Beard in Hiding, the USA Today bestselling companion novel to the Winston Brothers and Solving for Pies series is LIVE! Penny Reid delivers a heartfelt romantic comedy about two lost souls who find love in the most unexpected way.
Propositioning the Iron Wraiths’ money man seemed like a good idea at the time…
Diane Donner—recently divorced pillar of polite society—is craving danger. She’s tired of playing it safe and she knows just the sexy criminal motorcycle man to proposition for a good time. Problem is, she doesn’t actually know his name.
Jason “Repo” Doe never takes risks. So when the queen of local commerce walks into his club, looking to get risky and frisky, Jason knows the smartest thing to do is save himself a headache while saving the new divorcee from her worst impulses.
But then one thing leads to another, and the memory of just-one-night doesn’t feel like enough.
Theirs is a story with no future, because how can a dangerous criminal win (and keep) a queen?
‘Beard In Hiding’ is book #4.5 in the Winston Brothers series, is a full length contemporary romantic comedy about two lost souls in their 40s, and is a companion novel to the Winston Brothers and Solving for Pie series.
If you want to get the full immersive Green Valley world experience, I recommend reading ‘Truth or Beard,’ ‘Beard Science,’ ‘Engagement and Espionage,’ and ‘Marriage and Murder’ beforehand. ‘Beard In Hiding’ contains spoilers for these four books (in specific).
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“Just say it, Diane.”
“Fine.” She lifted her chin. “I want someone to court me.”
And there it was. I continued staring at her, counting the seconds as they ticked by. Why she couldn’t just say, I don’t want you, you’re not good enough for me, I had no idea. Did she think I needed to be let down gently?
Well, now. That would be a first.
“I want dinners and flowers,” she went on. “And picnics and romantic gestures. I don’t want to constantly be making excuses for someone, for their lack of ability or skill or generosity.”
I deadened the needlingly ache behind my ribcage, suffocated thoughts and desires long abandoned. “Diane. You don’t need to say anything else.”
“I don’t?” Her features brightened and she approached the arm of the couch. “You understand what I mean?”
“Yes. You mean you don’t want me.” And that was fine, and it made sense, and I wasn’t going to dwell on it, and now I needed to go.
“What?” she snapped, her head tilting to the side like she needed to inspect me from a different angle. “No! No, you irritating man. Did I say that? That’s not at all what I’m saying.”
“Then what do you mean?” I glanced over her head toward the room’s exit, impatient to leave. I didn’t belong here, and I’d rather be stranded outside in a snowstorm than accept any more of her charity.
“I mean, I want you.”
My eyes cut back to hers and as I waited for the but—because there was always a but—I ignored the tightness seizing my lungs, the hope.
When she kept on looking at me, as though expecting a reaction, I prompted, “But?”
“But nothing.” She placed her hands on her hips, her tone salty, impatient.
What? “There’s always a ‘but.’”
“Fine. Yes. Okay. There is a ‘but.’” Her eyes moved like she might roll them, but stopped when they reached the ceiling. “I want you. But . . . only if you want me the same way.”
I stared at her and that’s all I could do because I was so damn confused.
Meanwhile, she peaked at me, nibbling her bottom lip, looking so goddamn gorgeous in her little nighty.
“Do you . . . want me?” The uncertainty in her voice, the vulnerability, hit low in my stomach.
“Pardon?” I choked out because, was hers a real question? How could she not know how much I wanted her? Hadn’t I just kissed the hell out of her? Hadn’t her breast just filled my palm? Hadn’t I just literally said the words, I want you?
Her tongue flicked out to lick her lips and she stepped fully around the couch, her eyes huge. “I’ve been in a lonely, one-sided romance before. I don’t want that. I want something deep, something meaningful for both people involved. I’m not saying we have to get married. Lord knows, I’ve had enough of marriage to last a lifetime. I don’t think I’ll ever get married again. What I’m talking about is something real, authentic, passionate, but also—above all else—loving. Because what I’ve never had, what I’ve never known, is that.”
“I . . . don’t understand.”
Diane took a deep breath and then said loudly, “I want a relationship,” like the words were a painful confession and the only way she could speak it out loud was by shouting them.
I stared at her for a moment longer before finally asking, “With who?”
Her lips twitched. “With you.”
What? “With me.”
“Yes. But a real one, not just—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—not just sex.”
I barely heard a word she’d said, instead repeating, “With me,” again because the idea was absurd. A relationship with me? Is she crazy?
“Yes. With you. As I’ve said.”
“But . . . Why?”
“What do you mean why?” She frowned. It was severe. “Have you met you?”
About Penny Reid
Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she writes kissing books. Penny is an obsessive knitter and manages the #OwnVoices-focused mentorship incubator / publishing imprint, Smartypants Romance. She lives in Seattle Washington with her husband, three kids, and dog named Hazel.
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[I received a digital arc for an honest review]
Beard in Hiding by Penny Reid adds to the colorful tapestry of Green Valley, KY by re-introducing Diane Donner as a newly single woman who has a list of new experiences to check off after her disastrous marriage ended. She takes the bull by the horns by stepping into the last place in Green Valley anyone would expect, the Dragon’s Lair, looking for Jason ‘Repo’ Doe. Jason has no idea that helping Diane out one night would lead to years of chaos, romance, affection, secrecy and ending in danger that neither is sure they can outrun.
Diane Donner is not a character that I would’ve ever thought would need her own book or that I would care so much about her. She wrapped herself around my heart with her strong spirit, vulnerability and distinct honesty that just endears her to you. She is so headstrong that once she decides she wants Jason she puts her heart on the line. She approaches her new romance with the inexperience of a teenager in certain aspects and the wisdom of her past in others. I was so happy to see her get positive sexual experiences that she could overwrite her history with Kip and just look forward to a future of exploration with Jason.
“You’re crazy.” I said, my heart in my throat, and I didn’t know if I was speaking to her or to myself. I was considering this. I wanted to say yes.
“Maybe I am. But I think you like my crazy and this is what I want.”
Jason ‘Repo’ Doe was another surprise for me. I feel like we tangentially knew him from other books and his morally grey standing in the Green Valley community as VP of the Iron Wraiths. He really struggled to balance his overwhelming urge to protect Diane with the knowledge that she is strong enough to stand on her own and just rely on him for support on her own terms. He also can’t wrap his mind around why such a successful woman would want him while knowing what he does for work and lack of upstanding upbringing . Once he embraces the idea of Diane taking him for who he is, he opens himself up to everything she can be for him and he can be for her in return.
We shared another smile, and there he was again, looking at me like I was something wonderful, like he’d been doing all night, and I felt something in me becoming both settled and frenzied.
Let’s talk about how out in left field my enjoyment for this book (I read it in one sitting this book) was. I will admit that I have always loved the Winston Brothers series but feel as though I connect better with some of the stories than others. Diane and Jason were just characters that I needed to find their own form of happily ever after. Getting glimpses of their clandestine relationship throughout the other books set up a basic understanding of what occurred but the details were what really won me over. It also reignited my excitement for the continuation of Cletus and Jenn’s mysteries and hopefully *fingers crossed* getting an Isaac story.
4.5 unexpected stars for Diane and Jason finding their own version of happily ever after.
—-Written by Katie—-