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Before the Dawn

Before the Dawn

4.7 34
by Beverly Jenkins, Thomas Penny (Narrated by)

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Leah Barnett can't believe how far fate has carried her: from Boston to the towering Colorado Rockies...and into the life of an angry, ruggedly sexy man. Ryder Damien is not about to welcome this beauty with open arms, however, especially since Leah was the one who won the affection of Ryder's late father and now may inherit, his considerable wealth. But when


Leah Barnett can't believe how far fate has carried her: from Boston to the towering Colorado Rockies...and into the life of an angry, ruggedly sexy man. Ryder Damien is not about to welcome this beauty with open arms, however, especially since Leah was the one who won the affection of Ryder's late father and now may inherit, his considerable wealth. But when she stands before him in the flesh — proud, vulnerable, and intoxicatingly lovely — desire replaces hatred in Ryder's heart. Yet can passion survive this wild land and its dangerous men...and the most breathtaking peril: untamed love?

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Recorded Books, LLC
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Before the Dawn

Chapter One

Ryder Damien's black eyes glowed with grim satisfaction as he read the wire informing him that his father, was dying. So, the old man's finally getting his due, he thought. Hope Satan makes the pit nice and hot.

Hardly the expected filial response, but Ryder hadn't seen his father in thirty years. He tossed the telegram onto his desk and walked over to the windows that looked out on the world from the second-floor office of the Damien Mining Company. According to the calendar, spring was coming, but you couldn't tell by all the snow on the mountains. The Colorado mountains never surrendered to warmer weather without a good fight, and this year proved to be no exception. Ryder hoped that by concentrating on something else, the news about his father would fade from his mind, but as much as he disliked admitting it, thoughts of Louis Montague wouldn't leave him alone. Why make contact now, after all these years? With all the suffering Ryder had been forced to endure, surely Louis didn't believe he'd come running to his deathbed, mouthing absolutions?

Ryder turned from the window and went back to his desk.

Thirty-two-year-old Leah Barnett moved slowly through the nearly deserted tavern, collecting the last of the empty mugs and tankards. Her day at the Black Swan had begun at dawn, and now that night had fallen, she didn't know which felt wearier, her body or her feet. She looked over at the last of the regulars seated at one of the dark wood tables, and called out, "Tom, you should be getting on home now.Don't want the wife to have to come get you again."

Tom Pollard met Leah's frank dark eyes, then hung hishead sheepishly. His wife, Bess, had paid a visit to the Swan four nights ago, and it hadn't been a pretty affair. Bess Pollard towered over her elderly husband by a good six inches, and she'd issued such a blistering lecture on demon rum and familial responsibility that every man in the place had gotten up and slunk home. Leah hadn't been pleased watching the night's profits go streaming out the doors, but witnessing the look of fear on Tom's face when his wife blew in like a November gale had almost been worth the loss. Leah had been telling him for months that he should be spending more time with his young bride and less time with his cronies playing dominoes and backgammon.

In response to Leah's warning, Tom shuffled to his feet and put on his coat, saying, "Caught a lot of ribbing about that. Don't want it to happen again." The slight sway in his old legs interfered with his attempts to fasten his coat buttons. "How's Monty doing?"

"Doctor says it won't be long," she responded sadly.

Louis Montague, her mother's lifelong companion, lay upstairs in his bed, dying. "I'm going up to check on him as soon as I'm done here."

"Well, you want me to stay until you lock up?"

Leah smiled tiredly in reply. Tom had been coming to the Swan since she'd been tall enough to see over the tables, and she appreciated his concern, "No, Tom. I'll be fine. You go on. I'll see you tomorrow."

He nodded and headed out into the early-April night.His exit left Leah alone, and she went back to cleaning up. Usually she savored the silence that settled over the place after locking up, but not tonight. Tonight her thoughts were heavy with Monty's fate.

Last April, the death of Leah's British-born mother, Reba, had broken Leah's heart. Now, Monty lay at death's door, too. Leah's world had always included the two of them, and she couldn't envision a future devoid of their presence and love.

The Black Swan had been passed down to her upon Reba's death, and Leah supposed she'd spend the rest of her life there, washing tankards and hauling in kegs. At the advanced old age of thirty-two she stood little chance of snagging a husband and having children, so she'd stopped hoping long ago. She'd also stopped wanting to see the world and its many wonders; women of her ilk weren't destined for such things. She'd been born in the Swan and would undoubtedly die in the Swan, just as her mother had.

