Serena Bell’s newest sexy romance, DO OVER hits Shelves Today!
By: Serena Bell
Publisher: Ballantine Group; Loveswept
On Sale: January 30th, 2018
ISBN: 9780425284285 | Pages 216 | Price: $4.99
Jack: I’m pretty much as tough as they come. But when a woman comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. Scratch that—when Maddie Adams comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. That’s how we ended up making our incredible son five years ago, and that’s why I practically beg her to move in with me when she’s in a tight spot. Of course, the last time I got the chance to be the hero, I let her down, but I’m not making the same mistake twice. This time, I’m going to be the man she deserves—and then I’m going to lay every ounce of sexy on her until she lets me back into her heart.
Maddie: Jack Parker is hot, and he knows it. What he’s not is a family man, something this single mom had to learn the hard way. Still, moving into his place until I get back on my feet makes all kinds of sense. He’s an old friend. He’s, ahem, the father of my child. And let’s face it, now that I’ve just been colossally dumped, we’ve got nowhere else to go. The truth is, I never could resist Jack. Living under the same roof puts dirty thoughts in my head. And when my brilliant plan backfires, my whole body is begging for a do-over. . .
USA Today bestselling author and RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee Serena Bell writes richly emotional stories about big-hearted characters with real troubles and the people who are strong and generous enough to love them. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen closely enough, and she adores hiding in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.
“Jesus, Maddie, you okay?”
I take a step closer to her. And then one back. Because—she’s crying. Which is exactly how she and I got ourselves into this situation in the first place.
I’m six two. I weigh two hundred pounds. I work with big tools, including power tools, and most of the time I wear jeans or Carhartts and work boots. For exercise, I lift weights or shoot hoops or toss a football with the guys, maybe play softball if it’s summer and the contractor I’m working for has an “office” league going, and for fun I watch sports and NASCAR and drink.
In short, I carry the man card.
Therefore, there is no excuse for what a wuss I am when it comes to women crying.
Tears and makeup are running down Maddie’s face in dark streaks, and if Gabe weren’t asleep in the bedroom behind me I’d be sure something awful had happened to him. My chest wrings a little at the thought, but I push it away. Can’t go there.
“What is it? Is it your mom?”
She shakes her head. Actually, she’s shaking all over. “No one. No one’s hurt,” she manages. “It’s not that.”
I’m relieved. When I think about Maddie’s mom, what I always remember is how she used to make us Nutella sandwiches on white bread when we were little, sit us down in the kitchen and talk to us like we were real people. Like I was worth her time.
“Shh.” I stroke her arms, the warmth of her skin rising through the thin layer of her shirt and seeping into my palms. My fingers graze the side of her body, the curve of her breast. Fuck me. I take a step back, but it’s too late. The feel of her softness is zapping around in my body like the steel ball in a pinball machine. This is why I don’t hug Maddie, why I never touch her if I can help it.
“You were right,” she wails.
“I shouldn’t have moved in with him without a ring.”
Harris. That fucker. I don’t know what he’s done yet, but I can feel my fight-or-flight response—meaning the fight part—going into high gear. It would give me so much pleasure to rearrange his face. “What’d he do?”
“What’d he do?”
She doesn’t want to tell me, probably because it’s bad and she knows I’m going to lose my shit.
“I came home and he was—” She takes a deep breath. “He was—goingdownonMiainthekitchen.”
She strings the words together, so it takes me a minute to pull them apart. But then I get it, and oh, holy fucking Jesus, that’s bad.
What’s crazy is I didn’t see it coming. Harris, yeah. He’s a total dickwad, as previously mentioned. This new evidence of assholery barely even counts as a surprise. But Mia? I never saw her as the type to screw Maddie over like that . . .
And man, that would hurt. I try to picture Henry doing something like that to me, but I can’t. Guy code.
“Those assholes. Jesus, Maddie, I am so sorry.”
There are tears streaming down Maddie’s face.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit.
I can’t just stand here like a gorilla with my hands at my sides and watch her cry.
Plus Maddie’s tears have basically cut my balls off and the middle of my chest feels soft and gooey.
Don’t do it.
Don’t fucking do it, Jack.
It’s just like that day five years ago. Just the same.
“C’mere,” I say roughly.
Bad idea. Bad, bad, bad idea.
She takes a step forward, into my arms, and I wrap her up. At first it’s fine. I pat her back and stroke her hair, and it’s okay. I concentrate on the fine, silky feel of her hair and not any of the other places where her body is touching mine.
“He’s an asshole, Maddie. He’s not worth it. He’s not worth being upset over.”
She’s shuddering and sobbing, and I’m holding her and telling her it’s going to be okay.
“They’ve both been working so much, and I’m such an idiot. I should have been suspicious—”
“Well, yeah, maybe, because Harris is a gigantic dick, but on the other hand, you don’t think that your boyfriend and your best friend are going to do the dirty in your kitchen,” I say darkly.
