From Beverly Jenkins Online!

No Place for a Lady

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?

My thoughts…

Leah Barnett inherited her mother’s tavern, the Black Swan, upon her mother’s death. The Black Swan was a Boston establishment that serviced sailors of color. At the books opening, Leah is struggling to run the business, barely getting by on the money coming in.  Louis Montague (Monty), her mother’s longtime boyfriend, is near death and convinces Leah to marry him so that she may claim his Colorado estate. It’s not until the marriage is official that Montague surprises Leah with the revelation that he abandoned two sons when he left Colorado.  Determined to fulfill his wishes, Leah boards a train to Colorado with Cecil Lee (Monty’s close friend).

When she arrives in Colorado, she is confronted by Montague’s past in the form of his son, Ryder Damien. Ryder is angry with Monty and blames him for the death of his mother, who is a Cheyenne woman. And the make matters worse, Ryder accuses her of marrying his father for money.  Although Ryder is rude and hostile, Leah can’t help but be affected by the longhaired Ryder.  Determined to fulfill Monty’s wishes, Leah continues on her quest to claim the inheritance but is hampered by legal issues.  There’s a court judgment against the estate that she must pay off.  If she is unable to pay the debt, she may forfeit her freedom and her inheritance. Ryder offers her the money…if she’ll be with him.

Before the Dawn is an intriguing tale from front to back. The book had everything I liked in a romance—lies, scandal, regrets, secrets, mystery, and peril around the corner.  It was an adventure.  It raised the hairs on the back of neck…in a ‘can’t put the book down until I get to the end because I just want to see who the danger is’ kind of way.  I enjoyed the developing relationship between Ryder and Leah.  I also appreciated the Western United States history and Native American history weaved into the story. I enjoyed the breathtaking scenery as well.  Characters like Seth (the other brother), Cecil, and Samuel made this even better.

Leah was feisty and definitely up to the challenge of defending Monty’s wishes and herself.  But who in their right mind could resist Ryder? He was the bomb. And I’m glad she couldn’t resist him for long because their love affair was akin to a thrilling spin on rollercoaster.  Loved it. 

This is the first book by Ms. Jenkins that I listened to on CD.  I have to say, I enjoyed the experience. The reader added a layer to the written word and I found myself wishing I could get my hands on other audiobooks of Ms. Jenkins novels.  In fact, after this one, I picked up Winds of the Storm on CD.  If you like a fast paced adventure with a HOT romance, you’ll love Before the Dawn.