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-headed heart is she willing to risk?
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
I’ve been waiting for this book since last year when the brothers were introduced in Ashley’s book – Beauty and the Mustache – I had a feeling their books are going to be hilarious and witty and this book 1 in the Winston Brothers series didn’t disappoint. This is Penny Reid doing what she does best – writing smart romance with lots of sexual tension that you cannot put down until hours later after you read the last chapter.
Truth or Beard follows Duane Faulkner Winston – one of Ashley’s twin brothers and a pretty darn good mechanic – and Jessica James – a calculus teacher and the sheriff’s daughter. They’ve known each other for a long time and in all this time Jess has thought Duane can’t stand her, but she couldn’t have been more wrong. What started off with a case of mistaken identity – it’s hard to tell apart the red haired bearded twins Beau and Duane 😉 – ended with a case of true love.
“Don’t change a thing. God, Jess. Don’t change a single thing. Be wild for me. be reckless. I love your kind of wild. I love . . .”
The thing I loved the most about this book is the slow build up of Jess and Duane’s relationship. Although Jess wants him right away, Duane is in for the long run. He’s doing everything old school – he wants to court her, bring her mother flowers, take her on picnics – and she’s not happy about it. All this leaves her sexually frustrated and it’s fun to see that, for once, the heroine is the one trying to get into the hero’s pants and not vice versa. He’s the one who wants forever and the white picket fence, she’s the one who wants adventure. It’s hard to follow your dreams when your heart gets in the way and for that I appreciated Jessica’s stubbornness.
“That makes me sad for you. I know you want adventure, I know you want to see the world. But love is the greatest adventure, where you risk the most for the greatest reward. What good will all this exceptional living do if you’re doing it only for yourself?”
Let’s take a moment and talk about the rest of the brothers – almost all of them make appearances in this book, some more than others – Beau and Cletus. Just when I thought I had a favorite, here comes another one with a clever line who’s making me like him more. Cletus seems to be the goofy brother, but he’s so much more than that – he’s the smart one when you least expect it. Then you have Beau, the other twin, who’s the clueless one at times, Billy – the head of the gang, Jethro, the reformed bad boy and Roscoe, who’s the ‘runt’ of the family. Their interactions were just incredibly hilarious and I couldn’t get enough of their banter.
All in all this is a solid 4 star read – it has a bit of everything – romance, duh; suspense – the MC gang and their blackmailing of the brothers in helping the club with illegal activities; two gun wielding women – Jess and her BFF Claire, who just so happens to be catching Billy’s eye; adventure and thrill – car races in the canyon; and most importantly BEARDS.
“Come with me. I dare you to come with me. Next month, next year, whenever. I dare you to come with me when I go. And stay with me, stay with me always.”
If you haven’t read Penny Reid before now I totally recommend her – her books are original, with great heroines and heroes, with witty dialogue and hilarious moments.
Penny Reid is a part time author of romantic fiction. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances she works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to two diminutive adults (boy-8 and girl-5), wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.