by Penny Reid Winston Brothers #3
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Humor, Romance
Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?
Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate. And desperate times call for Cletus Winston. Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do? Likely, the last thing you expect. ‘Beard Science’ is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.
“I saw what you did.”
“You saw what I did.” He repeated flatly, apparently bored with me and the conversation. His eyes were on the rear-view mirror.
But I would not be ignored. Not this time.
Gathering every ounce of courage within me, I blurted, “I saw what you did, last week, with the Iron Wraiths evidence. You took it. And now they can’t find it, and now they’re dropping the case against Razor.”
Finally, Cletus looked at me. To my astonishment, his typically green eyes had become a fiery blue and he snapped, “You saw no such thing.”
“I did." I nodded at my assertion. "In fact, I have a video of you doing it.”
He blinked. His expression and his voice, usually so controlled, both cracked with surprise. “You did what?”
“I recorded it, on my phone.” I swallowed three times for no reason.
His gaze sharpened in such a way that startled me, as though clouds or an illusionary mist parted and revealed a slight glimpse of the real Cletus Winston beneath. These new eyes flickered over my person.
“Prove it.” His demand was sharp and quick, like a whip, and made my heart jump to my throat.
I pulled my phone from my purse with trembling fingers. I knew why I was shaking. I wasn’t used to confrontation. I was a natural pacifist, preferring peace to sass. But desperate times called for desperate measures.
He snatched my cell once I’d unlocked it and tapped through the series of screens until he reached my videos. He found the one dated last week, the one I’d taken of Sheriff James talking about my banana cake and hit play. As Cletus watched, a touch of color drained from his cheeks. He was seeing what I’d spotted last week when I reviewed the recording. One half of the screen was the sheriff. The other half of the screen was Cletus in the background, pocketing the evidence, looking around, then walking away.
Cletus made a strangled noise that sounded both frustrated and enraged. I eyed the door next to me, considering and immediately dismissing an escape. Meanwhile, he watched the recording again. When it ended for a second time, silence took its place, hard and heavy between us. I examined his profile, endeavoring to parse his thoughts.
Cletus’ expression was blank, which—I abruptly realized—was highly unusual. He always wore an expression. Thoughtful, concerned, patient, bored, interested, somber, perturbed. How odd, for a person to always have an expression . . . unless that person wore emotions like a mask, meant to misdirect the true nature of his thoughts.
“You made a copy?” His tone, laden with ice and granite, made me shiver.
He didn’t sound at all like the bumbling but affable Cletus Winston I’d known since forever. He sounded . . . dangerous.
I needed to clear my throat before I could speak. “I did. I made a few. Saved in a few places.”
The side of his mouth ticked up, but his eyes lacked humor as he turned them back to me. “That was smart. Otherwise I would have smashed your phone into a quantity of tiny pieces. Then it would have been your word against mine.”
“That’s right,” I said the words on a breath, the good sense of fear wrestling with determination.
But, damn it, I need his help! And it had to be him. It just had to. He could make anything happen. Everyone in town and the surrounding areas owed him a favor. I'd heard the rumors. I'd paid attention. I'd put the puzzle pieces together.
And now I had the most powerful man in east Tennessee right where I needed him.
About Penny Reid
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.
*ARC is received through Indie Sage PR in exchange for an honest opinion*
My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ 5 Cletus & Jenn Stars!
My Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤ 5 Cletus & Jenn Stars!
Beard Science is one delicious read and it have the perfect romance, humor and a very refreshing story line ever. Definitely a must read!
So, I haven't read any other book in Winston series because I'm an idiot and thus I pretty much go in the blind reading this book. And my oh my! It is so dang good and I love it so much.
First of all, I must say that out of all the heroes that I've read so far I think Cletus Winston was among the unique ilk and rarest type of breed because he was that different. I mean, he has ridiculously attractive beard and hair and he loves cakes especially one with blueberry flavor. He is good in making sausage and Italian food and he wasn't really a commitment phobic kind of guy as he seems to always recognized a woman that he found attractive and well-suited with him as The One but yet he doesn't want babies in his future. It was also really interesting that he has such a strong fixation problem and like to be in control of everything. With all those traits combines, I believe I have never met such an intriguing character as Cletus before.
Jennifer Sylvester or Jenn was described as a very talented baker who works for her mother's bakery and pretty much follows everything that her mother asked her to do. She was also a very socially awkward person but at the same time she was really adorable and I like that when she is being invisible, she became an excellent people observer. Although Jenn may came across as a pushover, I enjoyed her journey developing a backbone and I really love it when she blackmailed Cletus! It shows that deep inside she has a strong spirit and I rooted for her to finally stand on her own two feet.
(or in other words, Things That I Love About The Book)
1. There was a scene where Cletus hadn't seen Jenn in a week and the absence was making him crazy and thus this monologue of him came out. I knew he was super frustrated but it was really funny!
Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. Whoever said that was a damn fool. Absence makes the heart suicidal. Take my heart for example. It hadn't stopped hurling itself against my ribs-at odd times, day or night-for a week.
2. I love how the author made the declaration of I love you around 70% in the story and managed to brilliantly keep up the pace interesting. This is because I usually found the declaration phase way too late towards the end and then I only get limited time to savor in the happy times. So, I was happy that phase came early in Beard Science and get enough happy times for the lead couple.
3. The ending is just so sweet and awesome and I like it so much. I specifically dig the spontaneous proposal and I think it was very real and perfect for Cletus and Jenn. I wish there would be an actual wedding taking place though because I'm a hopeless romantic but then it would be too soon so I think I am satisfied with that.
That being said, I am absolutely and definitely recommending Beard Science to all the romance readers because the author's writing is impeccable as you would find yourself chuckling and giggling at things that you wouldn't expected and you totally need Cletus and Jenn in your life. This book is seriously a must read and a keeper!