Taken by the Highland Brute (Preview)


1350, Second War of Scottish Independence
Marsh Residence, England

Jane Marsh liked to believe that she was a good person. She tried, as much as she could, to steer clear of any situation that might test this goodness, but so far she had not had great luck doing so.

Jane seemed to attract problems. So, over the years, she’d perfected the art of inventing stories just to escape whatever situation she found herself trapped in.

Today was no different. Her sister’s engagement dinner was the perfect excuse. If she got caught eavesdropping at her father’s study, she would simply say that she had come to inform him that the table had been set. Its plausibility would depend on her ability to keep a straight face while she was saying it. And to maintain it while her father threw verbal daggers, which had grown ineffectual from overuse, afterwards. Still, she’d best not get caught.

From inside, she could hear Commander Edward Pierce, one of the guests of the celebration, regale her father with tales of his valor. His voice was loud, almost theatrical. He had a way of saying things like he was the main actor in a play riddled with soliloquys, always emphasizing his own qualities. Now, however, he was speaking to her father about the war with Clan Fletcher.

That caught her attention.

Just two weeks ago, her uncle Howard had been slaughtered in a battle with the clan and Jane had been disconsolate, for he had been more of a father to her than her real one had ever been. He’d listened to her and brought her gifts. He’d praised her beauty and given her a sense of belonging. When, as a child, she’d told him that she hated her eyes because green eyes were only for cats, he’d carried her on his lap and said, “Then I am the biggest of cats, Jane. I am a lion!” He’d made a marvelous imitation of a roar and encouraged her to do the same.

“What does that make you?” he’d asked afterwards.

“A lion, too!” she’d giggled. And then she roared again.

“Smart girl. Just like your mother was.”

And now he was gone.

Jane had mourned for a week. She had barely eaten, and she had not stepped out of her room. It was Eleonor who had broken her out of her despondent spell by informing her that she was engaged to be married.

Her father’s voice, in contrast to the commander’s, was steely and firm. It carried authority. She knew it well: it was the voice that played in her subconscious when she did things badly.

Oh, look at what you have done now.

You cannot get anything done right.

Stupid, just stupid.

“I suppose congratulations are in order, Commander Pierce,” her father said. “A win against those savages is a win for all of England.”

“True, true,” Commander Pierce said. “I am starving. I declare, I am parched. Could I ask you to ring for a servant, Marsh? A few sips of wine before the festivities will do us good. Better yet, I shall go and find a servant myself.”

“Yes, of course,” her father said, and she heard the shuffling of feet. She swiftly gathered her skirts, moved away from the door and fled down the hall to her sister’s room. Her abode was an austere affair, with lifeless walls and cold halls. She’d lived all her years in it and it still did not feel like home. The wood, though fastidiously polished by the maids, was rotten in places. The stone, though scrubbed, needed replacing. She’d once suggested that the curtains be changed, and the windows be left open in summertime and her father had looked at her as though she had an unnamable, untamable disease and walked away.

Oh, to leave here and go someplace else where she could have a say, where she could choose her own room and decorate it any way she wanted! In this sense, Eleonor was lucky. Soon, she would be the mistress of her home, a hallowed duchess, with the ability to dictate the house’s curtains and linens and rugs. Jane was truly happy for her, but she would miss her sorely. She loved her most in the whole world, and with her uncle Howard gone, living here would become doubly hard. She swallowed that despondent thought, pasted a smile on her face, and entered her sister’s room.

“I do believe that at least the bride should be present at the engagement dinner,” she said, closing the door behind her. Eleonor was standing by the window, her back to Jane. At twenty, Eleonor was almost a head shorter than her younger sister. She had the straightest black hair and the darkest black eyes that Jane had ever seen, in contrast to Jane’s green ones, so similar to her uncle’s eyes. Often, when they were children, Jane would look in the mirror and imagine that it was Eleonor’s black eyes that stared back at her.

“Oh, you chose the oxblood dress,” Jane said, as she walked to Eleonor’s bed. It was a beautiful, blooming affair of cotton with tiny lace trimmings on the bodice and the miniature cape. Unlike Jane, Eleanor had a lean figure. The kind that was favored in paintings and sculptures. Jane, on the other hand, was fuller in front and behind. Her proportions made her self-conscious, as her father had always insinuated that it was an indication of indiscretion. It was one of the many reasons for which Eleonor was their father’s favorite. Not that it bothered Jane: she was glad that their father treated at least one of them well.

