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Jack: A Scottish Outlaw, Book 1

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Highland Outlaws Series, Book One

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Description

Book One in the bestselling Highland Outlaws Series

A 2016 RONE Award Finalist!

Here’s what people are saying about Jack

★★★★★

“Ms. Baldwin never fails to delight & captivate!”

“This book kept my interest from page one to the last!”

“Lily Baldwin is a force to be reckoned with…”

“The characters are intriguing, the setting fantastic, and as usual so well written you feel like you are a part of the story.” 

Five years have passed since tragedy struck, and yet English lady, Isabella Redesdale, cannot escape the sorrow. She feels entombed within her fortress and trapped in a loveless betrothal. When news arrives that her sister has given birth to her first child, Isabella finally has the chance to escape her lonely surroundings. But to visit her sister, she must travel north where bandits and Scottish rebels rule.

After the English king invades Jack MacVie’s beloved Scottish city, massacring its people, Jack takes up the cause of independence, becoming one of Scotland’s elite secret rebels. When he is forced to abduct Isabella on the road north into Scotland, he believes she is nothing more than a shallow, pampered noblewoman; meanwhile, she believes he is a ruthless outlaw.

Still, Jack and Isabella have more in common than they first realize. Both crave freedom from loss and oppression. But in a world where kings reign and birth dictates one’s station, freedom is not won–it’s stolen.

Join Jack and Isabella on a fast-paced, passionate journey where love rises above convention and brings the true villains to their knees.

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Enjoy an excerpt of Jack: A Scottish Outlaw…

Jack charged through the woods with his four brothers trailing just behind. They had been tracking the Redesdale carriage for nearly three miles, waiting for the flat landscape to give way to a hill from which they could descend upon their prize. Having at last reached a wooded slope, Jack galloped to the top and signaled for them to don their masks. They had moved ahead of the carriage, but it was almost upon them. He leaned low in his saddle. The thrill of the catch set his heart to race. Moisture beaded against the fabric of his mask as his breath quickened. He raised his fist in the air, preparing his brothers to attack. Once his fist swung down, they would be unleashed like a furious storm upon the unsuspecting English nobles.

The carriage was almost in position.

Just a short distance to go.

His fist started to descend, but then he froze as a humbly dressed man with sword raised high suddenly burst onto the road in front of the carriage. The driver of the carriage jerked on the reins. Jack watched in stunned silence as the man sprinted to the other side of the road and disappeared in the wood.

“Who’s he?” Rory asked.

Jack’s gaze followed one of the Redesdale guards who turned his horse and followed after the strange man. “I do not ken,” Jack answered absently. Then his fist fell to his lap as another man suddenly appeared, running close to the carriage before darting out of sight.

The carriage swerved.

“What’s going on?” Rory blurted.

Before Jack could answer a great crack rent the air. He stared with wide eyes at a tree plunging toward the earth. It  fell with a thud in front of the carriage. The driver pulled hard on the reins, but it was too late. The wheels crashed into the tree and splintered into pieces. When he drew his next breath, more than a dozen armed peasants ran out from the woods with swords raised high and attacked his prize.

“Blast!” He threw up his hands and let loose a string of curses.

“Jack, what’s our move?” Quinn asked.

Jack shook his head. “We have no move. Those thieves stole our prize.”

Rory tore off his mask. His blue eyes shone brightly. “Mayhap they’re like us, Scottish rebels. ‘Tis as Bishop Lamberton predicted. Our people are once more ready to fight!”

“And look at how well they do against guards on horseback,” Ian said eagerly.

Jack shot a glance back at his youngest brother. Ian’s long red hair hung in tangled disarray.

“Cover back up, lads. I want a closer look.”

Jack eased his horse further down the slope to watch the skirmish. The peasants were, indeed, making surprising progress. Three guards had been slain. He did not doubt that the others would soon be overwhelmed. Leaning forward in his saddle, he eyed the ragged gang. Their humble clothing bore the wear of toil, but their broad shoulders and thick waists belonged to men who did not know scarcity.

Jack shook his head. “Look at their swords. Those aren’t the weapons of farmers?”

“What does it matter?” Rory said. “They’re fighting the English and winning!”

Jack’s eyes narrowed on the scene below. “Something isn’t right.”

Quinn nodded. “Look at the skill with which they fight.”

“They’re not peasants,” Jack said with certainty.

His brothers fell silent as the last guard was pulled from his horse. Several blades glinted in the sun before the tips were plunged into the wretch’s belly.

“’Tis done then,” Jack murmured. “Whoever they are, they’ve won the day,”

He was about to turn away, but then the carriage door opened, and a lady fell to the ground. Veils obscured her face, but the fineness of her tunic bespoke of great wealth. Again, he cursed their luck. Whatever fortune she carried with her should, by rights, be theirs. They had, after all, tracked the carriage for miles.

“I don’t like this,” Ian said, drawing Jack’s gaze.

Jack watched as his youngest brother slid off his horse.

“What are they going to do with her?” Ian asked before moving further down the hill and crouching behind a thick tree. “I can’t see her anymore,” he called back.

“Ian, ‘tis nothing,” Jack assured him. “She’s in no real danger. Whoever these brigands are, they will not harm her, not when they can ransom her for a sizable fortune. Come along, all of ye. The lady is no longer our affair. We certainly cannot rob her now. We’ll have to fill Scotland’s coffers on another day.”

Jack urged his horse around, but then a sob rent the air. He looked back. Several men were tearing at her clothes. Her scream of terror raked up his spine. “Perhaps I spoke too soon.”

“Scottish rebels or not, we cannot allow them to hurt her,” Quinn cried.

Rory jumped to the ground. “Jack, we must do something!”

Jack watched as one of the men ripped away the lady’s veils. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “Damnation,” he cursed when he beheld her wide, terrified eyes.

Ian stood straight. “For the love of God, Jack!”

Jack turned his horse about. “Mount up, lads. We’ve an English lady to save.”

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