Author: Penny Reid
Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.
His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
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 is book #1 in the Winston Brother’s series. Each book is a standalone, full length (110k words), contemporary romantic comedy novel, and follows the romantic exploits and adventures of one of the six Winston Brothers.
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I’d been looking forward to the Winston Brothers’ series since I read Beauty & The Mustache last year and it did not disappoint!
I was sceptical about Duane and his likability after reading the synopsis but I needn’t have worried! Penny’s writing style and quirkiness makes any character likeable to some extent – even Jessica’s donkey of a brother, Jackson!
Penny has written about potentially serious topics in such a comedic way that it’s difficult not to feel an array of emotions while reading one of her stories. Truth or Beard had me laughing, close to tears, gasping and fist pumping the air. I adore all of the Winston men and can’t wait for all of their stories one by one.
“You look tense,” Duane remarked between spoonfuls of chili.
I realized I’d been frowning at the line of cars revving their engines. I glanced at Duane and lifted my chin toward the starting lineup.
“I’ve heard stories about cars smashing into the rock walls, and head-on collisions causing broken bones and leaving people unconscious.”
“Those rumors are true.”
I felt my frown deepen. “Why would anyone do it, then? If it’s so dangerous?”
He shrugged. “Because it isn’t easy, it takes patience and skill. Because it is dangerous and it’s fun to be a little scared sometimes.”
“A little scared?”
He gave me a crooked grin, his eyes on my mouth. “That’s right. Just a little.”
I snorted my disbelief. If dirt racing made Duane a little scared and sky diving wasn’t all that dangerous, I wondered what could possibly frighten Duane.
At the same moment a shot went off. The cars lurched forward and sped out of the starting line like demons from hell, the engines drowning all other sound. My eyes were glued to the action in front of me, how the cars—some old, some new, all souped-up—slipped and skidded all over the dirt track. Two of the seven spun out at the first turn, one of them bouncing off the rock wall.
I sucked in a startled breath and felt Duane’s hand close over mine. “He’ll be fine. He wasn’t going that fast.”
I leaned against his solid frame and watched the remainder of the race with rapt attention. Only three of the cars made it to the finish line and it was sickeningly close. The whole affair was irresponsible and dangerous, and I thought I’d disdain it.
I was wrong. I loved it. My heart was beating fast and yet I was sitting still.
I loved the sound of revving engines, the smell of engine oil mingled with smoke and earth. I loved the general air of excitement, comrade, adventure. I loved how these people loved their cars and raced them hard, used them, risked them. When the cars sped by I felt the rush of wind, the vibration in my chest.
Of course it helped seeing the people who crashed walk away from their cars with no assistance, looking more upset about losing the race and what had befallen their automobiles than about their cuts and bruises.
It was thrilling and everything seemed larger, brighter, clearer—likely a byproduct of the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
I surmised the turns were by far the most dangerous part of the race. Maintaining control of over a thousand pounds of steel, around a sharp corner, while traveling in excess of ninety miles per hour, on a dirt track basically sounded impossible to me. But some of the cars managed it beautifully, artfully.
By the end of fourth race I’d basically crawled into Duane’s lap, and I squealed unthinkingly each time the cars rounded a curve. My squeals made Duane laugh and he held me tighter.
As soon as the—five this time—remaining competitors crossed the finish line, Duane peeled my fingers from where I’d dug them into his legs.
“Having a good time?” He nuzzled my neck, kissing it, then set me away and stood.
I turned to him and I’m sure my eyes were huge, as was my smile. “Yes, I’m having the best time. I never thought I’d enjoy all this craziness, but it’s amazing and I’m so glad you brought me.”
He gave me and my run-on sentence a distracted half smile as he pulled out a pair of leather gloves from his jacket. “Good. That’s good.”
I glanced between him and the gloves he was pulling on, felt my own smile wane. He took off his jacket and handed it to me.
“Where are you…?” My mouth couldn’t quite form the question because I already knew the answer. Abruptly, my heart thudded in my chest quite painfully, jumping around like it was trying to break free.
“Oh my God, Duane. Don’t you dare.”
About the Author:
SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).
By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.