Complex Dimensions by Brenda Murphy is an erotic romance that is both sexy and tender. It’s about second chances and unconditional love. It’s the fourth book in her Rowan House series, but it can definitely be read as a stand-alone.
Veronica Fletcher realizes that she doesn’t have much of a future in her hometown. With the stigma of being an ex-con coupled with running into her ex-girlfriend at every turn, she signs on as the new stable manager at Rowan House, Skye’s unusual women’s only resort. She arrives with a chip on her shoulder because working with whores isn’t what she had envisioned for herself when she was a graduate student.
Enter Mille, Rowan House’s chauffeur. She isn’t keen on Veronica calling her fellow employees “whores” and lets Veronica know it before she even opens the car door for her. Millie has been working at Rowan House for years, and she is very protective of the women who have become her family of choice.
The last thing on Veronica’s mind is any romantic entanglement, and she isn’t interested in the steady stream of women volunteering to help her in the stable or in her bed. However, there is something special about Millie. After their first awkward encounter, Veronica is drawn to Millie. The two women enjoy spending time in the resort’s gym, going on hikes, and tinkering with Millie’s car. Veronica soon realizes that Millie is who she’s been waiting for, but she’s not sure where Millie stands.
Millie has her own demons from the past and is reticent about sharing them with Veronica. Millie’s secrets are a barrier that threaten any possible future that the two women can share. Can she trust Veronica will accept her, past included, or will Millie let the woman she loves slip through her fingers?
I immediately liked Veronica and Millie, and it is so refreshing to see two butch women as main characters. At one point in the book, Veronica remarks how it’s odd that people are always surprised to see two butch women together when it’s all about what’s on the inside, and I must agree with her.
On first glance, Veronica seems very no nonsense and in control of her emotions – so not true. Her head won’t stop telling her that she’s got no chance with Millie, and negative self-talk seems to bleed into most aspects of her life. It’s honestly very sweet; she is waiting for the “one” in an atmosphere where women are throwing themselves at her. She’s a bit old fashioned that way, and I think that’s one of the reasons I like her so much. Plus, she’s hot.
I ab-so-lute-ly adore Millie. She is this imposing, buff, dapper butch that has a heart of gold. She is genuinely protective of the other women who work at Rowen House, and she goes out of her way to be kind and supportive to all of them. (Well, not all of them. There is one bad apple in the house who I wanted to drop-kick right out of the book.) Millie can bench press two of me and rule the rugby pitch, but she’s just as happy to spend an afternoon cuddled up in the library reading with her sweetheart. She’s got her own backstory that surprised the heck out of me, and all I wanted to do was give her a big hug. I thought her character arc was daunting, and I wasn’t so sure she was going to claim her happily ever after.
The Writing Style
The story is written from Veronica’s point of view, so I was privy to all the emotions motivating her throughout the story. Murphy employs a very rich internal monologue for Veronica that’s a nice juxtaposition with the tough exterior she presents to everyone she comes into contact with. She is full of common insecurities and that make her very relatable.
The pacing is perfect. I never had that dreaded desire to skim pages, and I didn’t feel like the storytelling was rushed. I love how Murphy makes it clear that this story isn’t a case of insta-romance. It’s true that there is a natural spark between Veronica and Millie, but Murphy makes sure to show the passage of time, so readers know that the main characters are honestly working on their relationship.
Where to begin? I know where to begin – the sex. This book is an erotic romance, so sex is woven into the plot. While the other books in the Rowan House series focus on many elements of the BDSM lifestyle, Complex Dimensions is specifically about the Dominant/submissive dynamic. The D/s relationship is about power exchange and when written correctly it can be very intimate. Murphy nails it. Veronica and Millie’s bond naturally evolves into that dynamic and it’s not about one of them bossing the other around. There is a very deep level of trust and intimacy in their connection, and both women are generous and authentic in their motives. And okay, I’ll be honest, it’s beyond hot.
I have to applaud Murphy for the respect she shows sex workers in her books. Traditionally, sex workers are side characters that are used as plot points to show what happens to women who’ve gone wrong. Thankfully that’s evolving for the better, and Murphy is at the forefront of that change.
Complex Dimensions is a great addition to the Rowan House series. I found it very thoughtful and charming. Since Veronica and Millie don’t work inside the house as sex workers, the book has a different quality. While it’s still an erotic romance, it has more of a traditional romance feel than any of the other books in this series. This is an all-around good read. The character development is satisfying, the plot kept me hooked and the sex gets five flames from this reviewer. Enjoy.
Excerpt from Complex Dimensions by Brenda Murphy
Millie’s voice was rough. “Please. Don’t say it was a mistake. I wanted you to kiss me. I wanted you because of you, not because of some idiotic bet. I wanted tonight.”
Veronica wanted to kiss her, to spend the rest of the night kissing her, to take what Millie was offering, to say the hell with it, but she couldn’t ignore the ache in her heart, the part of her that wanted to matter to someone beyond a one-night stand. She placed both hands on Millie’s chest, fingers spread wide. “I can’t do this if sex is all it is. Sorry.” Millie stepped back, and Veronica moved toward the door.
Veronica reached for the doorknob. Stopped and turned back to Millie. “Thanks for the drink. I enjoyed talking with you. And listening to you play.” She flushed. “And the other.” She stared into Millie’s eyes.
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ISBN number: 9781951057473
Publisher: NineStar Press
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