Review copy was received from Publicity team. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid
Series: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries #1
Published by Self-Published on July 14, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Mystery
Source: Publicity team
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!
But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most "fowl" need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage! Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?
I have enjoyed every book in Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series and new I get the spinoff series, the Cletus and Jenn mysteries, with my favorite couple. Cletus and Jenn are my absolute favorites! Engagement and Espionage is a deeper look into some of the events which happened following Beard Science for this couple.
I had the sense we knew the villains overall from the Winston Brothers, just not some of the details. So even from the beginning I felt like it wasn’t a huge mystery who was the problem, or even why. It was more the question of finding evidence and proving it.
I really wanted Cletus and Jenn to work together more than they did. This timeframe is early enough in their relationship, while they are committed, they aren’t living together or seeing each other daily. I continue to always be impressed by how much Jenn does herself without help, or even support, in so many things. I somehow thought Cletus would do more. I should say on the mystery, because Cletus definitely thinks Jenn has to do too much herself and steps in to support her. But I enjoyed seeing them getting to know each other better and become more of a team.
I can’t wait to have more of Cletus and Jenn as the series continues! I feel it will be even better as they work together more closely. I love their personalities and the humor they have. I’m looking forward to Marriage and Murder next March; I’ve already pre-ordered it for myself.
“Don’t stop.” She reached for my belt again, this time completely undoing it, the button of my pants, and my zipper at world-record speed.
Her phone buzzed. Then it chimed. Then it buzzed and chimed two more times. Then it rang again. Reba.
Cursing, Jenn pulled the phone from her pocket, once again her face illuminated, murderous rage in her eyes. Her finger moved to the power off button. She blinked, hesitating. Her eyes widened, her body stiffened, and she gasped.
Something about her tone, like she was horrified, and maybe a little afraid, cut through the heavy haze of lust inertia, and my hands stilled. Shaking myself, it took me a few moments to realize she was showing me the phone screen, and another few to bring the content of the text messages into focus.
Momma: Jennifer Anne Sylvester, pick up your phone. If you’re with Cletus, I need his help. Please.
Momma: ALL THE CHICKENS AND ROOSTERS ARE DEAD! PICK UP YOUR DAMN PHONE!
Momma: I’m calling you in a second, pick up the phone. Mr. Badcock’s chickens are dead. All of them. I got here and he’s running around, deranged, yelling about his dead chickens! I called the police and they’re on their way. Please, please, please pick up the phone!
At some point, I must’ve taken the phone from Jenn and stepped away, because I glanced up upon reading the messages for the third time, finding the phone in my hand and Jenn fixing her skirt.
“This is nuts.” Her big eyes searched mine imploringly. “Who could have done this?”
I shook my head, having not yet managed to fully shift head gears—you know, from that head to the one on my neck—and my gaze dropped to the wet patch on the front of her dress just visible in the swath of light. My erection throbbed.
So we’re . . . not having sex?
“Why? Why would they do it? And WHO?” She snatched her phone back, her tone bewildered, distracted, and distraught. She was distraught because of the dead chickens, like any normal person would be.
I was distraught also, but my distress had nothing to do with farm animals.
“We have to go.” Jenn grabbed my hand and began walking toward the direction of the hall. Meanwhile, it took me until her hand found the door handle to realize my zipper and belt were still undone.
“This is crazy.” She paused as I zipped up, her tone halting and distracted. “Poor Mr. Badcock. And those poor chickens.” A sound of distress escaped her throat. “This is terrible.”
It was terrible.
And I was going to hell.
Because all I could think was, Talk about a cock block.
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