Synopsis: 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.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In the third installment of the Donovan Brother’s Brewery, Real Men Will, Victoria Dahl finally tells us a little more about Eric Donovan. After the death of their parents, oldest brother Eric has had to fill in the shoes of their father AND their mother. Aside from caring for his younger siblings, he has also had to step up and manage the growing business of their brewery. When their parents died, Eric was only 24. In some eyes, including his own, he was much too young to take on this responsibility.
Eric Donovan had always been the picture of responsibility and maturity. He has tried to act as perfect as one can, given any circumstance. There’s a heartbreaking reason for why Eric acts like he does, but to tell you would be a spoiler. Eric seemed to always want control, becoming more comfortable with the known than the unknown. So imagine his surprise, when one night of anonymous passion shows up at his brewery.
In Real Men Will, Eric met Beth Cantrell at a trade show, six months ago. Eric never thought to see Beth again. But now that he has, memories of the night that they shared is slowly coming back. I saw a different side of Eric that I would have never imagined. Usually, Eric is calm and controlled. Well, okay, when he is not arguing with Jamie over something. But from the flashbacks with Beth, and with his chance meetings with her, there was an intense side that came out.
Beth Cantrell, while not exactly the opposite of Eric, also has her fair share of perceptions about her own persona. She manages Wild Orchid, an adult shop in the city. The store specializes in lingerie, sex toys and aids, as well as holds classes for women who want to learn a little more about sex and pleasure. While Beth teaches these classes and writes a column for the paper, she actually doesn’t have that much experience. The employees at Wild Orchid have done and taught more than she could.
At a young age, Beth fell in love with a boy. As with most girl loves boy stories, she would have done anything for him. She said yes to everything: to losing her virginity, to exploring her sexuality, and to having her boyfriend take nude photos while in compromising positions. Her boyfriend showed them to his friends (you know, locker room bragging), and eventually it became a scandal. Her father was disappointed, and their relationship was never the same again.
Beth and Eric were two adults who had to live up to family expectations. Whether or not those expectations were justified, they both believed they had to be someone they weren’t. I can completely understand. I am the oldest, and sometimes I have to act in a certain way. But with Beth and Eric, those expectations created this negative stigma. For Eric, acting responsible and controlled contributed to only seeing things done in a certain way. For Beth, she had to be someone she wasn’t in hope to gaining her father’s respect and love.
As usual, Dahl does such a great job writing a story that I can relate to. With all three books, Dahl has managed to highlight traits in each Donovan sibling and make each person their own. With Beth and Eric, there were lies and secrets, but there was also life and love. While Eric was the star of this book, Dahl didn’t hesitate to include Tess and Jamie. Each sibling had their own challenges and skeletons to own up to, and in Real Men Will they all had their happily ever after.
I really enjoyed the Donovan Brothers Brewery books. I will miss them, definitely. I wish in a future trilogy or series, we can see a glimpse of their brewery and its success.
I highly recommend Real Men Will, and the Donovan Brothers Brewery. You will love getting acquainted with each couple and enjoy the love the Donovan siblings.