I finally got the chance to read Beard Necessities by Penny Reid. It is the second half of Billy and Scarlet/Claire’s story. I was underwhelmed. Maybe I set my expectations too high after absolutely loving the sad story that was Beard With Me.
In Beard Necessities, Billy and Scarlet are all grown up and are “forced” into reconnecting. The whole Winston family is in Italy. And for the first half of the book I couldn’t understand why they were there. Then I remembered Duane was there to learn more about mechanics. And then I couldn’t understand why Billy was there. When the story opens up, Billy is recovering from a serious medical procedure. I was stuck for a while on what kind of doctor would okay then. Then I got stuck on Billy and Scarlet being sort of related.
Basically what I am trying to say is that there were lots of little things that my brain couldn’t let go of enough to get lost in the story. I also couldn’t understand why even after Billy and Scarlet decided they were going to attempt to be together, their family continued to try to push them together.
Once they decide to let their guards down, everything moves really fast. It didn’t feel like enough time for them to get to know each other as adults. And to discover a love that was built on more than pining teenagers that carried over into adulthood.
CW: references to dubious consent sex. This is not between Billy/Scarlet but rather her relationship with Ben. References to abuse/manipulation.
All in all, the story was fine. Hardcore Reid fans are going to love this story. There’s lots of Cletus scenes and at least one where he talks about his meat sticks/sausage. But the story wasn’t a knockout like Beard with Me was for me.
The highlight of the book was the epilogue. On a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being the epilogue from your favorite Kristen Ashley novel), this epilogue was an 8. It felt like coming home to family and seeing all the Winston’s all grow’d up. The book came with a short teaser for the Cleetus & Jenn mystery and I’ll be honest, I don’t have a lot of interest in it. But maybe I’ll read a review that will change my mind when those books come out in the next few years.