Engagement and Espionage, an all-new quirky and swoon-worthy romantic comedy featuring fan favorites Jenn and Cletus Winston from New York Times bestselling author Penny Reid is available now!
Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!
But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?
‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3.
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“Don’t stop.” She reached for my belt again, this time completely undoing it, the button of my pants, and my zipper at world-record speed.
Her phone buzzed. Then it chimed. Then it buzzed and chimed two more times. Then it rang again. Reba.
Cursing, Jenn pulled the phone from her pocket, once again her face illuminated, murderous rage in her eyes. Her finger moved to the power off button. She blinked, hesitating. Her eyes widened, her body stiffened, and she gasped.
Something about her tone, like she was horrified, and maybe a little afraid, cut through the heavy haze of lust inertia, and my hands stilled. Shaking myself, it took me a few moments to realize she was showing me the phone screen, and another few to bring the content of the text messages into focus.
Momma: Jennifer Anne Sylvester, pick up your phone. If you’re with Cletus, I need his help. Please.
Momma: ALL THE CHICKENS AND ROOSTERS ARE DEAD! PICK UP YOUR DAMN PHONE!
Momma: I’m calling you in a second, pick up the phone. Mr. Badcock’s chickens are dead. All of them. I got here and he’s running around, deranged, yelling about his dead chickens! I called the police and they’re on their way. Please, please, please pick up the phone!
At some point, I must’ve taken the phone from Jenn and stepped away, because I glanced up upon reading the messages for the third time, finding the phone in my hand and Jenn fixing her skirt.
“This is nuts.” Her big eyes searched mine imploringly. “Who could have done this?”
I shook my head, having not yet managed to fully shift head gears—you know, from that head to the one on my neck—and my gaze dropped to the wet patch on the front of her dress just visible in the swath of light. My erection throbbed.
So we’re . . . not having sex?
“Why? Why would they do it? And WHO?” She snatched her phone back, her tone bewildered, distracted, and distraught. She was distraught because of the dead chickens, like any normal person would be.
I was distraught also, but my distress had nothing to do with farm animals.
“We have to go.” Jenn grabbed my hand and began walking toward the direction of the hall. Meanwhile, it took me until her hand found the door handle to realize my zipper and belt were still undone.
“This is crazy.” She paused as I zipped up, her tone halting and distracted. “Poor Mr. Badcock. And those poor chickens.” A sound of distress escaped her throat. “This is terrible.”
It was terrible.
And I was going to hell.
Because all I could think was, Talk about a cock block.
Meet Penny Reid:
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.
Connect with Penny:
[I received a digital arc for an honest review]
Engagement and Espionage is the first book in the Cletus and Jenn Mysteries spin-off. Cletus and Jenn are back after a hectic holiday season and just looking to spend some much needed time together. Their time is cut short when local vendors for the bakery start experiencing chicken killings and bee burning. Cletus and Jenn are on the case as they try to figure out how these crimes are connected and if someone is trying to prevent Jenn from making her prize winning baked goods or if they goes higher up than a banana cake. As they get closer to the truth Jenn and Cletus find themselves being pulled apart and questioning if getting involved was really a good idea.
Jenn is still working on finding herself as an independent person outside of her mother’s control at the bakery. She struggles with this and being able to still maintain a relationship with her mother. Jenn is really trying to embrace her sexuality and her new found ability to share this with Cletus. Cletus attempts to continue being a gentleman but Jenn pushes his buttons for sure and it makes you so happy to see her growing into who she is meant to be.
“Cletus Winston was mine, brain and backside and everything in between.”
Cletus is a riot. He is a mess of contradictions and struggles to control how badly he wants Jenn and still keeping all the moving pieces of his plans in action. Cletus is constantly fighting with himself in this book and his internal dialogue continues to make you laugh and turn your head in confusion at the same time. When he lets go and just allows himself to be with Jenn it warms your heart and gets your blood pumping.
“Alas, she was entirely too sexy. I would never be in complete control of my faculties around Jennifer Sylevester.”
Cletus and Jenn are one of my favorite couples because they were so weird in Beard Science and it carries over perfectly into this book as well. This book takes place a few months after the events of Beard Science so if you’re caught up in the Winston Brothers world these events are happening in the past from Billy and Claire’s book. Having this book be a mystery brought a fun new perspective to the story because it wasn’t just about watching Jenn and Cletus grow as a couple but also a whodunit. Green Valley, TN is always a place I enjoy so having it be the setting for the mystery continued to make me very happy. I look forward to seeing where the next book leads us.
4 stars for this new take on the Winston Brothers world with Cletus and Jenn working together to solve a bovine/bee/murder mystery.