Before Hardin met Tessa he was a raging storm. During those first moments they met, he realized he needed to keep her for himself — his life depended on it. After they got together, the world would never be the same.
Read the full excerpt from Before:
“Monday we begin our weeklong discussion of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,” Professor Something-or-other announces to the class. I glance over at Tessa, and she’s smiling. Not just smiling — she’s grinning from ear to ear.
Of course she is. Chicks love Pride and Prejudice. They can’t get enough of Darcy and his pride-turned-charm bullshit.
I watch Tessa gather her things: a massive planner and every textbook this campus carries. I’m trying to pretend to stall, but really, even doing that is difficult, considering just how long it takes her to pick everything back up and put it neatly into her bag.
Following her outside, I say, “Let me guess: You are just madly in love with Mr. Darcy.”
I have to tease her over this. Have to.
“Every woman who has read the novel is,” she responds, her tongue sticking out a little at the end and her eyes focused anywhere other than my face. I follow her still and watch her look both ways before she crosses the street at the intersection.
“Of course you do.” I laugh, pausing a moment before I realize she’s gotten most of the way across the street without me. Damn, she walks fast.
“I’m sure you aren’t able to comprehend Mr. Darcy’s appeal.” Tessa tries to insult me as I catch up, but I just laugh again.
“A man who is rude and intolerable being made into a romantic hero? It’s ridiculous. If Elizabeth had any sense, she would have told him to f*** off from the beginning.”
Miss Priss turns to face me, and to my surprise I hear the soft sound of a giggle. As in, the innocent and unintentional giggles that have seemingly disappeared from the world today. She covers her mouth the moment the sound hits the air, but I heard it. I heard it, as if it had pierced through me.
“So you do agree that Elizabeth is an idiot?” I press.
“No, she is one of the strongest, most complex characters ever written.”
She defends Elizabeth Bennet in a way that most 18-year-olds would never be able to, with a Tom Hanks movie thrown in there to boot. I find myself laughing, genuinely laughing, and she joins in. Her laugh is soft, like cotton.
What the f*** did I just . . .
I immediately stop laughing and I look away from her. This is too damn weird.
She’s weird. And obnoxious.
“I’ll see you around, Theresa.” I dismiss her and walk the other way.
Soft like cotton? Her giggle pierced through me? What the f*** was that?
I push that bullshit to the back of my mind and walk to my car. Tonight there’s another party, as always, and I’ll get my mind away from this shit by burying myself in a tight, wet—
My phone vibrating in my pocket distracts me from my perverted thoughts. Pulling it out, I see Jace’s name pop up on the screen, and I quickly answer.
He’s been gone for a while, and I’ll be glad to have him back. Everyone has that one person they hang out with who makes them feel better about themselves. For me, that’s Jace. He’s an asshole — grade-A f***ing dickhead, ask anyone — but he’s entertaining and he always makes for a good time.
About the author: Anna Todd is a writer spending her days in the Austin, Texas, with her husband. She has always an avid reader and boy band and romance lover, so now that she’s found a way to combine the three she’s enjoying living a real-life dream come true. She now knows what life is like when you get to do what you love. She also has a thing for things that begin with T’s: Tom Hanks, TOMS, Target . . .
Find her at AnnaTodd.com, on Twitter at @imaginator1dx, on Instagram at @imaginator1d, and on Wattpad as Imaginator1D.
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