Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength. I am not strong. I am just a survivor of circumstance. Isn’t that what we all do? Survive? Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through. Mine are just more…complicated. Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than my own bedroom. I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared. He thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget. But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart forever? My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and sacrificing it all for the one you love.
Excerpt“What is your deal, Jude?” she yelled, taking several strides toward me.
“Yeah, you’re sweet and endearing one minute and then brushing me off the next. I don’t get it. What do you want from me? Am I a charity case? Do you get off on hanging out with the poor sick girl but then tire of me easily?”
Closing the last few inches between us, I got in her face. “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” I hissed.
“No,” she answered, “I really don’t. You don’t tell me anything. You are this big, giant mystery that I know nothing about. Why is that, Jude?”
“It’s too much,” I simply said.
“You mean, I can’t handle it,” she inferred.
“That’s not what I said, Lailah.”
“No, but that’s what you meant. You’re just like everyone else. I’m too fragile. I’m too weak. Let’s sugarcoat the truth, so it doesn’t upset Lailah. God forbid that we upset her,” she said in a mocking tone. “Well, I’m neither weak nor fragile. I’ve endured more pain than most people see in a lifetime, so don’t think for one single second that I can’t handle anything you can.”
“I know you can.”
“Then, why put me through all this? Do you even care a little about me?” Her voice was quiet and timid.
“I care too fucking much, Lailah.” Without a second thought, I grabbed the nape of her neck and pulled her body to mine before fusing our mouths together. She gasped in surprise, pulling back slightly, but then she surrendered, melting into me completely. My hands tightened around her waist as I deepened our kiss. I knew this had to be her first kiss, and I intended to make sure it was well worth the wait.
Within These Walls is available for purchase:
A portion of the sales during the first week of release will go to a children's heart charity.
About The Author
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.