Bix Barrow has a new MM contemporary romance out (gay, pan): Head Over Feels. And there’s a giveaway.
A luscious pet massage therapist, a gorgeous but grumpy ex-FBI agent, and glitter bombs gone deadly…
I shouldn’t be jealous of my cat. I am, though. Her pet massage therapist (who knew that was even a thing?) is exactly my type. Smart, funny, and adorable with just the right amount of meat on his bones.
But a guy like that deserves more than a grouchy forty-something ex-FBI agent with a broken body and a screwed-up brain. I’m shocked when he offers a no-strings night together, though I don’t think twice before I’m all in.
I should’ve known better, because one night will never be enough. But before I can ask Felix for more, our awkward morning after turns explosive. And not in a good way
Now I just have to keep Felix alive long enough to catch the bomber. And to capture Felix’s heart.
What would happen if everyone you’d ever dated got together and plotted against you?
For me, it’s glitter bombs. Lots and lots of glitter bombs.
Okay, maybe I deserved the first one or two. Or three. But I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’m a better person now. I definitely don’t deserve the latest bomb—this one isn’t made of glitter. Now I’m in hiding with Malcolm, the smokin’ hot older client I just had a sizzling one-night stand with.
Malcolm might be grumpy and prickly, but to me he’s also warm, caring, and romantic. My exes can’t hold a candle to him. But all that glitters is not gold. The bomber still wants me dead, and I’m pretty sure the police arrested the wrong guy.
If Malcolm and I want our HEA, we have to identify the real culprit. I just hope it all doesn’t blow up in our faces.
Head Over Feels is a low-angst MM contemporary romance. Come for the grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity (but there are two beds, sorry), hurt/comfort, and found family. Stay for the bombs (glitter and real), the 1985 Buick Riviera convertible, dreams coming true, atoning for past mistakes, game nights, a dead body, and an online date gone very, very, wrong. HEA guaranteed!
Warnings: PTSD symptoms, bomb explosion, off-page murder, recount of dog euthanasia
Bix is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour:
(from Felix’s POV)
I was still furious at Jaime’s holier-than-thou attitude about pet massage therapy. Where did he get off thinking he could judge me? At least I’d be helping animals and their owners. He built skyscrapers for rich jerks.
If I winced a little thinking my ex-dates would have a very similar opinion about me if they found out I’d held them up for the world to laugh at, well, that was no one’s business but my own.
Anger and guilt were fighting in my gut as I clomped up the stairs and down the hall, turning the corner to reach my apartment. A small box sat in front of my door. Usually the apartment complex sent an email when I had a package delivered, but maybe one of my neighbors had picked it up by mistake.
I checked, and it was addressed to me. Someone is thinking about you was plastered across the outside of the box on colorful tape.
Could it be from my grandma? Sometimes she sent cookies. I’d been planning to spend the rest of the night on the couch with a bottle of cheap vodka, but cookies would be a welcome addition to help drown my feelings. The night was looking up at last.
After dumping my wallet and keys on the kitchen counter, I rooted around in my junk drawer for a pair of shears to open the package with. Inside the outer box was another box tied with curly multicolored ribbon. Thinking of you, said the sticker on the lid.
Smiling, I lifted out the smaller box and tugged on the ribbon.
The box burst open. I flinched back and yelled as a shower of glitter exploded all over the kitchen. And me.
“Ugh!” I spat into the sink to get the glitter out of my mouth. I tried to wipe my face on my sleeve, but my shirt was covered in it too. Luckily I hadn’t gotten any in my eyes, but it was crusted on my eyelids and in my beard.
I swiped at my head to get it out of my hair. The glitter rained down on the counter. Silver glitter. Gold glitter. Red, blue, green glitter.
It covered the counter and the kitchen floor. I didn’t have to look to know it had spread over the opposite side of the counter onto the living room carpet.
