Heart Me Up, a Bent Oak, Texas Novel by Bix Barrow

Heart Me Up will make you laugh out loud. Fantastic secondary characters.

From the blurb:

Most cops would say flirting immediately after you’ve flashed your badge at a guy is a bad idea. But I can’t resist Craig, the pet resort owner I’ve come to interview. I mean, look at him in his wet jeans

and… is that dog hair all over his chest?

I’m dying to ask him out, but first I have to do this favor for my great aunt—okay she bribed me—and go on a blind date with the grandson of her frenemy.

But guess who shows up to rescue me with an outrageous cover story and a rhinestone dog collar?

My last not-even-a-relationship ended badly. Like, go-to-therapy-for-two-years badly. But I can’t stop thinking about the hot cop who told me to call him if I had any questions. Trust me, there was an innuendo there.

Running into Foster and helping him get out of his blind date reminds me how much I miss going out and having fun. And kissing. Really, the kissing.

I think I’m ready to risk my heart and date again. But is Foster ready for the reputation he gets around the police station after my dog collar stunt? And am I ready to have his PITA grumpy best friend move into my guest room with no end date? And are either of us ready for how fast this relationship is moving?

One thing I know for sure is that neither of us are ready for the guy with a gun in my house.

Heart Me Up is a 62k MM romance filled with meddling friends, hurt/comfort, game nights, an uncomfortable couch, and dog accessories not used for their intended purposes.

Heart Me Up takes place before the events in the rest of the Bent Oak, Texas series and can be read as a standalone.

SNik's Review:

Standalone that takes place in the author’s Bent Oak, Texas series universe. Hurt/comfort. Dual POV. 

Craig owns a pet resort with his best friend and is working on getting over a past relationship that has made him seek out therapy, but it’s been years and he just doesn’t want to try for more. But meeting sexy police detective Foster prompts Craig to finally let go of his fears, and once Craig hilariously helps Foster out of a blind date, both men are willing to risk their hearts. 

Both Craig and Foster are likable characters surrounded by a really supportive and funny cast of friends which really rounds out the story to include other aspects of Craig and Foster’s lives outside of their growing relationship. 

I do wish there was more personal background and emotional conversation between them, as they jump immediately into an exclusive and committed relationship, but I still enjoyed all their interactions, doubts and mistakes which made them all the more human. 

Entertaining read that made me smile at times, and had Craig and Foster getting a heartfelt HEA.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Janet's Review:

Heart Me Up is the second story in the A Bent Oak, Texas series. It works completely as a standalone although we do get a glimpse of Cole, Jason and Will from Holding On to a Hero. 

Foster is a cop that needs help with getting out of a blind date. Craig helps him and ohh boy is it funny to read. Craig has been hurt in the past and has PTSD from that. But when he meets Foster, he’s willing to try again. 

This is one of those stories that will get you right in the feels but more often you’ll spontaneously bark out laughing! Sweet, steamy and seriously funny at times with a touch of tears. 

Overall, a fantastic read! Well written with pacing that just flows. I literally couldn’t put this one down!

Rating: 5 Stars

Heather's Review:

Heart Me Up is the second book in the A Bent Oak, Texas series but can easily be read as standalone.  

This book is laugh out loud funny, touching and sweet but doesn't neglect my need for a steamy scene or two!  The characters are fun and the banter is excellent!  I love the side characters, particularly Foster's partner on the force and the rest of his crew!  Well paced and well developed, this is one of those stories where you root for the characters to get their HEA because they both deserve it! 

Rating: 5 Stars

Angel's Review:

Foster is a detective in his home town, he has weekly game nights with his friends and fellow coworkers, he is watching his best friend's cat... But he's still lonely, he's missing something. 

When Foster meets Craig he finally finds what he was missing, what was missing from his life was Craig. He just didn't know it. 

I adored these two characters, Craig was sweet and smart and has had a rough coupe of years, Foster's head strong, loyal and caring. He helps out his neighbor and he agrees to blind date his great aunt sets him up with. On said blind date he needs rescuing from that date, who rescues him you may ask? Craig, that's who! That moment I could not stop laughing and smiling at my phone, it was so funny and amusing! The author was very creative and clever coming up with that and then writing it so well. 

This book was really well written with terrific characters and very detailed backgrounds for each character. I loved Mariposa, I want a Maine coon cat so to read about one made me smile. I really enjoyed how even the side characters played such a big part in the overall storyline, they all contributed to adding more dimension and humor into the story. 
The only reason I'm giving this a 4 star is because I wish we got to see more of Foster doing his job, we got to see Craig doing his job but we didn't get much of Foster doing his. That's pretty minor considering the story was really good. 

I definitely recommend this story and can I just say, I loved the ending of this book! 

Rating: 4 Stars

Lori C's Review:

The blurb for this book sounded so interesting! Foster has agreed to go on a blind date with his Great Aunt Charlotte’s frenemie’s grandson for baked goods. Before the date even occurs though, he meets a cutie named Craig while doing a favor for his neighbor. So when he sees Craig at his date venue, they make a plan for Craig to rescue him if he needs it only for some crazy shenanigans to happen 🫣. Life is all about having fun though and Foster makes sure to follow up with Craig to plan a real date. 

I was torn between full smiles, small smiles, littles laughs and full on belly laughs throughout this book. I absolutely adore books that can make you laugh like that. When I first sat down to read Heart Me Up, I was so tired, but after a little reading I was laughing instead of yawning!! There is a great friend circle in this book made of police officers and a neighbor friend. I wonder how these friends figure into future books. Also, I hadn’t realized this is technically book two of the series; however, it is a stand alone from the first book. I am looking forward to reading Holding On to a Hero. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Heat Me Up is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.


  1. Getting this Book NOW!!! Your reviews haven't steered me wrong yet!!


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