Blog Tour, ARC Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers, #4) by Penny Reid

Beard in Mind cover

 

Beard in Mind is an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid

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Blurb

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.

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Review

5 “BAM” stars!

“I’ll love you when you break. And I’ll love you when you put yourself back together.”

Each and every book in the Winston Brothers series is unique and wonderfully developed, with light and dark moments, an emotional romance, and beautiful relationships between friends and family. Beard in Mind is no different; it’s raw, real, and honest, and I loved it!

Beau is part owner of the Winston Brothers Auto Shop. With Duane leaving town with Jessica, they will be left shorthanded at work. When Beau returns from a car run, he comes back to a new employee working in the shop. An employee with long legs, a smart mouth, and a cold demeanor. An employee Beau knows nothing about. It turns out Cletus hired her when Beau was gone and there is nothing he can do about it.

Beau is the sweet, charming, kind brother who instantly makes you warm inside. He puts a smile on your face and I couldn’t help but love him from the moment I met him. You think Beau is the one that has everything together but we quickly see that he faces his own challenges and vulnerabilities that make him human and imperfect. His world is thrown off kilter when he sees Shelly and it is entertaining to see him out of his element and acting so unlike his usual self. Smitten when he shouldn’t be, he fights the attraction that is clearly there. He is not interested in pursuing Shelly but she somehow sneaks into his heart. He didn’t think he was capable of being “wrecked” by a woman like his brothers… boy was he wrong, and I loved watching every minute of it.

This woman was going to be the death of me. How was it possible to both dislike and admire a person this much? To want – no crave – so badly to be in her company and be rid of her at the same time?

Shelly comes across as standoffish but once you get to know her and understand the things she deals with on a daily basis, you realize that first impressions aren’t always right. She is witty, smart, creative, and extremely talented. She has so many layers making her an amazingly complex character that was a treat to get to know.

Shelly has severe OCD that makes every social situation difficult. Even a mere touch can send her into a panic. The fear of “what ifs” and the guilt and regret she feels was heartbreaking. Her emotions are realistic and believable, and there is so much more to Shelly than her OCD. She is often misunderstood because of the way she acts but she is sweet and caring, and I really enjoyed her character.

Beau and Shelly are amazing together. Their relationship is entertaining and the banter is epic. It’s not easy but no matter how awkward the moments between Shelly and Beau can be, I could feel her comfort with him grow and it put a smile on my face. Beau strives to understand what Shelly is going through and supports her unconditionally. Even though nothing is perfect and they hit some bumps in the road, they are stronger together than apart.

“Sometimes when I look at you, all my thoughts, all the plates I’m spinning in my head, they stop. And for a few seconds, it’s peaceful.”

It is written in dual POVs but we get mostly Beau’s side of the story and it made me love him more. To crawl inside his head and see how he felt showed how much he had going on in his life that he doesn’t reveal on the outside. I am glad Shelly was there to help him just as he was there for her. I also loved the way Shelly’s POV was written. It really allowed us to grasp the severity of her disorder and understand the challenges she strives to overcome. I really felt for her.

And then there is the big reveal that is utterly heartbreaking, leaving tears in your eyes.  I will be honest, I guessed it very early on and even though I knew what was coming, it was no less gut wrenching. It makes you rethink everything and all I wanted to do was cry.

I enjoyed that this book was during the same time frame as Beard Science because we got to relive snippets of what was going on with Cletus while watching the way things manifested between Beau and Shelly. Though many questions were answered, others were created leaving me craving more of the Winston brothers. After the shocking reveal, there is a huge setup for some major stuff that can go down in the books following and I am super antsy to get my hands on both Rosco’s and Billy’s stories.

*ARC generously provided by the author and Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review*

 


The Winston Brothers

Everyone in Green Valley, Tennessee knows that the six bearded Winston brothers have been imbued with an unfair share of charm and charisma… and are prone to mischief.

 truth-or-beard  grin-and-beard-it  beard-science       

Beauty and the Mustache (#0.5; Knitting in the City, #4) – (Ashley)
Review
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Truth or Beard (#1) – (Duane)
Review
Buy: Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback  |  Audio

Grin and Beard It (#2) – (Jethro)
Review
Buy: Kindle Ebook | Paperback | Audio

Beard Science (#3) – (Cletus)
Review
Buy: Kindle Ebook | Paperback

Beard in Mind (#4) – (Beau)
Review
Buy: Amazon USAmazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA

Dr. Strange Beard (#5) (Roscoe)
Expected publication: 2018

Beard with Me (#5.5) (Billy)
Expected publication: 2018

Beard Necessities (#6) (Billy)
Expected publication: 2018

 


Excerpt

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.”

“Mmm.”

I bent to whisper, “Shelly.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to carry you to your bed. I’ll take the sofa.”

“Mmm.”

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.”

“What?”

“Touching you.”

Oh fuck.

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.

 


Giveaway

 

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The Escapist Book Blog is not responsible for this giveaway.

 


About the Author

Penny Reid is the USA Today Best Selling 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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