“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.
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.
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