Kenn never meant for his online searches to bring down such utter ruin and the end of his marriage—although if he is being honest with himself, that marriage was less than ideal anyway. However, when his husband reacted violently to what Kenn was researching online, he realized that he had to escape. Walking away from their marriage seemed to be the only option, but even that wasn’t easy as his ex was determined to make his life a living hell. Now three years later, David still fears the man and his cold-hearted wrath. Maybe his ex was right. Maybe he will never find someone who will love him again. Maybe his secret desires are deviant, disgusting, vile. Maybe he really is damaged goods and deserves all that has happened to him at the hands of an ex-husband who stalks him even to this day. In the end, it doesn’t matter because Kenn isn’t going to date again, nor fall in love, or let anyone know what secrets he holds trapped inside him that make him burn with shame. Then he meets David Burgundy and every promise Kenn has made to himself about never falling for another guy goes right out the window and all his secrets that are so carefully buried slowly began to surface.
David is utterly captivated by the quiet history professor who is so adamant about not dating. David, a Dom who knows a submissive when he sees one, is positive that given the chance Kenn would be an incredible sub and partner. But someone has damaged Kenn and is still wreaking havoc in his life. That just won’t do. No, Kenn is going to be his and no one has the right to hurt the man who is in his care. Kenn, with his fears and insecurities, just needs a patient hand and David has all the time in the world.
Every once in a while it’s so nice to read a genuine love story, one that isn’t full of angst or miscommunication, but just a gentle, slow burning romance that sweeps you and satisfies you completely. Sean Michael’s Educating the Professor does just that. Carefully and slowly, the author creates a moment between two adults that has so little to do with BDSM and yet celebrates it all the same. Rather than just exploring the mechanics or focusing on the toys or equipment so often used in the practice of dominance and submission, Sean Michael opts to delve into the mistakenly held belief that one who thrives on that special bit of kink to release them from all that binds them is somehow broken or deviant. This author unlocks the taboo surrounding this kind of sexual practice by creating characters that exude kindness, gentleness, and love.
With tender care and infinite patience, David woos Kenn, allowing him to finally lose his fears and begin to explore his submissive nature and recognize his desire for that bit of pain that will release him sexually as something to be valued rather than be ashamed of or avoided. Never pushing farther than Kenn can go, David intuitively seems to understand just what Kenn really needs and sets out to safely provide it all. Along the way, these two move from friends to lovers and find a rhythm that allows Kenn to tap into the inner core of courage he had buried years before. When that finally happens for Kenn, he is literally transformed and rediscovers his joy and that is a beautiful thing to watch.
I think the only element I would have liked to see further developed in this novel was the story line about Kenn’s ex. I felt if we had gotten just a bit more information about him at the end of the book, Kenn would have had true closure and so would the reader. This was a man who had trampled and tortured Kenn’s heart and mind for several years and I felt for that reason alone we needed to see some sort of final reckoning. Honestly, other than that small issue, I really enjoyed everything about this book. The BDSM aspects were nicely incorporated into a love story that drove the plot. Rather than allowing a series of intense scenes filled with kinky sex to take main stage and overshadow David and Kenn’s relationship, we were given doses of compassion and healing that led to some intensely sensual moments.
Educating the Professor did just about everything right. With a slow burning romance peppered with just the right amount of sex and a glorious Dom/sub partnership that grew as each buried fear was released, this story was a lovely example of how wonderful love can be when two men take the time to really work on caring for each other.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.