Do Over

A Novel

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Toe-curling? Check. Sheet-twisting? Check. But is that enough for a second chance?

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. . . .

Do Over is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

“Sharp, funny, charming, and impossible to put down! I adored Do Over.”—Jessica Lemmon, author of the Real Love series

“Fans of second-chance romance are going to love this, I’m sure of it. If you’re looking for a fun and grounded read, make sure to pick up Do Over.”All About Romance

“I have read several books by Serena Bell and I am never disappointed. This book was no exception. It’s sweet and sexy and emotional in all the ways that I like. . . . I love reading about a family working their way back to each other.”—Smexy Books

“I loved this story. It kept me engaged from beginning to end and I immediately connected with the characters. This is a second-chance romance, which is one of my favorite tropes. The characters are real, vulnerable, good together, and have amazing sexual chemistry.”—Cocktails and Books

Don’t miss any of Serena Bell’s delightful romances:
YOURS TO KEEP | HOLD ON TIGHT | AFTER MIDNIGHT | TURN UP THE HEAT | CAN’T HOLD BACK | TO HAVE AND TO HOLD | GETTING INSIDE

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Do Over

She stands up, the movement sharp and decisive.

“You can’t go back there.”

This is not a thing I plan to say. It just pops out of my mouth. Because I’m picturing her going back to that condo she shares with Harris. The condo where she found him with his tongue on her best friend’s—

Yeah, not so much.

I can see the moment when she has the same realization.

“I can’t go back there,” she repeats. And her whole upper body kind of collapses. Her face, too. I recognize that look. It’s not unlike the look that Gabe had on his face an hour earlier when he realized that all the women in his life had abandoned him with me.

Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.

“And I definitely can’t stay with Mia.”

The way she’s cataloguing it, where she can’t go, it makes my chest hurt.

“I could—go to San Diego.”

Her mom and dad are in San Diego. They retired there right after Maddie moved into Harris’s place with Gabe. Maddie complains all the time about how far away her parents are and how infrequently Gabe gets to see them. If she went to San Diego with Gabe, it would break my mom’s and my sister’s hearts.

“Stay here,” I burst out.

I’m not thinking. Because if I’d been thinking, I’d know that was the worst idea ever. The kind of idea dreamed up by a still semi-hard dick frustrated in its evening activities, not by an actual brain. And yet, I’m still talking. Or one of my heads is still talking, anyway.

“I have lots of space. Gabe has a room here.”

And we could finish what we just started. We could let it play out, see where it goes. Get it done, get it out of our systems, put it behind us.

You idiot! my brain is shouting back at me. If you want to get laid, there are twenty women I can think off the top of my head, no strings attached, no complications (and that’s not counting the ones you would have met tonight if you’d gone to the game with Henry and Clark). This one? She’s off limits. She’s always been off limits.
Maddie’s shaking her head. “That’s a really bad idea.”

“Why?”

Have I mentioned I’m contrary? If someone fights with me, I tend to dig in. It’s one of the things that used to send my dad into a rage. Two seconds ago, I was pretty sure it was a really bad idea, too, but now that Maddie’s arguing with me—

“It would be confusing for Gabe. Having his parents together.”

“Not more confusing than you moving out of Harris’s condo. It would be the least disruptive thing for him. If you’re going to pull him out of Harris’s place, that’s going to mess with his head, but at least this is familiar.”

I am officially a dick, because I am using emotional manipulation and the happiness of our child to convince a woman to stay under my roof so that I can have another shot at getting her into bed. But I don’t feel that guilty. Maybe because I think what I said is actually true. Gabe is going to be super-confused no matter what. He likes Harris (the only example of really bad taste I’ve seen from him—must be Maddie’s genes). So maybe hanging out here for a little bit would make a good consolation prize.

Maddie is looking confused now. I can see her working through the details in her head. So I give her a little help.
“Commute stays the same.” The pharmacy where she works is in Seattle, so actually halfway between Harris’s condo and my house. “It’ll give you time to find a place that’s the right size and not too expensive, which will save us both money.” I figure if I display some obvious self-interest, that will deflect her away from my real self-interest.

“Plus, built-in child care.”

She eyes me suspiciously. Maybe she’s more aware than I think of my less-than-superior track record at watching Gabe on my own.

“What? I’d be here anyway. And my mom and my sister are super close. You know they’d be psyched to help.”

“But Gabe’s preschool is near Harris’s place—”

“So he’ll switch. You can pull him out, and either send him near me or wait till you figure out where you’re going to live and then enroll him.”

She bites her lip, thinking about it. “I think I have to pull him anyway. It doesn’t make sense for me to live in Mukilteo if Harris and I aren’t together.”

The thing is, I have now actually convinced myself it’s a great idea. For one thing, where the hell else is she going to go? She doesn’t have other friends she’s as close to as Mia, and even if she did, they probably wouldn’t have the space to take in both her and Gabe. But apart from that, this is actually a good solution for the two of them, for all the reasons I gave her. And I can put up with the disruption, especially if there are a few benefits thrown in—

Her eyes narrow. It’s possible she saw my glance slide over her body when I was thinking about benefits. If I did not mention this earlier, being pregnant and nursing Gabe made Maddie’s body sexier. Rounder, more generous, softer—

Eyes up, Jack.

Mine meet hers, unfortunately. Caught.

“That—what just happened—” She waves a hand to indicate the couch. “That can’t happen again.”

I thoroughly disagree with her, but I’m not going to argue. I nod, earnestly. “Okay. That can be a ground rule.” We can revisit the ground rules as necessary, later.

She is still eyeing me suspiciously.

“You’re the one who jumped me,” I point out.

She looks sheepish, and relaxes a little.

“I’ll go make up the guest bed.”

“Jack—”

She’s going to say no. She’s going to say what a bad idea it is—for her, for me, for Gabe, for all of us.

Her eyes are soft, still red from crying earlier, and very green in the lamplight.

“Thank you.”
 

- About the author -

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 of her enormous collection of constantly changing and passionately embraced hobbies, ranging from needlepoint to paddleboarding to meditation.

More from Serena Bell

Do Over

A Novel

Do Over

— Published by Loveswept —