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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Feature and Giveaway: Grin & Beard It by Penny Reid

Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heartthrobs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

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I don’t know why, but I inserted myself between Cletus and Jethro. “Tom, this is Jethro and Cletus Winston. Cletus, Jethro, this is Tom Low.”

“Mr. Low,” Cletus said, not looking at him. “I enjoyed your film, The Wall Street Connection.”

“Thank you,” Tom responded, shaking each of their hands in turn. He scrutinized them both. Cletus kept his eyes on the grass, whereas Jethro met Tom’s gaze directly and gave him an easy smile, seemingly unaffected by the movie star’s presence.

Tom clearly noticed Jethro’s polite indifference to his star status. I watched with mounting trepidation as my costar affixed his narrowed glare on Jethro.
“Do you want an autograph?” he asked with forced graciousness. “I’m afraid I don’t have a pen.”

“That’s not necessary, sir.” Jethro waved off his offer with a friendly smile, but it was still obvious Jethro had no idea who Tom was. Nor did he care.

Tom studied Jethro for a beat longer, dislike evident in his expression, then turned his attention to me.

“Sí-sí, I’m so sorry about Smash-Girl.” He clicked his teeth. “Do you know why they changed their minds?”

“Uh . . .” my eyes flickered to Jethro then back to Tom, “I think they’re looking for someone shorter.”

Tom’s gaze slid down then up my body and I sensed Jethro stiffen. The ranger took a step closer, shifting his weight to his foot behind me.

“Have you thought about asking the production staff for the low-carb option? Both Elon and I are having our meals delivered to my trailer, and they’re honestly not bad. Well, not bad considering where we are.”

I gathered a deep breath for patience just as Jethro’s chest brushed against my back. I don’t know if he meant to do it, but it felt reassuring, as though he were silently communicating I’ve got your back.

“No,” I said, “I haven’t asked for the low-carb meals.”

Tom’s attention flickered to my boobs then back to my face. “You should. Just give it a try. Maybe they’ll reconsider you for Smash-Girl.”

Before I could respond with a subject change or an excuse to leave, Jethro asked with a hint of irritation, “How’s eating low-carb going to make Sienna shorter?”

Tom blinked once, his glare shifting to Jethro, the muscle at his jaw ticking. “I’ve been thinking of giving that look a try.” He lifted his chin toward Jethro. “Do you have any tips?”

Jethro’s chest pressed more fully against my back. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Where I’m from,” Tom tilted his head to the side, “they call your kind a hipster or a lumbersexual, with the beard and flannel and such.”

Without missing beat, Jethro responded, “Ah. See, where I’m from, they call my kind a man.” Jethro gently placed his hand on my upper arm. “And this here is a woman, and so is that.” He pointed at Elon.

“Ha ha, you’re funny.” Tom’s voice lacked humor, and his grin resembled an aggressive baring of teeth. “What do they call my kind? Movie star, right?”

“No, sir.”

“Well then what?”

“I’d tell you, but you wouldn’t like the word.”

Penny Reid is the USA Today Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she's not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. 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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