Book Two in the Bestselling Highland Outlaws Series
Here’s what people are saying…
“This book has my highest recommendation.”
“Couldn’t put it down!”
English lady, Catarina Ravensworth is no stranger to war and loss. Ignoring her heart’s true desires, she retreats from life’s hardships, accepting the offer of marriage from a stony-hearted lord she can never love but who will take her away from the horrors of her past.
Quinn MacVie is one of Scotland’s Agents, a group of elite, secret rebels. When Catarina’s father is accused of treason, Quinn is sent to Ravensworth Castle to secret her away before her cruel husband discovers her father’s crimes.
At first Catarina refuses Quinn’s help. But when she is suddenly accused of murder and her safe existence is shattered, she has no choice but to leave behind the comforts of home and put her trust in the only man who believes in her innocence–Quinn MacVie, Scottish rebel and outlaw to the crown.
Together, they are on the run from the true murderer, a legion of warriors, and a pack of vicious bloodhounds. If they cannot clear Catarina’s name, her people and all she holds dear will be made to suffer.
Join Quinn and Catarina as they disappear into the wilds of the Scottish Highlands where danger follows at their heels and desire burns in their hearts.
This is book 2 in the bestselling Highland Outlaws Series!
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Enjoy an excerpt from Quinn: A Scottish Outlaw…
Quinn MacVie never ran his horse ragged, and he’d berate any man who did. But if he had to choose between the well-being of a horse or that of a woman—he would pick the woman every time.
“Open the doors,” Quinn shouted outside the stables of what might have been a bustling village were it not the middle of the night. The swollen moon cast cool light across the barren village green and narrow road. He knocked again on the worn wooden door. Surely, someone slept within. A flicker of candlelight across the road snaked his gaze toward one of the small cottages. He glimpsed a shadowed face the instant before a flap of hide fell back in place over the cottage window, concealing its occupant from view. At least someone had heard his plea. Now, if only the stable master would stir.
“Wake Up. I need a horse,” Quinn yelled, emphasizing each word with a hammer of his fist upon the door.
Still, aid did not arrive. With a growl, he pounded the door harder, again and again, until at last he heard the bar slide away. He stepped back as the doors swung wide. Orange lantern light fell upon a grizzly looking man with thick brows, a wide, flat nose and long, tangled brown hair. A line of spittle that had dried to his chin and his glazed eyes proved that Quinn had, indeed, dragged the man from a sound sleep, and judging by his deep scowl, he was not at all pleased. Holding his lantern high, the man glared at Quinn.
“What the devil are ye…” His raspy voice trailed off, and his eyes widened as he looked Quinn over.
Pulling his weary mount behind him, Quinn barreled into the stables, his long, black robe swirling about his feet. Inside, the air smelled of fresh-cut hay. Quinn grunted his approval. “I need a horse,” he said, turning back to look at the stable master.
“Forgive me, Brother,” he said, making the sign of the cross. “I did not expect to find a monk beating down my door at this hour. ‘Tis after midnight. I thought to find a lad new to his breeches and too far into his cups.”
“I need a horse,” Quinn repeated. He hadn’t time for conversation. Promises had been made. A life was at stake. “I’ve pushed this beast too hard.” He tossed the man his reins.
Frowning, the man slipped the handle of his lantern on a nearby hook before his attention turned to the mare. He stroked her muzzle. “Ye’re a pretty lass,” he said, revealing a row of square, yellow teeth when he smiled. “But a tired one to be sure.” He looked beyond the mare to Quinn. “She’s young and will recover,” he said, wiping at the white foam that had gathered on the horse’s bit.
Nodding his approval, Quinn gestured to the line of stalls stretching out behind them into darkness. “Another mount and hurry. ‘Tis a matter of great urgency.”
