on August 1st 2017
All's 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 missing out on what matters most.
Reading the Winston Brother’s series is like I’m coming back to my home town. I love this world, this setting, these people. It’s one of my top favorite series of all time, and the reason is because Penny does such a fantastic job with these characters! It’s seriously addicting, so I couldn’t wait to see what she did with Beau and Shelly’s relationship.
If you’ve read the four books prior to this(yes, I count Beauty and the Mustache) then you know Beau, or at least the Beau he lets people know. He’s the handsome, charismatic and impossible flirt of the Winston brothers. He’s everyone’s friend. So I love the fact that Penny paired him up with a hostile, closed off, and difficult heroine.
And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Shelly Sullivan disliked me just as much as I disliked her.
Beau isn’t use to having to work for the affection of the ladies in Green Valley, so maybe that’s what attracted Beau to Shelly in the first place. Everyone sees Beau as a ladies man, but he has learned to keep himself guarded. He’s looking for what his brothers have found with their woman. Beau is at a turning point in his life. He feels left behind with everyone else in the family moving towards a future. He feels stagnate, but determined to create something for himself, even if he has to force it. As you would guess, that doesn’t work out too well.
Girls liked me, this was true. But I didn’t want a girl, I wanted a woman. I wanted what Jethro had, what Duane had and what Drew had with my sister.
Point blank, Shelly gives him hell. She’s not nice, she’s rude to everyone, but there’s something about her that Beau can’t quite put his finger on. She’s beautiful, an extremely talented mechanic and a complete enigma.
Here’s the tricky part about this book: Shelly. Shelly is a difficult character. Not just in personality, but logistics too. Umm, what? Yeah. There’s 36 chapters in this book. 5 are of the perspective of Shelly. That’s tough for the reader to really feel connected to a troubled character that has A TON going on. I was DYING to hear more of her inner dialogue because Shelly is one of the most closed off characters that I have ever read. Now, I LOVE imperfect heroines, it’s one of my favorite things to read, because most people hate it. Not me. I’m not perfect, so why should my heroine?
I just needed more of Shelly’s softer side, because there ABSOLUTELY was, and I loved seeing that shine through.
You are absolutely vital to me. I want to be just as vital to you. I want to take care of you, let me take care of you. You are my first thought in the morning,, and my last thought before I go to sleep.
Every other book in this series opened with a female perspective, except for this one. I think that if we could’ve started in Shelly’s head and continued with a few chapters in between, I would’ve been a lot more satisfied with this one.
Ok, enough about the complaining, now to the good stuff. So, another reason I love this series is because there’s always so much other stuff going on! When you have 6 other siblings, there’s always plenty of things happening especially since Beau and Shelly’s story overlapped Cletus and Jenn’s story(which you get to see plenty of).
I just love the complexity of these books and how close these siblings are with one another. Beau’s interaction with each sibling is addicting to read because they are so personal. I loved reading about his and Duane’s tender connection with being twins. I loved his fun loving side with Roscoe. I loved him messing with Cletus. I adored how he looked up to Billy and his sweetness with Ashely. I love how distinct and full these characters are! And don’t worry, our mischievous motor cycle club has another fantastic plot in Beau’s book.
Here’s your life lesson of the day: Penny Reid writes the most unique love stories. With that being said, not everyone is going to love and appreciate every single plot. This one didn’t connect with me as much, and that’s ok, because she kept me completely entertained with everything else that was going on! And there’s a plot twist that will have you feeling like Penny smacked you in the mother lovin’ face! Holy smokes. Beard in Mind has by far my absolute FAVORITE epilogue in the series! It’s the most perfect connection with these characters and incredibly unique.
I’m going to miss Green Valley these next several months. Penny, I can’t wait to see what you have in store with Roscoe! I have a feeling that it’s going to be the most hilarious in the series…well because as Beau says: I’d rolled my eyes and said a silent prayer for the poor soul who ended up with his stupid ass. She was going to need it.
**ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!
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.
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.
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