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4.7 53
by Beverly Jenkins

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A proposal she had no choice but to accept . . .

Though Eli Grayson is one of the most handsome, charming, and intelligent men in Grayson Grove, no one will take a chance on a confirmed bachelor. Unwilling to give up his dreams, Eli convinces his friend Jewel to pose as his wife. Their masquerade is to last just one night . . . but when word gets out, Eli and


A proposal she had no choice but to accept . . .

Though Eli Grayson is one of the most handsome, charming, and intelligent men in Grayson Grove, no one will take a chance on a confirmed bachelor. Unwilling to give up his dreams, Eli convinces his friend Jewel to pose as his wife. Their masquerade is to last just one night . . . but when word gets out, Eli and Jewel must tie the knot to save his career—and her reputation.

Became a love she never expected . . .

Angry at being forced to turn her life upside down, Jewel never imagined that a white-hot passion would consume her once she and Eli became husband and wife. Sharing a bed has turned their prim friendship into a sensuous love affair . . . but when a woman from Eli's past returns to stir up trouble, he and Jewel will learn just how far they'll go to protect the precious gem of their newfound passion.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Avon Historical Romance Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 11.02(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Grayson Grove
Cass County, Michigan
May 3, 1881

Surrounded by the Eden-like green of the countryside, Eli Grayson drove his horse-drawn wagon down the bumpy road toward town. Towering trees wearing the first fresh leaves of spring lined his passage and drew the eye up to a cloudless blue sky. Birdsongs filled his ears while the warmth of the early May breeze made the harsh raw winds of winter just a memory.

Eventually the road led out of the trees and into the sunlight and the landscape gave way to meadows filled with blooming wildflowers spread out like God's opened paint box. Taking in the beautiful vista, Eli knew of no other place he'd rather be than Grayson Grove. It was established in the 1830s by his grandparents who'd come from Carolina to what was then the Michigan Territory. Armed with their freedom papers and money enough to purchase land, courtesy of their dead master's will, they and the thirty other freed slaves who'd accompanied them founded the settlement Eli's grandmother Dorcas christened Grayson Grove.

Over the years the number of Grove residents had increased, making the settlement now a township, one of three all-Black townships in Cass County.

Back then, the only business in the clearing that became the town's center had been the Grayson General Store. Now, as Eli made his way down Main Street, in addition to the long-established Vern's Barbershop, Bates Undertaking, and the Grayson livery stood the doc's office operated by Eli's cousin-in-law, Dr. Viveca Lancaster Grayson. Other new enterprises serving the Grove were the seamstress shop run by Adelaide Kane, and theGrayson Lending Library founded a few years back by lifelong family friend Maddie Loomis. Nestled next to the library was the boarded-up storefront that once housed the town's newspaper, the Gazette. As founder and editor, Eli had worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to publish a paper the area could be proud of, but as the bigger nationally syndicated papers began to encroach on his territory, he had little money to invest in new presses or salaries to hire additional help in order to compete. He'd taken out bank loans and borrowed money from friends and family, all in an effort to keep the paper afloat, but last year he'd faced reality. Not only were his bank notes overdue, he couldn't repay his friends. Granted they knew he'd eventually make good on the debts, but he didn't know when, or how.

So, he sat on the wagon seat staring at what had once been his life's blood. It was his plan to reopen the newspaper, but like the repayment of his debts he had no idea how or when. Sighing with frustration, he took one last look at his boarded-up dreams then continued down the street to the general store.

For such an early hour, there were quite a few buggies and wagons tied up near the businesses he passed. Some of the people on the walks waved to him and called out, "Morning, Eli."

He waved back, sending them his patented grin. All were friends and neighbors, and each face represented a memory of growing up—like Mr. Welch, whose apples he used to steal, and Mrs. Potts, who used to rap him across the knuckles with a wooden ruler whenever he pulled some prank in school or forgot his homework. In spite of the uncertainties Eli faced with the Gazette, heloved the Grove and after having traveled all over the nation, it was still the only place he cared to be.

Miss Edna Lee had been running the general store since Eli was in short pants, and no one was kinder. Although she was in her sixties now and slowing down a bit, the New Orleans–born octoroon had aged beautifully and was, like all the other women in the Grove, smart as a whip. "Morning, Eli," she called out cheerily as the tin bell above the door announced his arrival. Her long silver hair was braided into two long plaits and secured low on her neck, another Miss Edna fixture.

"Morning, Miss Edna."

A chorus of greetings from the customers inside buying tools, farm implements, and other necessities also marked his entrance. He got a nod from the store's regulars, who were drinking coffee and watching the morning's checker game.

"When's Nate and the doc due back?" Aaron Patterson asked as he kinged his opponent, his twin brother Abraham, now scowling from his seat on the other side of the black-and-red board perched on top of an old cracker barrel.

Nate Grayson was Eli's cousin. He was also the Grove's mayor and sheriff. The doc was his wife, Viveca. "Not for another month," Eli answered, taking his coffee mug down from where it hung on the pegboard near Edna's front counter. Most of the adults in the Grove had a mug hanging in the store. Nate and Viveca were in California visiting her parents. With them on the trip were their fourteen- and fifteen-year-old daughters, Magic and Satin, and their twin sons, four-year-old Jacob and Joseph.