Without hesitation, the man hastened to the nearest stall. “I’m called Adam MacDonough,” he said, fumbling with the latch. “Remember my name in yer prayers. I wouldn’t deny a man of God aid, and neither would my lord. He wouldn’t dare.” Adam opened the gate, then quitted the stall a moment later with a white, speckled mare in tow. “I will pray for yer quest, Brother,” he said while saddling the horse. “What’s yer saint’s name?”
“Augustine,” Quinn bit out, rubbing the back of his neck while he waited impatiently for the man to finish.
Adam’s straggly hair swept the dirt floor as he leaned down and tightened the cinch before he straightened and handed the reins to Quinn. “Brother Augustine, will ye say a blessing for me?”
Quinn looked away from the disheveled man’s imploring gaze. He had no wish to add to his list of sins by committing such a blatant blasphemy. It was one thing to dress the part of a monk. Surely, God would turn a blind eye to a simple disguise. But to perform a blessing in His name—even Quinn had to draw the line somewhere. Keeping silent, he gathered his long robe and swung up into the saddle. Wishing to at least offer Adam his thanks, he glanced down, but the stable master’s gaze had fixed on the hilt of the large dirk sticking out of Quinn’s boot. Quinn quickly dropped the voluminous folds of his black robe in place, hiding the weapon from view. “’Tis my soul that’s in jeopardy. Pray for me,” Quinn hissed and tossed a handful of coin on the ground. “To appease the nobleman who owns this beast.” Then Quinn turned his horse away from the startled man and drove his heels into the mare’s flanks, racing back out into the night.
For five years, Quinn had routinely broken one of the ten commandments—Thou shall not steal. He was a thief, robbing English nobles on the road north into Scotland alongside his four brothers. But the MacVie brothers were not hell bent on riches and wealth. They had become highwaymen to fight against the tyranny of King Edward of England, giving their gains to a cause greater than themselves, the righteous call of Scottish sovereignty. Over the years, Quinn had stolen chests of coin, jewels, fine tapestries, costly robes, anything that might fetch a price. Now, once again, he was bent low over a saddle in pursuit of a prize, but what he had agreed to steal was unlike any plunder he had stolen before. He rode north through Scotland, urging his horse to race faster, not in pursuit of gold or jewels. He was after something infinitely more valuable. He was after a woman, an English woman, Lady Catarina Ravensworth to be exact.
What few knew at that moment was that Lady Catarina’s father, Lord David Redesdale, had just committed treason only hours before. But word would spread and soon everyone would know, including King Edward. If caught, David would be drawn and quartered for his crimes, but, luckily for David, he and his youngest daughter, Bella, had fled from their fortress in England with Quinn’s older brother, Jack, at their side. Now outlaws on the run, they would have to move fast to escape the violent wrath of King Edward, but if anyone could lead David and Bella to safety, it was Jack. However, just before they left, Bella expressed grave concern for her sister’s well-being. She told Jack and Quinn that her sister was wed to a cruel English lord who would punish Catarina for her father’s disgrace.
The thought of Lord Henry Ravensworth drove Quinn to push his horse harder. There was nothing more loathsome than a man willing to raise his fist against a woman or child. Judging by Bella’s distress, Quinn had surmised her brother-in-law to be just that sort of man. Now it was up to Quinn to steal Catarina away before news of David’s treason reached Lord Ravensworth.
Quinn had ridden along the coast for some hours when at last the horizon began to brighten. He tugged on the reins, bringing his horse to a halt and inhaled the pungent scent of low tide. Up ahead, the torch fire of Ravensworth Castle blazed against the waning night sky. He slid from his horse and stroked a soothing hand down his horse’s muzzle. It would only encourage suspicion were he to arrive at Ravensworth with a winded beast. He looked down at his black robe, the very robe he had worn to gain entry the morning before into the Redesdale fortress. As a humble monk, he would walk the remainder of the journey, and by the time he neared the gate, the sea should be slashed with the golds and pinks of dawn. A slight smile curved his lips. Brother Augustine would have no trouble gaining entry into Ravensworth Castle. Then his smile vanished. Leaving the castle with the lady of the keep—now that was the real challenge.