How (Not) To Date Your Neighbor - Book cover

How (Not) To Date Your Neighbor

Megan Blake

Age Rating


She's a wannabe librarian with two left feet and a broken heart. He's a detective who's afraid to lose everything all over again. When Noelle moves into the apartment next door from Jake’s, fate and irresistible attraction pull them into each other's lives—against both their better judgments. Will he come out of his shell before it’s too late? Is she willing to put aside their differences? Only time will tell…

Age Rating: 18+

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How (Not) to Stalk


Noelle leaned against the wall. Sweat was dripping down the side of her neck. She angled herself away from the hallway. Threw a furtive glance around.

She kept her breathing under control, her shoulders squared back. Her hands tightened around her keys.

Any second now.

She checked her watch.

She'd heard the door open last time, at this time. All the variables were the same.

So why was she alone in the hallway?

She was in position. The door locked, in direct sight.

She’d see him. There was no way she could miss him.

And maybe this time they'd get to talk.

Noelle wasn’t stalking.

Stalking would imply that she was a crazy person. She wasn’t!

She was just lingering in the hall. Maybe taking another minute to find her keys. So what if it was at a very specific time that she'd planned? So what if she almost broke her back bending to look whenever she heard a footstep?

That wasn’t stalking—no sir, no! She was—merely—she was a friendly neighbor.

A concerned citizen who wanted to make sure her unfairly hot neighbor made it home.

Was that crazy?

Okay. Fine. So she was stalking.

But it wasn’t her fault the man was sex on a stick.

She’d run into him the day she moved in. He’d been walking out of his apartment—a shiny police badge hanging off his black leather belt—and she’d swooned.

Badge aside, the man was mouth-watering.

Dark unruly hair. Piercing blue eyes. A towering height of at least six feet tall.

Then again, considering she was barely five-feet-on-the-dot, anyone towered over her.

So he was a cop. Which might have given her conflicting feelings, if they could actually be a thing.

But in her little fantasy…

Who cared? In her little fantasy, handcuffs were a good thing. In real life, it—they—would never happen. So she could think whatever she wanted. It was beside the point.

There was a big difference between daydreams and real life.

In real life, her first day, she had stood like an idiot with a giant tote in her hands while he strode past her. They had brushed shoulders, which he hadn’t noticed. And then he’d been gone.

Not a glance.

Ever since that day, she’d been trying to force a real encounter. One where she actually acted like a person.

First, she had tried doing laundry at different times on different days. She could start a conversation while folding clothes.

But her neighbor seemed to have a sixth sense for avoiding social interactions.

That, or he didn’t wash his clothes. He hadn't smelled like he didn't wash his clothes…

Oh god, she was such a stalker.

One evening, she pretended to lose her building key. She had stood on the front step, hoping he would notice and offer his assistance.

But another neighbor passed by first. They let her in, leaving Noelle red-faced on the doorstep and her plan in shambles.

Then she tried 'accidentally' meeting him at the mailbox.

Foolproof, right? Armed with a friendly smile and a casual comment about the weather, what could go wrong?

Except it didn’t work. She timed herself with the mailman—nope. She timed herself with when he went upstairs. Nope!

Either he didn’t get any mail, or his mailbox was about to explode.

At this point, she was going to have to leave it up to fate, and, well—fate?

Fate hated her.

All of which had turned her into a stalking mess.


Maybe she’d know his name by the end of the year.


Noelle looked down at her phone. A notification stared at her. An email—from—

She was suddenly hot and cold at once. Her heart was in her throat. She'd been waiting for this email. And dreading it, but mostly—maybe this time—

Please, please let me get this job.

She pressed and cringed at the same time.

"Dear Miss Harper, thank you for your interest in the librarian position at Rodham University. We were lucky to receive many strong applications, and are sorry to inform you that we will not be moving forward with your…"

Noelle closed her email, trying not to cry.

Another rejection.

She had her MLIS. She looked good on paper. Working at a university library was all she'd ever wanted.

Of course she couldn't land it. Nothing ever went right for her.


Corn nuts. Were they sending rejections in duplicate now?

She woke her screen.

MomHey sweetie! How’s the job hunt going? ❤️

And it was. Guilt.

She was a grown woman. Her mom shouldn’t have to worry about her.

She should have already had a job.

Noelle had been so close. She'd gotten to the final interview for an academic librarianship, at a college she drooled over. It had been the perfect place. The perfect position. Everything she wanted.

Then on the day of her interview, hell broke loose. Her grandpa passed away.

And she couldn't let Mom deal with that alone. Not again.

