Truth or Beard
by Penny Reid Find the Author: Website
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on July 21, 2015 Goodreads AMZ US AMZ UK B&N Kobo Apple Books
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?
I was provided a review copy by Author, Penny Reid; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
After reading “Double Dare” from the Shiver: 13 Sexy Tales of Humor and Horror and getting a glimpse of Duane and Jessica’s story, I couldn’t wait to read TRUTH OR BEARD. Now that I have, I can tell you it was fabulous!
The first book in the Winston Brother’s series, Reid starts out with a winner. With her trademark humor, smart heroine, and ever so funny characters, Reid did not disappoint. What I found new in this book was Duane’s Alpha side. He was sexy, he was hawt, and he made sure their sexy times were hawt!
Duane Winston is the brooding, daredevil – (think James Dean) with a strong sense of familial responsibility. Jessica James is the free spirit trapped in a good girl’s body. Her adventurous spirit is begging to be let loose.
These two were made for each other. She wanted to travel and see the world and he had always tested the limits. They had known each other their whole lives. As children, she teased, he tested, he pushed, she pulled, she challenged, he argued. He was falling in love with her, she was falling in love with his brother.
“If Beau’s eyes were the tranquil summer sky, then Duane’s were a tempest at sea-a stormy aquamarine.”
This was a sweet friends enemies to lovers story. The push and pull between the two was electrifying. Duane’s fears of going all in provided just the right amount of angst to tug at my heart strings.
There is some drama with the Iron Order bike club that has to be dealt with by the brothers. I think Penny Reid could move into the MC genre if she so chose! She is hiding a badass behind that cape.
Also, I have my suspicions about something that Ms. Reid left unanswered, yet answered at the same time… I think once you read it you will understand what I am saying… and I love that she left it open!
I adored the side characters as usual and can’t wait for the other brother’s stories! Next up, Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers #2) Jethro’s story!
I am thrilled to share this excerpt from one of my favorite scenes in the book!
“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.”
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