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Darkest Before Dawn

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  550 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Sixty-four days in captivity. Sixty-four days to lose yourself—or find yourself.

I’m Ava Donovan. I was abducted at the age of nineteen. I’m told I’m a survivor, but the truth is, I only survived because he saved me. Even when he kept me locked in that room—he saved me.

Constantly wondering when and how you will die, that does something to you. To your mind. But what do yo
Kindle Edition, 191 pages
Published September 19th 2016 (first published September 2016)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog
*****FOUR STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

He’s following the rules, and if I am the one who makes him break those rules—well, isn’t that the type of thing romance stories are based on? Isn’t that what every woman dreams of? Having her love be something so special and pure that it can turn a beast into a man?

 photo DARKEST-teaser2LARGE_zpsctckeb5d.png

Fans of dark reads will surely enjoy DARKEST BEFORE DAWN. I found Stevie J Cole’s writing in this one at times to be beautifully poetic. This story is quite gritty and often
❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books
༺**Complimentary Copy**༺ Provided by the author
"Stevie J. Cole" In exchange for an honest review..Thank you!!
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TITLE: Darkest Before Dawn
AUTHOR: Stevie J. Cole
CHAPTERS: Prologue | 42
RELEASE DATE: September 19th 2016

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DARKEST BEFORE DAWN: If the 'Prologue' is anything to go by this is going to make for one crazy ride. Spoken in sixteen year old Max's own words, 4 men have broken into their family home, he's awoken with a gun pressed firmly to
4 "love in the dark" stars
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love Pablo Neruda, and i loved the meaning behind the quote of this sentence and the way Stevie J Cole used this quote and implemented it into this story of a sensitive unconventional and dark subject by making it susceptible and palpable and even understandable in some unexplicable or rationalized way...

When a 16 year old Max Carter had to choose between which of
Mg ♥ The Bookishmedialite
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing


Darkest Before Dawn is a romance shrouded in darkness, where "good intentions are laced with evil and love is, in a sense, a prison."

It’s a story picturing a reality that some victims of abduction face in their journey as hostages. We hear stories of abduction almost everyday, we think we know what we would do in that situation, but the truth is that we really don’t. Everyone is different. Everyone face realities that we don't know about.
At 50% I'm calling it quits. Sooooooooo BORING!!! The only good thing I read was the prologue! So disappointed! ...more
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 love has no morals stars

Somehow, among the dark depths of this nightmare, I've found some fucked up version of love- and I believe it's the only love language I will ever understand. I've given myself over to a devil, and God help me, all of the misery has been worth it for this very fucking moment."

Let me just say, I loved this book. The writing was superb and I totally enjoyed the Stockholm syndromey-type love story that this was. Max and Ava were both broken in their own ways at the begin
Allison ❤️Will Never Conquer Her TBR❤️

Darkest Before Dawn is a captive trope that delves into the darkness within a person's psyche. Not just the captor- but that of the captive also. Max Carter was raised within the life of the mob. He's not a good guy. He doesn't bat an eyelash at killing the filth in this world. Does that make him good or bad? On the hunt to find his missing sister, Max infiltrates the world of human trafficking. He becomes them to get her back. But somewhere along the way, he meets his game-changer. Her name is
I'm always game for a good old Stockholm Syndrome and this book has sufficient darkness and hotness to make it a good read. However, I do have to confess that apart from the high impact prologue, the first half the book was lost to me.

The idea that the kidnappers are trying to sell love is hard to understand. Seeing the hero, Max's sister's demise, we knew that the concept doesn't really work anyway. In the beginning, Max is all prince charming, as charming as a captor could be in this scenario
Donna ~ The Romance Cover
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Darkest Before Dawn by Stevie J Cole
4 stars!!!

“…what good is freedom to a bird who has no wings?”

Darkest Before Dawn is a book of tragedy, one after the other. Where one tragedy fuels another and the cycle is endless…until one man makes a difference. It is a book of grief and desperation and a clever manipulation of your heart and head, where the author gives you a dose of Stockholm Syndrome as you cannot help but fall in love with a captor…a captor with a heart. A captor whose heart
Mamacita Slacum
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark, favorites
10 "Between Shadow & Soul" Stars

This. Is. Hands. Down. One of the Best. Books. I've. Ever. Read!!!