Abruptly, that golden opportunity needed a rain check.

The panel was understanding of her situation. Unfortunately they needed the position filled yesterday rather than tomorrow. Could she possibly reschedule within the week?

And Noelle couldn't.

She had to take care of Mom. Mom, who had already lost her husband when Noelle was too little to remember him. Mom, who'd been left to navigate the single-parent waters like a pro.

Mom hadn't asked for support, as usual. "I'll be okay, sweetie. Focus on your career."

But there was no way she could take that advice. She owed it to her mom to be there.

She withdrew herself from the pool at Rodham. Helped out with the funeral, and started the search all over.

But whatever magic Rodham had seen in her, no one else could see it now.

Her Master’s in Library and Information Sciences had only managed to land her a bookstore gig

It was better than nothing. It put food on the table, and it was an antiquities bookstore, which let her use some of her archival skills.

But it was so far from her original goal. She didn't want to be keeping ancient manuscripts, probably stolen ones, in good condition so rich people could hoard them.

She wanted to be assisting with important research. She wanted to be adding rare works to public databases, so the whole world could enjoy them.

Noelle wiped her eyes and typed back.

NoelleDidn’t work out! Next one for sure! I’m not giving up 😊
MomRemember to not burn yourself out! If you want to focus on the job hunt, you can always come back home. You always have a room here. ❤️

Noelle tapped back a heart emoji and shoved her phone in her pocket. Normally, she’d try to send her mom an uppity comment. Not right now. She appreciated the gesture too much.

Even if she couldn't accept.

Maybe it was time to give up on the dream.

Noelle wiped her eyes again. Another bad day. If the universe didn't hate her, she would find fifty dollars on the ground. Or some eye candy in the form of a cute neighbor would show up at the top of the stairs.


Nope. Of course that hadn't worked.

Noelle unlocked her door. Stuck, as usual. She kicked it open and squeezed into the hallway.

Her apartment wasn’t the biggest, but it was enough.

And it wasn’t like her salary allowed her much more than this.

One day at a time.

Noelle sighed, dropping her keys in the bowl at the entrance. Her bangs clung to the sweat on her forehead. Her ponytail had glued itself to the nape of her neck. The day had been insanely humid, and she had been on her feet for the last twelve hours.

Days like these really made her miss living at home.

Home. Where delicious food just materialized on the table. Here, she had to shop for groceries and cook.

And she could. Really. Sort of. She'd only set off the fire alarm like four times.

Cooking was for a paycheck week, though. And for a day when she wasn't exhausted.

She plastered her damp bangs to the top of her head and plopped down on the only chair she owned.

Nothing was better than star-fishing after a long day.

Noelle stared at her phone dully. The screen was dark, but that didn't matter. Her mother’s message was replaying on a loop in her head.

Maybe she couldn’t vent to Mom…but she could vent to someone. And she knew just who to text.

NoelleTurned down *again* 😞
SandyUgh! Come down for drinks with me tomorrow night?! Ur girl got promooooted and u could use the pick me up??? 🍷🍷🍷

Noelle smiled. Sandy always could turn her day around. They had known each other for so long, there were no secrets between them. Before Sandy had met Charles, they had spent many nights planning their old cat-lady lives together.

She was halfway through typing YES when she remembered. She was already booked. She groaned.

NoelleCan’t I have to help Adam pick out some furniture
SandyDO U THO?

Noelle cringed. She tossed her phone on the coffee table, leaving her best friend on read.

Adam was her friend. Just her friend. It'd been her bad that she thought they were more. They had known each other almost as long as she and Sandy had. Sometimes she still wondered how she'd misread the signs.

But every text or offer to hang out after her stupid little confession meant he'd forgiven her confession. How could she say no?

Noelle slumped.

Operation Distract Self had been a complete and utter bust. Awesome. No one to talk to. Nothing to eat. She might as well shower. That was self-care, right?

In the shower, steaming water hit her body. Her muscles unwound. Sweat she had been covered in for hours slid off.

She felt like a new woman.

She turned off the water and grabbed the nearest towel. Her long hair dripped water onto the tiles as she wrapped the fabric around her. She was reaching for a second towel for her head when all of a sudden—

Her heart stopped. Her blood froze in her veins. Her mouth went dry. She grabbed the curtain, hanging on for dear life.

There was a spider on the counter.

And she was naked, with only a towel and a curtain for protection.

Noelle opened her mouth and screamed. This was how she died.

The door burst open. She flinched and screamed again.

But it wasn't a murderer or a stranger. It was…


It was her extremely hot, extremely musclebound next-door neighbor.

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