Before Sunrise

( 32 )

Overview

Since Jeremiah Cortez broke her heart, Phoebe Keller has devoted herself to her career. As an expert in Native American culture, she has her doubts when an anthropologist claims to have discovered priceless artifacts on a nearby reservation. But before Phoebe can pursue the matter, the professor in question turns up dead—and the FBI sends Cortez to investigate.

Cortez thought he'd left the past behind him—especially his history with Phoebe. Once, she'd sparked his world-weary ...

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Before Sunrise

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Overview

Since Jeremiah Cortez broke her heart, Phoebe Keller has devoted herself to her career. As an expert in Native American culture, she has her doubts when an anthropologist claims to have discovered priceless artifacts on a nearby reservation. But before Phoebe can pursue the matter, the professor in question turns up dead—and the FBI sends Cortez to investigate.

Cortez thought he'd left the past behind him—especially his history with Phoebe. Once, she'd sparked his world-weary soul…but he'd had to walk away. Now, seeing the blonde beauty digs up feelings he'd thought buried for good. But he must keep his emotions in check—he has secrets…and one of them revolves around a child with eyes as dark as his own.

As they find themselves entangled in a world of conspiracy and deception, they'll discover something more powerful than anything they've ever known—love.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Murder, theft, and intrigue in the field of anthropology are at the heart of this top-flight novel by bestselling author Diana Palmer.

Ever since graduating from college, young Phoebe Keller has put her heart on hold and concentrated on her work as curator of a Native American museum in North Carolina. The discovery of an alleged Neanderthal skeleton on a nearby reservation is headline news in her world. When the discoverer of the skeleton is found dead, Phoebe begins to investigate the murder -- with the unwelcome help of FBI agent Jeremiah Cortez, better known as the man who broke her heart three years ago. Against their better judgment, Phoebe and Jeremiah rekindle their romance, blinding themselves to signals of imminent danger until it is almost too late. Ginger Curwen

From the Publisher
"The ever-popular Palmer has penned another sure hit." --Booklist

"Palmer knows how to make the sparks fly."

-Publishers Weekly on Renegade

"Diana Palmer is a mesmerizing storyteller who captures the essence of what a romance should be."
-Affaire de Coeur

"Palmer demonstrates, yet again, why she's the queen of desperado quests for justice and true love."

-Publishers Weekly on Dangerous

"Nobody does it better."

-New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373776498
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 383,956
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

The prolific author of more than 100 books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A multi-New York Times bestselling author and one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.
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Read an Excerpt

Knoxville, Tennessee, May 1994

The crowd was dense, but he stood out. He was taller than most of the other spectators and looked elegant in his expensive, tailored gray-vested suit. He had a lean, dark face, faintly scarred, with large, almond-shaped black eyes and short eyelashes. His mouth was wide and thin-lipped, his chin stubbornly jutted. His thick, jet-black hair was gathered into a neat ponytail that fell almost to his waist in back. Several other men in the stands wore their hair that way. But they were white. Cortez was Comanche. He had the background to wear the unconventional hairstyle. On him, it looked sensual and wild and even a little dangerous.

Another ponytailed man, a redhead with a receding hairline and thick glasses, grinned and gave him the victory sign. Cortez shrugged, unimpressed, and turned his attention toward the graduation ceremonies. He was here against his will and the last thing he felt like was being friendly. If he'd followed his instincts, he'd still be in Washington going over a backlog of federal cases he was due to prosecute in court.

The dean of the university was announcing the names of the graduates. He'd reached the Ks, and on the program, Phoebe Margaret Keller was the second name under that heading.

It was a beautiful spring day at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, so the commencement ceremony was being held outside. Phoebe was recognizable by the long platinum blond braid trailing the back of her dark gown as she accepted her diploma with one hand and shook hands with the dean with the other. She moved past the podium and switched her tassel to the other side of her cap. Cortez could see the grin from where he was standing.

He'd met Phoebe a year earlier, while he was investigating some environmental sabotage in Charleston, South Carolina. Phoebe, an anthropology major, had helped him track down a toxic waste site. He'd found her more than attractive, despite her tomboyish appearance, but time and work pressure had been against them. He'd promised to come and see her graduate, and here he was. But the age difference was still pretty formidable, because he was thirty-six and she was twenty-three. He did know Phoebe's aunt Derrie, from having worked with her during the Kane Lombard pollution case. If he needed a reason for showing up at the graduation, Phoebe was Derrie's late brother's child and he was almost a friend of the family.

The dean's voice droned on, and graduate after graduate accepted a diploma. In no time at all, the exercises were over and whoops of joy and congratulations rang in the clear Tennessee air.

