One of the best contemporary romances I’ve read this year.
Six months ago, uptight Eric Donovan went to a business expo and had a steamy night of passion with the manager of a local erotic boutique. Problem? He used his bad-boy younger brother’s name. For one night, he wanted to be someone else, without all the responsibilities and worries weighing him down.
When Beth Cantrell walks into the Donovan Brothers Brewery months later, she pretty swiftly realizes that the cute young bartender everyone’s calling Jamie isn’t the guy she slept with. Beth is furious and tries not to feel the shame and humiliation that she experienced the last time a man used her. But she struggles to hold onto her anger toward Eric as the attraction between them explodes again—only this time, they both want more than one night.
I love Victoria Dahl’s contemporary romances, but she’s really at her best when she’s writing characters who have spent their adulthoods trying to overcome the trauma of their childhoods. Beth Cantrell is one of those characters. She’s hiding who she really is in an attempt to become the person she thinks she should be—a sexually adventurous woman comfortable with all kinds of experimentation. In reality, she just wants a man she can let her guard down with, a man she can trust.
In the first two books of the Donovan Brothers Brewery series, Eric was the character who intrigued me the most. Often angry and picking fights with his younger siblings, he comes across as unsympathetic and controlling. I wondered whether I would feel any connection with him as a hero.
With Victoria Dahl’s skillful portrayal, he became one of my favorite heroes of 2011. Under all of his shouting, he’s insecure about his position in the family and doesn’t know where he belongs. Meeting Beth helps him figure out his role.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Victoria Dahl has ended the series with a bang, and I’ll be reading Real Men Will over and over for years to come.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Heat: 5 (Scorching)