EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT ~ Head Over Feels by Bix Barrow #Excerpt #Giveaway #ExclusiveExcerpt #BookBlast

Head Over Feels
by Bix Barrow

Series: Bent Oak, Texas
Release Date: Friday, June 23 2023
Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood
Length: Novel / 90,000 Words / 414 Pages
Primary Plot Arc: Romance
Pairings: M/M
Genres: Romance
LGBTQ+ Identities: gay, pan
Tropes: Redemption, forced proximity, pets/animals, hurt/comfort, found family
Keywords/Categories: Humorous, suspense, comedy, contemporary, contemporary romance, romance, gat romance, mm romance, gay, mm, announcement, new release, giveaway, Redemption, forced proximity, hurt-comfort, found family, pan, pansexual

Book Blurb

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


(Felix’s POV)

Cole: Found one looks promising but wants to know if ur into watersports

Cole: Not the kind with skis

I had to read the texts twice. Shaking my head, I pushed the phone back behind my monitor with the tip of my pen. Acid reflux, my recently acquired companion, burned in my chest.

I rubbed my sternum and made some mm-hmm noises as the older woman on my call ranted on about how incompetent the Level 1 support person had been. “Incompetent” obviously being code for “not American”. Most of the team in India had vastly more technical know-how than I did, and they worked for less pay. Not to mention they had to deal with people like this woman. I had the utmost respect for all of them.

I opened the top drawer of my desk to grab one of the many rolls of antacid tablets I’d started stocking there. Most people would assume I needed them because of my job, but angry customers were barely hitting my stress meter these days.

Have you ever made a stupendously bad decision? I don’t mean an iffy decision like eating chicken that’s been in the fridge a little too long.

No, I’m talking about a bad decision. Like allowing a retired movie star who’d never used a dating app in his life to impersonate me on my account in order to find me the man of my dreams.

If you ever have a movie star—or anyone, really—offer to do this for you, learn from my mistakes and just say no.

The pain in my chest eased up by the time the woman slowed her tirade. The detailed notes from the Level 1 tech made it easy to bring the call to a close. “Ma’am, I’m so sorry the first person you spoke to was not able to correct your issue. I don’t believe he had the service memo we only received in the last few minutes. You did say you had the Model 8705, right?”

After she confirmed, I went on. “Well, it seems we pushed out an update last night and the Model 8705s have been a little touchy about accepting the update if your home experienced any sort of fluctuation in electrical power overnight.”

At the desk next to me, Steve leaned back in his chair to give me a thumbs up. I grinned at him and kept going, “Do you know if you had any rainstorms or issues with your power company in the last day or so?”

The woman was quiet for a moment before admitting there had been some light rain last evening.

“That might be it then. Fortunately it’s an easy fix. Can I get you to unplug the machine and hit the reset button on your power outlet if it has one?” Steve covered his mouth and, laughing, went back to his own work. “No, ma’am, it’s okay if it doesn’t have a reset button.”

Magically, the machine worked perfectly after it was plugged in properly. Another satisfied customer.

Hanging up, I marked myself out for a break before another call could come through. Phone clenched in my hand, I dashed out to my car. This was not a conversation I wanted to have in public.

He answered on the second ring.

“Felix, hey. We’re getting some good responses. I think—”

“Cole, what did you do?”

“What do you mean?” He sounded genuinely confused.

“No one on the app I chose wants to know about watersports,” I snarled.

If you’d told me a month ago I’d be comfortable reprimanding an uber-famous actor, I probably would’ve passed out. But that was before Cole gave me puppy dog eyes and talked me into his harebrained scheme. And it was way before I’d learned how much Cole needed to be micromanaged.

“So it’s a no on the watersports?”

“Fuck yes, it’s a no, Cole! What app are you using?”

Sheepishly he admitted to copying my profile to a more, ahem, adventurous app. Why was I not surprised?

I rubbed my chest. “Cole, that’s not what I wanted or I agreed to. You have to take that profile down right now. And this experiment is over. I know you’re, uh, enthusiastic about finding me a guy, but it’s been two weeks and if you’re not getting the results you expected by now, it’s a sign it’s not meant to be.” He’d need to find a different hobby.

“Aww, I’m sorry, Felix. I know you didn’t want me to go on other apps. But it’s just, the guys on the first one were so boring. All dick pic this, dick pic that. You deserve better.” My heart warmed slightly, and it wasn’t the acid reflux this time. Dang it, I hated being such a soft touch.


“Give me two more days. I have some ideas. Pleeeeease?” Ugh.

I needed to get back to work. “Fine. As long as you remove my profile from any app other than the one we agreed on.”

He promised, and we ended the call. But, being older and wiser now, I immediately pulled up my text messages and sent one to Will.

Me: I gave your boyfriend 48 more hrs. That’s it. He’s stressing the crap out of me

Will: Sorry! But he’s having so much fun with this. It’s adorable

Me: Uh huh. He was talking to some guy who’s into watersports

Will: Shit. I’ll handle it

Tour Excerpt

(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.

Freaking fantastic.

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.


Author Bio

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 www.bixbarrow.com

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