Tuesday, January 5, 2016

ARC Review: The Professor and the Smuggler by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon

A grumpy smuggler meets a bumbling professor and treasure is found.

An explorer at heart, former university professor Phillip Singleton’s adventures have only taken place in his imagination—until recently. Exploring the Cornish coast to research a travel book, he encounters a living example of a pirate archetype. Dark-haired, black-bearded Carne Treleaven might have been hewn from the very rock his name describes, and Phillip is eager to discover more.

Carne has little patience for the awkward, dreamy professor, an outsider who must be steered away from local secrets. He agrees to serve as a guide to seaside caves where smugglers once operated only to keep Phillip away from more recent activity.

As personalities clash, secrets unfold, and riches are revealed, the two polar opposites find the point where their similarities lay. Carne’s old beliefs are shattered by his attraction to a man and he must decide if he’s willing to take a huge step outside his familiar life and into a brand new world.

Dani's rating:

This is another low-key, romantic, well-written story from Dee and Devon.

The historical details and descriptions of the setting (1905 Cornwall) really elevate this book, which is seeped in Cornish history and lore.

Carne Treleaven, a dark-haired, bearded, taciturn man, agrees to be Phillip Singleton's tour guide of sorts. Phillip used to be a professor but left academia to pursue adventure and write stories of fascinating places. Phillip is ahead of his time because he doesn't just want to write a book; he wants to write a book with pictures.

Phillip shows up in a small town on the coast of Cornwall in a fancy motorcar and carrying camera equipment. He promptly knocks over an ancient stone. Clearly, Phillip can't be trusted not to get himself killed.

Carne agrees to keep an eye on Phillip; he doesn't want Phillip to discover that the entire town participates in, uh, tax-free trade. But Phillip is much smarter and savvier than he seems. He and Carne stumble upon a stash of illegal goods and are trapped in a cave with nothing but brandy for company.

I really liked these MCs. Phillip's good nature and sweetness win him many friends, and Carne can't help but be drawn to the tall, long-limbed (former) professor. Carne feels like he carries the town on his shoulders; he's serious and intense.

This isn't a gay-for-you story as much as it is a story of sexual awareness. Carne has never been attracted to a man before, but he's also never given himself over to a woman. Sex takes the edge off, but it doesn't excite. Not until he meets Phillip.

There is a quiet sexiness to Phillip and Carne's love-making. Carne isn't tentative, not at all, and Phillip wants everything Carne is willing to give. Carne just isn't sure he can commit to a man, until an accident, a moment, changes everything.

The secondary characters in this book are well-developed and add depth to the plot. A special shout-out goes to Bea, Carne's one-time lover, for understanding and young Robin for saving the day!

The mystery/suspense plot doesn't overtake the story; this isn't a shoot-em-up kind of mystery. It's more about greed and human nature than anything sinister.

This isn't an exciting story, but page by page you can't let go. I wanted a HEA for these men, and I'm happy to report that they get one, and a truly awesome one at that.

Get the book:


Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
~Mark Twain

An ARC of this book was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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