Monday, October 24, 2011

ARC Review: Real Men Will

Real Men Will
Victoria Dahl
Contemporary Romance
Donovan Brothers/Book 3
HQN/October 25, 2011

From Goodreads ~

It was meant to be a one-night stand. One night of passion. Scorching hot. Then Beth Cantrell and Eric Donovan were supposed to go their separate ways. That’s the only reason he lied about his name, telling her he was really his wild younger brother. Hiding his own identity as the conservative Donovan. The “good” one.

But passion has its own logic, and Eric finds he cannot forget the sable-haired beauty with whom he shared one night of passion. When Beth discovers that Eric has lied, however, she knows he cannot be trusted. Her mind tells her to forget the blue-eyed charmer. If only every fiber of her being did not burn to call him back.

The first time I met Eric Donovan I liked him. That was in the novella Just One Taste from The Guy Next Door anthology. Then I read the next two full length books in the series and Eric ended up my shit list. I knew Dahl would have her work cut out for her if I was going to like this hero. Thankfully, Dahl's one hell of a hard worker.

What we know about Eric Donovan is that he's been in charge of the family business since his parents died when he was twenty-four. He also was left to raise his siblings, Jaime, sixteen and Tessa, fourteen. That's a lot of responsibility for someone. But Eric takes his responsibilities seriously, almost too seriously. He's so damn uptight, I don't think he knows what fun is. I get why Eric takes the brewery so seriously. It's the family heritage and was important to their father. I think by seeing things from Eric's POV, Dahl really gives the reader a better insight to Eric. She does an exceptional job showing why he comes off as such an ass sometimes. This is not how he intended his life to be. Is there some resentment? Hell yes! Eric is human but there is also a lot of love for his siblings. They may fight like cats and dogs but in the end, they really do care about each other.

Beth Cantrell doesn't do one-night-stands but for Jamie Donovan, she makes an exception, or does she? Beth meets Eric Donovan but thinks he's ladies man Jamie Donovan and Eric doesn't correct Beth's mistake. To say she's pissed off when she finds out which Donovan brother she really spent the night with is putting it mildly. Beth is a kind and generous person who has what some might consider an unconventional job. She manages The White Orchid, an upscale erotic boutique. It's a source of pride for her to have a place where women, and even some men, can go and feel comfortable exploring their hidden desires. But Beth doesn't look like a woman who runs a store like The White Orchid. I liked that Dahl didn't go with portraying Beth as this sexpot but instead went with projecting a more professional image like that of a business woman, except for the shoes. Beth's shoes drove Eric nuts and I loved it! It's like they were a glimpse of the woman behind that professional persona. A bit of her wild side peeking out.

When Eric and Beth meet again, months after their one night stand, it's a surprise for both of them. It also brings back feelings they thought they had buried. Turns out one night wasn't enough for either of them. When they let go of their inhibitions and gave in to their desires, it was beyond hot. Each pushing the other and willing them to go where they really wanted to. They still have to get past the lying Eric did and that wasn't easy for Beth to forgive or Eric to forget why he did it. Theirs is a complex relationship that works because they have to work for it.

Eric has a secret that has driven him for most of his life. It's something he needs to let go of and realize that the importance he has placed on it is not where his focus should be. It's that and other things that bring the relationship of the Donovan siblings to a head. I liked how the siblings finally had it out and Tessa and Jaime began to understand Eric better and why he acts like he does with them. I only wish they had hashed things out sooner since the arguing between the brothers was at times juvenile and petty. Their relationships are not perfect but it wouldn't be realistic if they were.

The conflicts and emotions run high in this series, with the siblings' relationships providing much of it. The romance and passion also runs high, proving that two people can overcome past mistakes and love being who they are with the person they were meant to be with.

Rating: A-

Books in the series ~

Just One Taste (novella in The Guy Next Door anthology)
Good Girls Don't
Bad Boys Do
Real Men Will


  1. Eric is so verra smexy. And I really liked Beth!

  2. Well if you gave this one an A-, I have to say Ms Dahl did a great job :) Still debating whether to read it though LOL.

  3. Mandi ~ Eric was a closet Dom. LOL And Beth was the perfect fit for him. Bringing out his Dom persona.

    Nath ~ I was surprised at how much I liked Eric. That's why I gave it a little higher than Bad Boys Do. I already liked Jaime but Eric had to work for it. :)

    Overall, a very good trilogy!

  4. I just finished the first book int his trilogy and have the second book TBR. While I didn't really like the sister (heroine of book 1) and found the hero somewhat bland, I did like her writing. So I'll see what I think of Jamie's story. Did you read the earlier books?

  5. I just finished this book and loved it. Eric and Beth were wonderful together. Dahl wrote one hot book! Pheww...

    You're so right about the siblings, they did provide a lot of the conflict and hmm... juvenile. I was surprised at Jamie and Tessa's lack of maturity. And yet in a way it felt kind of real, in that no matter how old they are, siblings ALWAYS see each other in a certain way. These three, although frustrating at times, were going through a transitional moment in their lives. Good stuff!

    I'm so glad you enjoyed this book too. I loved Eric from the first book, but I knew you had doubts... lol! I'm glad that in the end, you liked him too. :)

    PS: I STILL have to read Jamie's book! I skipped because I couldn't wait to read Eric's story! (Bad, bad girl!)