No longer drawing attention as the exuberant crowd moved toward the graduates, Cortez hung back, watching. His black eyes narrowed as a thought occurred to him. Phoebe wasn't one for crowds. Like himself, she was a loner. If she was going to work her way around the people to find her aunt Derrie, she'd do it away from the crowd. So he started looking for alternate routes from the stadium to the parking lot. Minutes later, he found her, easing around the side of the building, almost losing her balance as she struggled with the too-long gown, muttering to herself about people who couldn't measure people properly for gowns.

"Still talking to yourself, I see," he mused, leaning against the wall with his arms folded across his chest.

She looked up and saw him. With no time to prepare, her delight swept over her even features with a radiance that took his breath. Her pale blue eyes sparkled and her mouth, devoid of lipstick, opened on a sharply indrawn breath.

"Cortez!" she exclaimed.

She looked as if she'd run straight into his arms with the least invitation, and he smiled indulgently as he gave it to her. He levered away from the wall and opened his arms.

She went into them without any hesitation whatsoever, nestling close as he enfolded her tightly.

"You came," she murmured happily into his shoulder.

"I said I would," he reminded her. He chuckled at her unbridled enthusiasm. One lean hand tilted up her chin so that he could search her eyes. "Four years of hard work paid off, I see."

"So it did. I'm a graduate," she said, grinning.

"Certifiable," he agreed. His gaze fell to her soft pink mouth and darkened. He wanted to bend those few inches and kiss her, but there were too many reasons why he shouldn't. His hand was on her upper arm and, because he was fighting his instincts so hard, his grip began to tighten.

She tugged against his hold. "You're crushing me," she protested gently.

"Sorry." He let her go with an apologetic smile. "That training at Quantico dies hard," he added on a light note, alluding to his service with the FBI.

"No kiss, huh?" she chided with a loud sigh, searching his dark eyes.

One eye narrowed amusedly. "You're an anthropology major. Tell me why I won't kiss you," he challenged.

"Native Americans," she began smugly, "especially Native American men, rarely show their feelings in public. Kissing me in a crowd would be as distasteful to you as undressing in front of it."

His eyes softened as they searched her face. "Whoever taught you anthropology did a very good job."

She sighed. "Too good. What am I going to use it for in Charleston? I'll end up teaching…"

"No, you won't," he corrected. "One of the reasons I came was to tell you about a job opportunity."

Her eyes widened, brightened. "A job?"

"In D.C.," he added. "Interested?"

"Am I ever!" A movement caught her eye. "Oh, there's Aunt Derrie!" she said, and called to her aunt. "Aunt Derrie! Look, I graduated, I have proof!" She held up her diploma as she ran to hug her aunt and then shake hands with U.S. Senator Clayton Seymour, who'd been her aunt's boss for years before they became engaged.

"We're both very happy for you," Derrie said warmly. "Hi, Cortez!" she beamed. "You know Clayton, don't you?"

"Not directly," Cortez said, but he shook hands anyway.

Clayton's firm lips tugged into a smile. "I've heard a lot about you from my brother-in-law, Kane Lombard. He and my sister Nikki wanted to come today, but their twins were sick. He won't forget what he owes you. Kane always pays his debts."

"I was doing my job," Cortez reminded him.

"What happened to Haralson?" Derrie asked curiously, referring to the petty criminal who'd planted toxic waste and in one fell swoop almost cost Clayton Seymour his congressional seat and Kane Lombard his business.

"Haralson got twenty years," he replied, sticking his hands deep in his pockets. He smiled coldly. "Some cases I enjoy prosecuting more than others."

"Prosecuting?" Derrie asked. "But you told me last year in Charleston that you were with the CIA."

"I was with the CIA and the FBI, briefly," he told her. "But for the past few years, I've been a federal prosecutor."

"Then how did you wind up tracking down people who plant toxic waste?" she persisted.

"Just lucky, I guess," he replied smoothly.

"That means he's through talking about it," Phoebe murmured dryly. "Give up, Aunt Derrie."

Clayton gave Phoebe a curious glance, which she intercepted with a smile. "Cortez and I are friends," she told him. "You can thank his investigative instincts for saving your congressional seat."

"I certainly do," Clayton replied, relaxing. "I almost made a hash of everything," he added, with a warm, tender glance toward Derrie, who beamed up at him. "If you're going to be in town tonight, we'd love to have you join us for supper," he told Cortez. "We're taking Phoebe out for a graduation celebration."

"I wish I had time," he said quietly. "I have to go back tonight."

"Of course. Then we'll see you again sometime, in D.C.," Derrie said, puzzled by the strong vibes she sensed between her niece and Cortez.