I brushed my hands together to get the worst of it off, then I studied the remains of the box. A spring had powered the little explosion. I found a notecard underneath the glitter and pulled it out. One side of the card showed a drawing of a tree and proclaimed, Our glitter is non-toxic and biodegradable! On the other side someone had handwritten, This is the least you deserve.
It wasn’t signed.
I flashed to my ex-dates. Surely not. I mean, what were the odds they would’ve seen Felicia in the City, much less recognized themselves.
Shaking my head, I set about washing the glitter off my hands, cleaning as much as I could from the counter and the floor, then running my ancient vacuum cleaner over the living room carpet.
I couldn’t think of anyone I’d aggravated recently. Except Jaime, of course. Not to mention his boyfriend. But the timing wasn’t right. I snorted to myself. If anyone deserved a glitter bomb, it was Jaime.
The kitchen was as clean as it was going to get, at least tonight. I went into the bathroom and stood in the tub to take my clothes off. Biodegradable meant it could go down the drain, right? Showering was a relief. The glitter had been starting to itch.
After putting on a t-shirt and pajama pants, I flopped down on the couch. I was exhausted but too wired to sleep yet. Groaning, I heaved myself up again and trudged to the kitchen. After pouring myself a generous vodka with a hint of tonic, I shuffled back to the couch and sank into the cushions.
With the kitchen light on, the carpet sparkled from embedded glitter. The vacuum hadn’t done much to get it out.
I slugged back about a third of my vodka tonic, then I picked up my phone to text Cal.
Me: My date was cheating on his boyfriend. And when I got home someone had sent me a glitter bomb.
Little dots appeared almost immediately, so I sipped my drink somewhat more sedately while I waited.
Cal: WTF, man? I hope u gave ur friend Cole shit about it. Do u know who sent the glitter bomb?
Me: I did and no, no idea. The note said “This is the least you deserve”
Cal: I hate to bring this up again, but how about those guys u dated who ended up on Felicia in the City?
Me: Marcie changed their names, and the show’s set in a different town
Cal: Well, I didn’t have anything to do last night, so I binged the first season. How many guys have model train tracks throughout their entire house and can’t sleep without it running? And how many guys show photos of their ex to their date and cry about him?
Well, fuck. Trent, the train guy, would definitely recognize himself. Or his friends would. And if you saw the episode with the guy crying over photos of his ex—who was very much alive, mind you—you might remember the appetizer in question was calamari. Something Marcie had kept consistent with my real date, since she liked how I’d described it as crying in the calamari. I hadn’t considered it might be a clue for Xavier to recognize himself on the show.
And none of the guys would have a hard time figuring out it was me who told their stories.
Me: Crap, you might be right
Cal: Well whichever of those guys did it, hopefully sending the glitter bomb got it out of their system
Me: I hope so
I rubbed my chest, frowning. Maybe letting Marcie pay me to use the stories from my dates hadn’t been the nicest thing I could’ve done.
When Bix Barrow got an idea for her first book, it ended up turning into her second — and thus the first two stories in the Bent Oak, Texas series emerged. An aspiring author for most of her life, it took a foray into the MM romance genre to spark the steamy scenes and blazing banter Bix now weaves into her novels. Accompanying her on her writing exploits are her two dogs and multitude of cats (seven at last count). An avid traveler, Bix has started to view her expeditions as interviews for her future home. Born and raised in Texas, she is eager to move somewhere with fewer politicians, hurricanes and flooding. Connect with Bix at http://www.bixbarrow.com
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Head Over Feels
by Bix Barrow
My alarm went off too early for my taste. The insistent buzzing broke me out of a deep sleep, and I woke confused about where I was for a moment. I’d been sleeping with my face pressed into a pillow, and I blinked as I sat up and glanced around. Malcolm wasn’t in the bed, and the sheets next to me were cold.
