REVIEW: PENNY REID – BEARD WITH MEBeard with Me by Penny Reid
Also by this author: Dating-ish, Beard in Mind
Also in this series: Dr. Strange Beard
Series: Winston Brothers #5.5
on September 16th 2019
Genres: YA
Tropes: Enemies-to-lovers
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Cliffhanger: Yes


‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.


by Penny Reid

Who hasn’t been intrigued and fascinated by the most enigmatic Winston brother? Well, finally we get all the answers, who Billy and Scarlet are, what shaped them and what the hell happened to Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire/Claire McClure that separated them. Why they can’t seem to find their way back to each other although they are obviously still in love with each other.

I knew, with absolutely certainty, I’d dream of her and her spirit and her voice for the rest of my life. The belief was soul deep, in my bones and muscles and skin, but particularly in my heart.

This story is hard, make no mistake. Penny Reid didn’t go easy on these two and heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to describe what Billy and Scarlet are going through. My heart SHATTERED for them. Scarlet’s resilience and spirit, her prickly and yet sweet personality, her courage, strong will and kindness will break your heart. I can’t even begin to count the ways this young girl had my heart from beginning to end. Her story is tragic and when you find out what she endures to appease her father and how she never really had a real childhood you’ll want to tear the world down for her, shelter her and make it better. Yes, it’s harrowing, it’s outraging and it hurts.

This. This was the best sound. Singing with Billy Winston and his guitar while fighting laughter. Never in my life had I been so happy. Never in my life had I imagined or dreamed such happiness was possible. And nothing existed beyond right now, this moment, and Billy’s smile.

But there is Billy, her nemesis, that jerk. With his deep-rooted honesty, his protectiveness, his rare smiles he makes her drop all her walls in the span of a week. I loved Billy, how he put everything before his own wishes and dreams. His fierce love for his family and their protection always came first. The things he endures to make them and ultimately Scarlet safe will have your heart in your throat. The helplessness, the injustice of it, the brutality this sixteen year old Billy had to live with…it had me raging. And all of a sudden the pining in the previous books of this series makes so much more sense.

With all that being said, there are in typical Penny Reid fashion lighter, funnier moments and Cletus, sweet, wicked, wily and cunning Cletus is the main provider of those. However, this isn’t the fuzzy, warm read that we are used to from this author. It’s not romance and it doesn’t have a HEA although we get the heart-achingly sweet bloom of first love between two strong and honorable characters. It is indeed a prequel that will give you an in-depth look into Billy and Scarlet’s past and puts you firmly in their corner – you can’t help but root for them. Think of it as the first in a duet and that we’ll be rewarded in the last installment of the Winston Brothers series.

Think of Scarlet.
I thought of Scarlet and her smile and my heart slowed. I thought of Scarlet and her voice and I let the pain go. I thought of Scarlet and her jokes and her laughter and her spirit. I thought of Scarlet.

I’m devastated, Penny killed me with this one, no lie. BEARD WITH ME is, despite the tragedy, a beautiful story that will hook its claws into your heart and rip it open. You’ll be desperate to finally get Billy and Scarlet’s so well deserved happily ever after and even a day is too long to wait. Guess I have to put on my big girl panties – November isn’t long. Right? RIGHT?

*sits in a corner, rocking back and forth*

If the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts, then my soul was Scarlet.

About Penny Reid

Penny Reid is the 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.

Website ✭ Facebook ✭ Sharks of Awesome ✭ Twitter
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