Reviewed by Mandi and May
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.
Highlights of the good times:
Mandi: I was worried about how likable Eric would be since his constant fighting with Jamie and Tessa drove me insane in book two. I’m happy to say, I really enjoyed him. His quieter, serious side really appealed to me. And I love how he has insecurities when it comes to both the brewery and relationships. Beth jumps in and helps him overcome these things and I really liked that.
– Beth is such a solid, mature heroine. I love that she works at a high-end sex toy shop. Because of her job, she has this reputation for being this wild sex machine, but in real life she is the opposite. Except when it comes to sexy time with Eric. And she has great chemistry with Eric throughout the book so the sex works really well. But wait, the sexy time in this book deserves its own bullet point.
– I always say Victoria Dahl writes amazing sex, but I think the sex scenes in this one tip the scale. You think you are reading a really hot scene, but then the next one is even dirtier. I think we need an example:
“I love your body,” she whispered. “I love looking at you. Take it out.”
Eric stopped breathing entirely. There was no mistaking what she meant. Her gaze was locked on his hands as they reached to slide his zipper down. He pushed his boxer briefs slightly down, wrapped his hand around his cock and drew it out.
Beth inhaled sharply, her breasts jumping with the movement. Her nipples were so hard that they’d drawn to tight peaks.
“Stroke yourself,” she whispered
Oh and he does.
May – I will just say “uh huh” and ditto Mandi that Victoria Dahl knows how to get down and dirty while avoiding the pitfalls so many authors fall into. Her love scenes are always top notch.
– Eric himself was the best main character of the series. I could completely buy his overcompensating for his insecurities and need to be good enough. Not only that, but I liked his mix of confidence and being totally lost and unsure all at the same time. “Real Man” indeed!
– The portrayal of the “sex shop” and what Beth’s goals are for it was awesome. There are some funny moments, but I really liked the positive way the author showed us what is inside, and introduced us to the women who run it.
– This story had a nice flow to it and the plot lines were all tied up nicely, but not too tight. As expected, Dahl did not have any sappy epilogues or sudden changes in character behavior to wrap it up too neatly.
Highlights of the not so great:
Mandi – Again, the sibling bickering made me want to bang my head against a wall. It really is the low point for me in this book and this series in general.
– Beth is connected with the Kendall family who provide the main conflict throughout this series. Her involvement with them felt forced and weak to me. I didn’t like Beth’s part in this conflict which is finally wrapped up in this book.
May – Ah yes, the siblings. I just really didn’t like how these three seem to stay together only because their parents are dead so they should. I never felt real love or warmth between any of them and that’s disappointing.
– the Beth conflict was weak at best. By the time we found out what her ‘so awful’ secret was I expected a lot more. Oh it’s bad, but I didn’t see it being quite worth the freak out she does on Eric in the middle of his business over him saying his name was Jamie when they first met and hooked up.
– I really didn’t like a lot of Beth’s choices and the plot line with ‘blackmail’ and her decisions there. But what really bothered me was that while hot, this novel leaned towards the erotic side of the romance fence and I found myself disappointed by a lack of great couple scenes that did not involve sex. There was not a lot of relationship or emotion strong scenes going on between these two unless they were getting it on.
– What happened to the great scenes with the brewmaster? While Wallace is still around and has his own stuff going on, I missed the giggle-worthy scenes of book one! I wanted more brewmaster!
“Personally she wasn’t interested in a toy with a vibrating appendage shaped like a wolf’s head, but werewolves were popular right now. Whatever her personal likes were, Beth didn’t judge what got other people off. The dildos with chill-able inserts were especially in demand as well, and if people wanted to fantasize about cold vampire sex, that was fine with her. “You go girl,” she murmured as she hung the wolf toys up”
“I’m pretty sure he waxes. Everything.”
Beth must have winced.
“What?” Cairo said. “Don’t tell me you’ve never been with a man who’s waxed?”
She tried to keep her face neutral. She really, really did. But she obviously couldn’t hid her horror.
“Oh Beth!” Cairo gushed. “I swear, it’s the best. All that smooth flesh. Nothing between your mouth and his skin… and with guy like Davis, you want to get as close as possible, don’t you?”
“I… I…” she couldn’t imagine the process. Did he have to put his feet in stirrups for the waxer? “I’m sure it’s lovely.”
Mandi: Overall I like this trilogy. I think Victoria Dahl gave us three very different couples with different dynamics and personalities. Although the sibling relationship didn’t always work for me, I’m glad this trilogy ends on a very sexy note with Eric and Beth.
May: This was a strong ending to the trilogy. While the relationship between the siblings was grating at best, this book had a nice blend of humor and heat and I enjoyed it a lot. With Eric and Beth though, I can’t help but be disappointed that we leave them as a couple just beginning a ‘more than sex’ relationship. Overall this was a memorable and well written book and finish to the series that satisfied.