The room was a little stark, but it could’ve been due to Malcolm not having lived in the house very long. The bed had a black metal headboard with two crossbars. The comforter was white with a black swirling pattern and a significant swath of dark brown cat hair. There was no rug on the hardwood floor, and a tall black chest of drawers was the only other piece of furniture in the room. I guessed Malcolm didn’t spend much time in here.
I picked up my phone and thumbed off the alarm. I had a couple of hours before I needed to be at the rescue ranch.
Malcolm appeared in the doorway, wearing some ancient-looking sweatpants and no shirt. His hair was damp. I spared a brief regret for missing an opportunity to suggest sharing the shower.
“Hey,” he said. His face was almost expressionless. Fuck, was he going to be awkward again? I would’ve liked to take a moment to appreciate his furry chest, but not if he wasn’t into it, so I kept my eyes trained on his face. I was acutely conscious of my nakedness under the sheet, and not in a sexy way.
“When do you need to leave?” Malcolm asked. “I can make breakfast.”
Breakfast? Would that be weird? But he was offering, and I didn’t want to make it weird if he wasn’t weirded out. I wished I could tell what he was thinking.
“Um, sure. I don’t have a set appointment, but I need to go home and change before I drive out to… a ranch outside of town this morning sometime.” Jason had asked me to come over and look at an elderly alpaca they’d taken in. She had a limp, and Doc Pinkerton said it was a muscle strain.
Malcolm gave a sharp nod. “I should head to the office early as well. Feel free to use the shower. Come to the kitchen when you’re done.” He pivoted on his cane and then vanished down the hallway.
Well, okay. Were we supposed to pretend we hadn’t seen each other naked? I mean, I didn’t expect any boyfriend-y behavior like kissing me awake or bringing me coffee in bed. But after a night of hot sex, a guy likes to at least be ogled a little the next morning, you know?
My clothes had been folded neatly and placed on the chest of drawers. I showered as quickly as I could, then got dressed. Maybe it’d be better to skip breakfast and take off.
But when I found Malcolm in the kitchen, he’d already plated our food. Eggs, bacon and toast. Coffee was already poured, milk and sugar displayed prominently to the side.
“Come eat,” he ordered, shoving one of the chairs back for me.
Well, I was hungry. Internally shrugging, I sat. “Thanks.” I’d eat as quickly as possible and then bolt.
Mariposa sauntered in. After winding herself around my ankles a couple of times, she jumped up into the chair to my left. I raised my eyebrows and glanced at Malcolm, but he ignored me. He forked up a bit of egg from his plate and held it out to Mariposa. She daintily accepted the offering, and Malcolm withdrew his fork and began eating again.
“Um, you know cats lick themselves everywhere, don’t you?”
Malcolm shrugged and sipped his coffee. One eyebrow went up as if in challenge. “You know some men lick their lovers everywhere, don’t you?”
He’d barely spoken to me all morning, and now he was making sex jokes? Screw that noise. I glared at him. “There’s no reason last night has to make things awkward, Malcolm.”
He sighed and looked down at his plate, then back up at me. “Yeah, I know. Sorry.” He cleared his throat. “It’s just… been a while for me. I’m out of practice or something.”
“We’re good,” I reassured him. “It was only casual. Nobody’s expecting any commitments.”
He nodded, and we both focused on finishing our breakfasts. At least the tension in the air had eased a little.
After we’d eaten, Malcolm rinsed the plates and put them in the dishwasher before grabbing his car keys. “Let’s go out the side door here.”
“Sure.” I picked up my messenger bag from the living room, checked my phone was in my pocket, and followed him out to the carport.
We stepped out into the humid morning air. Mockingbirds called to each other, drowning out every other bird who might have wanted to greet the day. I wandered over to look Malcolm’s giant convertible while he shut the door and locked it.
“Felix,” he said. I turned to look back at him. “I wanted to—”
I caught sight of my sedan at the end of the driveway. “Fucking hell!” I shouted. “Are you kidding me!” I ran toward the car.
Sitting on the roof, right over the driver’s door, was a small brown cardboard box.