‘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. 

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By Penny Reid

Beard With Me

(Winston Brothers #6)

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. 

Winston Brothers


Where to even begin with this one. This is really where it all started for Scarlet and Billy, and pretty much also where it ended (for now).

Because it all happened so long ago, I didn’t realise how young they were. Scarlet is only fourteen, and honestly this makes a lot of what happens next, just so much worse. Her parents, mostly her father, are living nightmares. Forced to take care of herself, Scarlet is extremely guarded.

So when Billy Winston shows her kindness, she almost doesn’t know how to deal with that. As time passes they grow closer, and in a way it almost feels ideal. They’ve created this little cocoon for the two of them.

Unfortunately the outside world never stops knocking. Just when Scarlet lets herself believe in happiness, Razor is there to remind her how cruel the world can be.

It’s a lot of elements mixing, and crossing each other that ruins it all. Billy’s default mode is protection. Protecting his brothers, and sister, protecting his mother, protecting Scarlet, and protecting all those who can’t defend themselves. The self sacrifice this young guy does time, and time again, the weight of the world is on his shoulders. If you read the other books in the series, there are glimpses of this, but not until now did I realise how far it all went. 

My heart bled for these teenagers. So much sorrow, misery, and hard life lessons.

After finishing Beard With Me I was still left with a lot of questions. Because it only talks about the time until Scarlet left, how her and Billy’s heart got broken. I also desperately want to know what happened after, so Beard Necessities, I need it now.

This book was a welcome addition to the series, and I’m glad Penny Reid gave it to us. So much heartbreak, so much sorrow, Scarlet and Billy deserve their happy ending, and so much more.

*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

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.