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**Read our Spoiler-Free Review and Excerpt from Beard Necessities**

Excerpt from Beard Necessities 

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.”

“Correct.”

“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.”

“Cletus—”

“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.”

“Pardon?”

“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.”


About Penny

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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Our Review

‘I did what I did because I loved her. I love her. She doesn’t owe me a damn thing, but she’ll never see it that way, it’s not how she’s wired. Everything is in trade, everything is a debt to be paid. If she feels indebted, I can’t trust her to make a clear-headed decision based on what she actually wants. This truth will not set her free.”

This is the book we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of the Winston series, and with a sneak peek of the origin of Billy and Scarlet in Beard with Me, which had us overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions, we were beyond ready for Beard Necessities. We were not disappointed! Scarlet St. Claire (Claire McClure) and Billy Winston have been waiting such an awfully long time for their –happy- and for their soul mate hearts to be at peace, free of guilt, pain and remorse. It was no surprise that their story was to be one of the most epic stories of love, in the Winston Brothers series.

“When does it end, though? When will Billy stop being the sacrificial lamb for this family? For this town? He’s not well! He’s sick, and worn down, and dammit, he’s given up more than any of us – time and time again. We can’t keep expecting him to shoulder every single burden.”

Set mainly in the picturesque Tuscany – Italy, a part of the world which embodies romance and evokes every single one of our senses, we could taste and feel the surroundings as if it was another character in this story. How fitting that a heart-breaking and horrific back story between two beautiful but scarred people should find its way to the surface in this heaven of a place which truly inspires love, redemption and healing. Despite Beard Necessities having an almost continual sombre and melancholy undertone, the setting as well as the ‘interference’ played by the Winston clan, masterminded by the lovable and hilariously eccentric Cletus, meant a bright beacon shone with hope and redemption.

‘My dear Billy, with the voice of an angel and the heart of a lion. The sweet boy who’d brought me hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls in the winter, who’d changed my bandages and snuck me into his house so I wouldn’t sleep in the cold. He’d been the first person to ask about my hopes and dreams, to make me believe in possibility. And he’d been the only person I trusted to hold me, keeping watch and the monsters at bay. My love. The strongest and best man I’d ever known. What had life done to him?’

Billy is such a magnificent man. He’s introspective, silent and steadfast. He loves with his entire being and his loyalty is irreproachable. Yet he carries a weight on his shoulders steeped in his perceived personal responsibility for the happiness of those he loves. However, when Billy actually lets go and forgets his burdens he shines and is a bit of a smooth silver-tongued devil. We loved him with every fibre of our being. As does Scarlet St. Claire, the sweet and feisty redhead who captivated him with her voice in the forest of their childhood, who awakens a fierce protection in Billy, from the sins of her father. The one girl who stole his heart and changed his life, a life which broke both his body and spirit.

“I have built a life for myself –always hoping- you’d eventually choose me. Not because you owed me. That’s how this works, Scarlet. Love isn’t about giving up. It’s about never giving up.”

The years have passed, their footsteps treading different paths but their intense, profound and incredible love for one another has never wavered. Now Billy and Scarlet just need a helping hand in guiding them to realise that their hearts can once again be joined, free from the horrific memories of what transpired and came to be, what in some respects still is. Theirs was a truly beautiful journey to be a part of and we loved every tear-jerking, funny and seductive minute of it! We honestly felt our heartbeat in tandem to the words on the pages. Penny Reid had us in the palm of her gifted storytelling hands.

‘Being with Billy now was like coming home to myself, to the person I once was. She was scarred, she’d struggled and lived through dark times. And yet, I’d missed her, her bravery, her fierce fortitude, her sense of justice. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed her until right this moment, on the precipice of confronting my nightmares.’

This series has felt like home to us for so long, we’ve fallen in love with one Winston brother after another, we’ve felt part of a bearded and wonderfully unique family, and we’ve cried and laughed so much along the way. It’s with tears in our eyes we bid farewell to friends who’ve found their happy ever after with their meant to be soulmates and finally found peace. It’s been epic, it’s been a romance reader’s dream. Duane, Jethro, Cletus, Beau, Roscoe and Billy; we will miss you terribly but we will revisit one day for sure!

‘I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it would never be enough. I’d be chasing this feeling for the rest of my life, like a junkie, like an addict. This perfect moment where the anguish of our shared past met the bliss of our present and everything was exactly the way it should be.’

Synopsis

Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.

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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