So going into this one, I totally underestimated it. I thought this is just gonna be a delicious dark read. My guilty pleasure, maybe some twists & turns but nothing earth shattering or heart-stopping. Boy, was I thrown for a loop. I was so sucked in, I lost track of time & reality around me. I fell so far down, I'm talking ugly cry. I battled a headache & left my best friend in the dust for t
Heather C
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
~ 4 "Unsteady" Stars ~

This is my first Stevie J. Cole book and I can’t figure out why I haven’t read her work before. I can promise you that this won’t be my last. What a great introduction for me. I knew I was going to enjoy this book based off the prologue. I was captivated from the start.

Max lives in a family that is no stranger to crime. At the young age of sixteen, he’s faced with what will be one of his most difficult, life altering decisions. The decision of who lives and who dies. That h
May 04, 2017 marked it as dnf
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
DNF@46 Slow and Boring. Ava isn't likable, it's obvious she's had something terrible happen to her and she allows men to have sex with her if they want because it makes her feel wanted. She is upset because she feels Max her sexy captor isn't paying her attention and doesn't seem to want her sexually so she feels worthless WTF??? Max is looking for his sister so he starts working for some bad guys training captives to love. Sorry I'm done. ...more
E.M. Summers
Title: Darkest Before Dawn
Author: Stevie J. Cole
Series: standalone
Genre: dark romance
Themes: forced slavery, kidnapped
Heat: 2/5
Rating: 3/5

This may be the first book I've read by Cole, but I definitely won't be the last. I really did enjoy immersing myself in this one, though I have to admit I was slightly disappointed in the dark factor, expecting something a lot grittier and more brutal. Maybe I've just read too many dark books recently and I'm now broken inside. I was also hoping for a little
Kim BookJunkie ~ Editor & Proofreader
DARKEST BEFORE DAWN isn't, "dark" dark erotica but more of a, "dark romance". It's a tale of unexpected and totally unconventional love. Stevie J. Cole delivered a romance that was uncommon, thought-provoking and for me, very intense. In my opinion, what made this book so extraordinary was that I didn't have to wonder if this was a case of Stockholm Syndrome or not because the main characters questioned that themselves, their debate over this question comprising part of the story.

I really enjoy
Dark. Gritty. Intense. An absolute thrilling read! Stevie J. Cole continues to impress in this genre!

In DARKEST BEFORE DAWN, the author weaves her web of tragedy, manipulation, and desperation. It's about a man so desperate to find the only person he has left in this world, he will do anything and everything to get answers. He will become a monster and a master manipulator. But after doing it for so long...and still with NO answers, you have to wonder if he got himself in too deep. Ava Donovan w
Apr 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 Roller Coaster of Emotion Stars

Wow, just wow, this was my first read by this author and although I have most of her books on my Kindle I have NO idea why I haven't read them yet, lol, BUT you can guarantee that I will be re-visiting her work ASAP!!!!!!!!

Yes, this was dark but not the darkest I have ever read but there was ONE particular disturbing scene I read that I had wished had NOT happened BUT hell, that's what I was expecting going in.

I FLOVED Max and Ava, like to the moon and back love
Marie Vasquez
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-reviewed
This book ended up being a 3.5 for me. It was a bit short of meeting my expectations. I've read some of Stevie J Cole's previous work that were collaborations with LP Lovell and loved them. The writing was great but I couldn't quite connect with Max or Ava nor the story line itself.

When I began the story, the Prologue immediately grabbed a hold of me. I thought, "this is going to be good," but it kind of fizzled a bit after that. It picked up for me toward the end for a short minute but didn't g
♡ Jeri's Book Attic ♡ Jeri the Romance Bibiliophile ♡

The last weeks have been real ups and downs on my reading journey – I couldn’t pinpoint what kind of genre I wanted to read and than I really had a string of books that really let my overthink my politics on not posting reviews of 1 star books. (I rarely post those).

I knew I needed something different so the book “Darkest Before Dawn” by Stevie J. Cole came just right. Its been a long time now that I read something dark and an even longer time since I read something dark that actually remained d
Twinsie Talk Angie J
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Check out this review and others at
Newsletter :
Darkest before Dawn by Stevie J Cole
I received this book from the author for an honest review.
What the what what did I just read? How can Stevie make me love a crazy cold blooded killer? How does she do this to me? How does she get into my head and make me fall for the darkest and blackest of souls and feel they are worth my love
Peggy Lee (Reading Keeps Me Sane)
Darkest before Dawn was not what I expected. It's a daring twist on a love story born from the dark. Fate has intervened by bringing two people together who have a past connection unbeknownst to them. Their love is born from the darkest parts of their soul. I will warn you this is not a love story to be taken lightly. It delves deep into a dark place that isn't for everyone. This is dark, gritty and raw.