The small drinking establishment, with its sturdy wooden tables and packed-earth floor, would provide her a frugal life at best. One of the few remaining coastline taverns that catered to Black British seamen, it turned enough profit to pay bills and buy necessities, but nothing more. Unlike her old friend Adele Sears, who'd married well and constantly ordered new gowns in order to rub shoulders with Boston's Black elite, Leah had to make due with gowns that had seen better days and shoes with pasteboard in them to cover the holes in the soles. Granted, because she had a way with numbers, Leah earned a few extra coins balancing the ledgers of some of the other businesses on the waterfront, but that went to pay the salaries of her two employees: a bartender and a waitress.

Done with the washing and sweeping, Leah checked the door's bolts, doused the tavern's lamps, and slowly headed upstairs to look in on Monty.

Leah had lived on the tavern's upper floor her whole life, and the space was as familiar as her own heartbeat. Reba and Monty had shared the big room in the back that overlooked the often moody Atlantic Ocean. Reba had drawn her last breath in that room. Monty seemed destined to do the same.

Leah entered the firelit room quietly. In the big walnut bed lay Louis Montague...

Before the Dawn. 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 is the recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured in both the documentary Love Between the Covers and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR.

To read more about Beverly, visit her at www.BeverlyJenkins.net.

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Before the Dawn 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Smurf97 More than 1 year ago
Ms Jenkins has done it again.....this book is awesome. I love the fact that with every book, she gives her readers some history. So far I have read 4 other books by this author and I have not been disappointed. The story of Leah & Ryder touched my heart. From there 1st meeting, I was hooked and could not stop reading. Thanks to Ms Jenkins to giving such an explosive story. Thanks to Ms Jenkins I am a huge fan of historial romances!!!
Taami More than 1 year ago
As always I started reading this book looking for a connection to Ms. B's other character's. When I realized that the setting was in Colorado......I said to myself... Self, I dont think there's a connection here. At first I was a little disappointed because I love how Ms. Jenkins continues to connect her characters. Plus she keeps us up to date on the characters of previous books. But as I kept reading..... as usual Ms. B pulled me right into Denver and the Montague/Damien World! And I Loved It!!! All I can say is Ryder - Ryder - Ryder!!!!!!!!!! Hopefully, there's a book on Seth in the works...... **Hint - Hint**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome! This was my first book of the summer and Mrs. Jenkins did not disappoint. I have read all of her books (historical and contemporary)! Her writing style is very unique! Keep it coming...........
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is totally my all time favorite of Beverly Jenkins work. I love the characters especially Ryder Damien........ I thought the book was very interesting and fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I started reading, Beverly Jenkins books were among the first. I was a sleeper, when she invited me in to history, love and excitement, I do not require the sleep that I thought I had to have. My daughter refused to read her books, siting from one reason to another. She began reading one that I purposely left at her home. She invited several memberbers over to dinner on Sunday, after carefully getting the information about who had all the books of Ms.Jenkins, she refuse to serve dinner until one of us went and brought all the books to her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book of Ms. Jenkins that I read and I immediately put her on my favorite authors list! I have sense found and bought them all. I agree whole heartedly with the other reviewers that this book has it all. And I WILL NEVER think of SPICED PEACHES the same way EVER AGAIN!! That man that man!! He is a bad a Galen Vachon and that is sayin' somthin'!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful story! I loved that Leah and Ryder finally got past their problems and made a go of it. I look forward to reading more about Native Americans and their struggles. I especially enjoy and appreciate Beverly Jenkins' writing and the historic emphasis. LA-TXN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before the Dawn was spellbinding, I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It had a interesting twist at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You can never go wrong with a Beverly J novel. Class is always in session when it comes to history and Love is in the air when it comes to romance. What a great combination! Ryder is the ultimate hottie with the soft giving heart.
Bigedsgirl1 More than 1 year ago
Beverly Jenkins has no equal when it comes to writing historical romance! She never fails to leave one entranced with her strong heroes, and sometimes even stronger heroines. You will never forget Ryder, Leah, and spiced peaches. This book has everything romance, suspense, and colorful history. Buy it, then relax and enjoy!
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