Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Beard Necessities by Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #7
Published by Self-Published on November 4, 2019
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publicity team
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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.
I have enjoyed every book in Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. Now we are down to Billy. Next to Cletus, he is my heartbreaker. Although the book before this was Beard With Me which was Scarlet and Billy’s early high school years, ending with her leaving town at age 14..
Beard Necessities begins 20 years later. I would have benefited greatly from having read all the books in a row instead of reading the earlier books 4-5 years ago, and even then, I would have LOVED a prologue / timeline from the end of Beard with Me to now helping me place major events in time such as Ben’s death. There are things in that time period which there are hints of in the earlier books and in BWM and BN, but I have some confusion.
Billy and Scarlet have based their entire adult lives on some misconceptions and stuffing down what they wanted because of personal traits and habits learned in their unusual childhoods. The easiest way to shut down those emotions was avoidance. It was still a bit unbelievable they did for so many years. The primary people causing the misunderstandings were Ben McClure, Jethro Winston and Bethany Winston. The Winstons had some incorrect information which was also mostly from Ben McClure. Yeah, I hate Ben.
Now Cletus, who is the only one with the full picture, decides it is time for the truth. Of course he does, because not only does Cletus have his nose in everyone’s business, but he likes to manipulate everything to his view of how things should be. Oh how I love Cletus! Also can I say his wife Jenn is amazing! But why did it take him SO long? He could have done this 5-10 years earlier.
The story is how the family plots to get Billy and Scarlet together so they have a chance to talk, and how the truth is brought out in pieces. It’s wacky but fun how the family guides all the events. For me, it was also great to see all the other brothers with their wives and families to catch up on their lives. This aspect is a love letter of sorts to the fan readers who love this whole series so much. There is even an epilogue with a big family gathering even further in the future about 10-12 years after the events in Beard Necessities.
I read this as a COYER buddy read with Linda, at the Unconventional Bookworms.
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.”
This is a tour wide giveaway.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2019 Releases
- COYER Friends