The Dragonfly House by Sam McAuliffThe Dragonfly House by Sam McAuliff is an erotic romance that’s the best possible combination of sexy and sweet.

On the outskirts of a small, midwestern town you’ll find the Dragonfly House. It’s a high-end bordello looked down on by the citizenry, yet the Sheriff is one of its regular customers. As proprietor, Renee is a shrewd businesswoman. Having long given up on romantic love, she fulfills her erotic fantasies with her most popular escort.

Jame enjoys her work at Dragonfly. It’s great money, and it allows her the opportunity to pursue her PhD in psychology. She likes observing people and helping them overcome their challenges. Her kinky interludes with her boss are the icing on the cake.

When Sarah makes her first visit to Dragonfly, she’s shy and uncertain about what she wants. Newly divorced, she feels like she deserves some “me time”. One glance at Jame, and Sarah knows she’s just the woman she’s been looking for. With Jame’s attention, she blossoms and becomes confident with her sexuality and the power she can bring to the bedroom. When she realizes Jame’s boss is watching their encounters through a two-way mirror, she’s emboldened. She begins to perform for Jame’s boss, Renee.

Renee’s been a sex worker since she was seventeen. At forty-seven she’s got a thriving business, but she finds herself closed off from the world with only her weekly visits with her son and her random trysts with Jame to look forward to. When Sarah crosses the threshold of the Dragonfly, Renee takes notice. There’s something about Sarah. Renee watches her claim her own sexual power and discovers she has a crush on her client. When Renee begins dating Sarah, she has to ask herself some tough questions. How tied to the Dragonfly House is she? Is she ready to let go of her past to embrace a future with Sarah?

As these women’s lives continue to intertwine, what will become of the Dragonfly House?

The Characters

The three main characters are all unique in their own way and bringing them all together makes the story a perfect whole.

Jame is working at the Dragonfly house to finance her college studies. She wants to get her PhD in psychology because she’s fascinated by human nature and wants to help people. Compassion is her defining character trait. She looks at her job as more than being a sex worker to earn money. She looks at each of the women she sees as a distinctive person who’s there to work out personal issues in their everyday lives. She describes herself as a giver and that’s what she is. She unselfishly gives her clients what they need so they can go out into the world with a better understanding of themselves.

Sarah is a particularly interesting character because she has a great character arc. She arrives at the Dragonfly house just off a divorce. She’s never been able to truly express her sexual desires so when she meets Jame she’s like a kid in a candy store. She gets to reacquaint herself with a side of her that’s been dormant too long. Her confidence soars and when she realizes her time with Jame is being surreptitiously observed by the owner of the Dragonfly house she’s beyond turned on. She can’t help but start performing for Ma’am. When she runs into Ma’am outside the bordello she’s thrown for a loop, but they are drawn to each other. I loved watching Sarah flirt and get to know the woman behind the title. She’s growing. Her world is opening up, and she begins to see this woman in her future. I was curious to see if Sarah was going to fold under the pressure of her ex and give up this new relationship.

Ma’am/Renee is a fascinating character. She’s got oodles of backstory. She became a sex worker when she was seventeen and soon thereafter got pregnant. She gave her son to her mother to raise. She knew her lifestyle wouldn’t allow her to be the type of mother he deserved, but she made sure she was a consistent part of his life. This wasn’t easy as Renee’s mother had very strong feelings about her line of work. When we meet Renee at the beginning of the book it’s in her role as owner of the bordello. She’s addressed as Ma’am by her employees and she’s a no-nonsense employer. She’s been in the sex industry for thirty years, so she runs the Dragonfly efficiently and with solid authority. Her one weakness is Jame. She’s sexually attracted to the dapper butch, and she enjoys everything Jame has to offer. However, after she observes Sarah taking control in her appointments with Jame, Renee is captivated. She jumps at the chance to get to know Sarah outside of the Dragonfly House, outside their roles as client and business owner. I adored getting to see the softer, vulnerable side of Renee. I hoped it was there, so when she started courting Sarah, my heart cheered for them. Sarah lays it out. Her son, PJ, will always take precedent over Renee, and Renee knows that as the owner of a bordello she can’t offer Sarah the safety and security she and her son deserve. The fate of all three women hinges on the decisions Renee chooses to make.

The Writing Style

McAuliff knows how to write steamy sex scenes, and they do a great job tying the erotic aspect of the book to the character development. Sarah is at the Dragonfly house to indulge in fantasies she was never able to fulfill while married to her husband, but in so doing she realizes there’s a side to herself she didn’t know was there. The same is true for Jame and Renee. The author uses the sexual encounters like a gauge, charting the change in all the women.

My Favourite Parts

Me being me, I enjoyed the sex scenes and the variety was a cornucopia of erotic delights. I rarely see a butch who’s both a Domme and a sub, so that was fun. I found it interesting that the Dragonfly House catered to both men and women. Jame is the only lesbian working there, and her schedule is just as full as the women seeing male clients. I like the idea of women satisfying their needs in the same way men have for years. I’m also here for positive representation for sex workers, and McAuliff does an excellent job portraying these women as three-dimensional characters in a respectful manner.

Cons

I dislike the use of the word “lame” when a character feels embarrassed or dumb or when they are commenting on a situation. It’s a socially charged word that is ableist in nature and should be removed from the vernacular. There is an abundance of the word “lame” sprinkled throughout The Dragonfly House, and my nose wrinkled at each one.

The Conclusion

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. I’m always up for an erotic story with BDSM elements, but The Dragonfly House took me on a surprising ride. It wasn’t what I expected at all. In fact, it was better than what I thought it was going to be. The sweet romance underneath all the sex is what moved me and watching the three main characters change their priorities was delightful. So, get the book for the sex and stay for the romance.

Excerpt from The Dragonfly House by Sam McAuliff

“Has anyone ever adored you properly before?”

Sarah looked down. “Um, maybe. Occasionally.”

Jame took Sarah’s chin in her hand. “Then that’s not enough. If you like, I will spend our time together doing just that. As I said before, if you ever want me to stop or do something different, just say the word. This is about you, Sarah. As it should be.”

Sarah blushed and looked back at Jame demurely. “Am I allowed to touch you?”

“Oh, yes. My body is yours. But let me touch you first, and we’ll get to me momentarily. But is that what would please you?”

Sarah smiled and nodded. “Very much.”

“Okay. But first things first.” Jame got down on one knee again and gently ran her hands down Sarah’s right leg until she came to the black flats she was wearing and slid off first one, then the other and set them aside.

“I feel like a reverse Cinderella.” Sarah giggled.

Jame smiled. “I will do my best to be your Prince Charming, but I can’t promise you’ll get home by midnight.”

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Bits and Bobs

 

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Note: I received a free review copy of The Dragonfly House by Sam McAuliff. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site

About the author

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Victoria is a native of Southern California where she lives with her fantastic family. Victoria traded in a career in the television and film industry to become a speech therapist to work with special needs kiddos like her younger daughter. Her passions include film history, Cate Blanchett, neckties, dismantling the patriarchy, and Cate Blanchett. She doesn’t eat mushrooms because they are gross and She prefers dark over milk chocolate. Victoria never leaves the house without her Kindle and she will work for books.