“It is the prettier of the two, like I said before,” Jane said. “It fits you well. I cannot believe that you considered the black one in the first place. Black is such an inauspicious color for an engagement dinner.”

“You sound like a superstitious Scot,” Eleonor replied without turning. Jane smiled. “Sir Edward Pierce is in Father’s office, as usual. You would think the man did not have a home of his own. He is regaling Father with the details of his recent victory over Clan Fletcher.”

She sat on the bed, careful to spread her skirts out first. This habit, as well as other habits surrounding grace and poise, were not borne of the need to be ladylike but the fear of not being so. When she was twelve, her father had called her a harridan that belonged in the wild with fellow creatures simply because she had come down for supper with her hair improperly combed. There were at least seven men, her father’s friends, around. They had laughed boisterously as she ran up the stairs, tears streaming down her face.

“I suppose I should feel happy, somewhat. It is justice, in a way, even though it was at the hand of the commander and not Father,” she continued now. “But it does not change the fact that Uncle Howard is gone, Eleonor.” A wave of sadness washed over her again.

Commander Edward’s victory against clan Fletcher, in the grand scheme of things, meant nothing. It could not bring her uncle back. More so, she knew that the commander would present it as some sort of gift, something she must be thankful for. He was a slippery man in his late forties that put one in mind of a fox. He always smelled of smoke and something else, something slightly malevolent. And then there was that theatre-talk. That infernal theatre-talk. His presence was disconcerting, and several times, Jane had had to evade him, for his attentions were… peculiar. He seemed determined to share the same space as she. Over the years, he had taken an uncommon interest in her. He paid her compliments that always managed to seem a little insulting. He would be at the engagement dinner, an event best suited, in Jane’s opinion, to only close family.

“The Commander does nothing for free. He is never driven by a sense of duty or responsibility or loyalty. I am sure that this victory of his is just a way to get close to the duke, so that he can inundate him with requests for favors. Defeating clan Fletcher cannot bring our uncle back.” Jane said. “If he were here, he would corner me and ask if I was interested in getting married, as well. He would promise to facilitate any match of my choosing. He always wanted to make me happy.”

Eleonor’s response was a sigh.

“Eleonor?” Jane said, frowning. “Are you alright?”

Eleonor shook her head. Jane’s eyebrow went up. She gathered her skirts and walked to her sister. She took her hand and looked into her eyes. Her face was drawn and sad. “What is the problem, Eleonor dear? What ails you? Your engagement, is it? The duke?”

Eleonor’s face grew even darker. “Oh, Eleonor!” Jane exclaimed. “I know he is much older, and that every girl would prefer someone well… more… animated. But he is a duke. We must look at the bright side. What he lacks in youth, he will make up for in wealth. You’ll be mistress of all his houses. You’ll have servants to mind you and you’ll be among top society! You will attend occasions that the king himself will be present at. You’ll live away from the strife of this infernal war. Really, Eleonor, it won’t be that bad, you’ll see.”

Eleonor said nothing. “And… and if you’re worried about the duke himself,” Jane continued, “I know he is not handsome. But he has an eleven-year-old daughter who adores him. That is a good sign. If he is a good father, he will be a good husband, no?

She shook her head, and then her face crumpled, and she began to weep. The tears took Jane by surprise. Eleonor reached for her, and Jane held her and rubbed her back, while she whispered sounds of encouragement. When Eleonor pulled away, her eyes were watery, and her hair was mussed. “Jane…”

“Yes, Eleonor?”

“I… need you.”

“I am here, darling. Please talk to me, Eleonor.”

“I… I… I am in love.”

This came as a shock to Jane, but she smiled and said, “To feel love is a wonderful thing, Eleonor! Remember, when we were girls, we would talk about falling hopelessly in love and having our lovers love us back and…” She trailed off, realizing the import of her sister’s declaration. She knew it was almost impossible for the answer to her next question to be in the affirmative, but still, she could hope. “Is it… is it the duke, Eleonor? Please, tell me you meant the duke.”

The look of despondence morphed into one of irritation. It was gone in a second, however. “Of course it is not the duke,” Eleonor said.

“Right,” Jane said, and tucked a tendril of hair behind Eleonor’s ear. “With whom, then?”

“I cannot tell you, I am sorry,” Eleonor said.