That makes her sob even harder. Possibly it wasn’t the right thing to say.
“I thought—I thought he was going to propose soon. Oh, my God, I’m an idiot, Jack, I’m such an idiot.”
“You’re not an idiot.”
God, keep me away from Harris Stoughton so I do not have to go to prison for life for murder.
If she was a little bit of an idiot for thinking that a guy like Harris cared about anything other than his own ego and his (obviously tiny) dick, then it was an easy mistake to make, because any self-respecting guy in his right mind should value her exactly the way she wants and deserves.
As I’m thinking that, my arms tighten around her, my fingers sinking deeper into her hair. I was so right about what a bad idea this is. As soon as her body is flush with mine, as soon as I can feel her heat through her thin shirt and my T-shirt, my heart speeds up and that jolt goes through me, the way it always does when we’re touching. Like she’s an injection of something rushing through my whole body, super-concentrated where my dick is now hardening between us.
To review: gooey chest, hard dick. Never ends well.
Why do women have to smell so good? And the worst part is, she smells exactly the same as she did the last time I held her in my arms and comforted her like this, the night Gabe was conceived. If you have sex with someone, and it’s good, the way it was with Maddie and me, the way she smells gets permanently tattooed into your brain and for the rest of time, that scent is instant-boner territory. You could be walking by some neighbor’s garden and whoosh! Hard enough to hammer with.
In Maddie’s case, I think it’s something she puts in her hair, flowery, but not too sweet. But underneath that, something cinnamon that I swear is just her skin. I have never wanted to lick a woman’s skin besides Maddie’s.
Meanwhile, I’ve become hyperaware of the part of my body that’s sandwiched between us (I am a big guy—all over—but I think I’ve just found a few millimeters I haven’t been using) and the parts of her body that are. All I’d have to do is slide my hands down and around, and I’d have two overflowing handfuls of Maddie. It actually makes my thumbs twitch with the urge to flick over her nipples.
Don’t be an asshole, Jack.
I recall having a similar series of thoughts on the night Gabe was conceived.
Now would be a good time to step away.
Because I’ve been down this road before. In fact, the parallels between the night we made Gabe and tonight are eerie. Including the way my brain is trying desperately to argue that getting a taste of Maddie will be worth whatever comes next. And there’s just no way. If the carnival of fuckery that followed the last time we had sex couldn’t convince me of that, nothing could. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s no such thing as getting a taste of Maddie and walking away unscathed.
Her crying has calmed down; she’s quiet now in my arms. Just breathing a little fast.
She’s just breathing fast because she’s upset.
If you take advantage of her right now, you’re a bigger dick than Harris.
I’m about to let her go. She’s calm now. I’ll get her a beer; we’ll sit together and watch the rest of the game. She can sleep on the couch and then in the morning she can figure out her plan.
Life will go on, just the way it has. The only way it can.
Then I feel her hip. Just a little nudge.
Against my hard-on.
USA Today bestselling author and RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee Serena Bell writes richly emotional stories about big-hearted characters with real troubles and the people who are strong and generous enough to love them. A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen closely enough, and she adores hiding in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head. When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also her enormous collection of constantly changing and passionately embraced hobbies, ranging from needlepoint to paddleboarding to meditation. Learn more on her website: http://www.serenabell.com
The moment Jack Parker opens his door and sees the mother of his child in tears, he can't help but pull her into his arms and offer to fix the problem... no matter how much it costs him. They have history, once childhood best friends, then smitten teens who shared a night of passion, to now adults who share a child. They've never been in a relationship, been a domesticated couple, or been in love with one another, but it still kills him to see her hurting, so he offers her a place to say until the dusts of her recently imploded relationship settles. He knows he is doing the right thing for his child, but little does he know this new living arrangement may just be the best thing to happen to him too!
Maddie Adams has just discovered the man she thought was about to propose to her, in their kitchen up to no good with her best friend, and she is crushed, so she heads to the one place where she knows she will be accepted with open arms... the home of her child's father. They may have never been involved with one another, but they have always been there for one another, and right now she just needs someone to tell her everything is going to be alright... and she is hoping Jack can be that person. When he learns that she is about to be homeless he offers his home up to her, with no strings attached... but there is a little part of her that wishes there could be strings... a whole mess of them!
Do Over is a touching second chance romance story that is sure to leave your toes permanently curled, and your heart happy! As soon as I read the synopsis for this one I knew I had to request it, I am a sucker for a swoony reunion romance and I have to say this one was everything I anticipated it to be and SO much more. Jack and Maddie were quite the pair, their situation was a little unorthodox, but little by little they seem to get things righted and onto a path that neither ever saw happening for them, and boy was it fun to watch it all unfold. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, it got my emotions swirling, made me smile and swoon, and left my heart jumping for joy... and it doesn't get much better than that in my book! Highly recommend you meet these two their charming little reunion is sure to leave your heart happy!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this title.