Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.
Beard Necessities, the final standalone in the bestselling romantic comedy Winston Brothers series from New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Penny Reid, is available now!
No one deserves a happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated.
But you know who’s tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially Billy Winston’s family. And now they’re going to do something about it.
Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings’ shenanigans.
But will their forced proximity bring them together? Or push them even further apart?
This second-chance romance brings back the entire Winston gang, playing cupid in one last story of love, hi-jinks, and family collusion.
BEARD NECESSITIES is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, and can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s probably best read after books 0.5, 2, 3, 5, and 6 of the Winston Brothers series.
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If you’ve read a number of my reviews, you know by now that I’m all about second chance romances; it is absolutely one of my favorite romance tropes, so the fact that one of my always one-click authors wrote a story in this trope, which also just happens to be in a series that I have read since its onset, only added to my reading experience. And, let me tell you, with as much heartache Penny Reid put her characters and her readers through in Beard with Me, she needed to give all of us a send off in true Winston brother fashion, but also help Billy and Claire/Scarlet to finally say the things that needed to be said and find a way to put the past behind them and work toward a future that would, hopefully, begin to make up for the decades they spent apart…the bad decisions that were made…the words that were never spoken.
Because readers were already privy to so much of Billy and Claire/Scarlet’s past, a firm foundation and backstory have been set-up, which means that it’s time to live in the present and look toward the future, but that means that these two need a bit of a push in the right direction – the one that will allow them time together…time to work for something they both want – a life with each other, and there’s nobody better to get things set in motion than Cletus Winston and Billy’s other siblings because they know what happiness is, but they also know that it has to be worked for and there’s nobody better to help this couple learn that lesson than those who have been through it themselves, and while the other Winston siblings’ stories may not be as heartbreaking or complex as Billy and Claire/Scarlet’s is it doesn’t mean they don’t know what it takes and they’ll sure as heck make their opinions clear as they interfere and meddle in Billy and Claire/Scarlet’s lives.
Regardless of what these two characters have been through, there is still a significant amount of heartache and hurt to sift through and what better way to figure things out than traveling around the world, albeit not together, but they might as well be as many times as Billy and Claire/Scarlet’s paths cross because of a certain family’s need to see their brother happy with the one he loves.
Because Billy and Claire/Scarlet’s love story spans over decades, readers are bound to have a litany of feelings about both of them…whether it’s how they handled things…their lack of action to make things better…their inability to speak their truths…but truly, there are so many words and actions that can be reacted to in multiple ways that it wouldn’t surprise me if readers, at times, were fed up with one or the other, but here’s the thing…in the stretch of time that Billy and Claire/Scarlet have had feelings for one another, they’ve gone from being teens to being adults and mistakes are bound to be made and childish antics are bound to occur, which means that as long as readers can see the evolution of these characters’ lives, they shouldn’t pass judgment too quickly or right one or both of them off because of what readers perceive Billy and Claire/Scarlet to be.
Beard Necessities is a total Winston family affair, which is something that I adored about the final book in the series. Because even though this is Billy and Scarlet’s second chance at their true love story, it’s beyond clear that they can’t do it alone and who better to help than Billy’s meddlesome siblings – the same people who have fought day in and day out to prove to each other that they’re nothing like their father and everything like their mother who raised them, and they’ll work to show Billy and Scarlet just how much happiness they deserve.
4.5 Poison Apples
Strolling to the desk, I set down the milk and cookies, crossed my arms and turned to face my brother. “You’re pointing out that Scarlet and I will see each other during various family functions.”
“And, therefore,” I continued reasonably, “I need to be nice to her.” I knew that already, and tonight—after watching her face crumple and feeling a part of my soul shrivel at the sight—I’d finally accepted it. I would be nice. I would be so damn nice. I’d be a saint.
But then Cletus said, “No, Billy. Not nice. Nice is for tea parties and doctor’s visits. You need to woo her.”
I blinked once. “Woo her.”
“That’s right. You need to woo the pants off her, hopefully literally, and then make that woman yours. Permanently. Once and for all. Put a ring on it. Woo is where it’s at. Jenn still has the centerpieces from our wedding if you’d like to borrow them.” During this enlightening monologue, he’d moseyed over and picked up the glass of milk and a cookie, dunked the cookie into the milk, and then took a bite just as he’d finished his listings of delusions.
“That’s never going to happen.”
“Why not? Those centerpieces are lovely. You don’t know your color scheme yet. Ask Scarlet before you decide.”
I ground my teeth. “Scarlet and I are never going to happen, Cletus.”
He shook his head firmly. “I’m disappointed in your lack of ambition, Billy. I thought we’d be on the same page. But I see now, I’m going to have to take a tough love approach.”
“I’m going to give you one chance,” he said, then pushed the rest of the cookie in his mouth and spoke around it as he continued, “One more chance is all you get. I’ve waited long enough for this and you know my feelings on delayed gratification.”
“It’s overrated.” He took a gulp of milk and picked up another cookie.
“No, Cletus. One chance on what?”
“I’m giving you one chance. One.” He pointed the cookie at me. “Tomorrow, you’re going to go find her, apologize to her for whatever that kerflufflefuck was I walked in on. Tell her you were suffering from temporary insanity, hopped up on illicit drugs, abducted by asshole probing aliens, whatever. I’m giving you one chance to make this right, and if you don’t take it, you are not going to like what happens next.”
Enter the giveaway for a signed paperback set of the entire Winston Brothers Series!
Meet Penny Reid
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. 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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