ARC-Review: REAL MEN WILL by Victoria Dahl

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.


Title: REAL MEN WILL
Author: Victoria Dahl
Series: Donovan Brothers Brewery, book 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Year of release: 2011, October 25
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Source: Requested an e-ARC for review from publisher through NetGalley

First line:
Beth Cantrell hadn’t thought about him in almost six months.

Memorable Scenes:
– Cairo and Beth’s ‘wax talk’ > priceless
– scene in the entryway of Beth’s house after drinking wine with Beth’s dad > OMG beyond hot

Beth Cantrell is the manager of erotic boutique the White Orchid. Even though she has this exciting job she thinks of herself as neither cool nor hip or spunky She is self-concious and doesn’t want to be seen as a novelty or held to other people’s standards or expectations.

Eric Donovan was an interesting character. He is serious, intense and quiet. Controlfreak is an understatement when it comes to describing him and he hates being wrong or ashamed. Eric was a complex character for me. I never really disliked him, but I did not approve how he treated his siblings in their books and in his own book, definitely in the beginning I thought he didn’t own up to what he’d done…

However I did understand where he was coming from. He felt like he had to work extra hard to prove himself and to be the parent to his siblings, always setting the right example and when the opportunity arose to be a little wild and wicked albeit under the assumption of his brother’s name and reputation he thought it wouldn’t hurt. He’s also pretty quick on drawing conclusions and accusing his siblings of stuff without giving them the benefit of the doubt. Not a fine trait to be honest. As I said, Eric was a complex character because on one page I’d have the urge to smack him and on the other I would feel sorry for him and sympathize.

I read the anthology story in THE GUY NEXT DOOR where Eric and Beth’s story started so I was waiting for the confrontation when Beth found out Eric had lied to her. And it was awesome. I loved how stunned Eric was when he realized he was found out and Beth’s fury of having been lied to. Sparks flew in that scene and I was looking forward to how this was going to pan out. However in the first part of the book I felt there was more attention given to the sibling bickering and drama because of Eric and Jamie’s not so good relationship than there was for Beth and Eric’s romance.

And man, as rude and condescending as Eric was in BAD BOYS DO, Jamie was obnoxious and bratty in REAL MEN WILL, especially in the first part of the book.

Though I liked this book better than Tessa’s book I didn’t like it as much as I did Jamie’s. Once again I missed the humor, the spark that makes Victoria Dahl’s books stand out to me from other contemporary romances. It really wasn’t a bad book and it’s well-written as Victoria Dahl knows her brewery/hospitality stuff and the sexy times are hot but when you don’t mesh with the characters and you miss the spunky humorous vibe, like me, it still misses the mark a bit.

Favorite Quotes:
[…] she suddenly felt as if she’d swallowed a heart that was way too big for her chest. She wanted him to touch her so she could turn to him. At the same time she wanted to edje around him and run away.

She knew from experience that a first kiss said a lot about how a man would perform in bed. For example, that guy two years ago who’d immediately thrust his tongue down her throat…that had been his level of restraint and subtlety during sex, as well. Foreplay had been something along the lines of “Brace yourself, I’m coming in!”

Eric swallowed hard. “My office is this way.” He gestured toward the hallway and she glared at his hand as if she wanted to snap it off.
“We might want to stay out here. Whoever you are, you’re less likely to end up dead if there are witnesses.”

He tried to think of something witty to say. Or something sexy. Or just a few words that might make sense when strung together. But his brain had gone into Neanderthal mode at the husky appreciation in her voice.

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