Blog Tour: Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers #5) by Penny Reid
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Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak
Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe Winston remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.
Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be...
Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.
But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .
Dr. Strange Beard is a full-length romantic comedy novel, can be read as a stand-alone, and is the fifth book in the USA TODAY bestselling Winston Brothers series.
Gah! I can sum up my love for this book in one word - Roscoe. Seriously. Roscoe...Oh, I loved him so so much. Really love isn't strong enough of a word for him. Because he is...everything. He is definitely my favorite Winston brother, at least thus far, and one of my favorite book guys ever! For reals. I couldn't get enough of Roscoe. I was curious what he would be like since you only get glimpses of him in the other books, but oh. My heart couldn't take it. He was exactly like I thought he would be plus more that made him even better. He is so sweet and kind and sensitive and another guy that I shouldn't love this much, and yet I do. I guess I just really love the way Penny writes these super sweet guys. Guys that are more flowery and romantic than I am used to, that I would normally say is not for me, but just like Drew from Beauty and the Mustache, Roscoe killed me. I loved him.
Now I am sure Simone is a great person. A great character. I am sure had I read her in another book with a different lead character opposite her I would be gushing about her. Because if I just go into the story and read a chapter from her I love it. Or the excerpt below - it is amazing! But Roscoe really overshadowed her for me in this story. I liked her, I enjoyed a lot of the discussions that were brought up because of things she goes through in the story, but Roscoe. When I think of this story I barely think of Simone unless it is in the context of Roscoe (which is kind of funny because it is often referenced how there is no Simone without and Roscoe. I understood that completely). Because Roscoe is everything. If I am being honest every time the story shifted to her point of view I was counting down the pages until I could get into Roscoe's head again. I found the shift in viewpoints jarring as I read. I would be all fuzzy warm cocoon, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes so full of love with Roscoe and then snap - funny, lighthearted, sweet Simone and I couldn't help but wish I were still reading Roscoe. I wish the whole story could have been written from his point of view as I never wanted his story to end. I understand the story wouldn't have worked very well, you need Simone's part, but still. I even went back to re-read the story before posting this and I still kept trying to read Simone's sections as fast as possible so I could get back to my Roscoe. Unless he was in it. Like I said, not that Simone is bad or anything, that is just how much I loved Roscoe. He was so interesting and my heart hurt for him so much at times. I can't imagine being him and feeling those emotions so strongly even after so much time.
This story is so sweet and flowery and wonderful I am again surprised that I loved it as much as I did. But I guess I really shouldn't be as Beauty and the Mustache was my previous favorite book by this author and I found that story to be similar in tone. Penny just writes these guys who are so sensitive and wonderful that I can't help but love them hardcore. The story itself was fun and brought up a lot of good things to think about that are very relevant now. This is one of my new all-time favorite reads. If you haven't read this author before you really should. Her books are amazing, and this is no exception.
*Note: I received a free copy of this book for voluntary review consideration
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2
“Simone, this is not one of our adventures from when we were kids. This is not finding Blithe Tanner’s cat. These men are murderers, drug dealers, thieves.”
“I know.” Boy oh boy, did I know. I didn’t want to be here anymore than he did. I was frightened. Yet allowing Roscoe to be taken on his own hadn’t been an option. “I can handle myself, and I can provide backup for you, if you need it.”
Roscoe gripped my shoulders. “Nothing can happen to you, do you understand?” His words were emphatic, his gaze disoriented, desolate, frantic. “If anything happens to you, I’ll . . .” He swallowed, apparently unable to finish the sentence.
My heart twisted to see him like this. I wished there were some way to show him what I could do, what I was capable of, so he would stop seeing me as a liability.
Well, why can’t you?
Now there was a thought.
Stepping out of his grip, I walked backward to the other side of the room and took a deep breath. “Okay. Come at me.”
He blinked. “What?”
“I want you to come at me.”
“Simone,” he seethed.
“Come at me, bro.” I did that little movement with my fingers, my palm turned upwards. “Come at me or I’ll start singing again.”
“I’m not doing this.”
“Fine.” Frustrating. “I’ll come at you.”
He stood there, features set, looking raw.
Moving quickly forward, staying light on my feet, I faked right and then went left, hooking him behind the back of his leg, catching his arm to twist behind his back, and sending him to the ground—face-first—with a thud.
I winced as he grunted, my knee at the base of his spine, his arm restrained behind his back. “Sorry! But you wouldn’t listen to me.” Leaning forward, I whispered in his ear, “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”
Roscoe’s back and shoulders rose and fell with an expansive breath, like he was about to respond, but in the next moment he’d spun his legs to the right, leveraged my knee on his back to throw me off-balance, and slipped his wrist from my hold.
In my defense, my grip had been lax as I was purposefully trying not to injure him.
The next thing I knew, Roscoe had me pinned to the ground, air knocked out of me, him hovering above, and my gun digging into my ribs beneath my shirt. He’d been careful to subdue my legs, likely so he wouldn’t end up with a bruised ballsack.
His stare more probing than angry—which I took as a good sign—he said, “I didn’t teach you that. Where’d you learn that?”
Even though I was still coughing, I smiled and rasped, “Since college, take judo.” He nodded faintly, his eyes moving between mine, looking concerned. “Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”
“No.” Endeavoring to catch my breath, I said, “I took it easy on you because I didn’t want to hurt you either, but I’m an asset, not a liability.”
“You’re definitely an asset.” Roscoe frowned, his gaze dropping to my mouth. “And a distraction,” he said, his voice rough.
“I’m a distraction?” I asked, my words still breathy.
I bucked, but he held me fast.
“Yes. . .” His stare turned inward. “You are most definitely a distraction.”
Even though I’d had plenty of time to recover and we’d been holding still for close to a minute, I was still breathing hard. This might have been because of my lingering irritation. Or, maybe it was because the length of Roscoe’s lean body was lying on mine. He held my hands on either side of my head, our faces even, his mouth just inches away.
Was it insane that I hoped he kissed me?
Let’s go with no.
He gave me his eyes again and I saw something there, a battle. He looked undecided, at war with himself, straining against something I couldn’t see.
“Roscoe?” I whispered.
Roscoe closed his eyes, and I thought he was going to let me go, but in the next second his lips descended, capturing my mouth in a tender kiss. I moaned. I kissed him back. That’s what one does when Roscoe Winston kisses one. Moan and kiss. Repeat. Because not doing so would be a travesty.
His hold on my hands slacked, his fingers seeking and threading with mine. He settled his hips between my legs, his form relaxing. The weight of him was different now, warmer somehow. At least I felt warm. I also felt cherished as his tongue sought mine, again tenderly, stroking, causing my abdomen to twist and tighten into delicious knots.
He broke the kiss and a protest died on my lips as his mouth trailed down my jaw to the sensitive skin of my neck, sucking, licking, savoring me. What had felt warm and cherishing heated, and my hips tilted reflexively as he nibbled on my ear, cradling his rapidly growing erection.
We both gasped as his hips rocked in an answering yet inelegant movement. It felt perfect and essential in the moment.
“Oh God.” His hot breath spilled against my jaw, a ragged sigh. “What are we doing?”
“I don’t know, but don’t stop.”
About the Author:
Penny Reid is the 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 just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.
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