Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!
check out my review of this wonderfully surprising addition to the winston brothers + a little excerpt and an awesome giveaway!!
All is fair in love and auto maintenance.
Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.
Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.
Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.
The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.
Here’s the honest truth – While I adore Penny Reid’s books; this is one book I almost felt ‘meh’ about before its release. But it’s Penny and I am forever a salve to her words, I was still going to go into this installment of Winston Brothers with all the enthusiasm in my itty bitty heart.
The only interest I had in the book was for Shelly Sullivan, the sister of Quinn Sullivan, whom we met in Neanderthal Seeks Human (Read My Review); Shelly who came across as not only standoffish, but discourteous and callous, even though there were hints of humanity underneath. But pairing her with Beau Winston, a charming and amiable brother, her total opposite – I have to admit, the thought that writing brilliant books, Penny finally went a bit cookoo (that’s a word. I have petitioned Oxford to include it in the next dictionary!).
“Have you always been?”
“Yes. I’ve always been a gentleman.”
“You should make an exception for me.”
“You don’t want me to treat you like a lady?”
“I am not a lady.” “
You’re my lady.”
“Yes. I’d like to be yours.”
Shelly Sullivan is an enigma from the first moment I meet her, here and in NSH; but it is the unraveling of this woman that stuns me in this book. It isn’t pretty, it is raw, it is human and it definitely kills you – but it is what makes this book a winner for me.
The average reader might not like Shelly, they might not even understand her – she is prickly as a porcupine, but if you just make an effort to look beyond that exterior, she will not only grown on you, but she just might become a woman whose strength you would admire ardently.
Beau Winston is the charmer of the Winston family. He is the one who has the smiles for everyone; he is also taken at face value – a man who is amiable, but with no apparent ambition.
But beneath this affable exterior, is a man whose understanding of simple pleasures of life took my breath away. A complexity I never understood, but this man taught me how to enjoy the beauty of simple pleasures in life. The love of a good man/woman, that one person who puts you as their priority, a person who means the world to you and that person reciprocates – that is the feeling you need to live for in this world.
I have to say – this made me appreciate my husband in a whole new light! ❤
“I love you, Shelly. I’ll love you when you break. And I’ll love you when you put yourself back together.”
Here’s the thing though; with fun characters, returning favorites, a plot that reels you right in, and the fan – freaking – tastic writing style – Penny already has a winner on her hand, but nope. She needs a whole lot more. She needs the story, the characters to be real, she needs her romance to be reality – steeped and SHE NAILS IT!
She sneaks in real thoughts, real attitudes that you and I, would be guilty of thinking or having and sometimes verbalizing; and that’s the point. I get why Penny’s books aren’t for everyone – its hard to look in the mirror she holds up and not be flattered what the reflection that is portrayed back.
I, as a reader, came off with a valuable lesson from this book. We take human beings around us at face value – why? Because we are starting to lack compassion for our fellow human beings – and Penny shows that in her stark words!
Beard in Mind sneaked in as a surprise favorite and I am happy as a snuggle bunny about it! 😛
P.S. Gotta love the parallels of Cletus’s journey in this book – adored seeing his dilemma through his brother’s eyes! Fun as well! 😉
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ .5
(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
She’d taken the sofa, in her own house, and given me the bed. That didn’t make a lick of sense.
I crouched next to her, threading my fingers into the silky hair at her temples. “Honey.”
I bent to whisper, “Shelly.”
“I’m going to carry you to your bed. I’ll take the sofa.”
I grinned at her soft noises, at the untroubled expression on her face, and how her brow—even in sleep—still looked regal and stern.
Sliding my arms under her legs and shoulder, I picked her up. And, unfortunately, that woke her up.
She jerked in my arms. “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking you to the bed.”
“Don’t do that.”
“I don’t mind, I’ll take the sofa.” Our mouths were just inches apart, and hers was distracting.
She squirmed. “Put me down.”
Sighing unhappily, I did. I set her on her feet next to the couch. The blanket pooled at her feet and I stepped back to give her some space. It was dark, but I could see her just fine, and that meant I had to force my eyes to remain above her neck. The woman was wearing two pathetic scraps of fabric as pajamas. A thin little tank top and shorts. That’s it.
I set my jaw and turned to the side, waiting for her to walk past.
“Where are you?”
I glanced at her and realized she couldn’t see at all. She didn’t have a hand out, but the way her eyes were moving about the room gave away her blindness.
“I’m here.” I didn’t touch her, because if I did, I wouldn’t want to stop.
Shelly turned her head in my direction and took a deep breath. Still she didn’t reach for me. I didn’t know the specifics of what to expect after her Friday session, but I recalled Dr. West saying something about Shelly doing self-guided ERP exercises over this week.
“Can you see?” She licked her lips, her voice sandpapery. “Because I can’t see at all. It’s so dark.”
“I can see.” Unbidden, my eyes dropped to her body, to the swell of her breasts, the panel of bare stomach, the curve of her hips. Pinpricks of heat raised over my skin and I curled my hands into fists.
She shuffled forward and I caught her before she bumped into me, setting my hands gently at her waist.
“Let me take you to your room.” My voice was rough, for obvious reasons.
Saying nothing, she brought her hand to my forearm, her body gently colliding with mine. And then her hand on my arm slid up my bicep to my shoulder.
“Shelly.” I was running out of breath.
“I like this.”
I held still and endured her hands moving over my body, down the front of my shirt, stopping at the hem, then pushing it up.
“Take this off.”
I did. I pulled the T-shirt over my head and let it drop to the floor.
We stood there, facing each other in the dark, not touching. Despite the session on Friday and the progress that had been made, I realized she wasn’t quite there yet. Dr. West was right, Friday was just a step, the first step. Shelly wasn’t able to initiate contact. Not yet.
Her hands balled into fists and she swayed forward, her breath struggling little puffs.
If anything was going to happen tonight, I had to initiate it. I had to be the one to touch first.
God, how I wanted her. How I wanted her above me, beneath me, surrounding me. But how could I?
“I know why I hesitate,” her voice was breathless, “but why do you hesitate?”
“Lots of reasons.”
“Give me one.”
“I don’t want to you use you.”
“I wish you would.”
That pulled a laugh from me, just a small relief from the mounting tension. My eyes moved over her body, an undeniable impulse to devour the sight of her, her legs, stomach, chest, then up her neck to her lips.
“You asked me on Saturday if sex was a big deal for me, or if it was you. The answer is both.”
She held very still, and I got the sense she was holding her breath, straining to listen.
“You are a big deal to me. I don’t want a fling. I don’t want a flirtation. I want promises.”
“What can I promise you?”
That you’ll love me. That I’ll be your priority.
She shifted her weight from foot to foot. A spike of anxiety that she might leave me like this had me acting without forethought. I lifted my hands to her waist again and immediately, her fingertips skimmed over skin of my lower stomach in response, making my muscles tense in hot anticipation. She grew more assertive as she caressed my sides, abdomen, ribs, chest, shoulders, and then back down.
Shelly stepped closer, a hint of thrilling contact between her breasts and my torso, and all the words and worries melted from my mind, died on my tongue, suffocated by the feel of her body, and the possibility of this moment.
Her finger hooked in the waistband of my jeans. “Take these off.” Her hand turned, her fingers and palm cupping me over my zipper.
Instinctively, I pressed myself into her touch even as I grabbed her wrist.
“Beau, I promise—”
She didn’t get to speak, because I kissed her, hard and wild, unbuttoning and unzipping my fly with one hand and bringing her palm inside my boxers with the other.
Enter the Giveaway!
Meet Penny Reid:
Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.
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