Published by Avon on October 2nd 2001
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American, Interracial Romance, American West
Narrator: Thomas Penny
Length: 11 Hours and 17 Mins
Reading Challenges: Oldie But A Goodie Reading Challenge, Read It All Reading Challenge-Beverly Jenkins
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?
Leah Barnett, has come a long way. With her mother having passed away, a man who has always been like a father to her, Louis Montague leaves her all of wealth upon his death if she agrees to marry him on the day of his death. Leah inherited her mother’s business, but she is struggling to make do. Monty sees her as the daughter he never had, and wants to make sure she will be taken care of. So Leah reluctantly agrees, knowing how important it is to him. But there is one last request, to make sure the two sons he had but had never really been a father to, and so she travels to Colorado to fulfill Monty’s dying wish for his two sons. Along with her, is Cecil, Monty’s best friend. But upon arriving, she meets one of his two sons Ryder, who is full of anger and bitterness against his father. He views her as a money grabbed, and doesn’t trust her at all. But when she is put in a difficult position, fork up fifteen thousand due to past debts Monty’s never fulfilled or go to prison. Ryder makes her an offer she can’t refuse, be his lover and he will give the fifteen thousand to the courts to save her from prison. Soon though, Ryder and Leah feel a connection to each other. However lies and past secrets could tear them apart forever.
Our delicious hero is Ryder Damien. Ryder is one of the most powerful men in the state. Despite his rough upbringing, with no father, his mother murdered, and raised by his Cheyenne grandmother, his life hasn’t been an easy one. He is used to many despising him for his mixed roots. But despite that, he has made much wealth for himself. Ryder despises his father, whom he blames for his mother’s horrific demise. What I grew to really like about Ryder is seeing how much he learns in this book. You see quite a bit of character growth. He tends to make rash judgements and I love seeing him getting turned upside down with Leah. Ryder was quite a fun hero to get to know though. I loved seeing his fortitude, strength against so much especially when he was young. He is a fighter and a sensual lover.
Leah was a heroine I just wanted more of. She is a character that in the beginning you aren’t too sure of. But we see she gets thrown into a horrible position and has to make a difficult choice. But she never gives up on the truth and believing in Ryder. She stands on her own though, and even though she keeps certain things from Ryder, it is very understandable why she does so. Before she travels west, she doesn’t have a clue what she is getting herself into. She has always known love with her mother, Monty and Cecil. They are her security blankets. But we see how much she stands on her own when they are taken away from her. She is one tough little cookie, proud and spirited but still has a sweet nature too.
Plot and Story Line
This story takes us from the streets of Chicago to the small workings of a town in Colorado near Denver. This is a period of growth of the State of Colorado. And wow does this author wow me each time that I happen to pick her up. This time we see more of the damage that many American’s dealt to the Native American’s of the time. We see this because Ryder is half Cheyenne. Some horrors happen to him when he is a boy that is just heartbreaking but in reality is what makes him into the strong capable man that he has become. I did like seeing how Beverly Jenkins brings in the historical relevance without taking anything from the story. Its more set up as a background for the characters. I did enjoy the interactions between Ryder and Leah in the beginning. Some fun bantering, powerful chemistry becomes built up and some hard lessons are learned between these two that are so spirited and have to learn what it takes to make a relationship work. We also have a shocker in the end where we learn the truth behind all the secrets of the past. And the true villain—turned me upside down. I almost passed out, it was such a blow but what a turn of events that happen here. We also see that Ryder and Leah have to climb through some mountains of mistrust before they get their happy ending. Ryder is the type of man that LEAPS to conclusions, but in the end he always makes up for it in other ways. I loved the way that Leah handles him though. She is firm yet understanding too. I liked that balance and there are some good side characters to fall in love with. What a powerful love story this turned out to be and I am only eager for more from this author.
I really love the purple background, it definitely fits the cover so well!!! And braided hair on the hero—-different but so COOL!!
Before The Dawn is a romance that takes the reader on a ride of adventure through the Colorado Rockies—-through secrets, misunderstandings, truths that are revealed and above all a happy end to make you sigh in happiness. TRULY A GEM!!!