Monday, January 11, 2016

The Professor and the Smuggler by Summer Devon & Bonnie Dee

Summary:
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.


Another amazing Dee/Devon collaboration.  It's no secret that I'm a bit of a history buff so historicals will always pique my interest but if I wasn't, these tales that Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon create would definitely convert me.  Carne's life is exactly as he expected and he's okay with that but then he comes across Phillip and everything changes.  I have always tried to be a positive person but Phillip's spirit borders on giddiness that is infectious because I found myself smiling more than once.  Be it fate or circumstance, Phillip and Carne's lives will forever change but you'll have to read for yourself to see whether it's for good or bad and I highly recommend you do.

RATING:  

Cornwall, England, 1905
Phillip Bartholomew Singleton tripped over a rock hidden in the tall grass and careened into the ring of standing stones. He threw out an arm to catch his balance and bashed it into one of the erect boulders that had been raised by men thousands of years earlier. His elbow hit quartzite, and the shock reverberated up his arm. He yelped and grabbed at the point of pain, pivoted on his left foot, and fell into another tall pale stone. More than fell. He drove his shoulder into it, and the menhir, no taller than his own gangly six-foot-four frame, rocked on its base. It began to lean.

“No. Oh no, no, no,” Phillip chanted as he grabbed at the slab with both hands, hoping to steady it, the sharp crack on his elbow forgotten. These stones were practically rooted in the earth. They’d stood for thousands of years, maybe more, set in place by an ancient people. It was impossible that a little bump could— 

The standing stone slumped to the ground like a gray old man whose legs had finally failed him. There was no powerful whump when boulder hit ground, more of a soft sigh of surrender as stone reclined into grass.

Phillip stared at the felled slab, pushing a hand through his unruly mop of hair.
“No, no, no, no.” If repetition of a mantra could pray the stone back into its proper position, he’d spend the night reciting his incantation. “Dear God in Heaven, NO!”

The stone remained where it lay—where it would continue to lie for the next few thousand years until the Earth slowly covered it over and cradled it again in her bosom of soil.

Phillip plastered his palms over his mouth, holding back his horror as he too slowly sank to the ground. He’d come down from London to Cornwall to research and write about the corner of Britain he most admired, a land of crashing surf, shipwrecks, and smugglers, of dark, dangerous mines riddling the earth, and folk as hard as the very rock they hewed. This was his first day exploring the countryside steeped in sumptuous layers of history and he’d managed to destroy a small archeological marvel.

Small was the operative word, he consoled himself as he gazed around the ring of weather-worn menhir that encircled him and back to their fallen comrade. It wasn’t as if he’d knocked down Stonehenge or anything. There were many modest rings of stone like this all over the British Isles. If he viewed this incident in another light, he had simply become a part of history, leaving his own mark on the stones in the great march of time. That was rather exciting to ponder.

As he continued to sit and sneeze away pollen from the many weeds growing rampant in the clearing, Phillip removed his glasses to wipe his eyes, then rubbed his sore elbow. He should unload the photographic equipment from his vehicle parked on the road and document this moment. If he chose to use the photograph in a travelogue, he never need mention his part in reshaping the standing stones of Par Gwynear.

The sound of some large animal pushing through the trees surrounding this open space seized Phillip’s attention. Just as he’d scrambled to his feet, prepared to run from whatever predator patrolled the countryside, a black-bearded man pushed aside branches and emerged from the woods. He was nearly as tall as Phillip but much bulkier across the shoulders, with the solid build of his mining heritage. His sleeves were rolled to the elbow, baring muscular forearms covered with dark hair, and he wore no cap to hide the sheen of sunlight on his raven hair.

Piercing brown eyes skewered Phillip as the stranger demanded, “What the devil are you doin’ here?”

Phillip had begun this adventure prepared to be given the cold shoulder by the locals. This area was not known for its hospitality, and he’d expected to have to work at gaining the historical stories he craved. He’d come forearmed with excuses.

“Oh, am I trespassing? I had no idea this was private property. I thought this land was unclaimed and free for tourists to wander. I heard about Par Gwynear Circle and came to see the stones for myself and to make a photograph. I was about to head back to my vehicle to get the camera.” He gestured in the general direction of the road. 

The surly man continued to glare at him, and Phillip’s skin felt more sunburned than it already was from having left his broad-brimmed hat in the auto. One thick chambray-clad arm lifted, displaying an intriguing flex of muscles in the forearm as the Cornishman pointed in quite a different direction.

“The road’s that way, and while this ain’t private property, it’s not open for anyone to go bumblin’ about. These are wild lands, Mr…?”

“Phillip Singleton, recently a professor at Cambridge, now pursuing my own research project.” Phillip walked toward the stranger through a tangle of thorny undergrowth that snagged his trousers. He reached to pull the fabric free and stabbed his fingers for his efforts. After sucking away blood, he extended his hand.

