Head Over Heels

A Novel

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They thought they were wrong for each other. That was before she moved in. . . .

Chase: Take it from me, never hire your best friend to be your live-in nanny. Because it’s a lot easier to be friends with a woman who isn’t prancing around your house in yoga pants. As a newly full-time dad, I needed help fast. I knew she was good with kids. And I thought things between us were strictly platonic. Now, with Olivia Stratten crashing in my guest room and steaming up the bathroom with the scent of her shampoo, it’s getting harder and harder—no pun intended—to remember all the reasons we’re supposed to be incompatible.

Liv: When Chase Crayton asked me to watch his five-year-old daughter until he could find someone full-time, I was afraid we’d drive each other nuts. But with Chase’s job on the line, I couldn’t say no. What I didn’t anticipate was how combustible our chemistry would be in close quarters. Neither of us did. After all, we first met on a blind date, and by the end of it, we were laughing about how terrible we’d be as a couple. In the two years since, nothing ever happened between us, not even a kiss—not until last night. . . .

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

Praise for Head Over Heels

“I love a good friends-to-lovers story—Head Over Heels will pull at your heartstrings and have you rooting for Chase and Liv!”USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson

Head Over Heels is intensely romantic and emotionally gripping. I adore Serena Bell’s writing!”—Jessica Lemmon, bestselling author of Rumor Has It

“If you are a sucker for the friends-to-lovers trope like I am, then boy do I have the next book you should read in Head Over Heels.”—The Subclub Books (four stars)

Head Over Heels by Serena Bell is a fun and sexy romantic comedy with a friends-to-lovers theme and a single dad who discovers the woman he wants has been there all along.”—Harlequin Junkie (Harlequin Junkie Recommends)

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 | DO OVER | HEAD OVER HEELS

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Head Over Heels

My friendship with Liv is a mystery to my guy friends, who can’t believe I could hang around her and not want to—their words—tap that.

Liv’s hot, sure. Long and lean and leggy, with a great smile and curves most guys would kill to get their hands on. But I don’t have those kinds of feelings for her, and even if I did, I’d never cross that line. She’s too good a friend, plus we’d drive each other nuts in under twenty-four hours—if we made it that long.

“Never gonna happen,” I say, not for the first time.

Brooks raises his eyebrows. “So what was that about before? When I was appreciating the view?”

“It was about how just because I don’t want to get with her doesn’t mean I want her to get with a guy whose idea of commitment is dinner and a movie before sex.”

I’ve taken so much shit about Liv since we became friends, I’ve got my retorts down to a science.

The thing is, it’s not that hard, in these days of Tinder, to find a way to scratch an itch. Most of the women I meet, they’re interested in getting serious—in settling down, having a kid or two, leaving the whole dating scene behind. But a woman who genuinely wants to be “just friends”?

Rarest beast on earth.

Liv is one of a kind.

Liv

Katie answers the door.

“Hi, Livvy. I’m watching Frozen,” the world’s most adorable five-year-old proclaims proudly, pushing strands of blond hair out of her face. The strands fall back into her eyes, and I kneel to tuck them behind her ears.

“What part are you at?”

“Elsa’s ice palace. She’s singing ‘Let It Go.’” Katie sings a few lines, twirling wildly around the living room, arms thrown out. She finishes with a curtsy.

I stifle a giggle. “That’s my favorite part. I brought you spaghetti.” I display the brown takeout bag.

“Yum, sketti!”

Katie turns her attention back to the unfurling grandeur of Elsa’s ice palace.

“Hey, Liv,” Chase calls. “In the kitchen.”

I head that way. Chase’s house always feels like finally pulling on sweats and taking off my makeup at the end of a long day. It’s super comfy. Not my style at all, or really any style—a mishmash of well-worn furniture and rugs—but the whole thing feels a lot like wrapping up in a fleece blanket and watching a good chick flick. Which I’ve done maybe a hundred times on Chase’s armchair by now, while he watches his action movies on his own laptop on the couch a couple of feet away. It’s our ritual.

This house—and Chase and Katie, of course—is definitely one of the things I’ll miss most when I leave Seattle. It’s weird to think that I’ve been in Seattle more than three years—longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. Maybe it’s the side effect of having moved around so much when I was a kid in foster homes, but I don’t like to stay put too long. That’s why I’ve been focusing my job search on everywhere except Seattle.

In the kitchen, Chase pours me red wine in a juice glass. He doesn’t drink wine, but he keeps it around for me, which is one of the many things that make him a good friend. “Cheers.” He clinks his scotch against my glass and sighs heavily, drawing my gaze to his face. Chase has beautiful brown eyes, flecked with darker brown, gold, and green, fringed with long eyelashes. But right now they have circles under them.