"I've got something to discuss with Phoebe," he said, turning to Derrie and Clayton. "I need to borrow her for an hour or so."

"Go right ahead," Derrie said. "We'll go back to the hotel and have coffee and pie and rest until about six. Then we'll pick you up for supper, Phoebe."

"Thanks," she said. "Oh, my cap and gown…!" She stripped it off, along with her hat, and handed them to Derrie.

"Wait, Phoebe, weren't the honor graduates invited to a luncheon at the dean's house?" Derrie protested suddenly.

Phoebe didn't hesitate. "They'll never miss me," she said, and waved as she joined Cortez.

"An honor graduate, too," he mused as they walked back through the crowd toward his rental car. "Why doesn't that surprise me?"

"Anthropology is my life," she said simply, pausing to exchange congratulations with one of her friends on the way. She was so happy that she was walking on air.

"Nice touch, Phoebe," the girl's companion murmured with a dry glance at Cortez as they moved along, "bringing your anthropology homework along to graduation."

"Bill!" the girl cried, hitting him.

Phoebe had to stifle a giggle. Cortez wasn't smiling. On the other hand, he didn't explode, either. He gave Phoebe a stern look.

"Sorry," she murmured. "It's sort of a squirrelly day." He shrugged. "No need to apologize. I remember what it's like on graduation day."

"Your degree would be in law, right?" He nodded.

"Did your family come to your graduation?" she asked curiously.

He didn't answer her. It was a deliberate snub, and it should have made her uncomfortable, but she never held back with him.

"Another case of instant foot-in-mouth disease," she said immediately. "And I thought I was cured!"

He chuckled reluctantly. "You're as incorrigible as I remember you."

"I'm amazed that you did remember me, or that you took the trouble to find out when and where I was graduating so that you could be here," she said. "I couldn't send you an invitation," she added sheepishly, "because I didn't have your address. I didn't really expect you, either. We only spent an hour or two together last year."

"They were memorable ones. I don't like women very much," he said as they reached the unobtrusive rental car, a gray American-made car of recent vintage. He turned and looked down at her solemnly. "In fact," he added evenly, "I don't like being in public display very much."

She lifted both eyebrows. "Then why are you here?"

He stuck his hands deep into his pockets. "Because I like you," he said. His dark eyes narrowed. "And I don't want to."

"Thanks a lot!" she said, exasperated.

He stared at her. "I like honesty in a relationship."

"Are we having one?" she asked innocently. "I didn't notice."

His mouth pulled down at one corner. "If we were, you'd know," he said softly. "But I came because I promised that I would. And the offer of the job opportunity is genuine. Although," he added, "it's rather an unorthodox one."

"I'm not being asked to take over the archives at the Smithsonian, then? What a disappointment!"

Laughter bubbled out of his throat. "Funny girl." He opened the passenger door with exaggerated patience.

"I really irritate you, don't I?" she asked as she got inside the car.

"Most people are savvy enough not to remind me of my heritage too often," he replied pointedly after he was inside with the door closed.

"Why?" she asked. "You're fortunate enough to live in an age where ethnicity is appreciated and not stereotyped."

"Ha!"

She lifted her hands. "Okay, okay, that isn't quite true, but you have to admit that it's a better society now than it was ninety years ago."

He started the engine and pulled away from the curb.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    I think if you've never read a Diana Palmer book, this one would come across as quasi-entertaining. However, if you've been a longtime reader of her books, you'll be very disappointed with this predictable, cookie-cutter, formulaic read. This is yet another story about an 'ethnic', 'brooding', alpha male and the insipid, boring white girl he seems to be infatuated with 'despite her nondescriptness'. I, for one, am happy that Ms. Palmer enjoys writing 'plain jane' heroines, but she's done it so often, that she's burnt out the novelty. Not to mention the plot was so predictable, it was laughable. The characters had no chemistry whatsoever, and the dialogue was contrived and trite 'as was the romance between the main characters'. Even the baby's character was so artificial it made me wonder if Ms. Palmer ever had children of her own. Ms. Palmer needs to step up her writing game. Reaching a certain level of success is no excuse for lazy writing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    I really enjoyed this book. I loved the criminal case mixed with

    I really enjoyed this book. I loved the criminal case mixed with the romance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2013

    Want to see the movie

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Xjdugjv

    This is the med den. It is a small cave like the nursery, and it has many holes in it that are cold and used for storing herbs. There is a tunnel leading to another small cave used for extra storage and as a private den for the medcat. There are shallow dips in the ground for nests and a cold stream running through the den.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Loved it!

    Loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2012

    Great book

    Diana Palmer is one of my favorite authors.
    I love her work and that includes this book.

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  • Posted January 28, 2012

    I really enjoy reading books by Diana Palmer

    I could not put this book down.

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  • Posted June 18, 2011

    loved it

    I love reading Diana Palmer's books this one I am waiting for it to come in e-book, I miss reading this book I can't wait for it to come out for the nook.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Don't bother

    I keep trying Diana Palmer books as the covers & summaries make me think I will be happy.
    I always seem to find great flaws in the story.. either something doesn't ring true... or isn't very realistic, or I think may be research errors...... if you have nothing else to do, read away.. some hot sex and a romance with a little who done it.... perhaps some factual Native American info... But, I think her stories are geared more to young teens, but if so... too steamy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    A nice read.

    This is the first of Ms. Palmer's stories I've read and I have to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. There were a few parts that seemed a bit slow as the story went on and I felt she might have been off just a bit with the toddler's Joseph's actions and words. However, I thought the chemistry between Cortez and Phoebe was amazing and I was really rooting for them in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2007

    Good read

    I found this book to be a good read. Some of her books are GREAT, and this one is GOOD. I buy anything with her name on it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2007

    A reviewer

    I really enjoyed this book it is one of the best so far and they just keep getting better and better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2005

    A Very Boring Read

    I'm a big fan of Diana Palmer's books, but was very disappointed with this one. The charcters had no chemistry and very boring storyline. What's going on Ms. Palmer?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2005

    Same Old Palmer storyline...

    I Liked Diana Palmer when she first started writing. This New book is the the same old story. However, She ditched to ugly duckling heroin for a somewhat plain Jane. I don't know why but Ms. Palmer seems to be afraid of pretty women. The story is not all that exciting, a lot of information about archeology and Cherokee Indians (Which I am myself) I think Ms. Palmer tried to escape the sacred Virgin in this book but was afraid to let go. The writing was the same as her previouse books. In all her books the characters dress the same, eat the same meals, talk the same, same education the same emotional hurt and similar betrayals, the same family backround. If i didn't know better she has wriiten this book about 40 other times. Its just the same.No real plot to grasp I put this book down so many times it was painful to keep reading. My Best friend said don't bother I should have listened. The characters actually got there clothes off but the seen could have been a teaching in my eight grade sex ed class. No passion. This is a good book for very young adults with a mothers approval. I was dissapointed. I have to say It's time for Ms. Palmer to put the pen down. She is showing her laziness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    Before Sunrise

    Phoebe Keller's heart held a long buried passion for Jeremiah Cortez, and he for her. Yet, that did not stop him from breaking her heart, sending her into a diseasterous relationship and tearing them apart for years. When again they meet, she needs his protection. A recent archeological find has resulted in murder. Now Phoebe is in danger, and Cortez is her only hope to stay alive. Artifacts are not all that resurfaces. Crossing cultural lines and personal rules, these two reconnect on many levels. Yet, undercutting their romance is the threat of danger and the taboos they fear to break. ............................. Rather than her standard older hero, younger heroine romance, Ms. Palmer's protatgonists are of disimiliar backgrounds. Though she does break from her norm somewhat, her fans should still find it pleasant to read.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong police procedural contemporary romance

    In 1997 in Chenocetah, North Carolina, Native American cultural anthropologist Phoebe Keller, curator of the Chenocetah Museum, receives a call from a claimant saying he found a Neanderthal skeleton on the reservation. She is skeptical because a development dispute is brewing but before Phoebe can arrange testing of the alleged prehistoric remains, the person who called her is murdered with his body left inside a cave. FBI Agent Jeremiah Cortez leads the investigation. As a college senior three years ago Jeremiah felt a deep attraction to Phoebe that she reciprocated. However, he broke her heart as both went on with their respective lives. As they work together on the investigation, they fall in love even while the danger mounts from those who want to hide the entire truth. --- This is a terrific romantic suspense using a Native American background to enhance the plot. The lead sleuths make a fine team though both struggle with the ardent simmering desire for the other; their relationship seems like a throwback to a simpler romance novel yet is extremely complex as expected from fully developed protagonists. The who-done-it is cleverly designed to keep the audience alert although a twist late in the tale seems off kilter. Still readers will appreciate Diana Palmer¿s strong police procedural contemporary romance.--- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    A Slow Read

    I usually love Diana Palmer's stories. I like that her female leads aren't usually tall full figured model like creatures, but rather real women. This story, however true to her usual form, was boring to say the least. The romance was predictable and uninteresting. If this was your first Diana Palmer book, don't let it be your last.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews

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