Title: Before The Morning
Author: +Zee Monodee
Series: Corpus Brides Book 2: The Prequel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23598414-before-the-morning
In this stand-alone prequel to the explosive Corpus Brides romantic suspense/espionage series, found out how everything started when one of the agency’s deadliest became the target of a rogue faction.
Before the morning
...is the time of greater darkness...
A trained killer with borderline sociopathic tendencies
Rayne Cheltham traced out her life's path when she was twelve: she would marry her best friend and bear his children, and in the process, stifle the restless edge in her. When he vows never to marry, she gives in to the darkness and becomes a clandestine agent—until the day he walks into her world again, and her carefully fabricated façade crumbles.
A former cop burned by life and his personal demons
When Ash Gilfoy meets a woman who reminds him of his childhood best friend, he starts upon a path that leads him down into the abyss once again. The day Rayne waltzes back into his life, he knows she is his second chance, and the one who will save him.
Each thinks the other is their redemption...until they discover how deep darkness goes inside both of them
The secrets between them make them sit on a keg of gunpowder with a lit fuse in their hands. Rayne’s whole life is built on a lie, and the truth is threatening to explode in their faces. But that is not the only menace they have to face. Someone is out to get Rayne, and she must disclose her secret past before it is too late.
Can Rayne and Ash survive all that’s thrown in their path? Can they hang on to the last thread of their relationship, and can they emerge, still together and still alive, in the morning after the deepest darkness?
From the front-facing window on the second floor of the Shepherd’s Close freehold, Corpus secret agent Rayne Cheltham watched the ambulance pull away from the curb.
Shivers crept up her arms, and she hugged herself tight to ward them off.
Get a grip!
She was a professional on an assignment, for God’s sake. An elite, trained operative from a clandestine agency that handled operations for governments and international forces as a stealthy left hand. Her superiors entrusted her with the most important missions—nothing should faze her.
Before today, she would’ve said that nothing could affect her when she had her eyes on a goal. But she couldn’t be sure anymore. She’d never had her past collide with her present like a few moments ago, in the form of her childhood best friend.
Ashford Gilfoy, better known as Ash. The boy who had been there to catch her when, at six, she had slipped while climbing the chestnut tree that sat right on the border between their two houses in Hastings, two days after her family had moved there from Salisbury. The boy who had taught her how to ride a bicycle without the training wheels on the long and winding, gravel-covered lane leading to her parents’ mansion. The teenager who had smashed the nose of the first lad who had broken her heart, at thirteen, during recess in the schoolyard. The young man she had left seventeen years ago on a platform at London Waterloo, on the day she’d bid her old life goodbye.
For the first time since that day, she’d stepped back on British soil, and kismet decided Ash should cross her path.
Why now, of all times? She stood a hair’s breadth away from closing the contract on this mission. Seven months of intensive infiltration work and she remained poised to achieve her aim—neutralize Nikolai Grigorievskiy’s criminal operations before she took out the man. The Corpus always sent her for the kill, but the trick spelled that she had to make her target’s death appear self-inflicted, at the bare minimum, or an accident, in the direst of cases. Measles, as such operations were known in their clandestine world—a planned assassination not leaving any indication of the cause of death. She would then have to sanitize everything—leave no evidence, no witness, nothing to lead back to her. Unlike her other agency counterparts, she wasn’t an out-and-out black ops assassin, but a different level of highly implicated agent provocateur.
In other words, a consummate actress who got to her ends by manipulating people and circumstances. All those years of drama school, at her mother’s insistence when, obviously, she’d be too tall to become a ballerina, had come in handy. In fact, her portrayal of Lady Macbeth in the drama school’s end of year play had caught the eye of the people who had recruited her into the Corpus. Seventeen years now into the agency, fifteen of them as Kali, her operative name, a sociopath with no apparent conscience who followed her orders with diligence. Never had any one of her targets come close to figuring she could be an undercover agent. Her track record was flawless—each assignment undertaken with one hundred percent success rate and a marginal body count.
Until today, when she’d almost gotten burned.
Author, editor, smitten wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween boy, best-buddy stepmum to a teenage lad, bookaholic, lover of all things fluffy & pink, chronic shoeholic, incompetent housewife desperate to channel Nigella Lawson (and who’ll prolly always fail at making domestic goddess status)...
Zee hails from the multicultural, rainbow-nation island of Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean, where she grew up on the figurative fence—one side had her ancestors’ Indian and Muslim culture; the other had modernity and the global village. When one day she realised she could dip her toes into both sides without losing her integrity, she found her identity.
This quest for ‘finding your place’ is what she attempts to bring in all her stories, across all the genres she writes. Her heroines represent today’s women trying to reconcile love, life, & relationships in a melting pot of cultures, while her heroes are Alpha men who often get put back into their rightful place by the headstrong women she writes. Love is always a winner in her stories, though; that’s a given.
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