The man stared for just long enough to be rude before taking it. He gave a firm clasp and hard pump before letting go. “I’m Carne. As I said, these are rough lands, Professor Singleton, full of snakes and other teasy creatures. A fellow might get hurt and no one would find him till it was too late.”

Why did the cautioning sound rather like a threat? Phillip swallowed a flutter of fear that tickled his throat and gave Mr. Carne his most affable smile. “Yes, I can see the sense in what you say. In future, I will find myself a local guide to accompany me on my expeditions.”

One thick, dark eyebrow rose. “In future?”

“I shall be in the area for several weeks at least, but maybe as much as a month, gathering materials for a book I plan to write about your delightful area of the country. In fact,” he lowered his voice confidentially, “I hope to have it published as an illustrated volume with photographs!”

The large man, who’d loomed near enough that Phillip could smell the sweat glistening on his skin, did not appear impressed, so Phillip continued.

“Did you know the average British citizen is unlikely to travel more than a few miles from his home in an entire lifetime? There is so much of our nation that remains unexplored and unknown by the masses. Now that it is possible to include photographic reproductions in a book, I believe this will be a device by which people too poor to take holidays to far-flung places may be able to experience travel vicariously.”

The man’s dark brown eyes continued to sear Phillip like a Sunday roast. “Folks too poor for holidays ain’t likely to buy a costly book. With photographs,” he echoed mockingly.

Phillip might have been hurt if he weren’t so used to others being unable to see his vision. He’d spent most of his academic life dreaming of things his fellow university professors had no interest in, but now he’d freed himself to pursue the project most dear to his heart. A little scoffing wouldn’t deter him.

“Perhaps you’d be willing to escort me to my motorcar and help me carry my equipment here?” Phillip shaded his eyes to check the angle of the sun. “At the moment, the shadows cast by the stones will be stunning, but if I don’t make a picture soon, the light will be gone. If you don’t mind.”

Carne pressed his lips together, and his jaw flexed. The sight of that tiny ripple and the protruding bone under rough beard sent a corresponding ripple through Phillip. He suppressed the slight surge of attraction to the ruggedly handsome Cornishman. He wasn’t here for that, and even if he were, this man would likely beat him senseless if Phillip were to make any indication of interest.

At last, Carne clicked his tongue and nodded curtly. “Aye, I’ll help you get your photograph, but after this, keep away from the wilder lands.” He gazed from under knit brows at Phillip. “’Specially the coves along the seashore. The tide comes in fast, and you might get trapped. Some have drowned that way. ’Tis said their spirits still echo in the rocky chambers.”

With this dire warning and rather eerily romantic image, Carne headed back into the woods. Phillip followed close behind him—too close, as a branch snapped back to deliver a lashing blow across his face.

Phillip wiped away the sting and trudged on, quite satisfied with the initial day of his exploration. By sunset, he’d have the first photographs for his proposed book, and he’d been berated and cautioned by a local man in a quaint accent slathered like thick honey on bread, which made the experience feel even more like an adventure. He grinned in satisfaction. The real world was dirty, sweaty, painful, a little scary, and far away from the safe, quiet rooms where he’d spent far too many hours of his life tinkering with machines and daydreaming. 

Now he was on location and actually following his dream. He intended to revel in every minute of this working vacation.

Author Bios:
Bonnie Dee
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.

Summer Devon
Summer Devon is the pen name writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, her books are always romance.

You can visit her facebook page, where there's a sign up form for a newsletter (she'll only send out newsletters when there's a new Summer Devon or Kate Rothwell release and she will never ever sell your name to anyone).

Bonnie Dee
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Summer Devon
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Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Spirit


Summary:
Seeing dead people. Haunting and being haunted. Ghosts and those trying to deal with them add a supernatural flair to these four tales of romance.

In Among the Dead, Neil Gaven sees dead people. A gentle ghost guides him to Trist, who needs his help. But Trist is tormented by spirits, so maybe together they can find a way to live among the dead.

Dei Ex Machina is the story of Sabbio, a Roman slave who was killed 1700 years ago. He’s been alone until he meets landscaper Mason. But because they're separated by centuries, it will take a miracle to make love work.

The Mill brings a supernatural challenge to Frank Carter and his team of paranormal investigators. The owner’s personal psychic, Toby Reese, is supposed to help. Frank doesn't have much respect for psychics, but when the dangers of the old mill threaten his team, he realizes he and Toby will have to work together to survive.

Mike Ellsworth finds himself suddenly deceased. Now he’s a ghost with lots left undone in Unfinished Business. He's never been able to be honest with his wife. He's never been able to tell the man he loves how he feels. He's barely been able to admit he's gay. If only there were a way he could make up for all he’s failed to do….

Stories Included:
The Mill by Jamie Fessenden
In 1907, a fire spread through Hawley Mill, taking the lives of ninety-seven workers. The mill was rebuilt, but since its official closing in 1989, construction workers attempting to renovate it have reported strange things happening—mysterious accidents and frightening, inexplicable events. Frank Carter and his team of paranormal investigators have been hired by the mill’s current owner, Mrs. Hawley, to determine if the mill is indeed haunted… and what can be done about it.

