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Investigating a conspiracy really wasn't on Nikki's very long to-do list.


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Escape to the Scottish Highlands in this enemies to lovers romance!


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Secret Identity, Small Town Romance
Available 4.15.24


Excerpt of Before the Dawn by Beverly Jenkins

Purchase


Avon
October 2001
Featuring: Leah Barnett; Ryder Damien
384 pages
ISBN: 0380813750
Paperback
Add to Wish List

Romance Historical

Also by Beverly Jenkins:

A Christmas to Remember, November 2023
Paperback / e-Book
To Catch a Raven, September 2022
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Wild Rain, February 2021
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
On the Corner of Hope and Main, March 2020
Paperback / e-Book
Rebel, June 2019
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Second Time Sweeter, September 2018
Paperback / e-Book
Tempest, February 2018
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Chasing Down a Dream, July 2017
Paperback / e-Book
Breathless, February 2017
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Stepping to a New Day, July 2016
Paperback / e-Book
Forbidden, February 2016
Paperback / e-Book
For Your Love, May 2015
Paperback / e-Book
Destiny's Captive, November 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Heart Of Gold, May 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Destiny's Surrender, September 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Destiny's Embrace, February 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Merry Sexy Christmas, November 2012
Paperback / e-Book
A Wish and A Prayer, April 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Night Hawk, November 2011
Paperback
Bring On The Blessings, June 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Something Old, Something New, June 2011
Trade Size / e-Book
Midnight, November 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Once Upon a Holiday, October 2010
Paperback
Rhythms Of Love, May 2010
Paperback
A Second Helping, January 2010
Paperback / e-Book
Captured, October 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Bring On The Blessings, February 2009
Paperback
Belle, January 2009
Paperback
Jewel, May 2008
Paperback
Deadly Sexy, November 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Wild Sweet Love, May 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Cuffed by Candlelight, February 2007
Paperback
Topaz, February 2007
Trade Size
Sexy/Dangerous, November 2006
Paperback
Winds of the Storm, April 2006
Paperback
Black Lace, October 2005
Paperback
Something Like Love, April 2005
Paperback
The Edge of Dawn, October 2004
Paperback
The Edge of Midnight, January 2004
Paperback
Gettin' Merry, October 2002
Hardcover
A Chance at Love, September 2002
Paperback
Before the Dawn, October 2001
Paperback
Always and Forever, September 2000
Paperback

Excerpt of Before the Dawn by Beverly Jenkins

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 his head 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...

Excerpt from Before the Dawn by Beverly Jenkins
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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