On the Square (University Square series #1) – Brenda Murphy

3.5* – I like when authors take risks and that’s what Brenda Murphy did with this book, the first in a new series. To me, Brenda Murphy’s name means extremely well-written BDSM erotic romance. While there’s some mild kink in On the Square, it’s much heavier on the romance (and sex).

Dale Miller is a contractor and a single mother trying to give her three sons the best life possible. A previous girlfriend almost ruined her so when a huge job comes her way, she really doesn’t want it to pass her by. Which almost happens when the client, celebrity chef Mai Li, annoys her before she even got her morning coffee. That first meet between the two women sets the tone for their relationship –both professional and on a more personal level – and they’ll have to learn to go beyond appearances and bruised egos to find love.

I enjoyed On the Square, especially the relationship between Mai and Noah, Dale’s youngest son who wants to go to culinary school, but I missed the tension Murphy managed to inject in her more intense stories. The instalust that makes sense when characters meet in a sex-dominated setting doesn’t work as well here. What does work, though, is the chemistry between the characters.

And Murphy is excellent at writing sex. Which is good news because there is a lot of sex in this book. A lot.

A little more communication would have been nice but I’m not complaining too much. Physical intimacy is a form of communication too, and with Dale’s track record, her behaviour is understandable. I still wanted to shake her and/or Mai at times for jumping to conclusions without asking questions, but I could understand.

I also wish Mai’s backstory was more developed, especially when it comes to her sister. We get to know Dale’s family pretty well, which makes it feel even more unbalanced. However, the way the author introduced Yvonne’s character, I’m hoping she’ll get her own novel…


On the Square @ NineStar Press

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