A Thousand Boy Kisses
» Wicked Sexy Liar (Wild Seasons #4)
» Beautiful Boss (Beautiful Bastard #4.5)
» Beautiful Burn (The Maddox Brothers #4)
» Endlessly Beautiful (Beautiful #1.3)
» Addicted After All (Addicted #3)
» Thrive (Addicted #2.5)
» Amour Amour