Eli poured the dark brew Miss Edna always kept hot no matter the season into his cup and added,"The way Viveca's mama loves her grandchildren, it may be years before she lets them come home again."

Everyone nodded in agreement. They'd met Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster when they'd visited the Grove five years ago. Francesca Lancaster had as much an irrepressible spirit as her fearless doctor daughter.

The Grove general store also served as the post office. Miss Edna handed him a few envelopes. "These came in last evening."

"Thanks." With his coffee mug in hand and the mail tucked into the pocket of his worn blue cotton shirt, Eli called out his goodbyes, waved, and walked down to the mayor's office. He'd been asked to look after the Grove's business matters while Nate was away.

Jewel. Copyright ? by Beverly Jenkins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Beverly Jenkins has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer's Guild. Ms. Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by AABLC, the nation's largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature.

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Jewel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Jenkins introduced Eli and Jewel in Vivid 'which is a must read', They were friends until an unplanned marriage led them on the wildest most sensual ride of their lives, love. The book is awesome! Anyone who loves a confident man and a strong woman will love this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jewel Crowley had pretty much resigned herself to being a spinster, caring only for her father and brothers, tending to their needs for the rest of her life. Eli Grayson, the town¿s most notorious Lothario, has never been interested in having a wife. But when the success of a major business deal is dependent on his marital status, Eli has no choice but to produce a wife. The first person that comes to mind is Jewel. Anxious to secure the deal, Eli asks Jewel to pose as his wife. She scoffs at the idea, but eventually gives in. Jewel and Eli find themselves unable to resist the passion that sparks uncontrollably between them. And before long, a marriage that is supposed to be in name only turns into an unexpected love. Their love is put to the test, though, when a blast from Eli¿s past blows into town, bringing with it trouble and strife. I¿ve been an avid romance reader since my early teens, but since I am not a history buff, I shied away from any novel that was historical in nature. A dear friend urged me to give Beverly Jenkins a try, and even gave me my first set of Mrs. Jenkins novels. I was hooked from the very first read and eagerly anticipate each and every story written by this very talented author. Even though romance novels have to follow a certain plot structure, it is amazing what Mrs. Jenkins can do with that formulaic storyline. Not only does she turn it into a history lesson, but also a beautiful love story between strong characters. Even the staunchest critic of the romance genre would have a hard time not approving of her stories. Renee Williams, All the Buzz
Guest More than 1 year ago
As usual Ms. Jenkins has written another great book. I loved the history in this book and i also loved the romance between Jewel and Eli. There are not enough words to express to tell readers if you want to know about black history then you need to pick up one of Ms. Jenkins books, i can guarantee you ..you will find something you did not know!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When Eli Grayson's press comes under strain he seeks outside help to get it running again. However, when the stipulation includes that he have a wife, he implores Jewel Crowley to help him out of this bind. Although Jewel was supposed to play his wife just for one night, things take a turn for the worst. Now the whole town finds out that she and Eli were 'secretly married.' Far from the truth, Eli comes to a decision to make right the mess he brought to Jewel's door step. He proposes to keep the scandal from ruining Jewel's reputation. The moment they say I do, Eli takes serious his decision to marry her and try to make it the best arrangement as possible. Jewel's curious nature leads her to want to experience more from this man whose kisses literally makes her melt in her shoes. Ms. Jenkins has penned a wonderful love story of two people who've known each other most of their lives. After nearly ten years of returning to Grayson Grove, I'd say this book was worth the wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always entertaining and informative about little know black history facts. I learn something new every time i read one of her books. Thank you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not what I expected it after reading all the five star ratings. I found this book good but slow reading. About a man and a women get married first then find romance and love. Down right boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first historical romance I ever read (2yrs ago) ......... wow Ir felt more present day and u get a great history lesson
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A she-kit limps in quickly with a broken leg. "H...help...me...p.....p..please." she mews looking behind her quite scared.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can some please go to kaptain vamp only result and tell everyone that blake is lock out? Please. I beg you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Light mocha she-cat with white legs, ears, and underbelly with lovely brown eyes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Hello." A gray-blue shecat padded in. "I'm Stormspirit."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read 3 of BJ's books so far Vivid, Indigo, and Jewel! I'm just blowen away by here books! They are truly wonderful........so much so that I have read them twice, i've never done that with any other author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Again entertaining, provocative and educational-loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Saga of the Graysons continues with the focus on Eli Grayson the handsome Cousin of Nate Grayson. Eli who is considered an ladies man is an Newspaper Man who had to put his dreams on hold. He is determined to revive the Towns Newspaper. But in order to do that he Enlists the help of Jewel a simple, earthy, and beautiful Daughter of the towns Lumberjack and Master builder to pretend to be his wife. There is only one Problem. She Can't stand the site of him. Has a wonderful ending and will hold your attention with twists and unexpected events that keep you reading.
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