Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is LIVE!
All is fair in love and auto maintenance.
Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.
Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.
Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.
The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.
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“If something breaks, we fix it. That’s what we do.”
As an auto mechanic, that’s Beau Winston’s objective for every car that comes to his garage. Once he identifies the issue, orders the parts he needs, and tweaks and adjusts the vehicle to resurrect it to its former glory, he can consider it a job well done…a problem corrected…an issue resolved.
But as Beau learns in Beard in Mind, the idea of ‘fixing’ a person – one whose mind is the very thing she needs to battle – the work on his end has extremely specific parameters – he’s an extra set of hands to step in and help make certain situations easier…to work with her to help her overcome her irrational fears and compulsions, but the only person who can truly ‘repair’ some of her issues is Shelly, herself, and to get to that point, she’s going to need Beau to see beneath her cool demeanor, irritating behavior, and rude comments, which shouldn’t be difficult for an easy going guy like Beau, but interestingly enough, it’s Beau who has the biggest issue with Shelly’s standoffishness for reasons that Penny Reid illuminates as Beau and Shelly’s story is told.
Beau and Shelly are actually a perfectly matched couple…even if they appear to loathe each other at the start of Beard in Mind. Because timeline of their story is side by side with the events in Cletus’ book, readers easily connect important information from Beard Science with new insights in Beau and Shelly’s story, which helps to paint a fuller picture of everything that is happening to the Winston brothers. Because the beginning chapters are told through Beau’s perspective, we only witness Shelly’s behavior through his eyes, which is important for this story line because everyone adores Beau and nothing riles him up, but for some reason, Shelly is a frigid witch during her first encounters with Beau and Beau readily judges her solely based on those interactions despite knowing that assuming things can lead to horrible misjudgments, which is exactly what occurs in this situation.
Since meeting Cletus in Ashley’s story, he’s always been my favorite Winston brother, but Beau is definitely a close second. He’s a lot more fragile than his family and the townspeople recognize, which is partially his fault because his charm and his goodness blind them to anything else. His demeanor, though, shouldn’t stop people from putting him first, worrying about how he is and what he’s going through, and Reid does a fabulous job of driving that idea home when Beau learns information about himself from an outside source – one who makes him question everything about his life and who he is, and as he deals with the fallout of that knowledge, he finds Shelly standing by his side and wanting him to lean on her as much as she leans on him.
The human mind is a fragile entity – one that can harm just as much as it can invigorate someone, and Beard in Mind illustrates that idea in a way that all readers can identify with, and while many may not have issues as big as Shelly’s when it comes to overcoming the obstacles that her head makes for her, her situation teaches us to be compassionate…to work harder to get beneath a person’s facade before judging…to be in awe of that person’s strength to battle something as domineering as the brain can be.
It’s clear through Shelly’s discussions with her therapist as well as when Shelly shares her diagnosis and her ‘crazy’ with Beau that Penny Reid researched and educated herself on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, its treatment, its effects, and the preconceived assumptions that other people have about the illness. Every aspect of this particular story line was meticulously laid out and explained so that readers could truly understand the fight that Shelly was up against and what it would take for a significant other to go through the highs and lows, the hot and cold behavior and still maintain a loving relationship despite the frustrations that would surely present themselves in the constant battle to rationalize the irrational and to outsmart the mind – one that is always working to win.
Penny Reid’s brilliance as a writer stems from her ability to create realistically flawed characters – ones whose ‘realness’ make them imperfect human beings who don’t have cookie cutter personalities nor do they constantly pretend to be someone they’re not, especially in front of the people who they love the most. What sets her apart from other romance writers is her unique, multifaceted characters, her extensive use of intellectual and enlightened diction, and her quest to stay true to her characters’ voices regardless of how ‘weird’ or ‘nerdy’ they may be.
Whenever I finish reading a Penny Reid story, I always stand in awe of how effortless her prose flows and how deep she delves into her characters’ psyches so she can illustrate exactly who they are, providing readers with a true understanding of what motivates and guides these odd and extraordinary personalities – people readers can’t help but fall in love with because they are anything but ordinary.
5 Poison Apples
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Meet Penny Reid
Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. 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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