Donovan Brothers Brewery #3 // 336 pp. // Contemp. Romance // HQN // Oct. 2011
GOODREADS SUMMARY: 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.
I wanted to like this book — I really did. I read the first two in the series (Good Girls Don’t + Bad Boys Do) and while Tessa and Jamie had their flaws, the chemistry between them and their opposite half gave the story its oomph. In this case, I didn’t feel like the passion between Eric and Beth was at all genuine. Yes, their bedroom scenes were hot (the steamy scenes were the best parts in the story!), but the emotion between them felt forced and the progression between their first sexual encounter and the realization that they were in love with each other seemed contrived.
In Real Men Will, we get to know Eric, the oldest Donovan sibling, who up until now has been labeled as the responsible, serious sibling who was also at times a huge jerk. While we learn the reason behind his gruff demeanor, I still don’t feel as if he redeemed himself enough to be labeled a desirable hero. He was a hypocrite and a dick to Jamie (my favorite Donovan sibling) and the spark between him and Beth just didn’t quite cut the mustard for me.
As far as Beth’s character goes, she was a bit of a contradiction as well, and not in a good way. She spouts all this hooplah about embracing one’s sexuality, but is still too afraid to be honest about her own sexuality. I suppose it’s because I wasn’t able to empathize with her, but as a grown 30-something woman, you shouldn’t have to lie to your parents (or anyone) just because you don’t want to disappoint them. There were also other instances that showed her poor decision-making skills (like lying to the police[lying to the police (hide spoiler)]) and unfortunately, when listing out the pros and cons of her character, there were just too many cons to justify my liking her.
Like the rest of the series, there’s also a lot of Donovan sibling drama, which adds a welcomed level of depth to all three books. However the constant bickering between them was just too much for me. For transparency sake, I will admit that I’m an only child, and I know brothers and sisters argue, but in this case it always seemed to circle around the same subject which quickly became overdone. I realize Tessa’s role was to play peacemaker, and I can appreciate her efforts, but her constant nagging and butting in made me glad I don’t have a sister.
All in all, the story was a bit of a letdown for me. I’m still a Dahl fan, but the buildup for Eric’s book did not live up to my expectations. Like I said, I wanted to like this book — and don’t get me wrong, it has its up moments — but overall I found myself finishing it simply for the sake of finishing.