On their first night in the mill, Frank’s younger brother, Louis, is severely injured after running from… something. Now Louis is in the hospital and Frank is ready to call off the whole investigation. Then Mrs. Hawley sends in her own personal psychic, Toby Reese, to see what he can do to aid the paranormal team. Frank doesn't have much respect for psychics, but when the dangers of the old mill threaten his team, he realizes he and Toby will have to work together to survive.

Dei Ex Machina by Kim Fielding
Captured young and enslaved by the Romans, Sabbio died while building Diocletian’s palace. For seventeen hundred years he has haunted the city of Split, watching and listening as people pass through the old palace, but he is always alone. One afternoon he spies a handsome but sad man at a cafĂ©, and Sabbio is intrigued.

Eight months earlier, landscaper Mason Gould’s husband was randomly murdered. In an attempt to comfort him, friends and family take him on a trip to Croatia. A local woman offers to help him contact his husband’s spirit, but they connect to Sabbio instead.

Mason and Sabbio quickly make an emotional connection. But Sabbio is a ghost, and Mason must return to California. For two men centuries apart, it’s going to take a miracle to make love work.

Among the Dead by Eli Easton
Neil Gaven sees dead people. It’s been that way since he suffered head trauma two years ago. Since then Neil has become agoraphobic and works from home, rarely leaving the safety of his apartment. When a gentle ghost named Edward begins to follow Neil and even appear in his home, Neil can’t help but be curious. Edward leads Neil to Trist, a homeless young man Neil had noticed on the streets before. Trist is also tormented by the spirits of the dead. Neil is thrilled to find another human being who shares his gift/curse. Maybe together, Neil and Trist can find a way to live among the dead.

Unfinished Business by B.G. Thomas
Mike Ellsworth was alive and well one minute, and dead the next. Only he’s not really dead—he’s a ghost. One with lots of unfinished business. He’s never told his wife that he has come to accept that he’s gay. He’s never told her that he has a secret lover. He’s never been able to tell his lover that he is in love with him. Now there’s nothing Mike can do about it. And that’s only the beginning! He soon finds out he can help other ghosts leave the spirit world and step into the light. So what’s keeping him stuck on earth? If only there were a way he could make up for all he’s done wrong, and finally do what’s truly right. And maybe, just maybe, there is.



Author Bios:
Jamie Fessenden
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school's literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn't until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several screenplays and directed a few of them as micro-budget independent films. He then began writing novels and published his first novella in 2010.

After nine years together, Jamie and Erich have married and purchased a house together in the wilds of Raymond, New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them on a nightly basis. Jamie recently left his "day job" as a tech support analyst to be a full-time writer.

Kim Fielding
Kim Fielding lives in California and travels as often as she can manage. A professor by day, at night she rushes into a phonebooth to change into her author costume (which involves comfy clothes instead of Spandex and is, sadly, lacking a cape). Her superpowers include the ability to write nearly anywhere, often while simultaneously doling out homework assistance to her children. Her favorite word to describe herself is "eclectic" and she finally got that third tattoo.

All royalties from her novels Stasis, Flux and Equipoise are donated to Doctors Without Borders.

Eli Easton
Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

BG Thomas
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband for nearly fifteen years and was legally married in 2014. Ehey have a fabulous little dog, Sarah Jane. He sees his wonderful daughter just often enough to miss her when she isn't there! He has a romantic soul and is extraordinarily lucky to have many friends.

He loves science fiction & fantasy, horror, romance and more, has gone to SF&F conventions his entire adult life, and been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He is a “Star Trek” and Joss Whedon fan from way back!

He has written all his life, it is where he finds his joy. In the 90’s, he wrote for gay magazines, but stopped because they wanted him to cut out story and romance, and write only sex.

Then through a few friends, he discovered the growing market of M/M Romance and was thrilled beyond words. FINALLY, a way to write the stories he always wanted to write. Adventure, romantic comedy, science fiction, and more, but with gay characters. And he wouldn't have to fade to black! People wanted to read the erotic as well. Plot and sex! HURRAY!

B.G. Thomas very much believes in The Law of Attraction and that "thoughts become things." A lot of things all started happening at once. He heard the words, "Leap, and the net will appear," and something re-kindled inside. He sent out a story and was thrilled when it was almost immediately accepted.

He believes that we are divine expressions of the Universe, each and everyone. "It is never too late!,” he states. “Pursue your dreams! They will come true!"


Jamie Fessenden
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Kim Fielding
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EMAIL: kim@kfieldingwrites.com
dephalqu@yahoo.com

Eli Easton
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BG Thomas
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EMAIL: bg_thomas@livejournal.com



Spirit #4
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Stitch #1
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Bones #2
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Claw #3
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