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?
I have been acting like some next level creeper-stalker person over this book… Ever since I read the excerpt for this story in the Shiver Anthology last year I’ve been counting down the months until I could get my hands on ALL of the story. So when I finally got hold of it last week I was a very VERY happy human. Since everyone knows my Penny Reid fan status (Big, HUGE fan) I’m going to try and keep this review less on the fan-girl side and more on the explaining why I’m fan-girling so much side…. So here goes!
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters most, in the end” – Ernest Hemingway
Truth or Beard is the first instalment in the series that Penny Reid has dedicated to the 6 Winston brothers who were first introduced to us in Beauty and the Mustache. I love this idea, I love how this series connects with the Knitting in the City series. I love how we are going to get a (much) more in-depth look at each brother and his story, because they were so intriguing in BatM. And most of all I love how I just know that Penny will take each brother and create a story that is as unique as he is. Starting here, with Duane.
I love Duane! Yes, he comes across distant and broody on the outside, but once I got into his head he was so much more. The depth of his feelings made him a complex character. For a lot of the book he was battling his own emotions as much as he was battling Jessica’s. He had big plans for the two of them and no matter what he wanted to make sure everything was planned and executed to perfection so that he could give her everything that he felt she deserved. However, what Duane didn’t take into account was that life can’t be organized perfectly, sometimes you just have to live and chase your dreams. He was so busy trying to do the right thing by everyone that he almost missed out on his own dream in the process.
He nibbled on my ear, whispering my name like it was a dirty word – but not a curse word – a dirty word. Something erotic and scandalous. I had an odd thought then, that I liked my name on his lips more when it was whispered.
Jessica was instantly likeable. I loved that she was busy obsessing over travelling and experiencing the world rather than obsessing over finding a husband and a white picket fence. She had long dreamed of all of the places she would go and she was determined. So determined, that when her heart started to travel on it’s own path she had no idea what to make of it or how to reconcile the fact that even if she hadn’t planned on love, it may have found her and if it had found her, then how on earth was she going to be free to embark on her childhood dream?
Penny Reid is super duper talented at dual POVs. She knocks it out of the park every time. The tone, the subtle details, these things really make all the difference when you’re the reader. She always gets it right and this book is no different. So I LOVED having the book set up like this, the story called for it. It really added to the back and forth between Jessica and Duane. The angst of not knowing what to do next with their feelings, the hotness of the hot looks, the intricacies of their relationship and themselves… All of these things were magnified from being able to look through both sets of eyes.
…I wanted to hold on to this moment for as long as possible, because it was the first time – and maybe the only time in my life – I felt truly seen, known and understood. And I wanted to give him everything in return. I wanted him to know I saw him. I knew him, too.
So! Like I promised, fan-girling moments aside… I FREAKING loved this book! Penny Reid is an exceptionally talented writer who never shies away from writing exactly the type of story she feels like she needs to write. I’m positive this is why her books always hit the mark and why every time I read a new one I find it harder and harder to have a firm favourite. This is a definite must read whether you are familiar with Penny Reid’s work or not. This book… This freaking book… It’s definitely made it into my top reads of the year that’s for sure,
ARC received in return for an honest review