“You okay?” I ask him. I’ve had a hell of a day myself, but he looks worse than I feel.

He brushes his hand through his reddish-brown hair, making it all stand on end. Chase has that kind of not-quite curly hair that won’t behave, but because he’s a guy, no one gives a shit. When he rumples it and it’s all over the place, he looks hot. I say that objectively, because I can appreciate a hot guy when I see one, not because I personally crush on Chase. I know most people don’t think men and women can be friends—for the record, I was one of them until I met Chase. In this case it works because we both know we’d crash and burn as a couple.

“Yeah, just . . . Emily left. She said she needed to sleep in her own bed and have some downtime. She said she’d come back Tuesday if I needed her, but that still leaves tomorrow and Saturday. Mike says I can bring Katie in if I need to, for a couple of days—I need to find someone permanent, and I don’t really have any leads.”

“I’ll help,” I say. “And in the meantime, I could watch Katie tomorrow and Friday. Turns out the Gershels want me out right away.”

“What?”

“Her sister lost her waitressing job and she’s going to take over for me, and they need the guest room, and—anyway, I could probably kick up a stink about my contract but I didn’t want to. I’ll crash with Eve.”

“On the couch of death?”

Eve’s couch is so sprung that staying on it between nanny jobs is somewhere between uncomfortable and took a year off my life.

“Yeah. I just hope she doesn’t bring anyone home. Those walls are thin.”

Chase grimaces. “Fun, fun, fun. Well, if you can’t sleep, we can both be insomniacs. Watch movies together by text. Good practice for when you’re in Denver.”

“You been up a lot at night?”

“Katie’s not sleeping great,” he admits. “She’s fine during the day, mostly, but she’s having a lot of nightmares. And a lot of times when I wake up, I can’t fall asleep again.”

My heart squeezes for both of them. Even though Chase and Thea didn’t get along great, I know Katie’s grief is hard on him.

He starts unpacking the takeout bags I brought.

“What is this?” he demands.

I hide my smile. Messing with Chase about takeout is one of my favorite sports. “Sushi.”

“Seriously? Whatever happened to, you know, pizza? Chinese? Burgers and fries?”

I hide a smile. “It’s summer. And sushi has lots of omega-3 fats. It’s healthy. And beautiful.”

“Beautiful,” he mutters irritably. “Food is not supposed to be beautiful. It’s supposed to taste good.”

Just so you know, Chase likes to pretend he’s surly and mean, but he’s the biggest softie on earth. You just have to watch him for three seconds with Katie to see it.

I carefully transfer my sushi to a plate.

“Why do you do that?” he asks. “Put everything on plates. It just makes more dishes.”

My turn to shrug. I’ve got this thing for making meals as homey as possible. It’s another side effect of growing up in foster homes. There was a lot of grab-and-go in my life, and I love the idea of sitting down as a whole family and eating with plates and silverware and napkins and all that jazz.

I dump Katie’s spaghetti into a bowl and he says, “Now that looks good.”

“It’s Katie’s.” I warn him off with a glare.

He sighs. “I’m never letting you order the takeout again.”

This conversation is a perfect example of why Chase and I could never be a couple.

While I finish setting the table—best I can with Chase’s limited design resources, which don’t include placemats or actual napkins—Chase goes into the living room, shuts off the movie, and comes back into the kitchen with Katie at his side.

I set the bowl of spaghetti, heated, in front of her. She takes one look at it and bursts into tears.

Chase panics, practically lunging across the table in his haste to help. “Katie, what’s wrong? What’s wrong, baby?”

“Mommy always cut my sketti,” Katie wails.

Chase looks utterly stricken, and I can’t really blame him. He starts to form words, but I know nothing he says now is going to help. At all. I know the only thing that will help. Aside from the one thing neither of us has any power to do, which is to bring Thea back.

“She’s hungry,” I murmur to Chase. “Let’s get some food into her.”

I take a knife and fork and begin slicing the spaghetti into shorter pieces, and Katie’s wails soften immediately.
“Take a bite, hon’,” I tell Katie.

She does. Then another. Until she’s shoveling it in. She’s still sniffling a bit, but no longer crying.

“Slow down, hon’.”

“It’s really good,” she says, through a mouthful. “It’s the best sketti ever.”

Chase’s face slowly relaxes. His shoulders, too.

“She didn’t realize how hungry she was because she was watching the movie, and now she’s too hungry to have any resilience. She’ll be fine. Right, Katie girl? You’re fine, aren’t you?”

She smiles around her spaghetti, sauce smudged in a ring around her mouth.

Chase mouths something at me.

Thank you.

“It’s nothing,” I murmur.

He shakes his head. “Right now,” he says, “it’s everything.”

- 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

Head Over Heels

A Novel

Head Over Heels

— Published by Loveswept —