Max Carter has a dark past. He has tried to leave his past behind and move forward. However
Reviews from the Heart
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a captivating exploration into the difference between what the heart needs and what society deems as an acceptable form of love between two people and I loved this! Ava has always felt as if she didn’t fit in and as a result has gone through life feeling as if something is wrong with her. She is ripped from her privileged life and forced deep into the darkness and depravity of an entirely different world and it is through all of this that she may just finally find herself. This is a comp ...more
Heather R Callahan
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of dark reads, and this one is defiantly a top one for 2016. The book starts with Max as a child. His father pissed off the wrong guys, and the family has to pay. Max is forced to pick a parent to kill. Yes kill! This is where the boy no longer sees right from wrong, this is where his darkness takes over.

Now 12 years later, and his sister is missing. He decides to go after her, and that means human trafficking.

Ava is out on a date with her boyfriend when her boyfriend is killed
Angie Crabtree-Liezel and Angie's Book Blog
Have you ever read a book that spoke to the darkest part of your soul that it scared you? I have and my darkness wouldn't let go.

I've never read a Stevie J. Cole book. My co blogger told me that she absolutely loved her and I needed to read her ASAP. I'm so glad I did.

This book is about Ava and Max. Ava was abducted at 19 and Max is the one who is supposed to condition her to love him by breaking her completely. What he wasn't expecting was to fall in love with someone whose demons were just a
Big Joe  Rossi
Oct 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I am a huge fan of author Stevie J Cole but while this book is dark and very readable for some reason it wasn't the surefire home run I'm used to from her.

Ava Donovan is abducted in and held in a basement the sole purpose is to break her and then sell her. Max Carter is tasked with breaking her and getting her ready for sale. There are multiple problems with this. See Max is doing this job to get closer to the men who run the ring so he can find information that will lead to his sister Lily, who
Romance Readers Retreat
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've got to be honest and admit that it took me a little while to get into this book. I think that's because initially, I didn't really connect with Ava.

However, this is the web that Stevie J Cole has spun and I guarantee that if you take this journey, you are bound to be caught up.

Max is forced to return to a life he had left behind but he embraces the darkness for the better good. What he finds is that his light, is in fact darkness itself but can he accept it?

All Ava wants, is to forget an
Lina's Reviews  ❥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ❥ღೋBook Blogღೋ ❥Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ❥
Gritty and dark!!!! Loved it. Max & Ava took me for an extremely dark and bumpy ride!
Review to come!!

4 Stars
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I did like this read only I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, but that ending was beautifully creepy:))
The Dark
May 18, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: sale
→ On sale for maybe a limited time. Grab your copy now! ←


→ Submit or subscribe to The DARK Newsletter! ←

Sixty-four days in captivity. Sixty-four days to lose yourself—or find yourself.

I’m Ava Donovan. I was abducted at the age of nineteen. I’m told I’m a survivor, but the truth is, I only survived because he saved me. Even when he kept me locked in that room—he saved me.

Constantly wondering when and how you will die, that does something to you. To your mind. But what do you do when it does
EroticaAfterDark (Lilith)
→ On sale for maybe a limited time. Grab your copy now! ←


→ Submit or subscribe to The DARK Newsletter! ←

Sixty-four days in captivity. Sixty-four days to lose yourself—or find yourself.

I’m Ava Donovan. I was abducted at the age of nineteen. I’m told I’m a survivor, but the truth is, I only survived because he saved me. Even when he kept me locked in that room—he saved me.

Constantly wondering when and how you will die, that does something to you. To your mind. But what do you do when it does
Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This woman can write dark...and totally messed up broken people very well...and what does it say about ME that I get it and can relate?
I wasn't sure how I would feel about the whole revenge/coincidence/fate type of plot...but I think it worked out very well in the end. Ava and Max were brought together by a twist of fate and they absolutely needed each other to break down the walls of their horrible childhoods and the consequences of their family find love and solace in each othe
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Stevie J. Cole likes to write realistic stories with raw, gritty characters you should hate but can't help but to love.

She's obsessed with rock music, loves sloths, and has an unnatural obsession with British accents.

Her books are not recommended for the faint of heart.

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