“But you tell me everything!” Jane exclaimed. “Will you then hide something as important as this from me?”

“It is not that I do not want to tell you,” Eleonor said, “But I cannot, Jane. I really cannot. You must believe me.”

Jane sighed. “Why is that, Eleonor?”

“Because,” Eleonor sniffled, “because he has abandoned me.”

Jane’s eyes grew wide. “What? He is a rake, I am sure. A blind one, no less. What man could abandon you? You are kind and beautiful and brilliant. He does not deserve you. Not at all. Oh, come, Eleonor, it is alright, it is alright.” She made to take Eleonor in her arms, but her sister shook her head and burst into tears.

Jane tried to hug her again, but Eleonor refused. She folded her arms around her middle and rocked herself. When she looked at Jane again, her eyes were red. “I have made a mistake. A huge mistake.”

“No.” Jane said. “You have done nothing wrong. It is he who-”

“I am with child.”

A weight dropped in Jane’s stomach. Her mouth turned bitter. Her eyes widened. “What?”

Eleonor nodded, her face crumpling again.

It took quite a few moments for Jane to process this. She knew nothing of pregnancy, save what she had read about in books. Her mother had died at Jane’s birth, and so she had no one to ask about ‘womanly’ things. A tragedy indeed because she was supremely curious about everything. The books she had read on the human anatomy had been a little vague, but not vague enough that she did not know what it took to be pregnant. She was a little shocked, truth be told, that her sister, the saintly Eleonor, had done it. She looked at her sister’s belly and then her gaze moved to her face. “Oh, Eleonor,” she said simply. Eleonor jumped into her arms and sobbed, her tears flowing into Jane’s hair. “What will I do, Jane? I am ruined!”

“Don’t say that,” Jane cautioned, squeezing her sister’s hands lightly. “There is a way to remedy this. We only need to figure out how.” She paused, deep in thought. And then she said, “Whatever the solution is, we must hide the pregnancy, Eleonor. Father must never know.”

“But how will he not know? You cannot hide a lot from Father, Jane; you know this.”

“I mean this only as a temporary measure, Eleonor. You do not wish to go through with the marriage, I suppose?”

“No,” Eleonor said. “I have thought about it a lot. Getting married seems the easiest choice to make, I know. Just like Maribeth. And yet I cannot bring myself to do it.”

“That is if she truly did it,” Jane added. Maribeth was a childhood friend of Eleonor’s whose baby was born seven months after her wedding. Eleonor knew that Maribeth was in fact intimate with her childhood sweetheart, Benjamin, a weak, flighty sort, but she did not insinuate anything at the child’s birth one year ago. Maribeth responded to the gossip with disgust and told everyone who cared to know that some babies did in fact show up earlier than they were meant to, complete with hair and fingernails. Her husband was a simple man who was besotted with her, and the baby was male, and so there were no consequences as such. Eleonor knew, however, that it wouldn’t be the same for her.

“Alright,” Jane said. added. “How far gone are you?”

Eleonor did the math in her head. “About two months.”

Jane felt the air leave her lungs in a whoosh. But she plastered a smile on her face and said, “Well, we just need to delay the wedding until we figure out what to do. We must come up with a plan. A very good one.”

Eleonor nodded.

“Oh, but will you not tell me who the father is? Where is he? Perhaps we can send him a message. He could be instrumental in our-”

Eleonor said, looking at her hands. “He is gone, Jane. Gone. We were planning to run away together-” Jane’s eyes widened at this. Eleonor sighed and continued, but after I told him about the pregnancy, he just… disappeared. I went, several times to our usual meeting spot. Nothing. He left me. Oh, Jane, I am so- “

Jane held a finger over her sister’s lips. With her other hand, she pointed to her ear. Both girls listened… and then heard retreating footsteps. Jane shot off the bed and opened the door. The steps were fast, and Jane followed them swiftly down the hall. She knew who it was, and the thought left a knot in her stomach. For only one person that she knew smelt so strongly of smoke. She searched all the rooms on this floor, opening them, sticking her neck in, only to close them and bolt to the next. At last, she was at the end of the hall, where only one room remained.

Her father’s office.

She entered it without thinking.

Two pairs of eyes turned to look at her. There was no element of warmth in either of them. “Don’t hang at the door, Jane,” her father said, “Enter.”

She swallowed and urged her feet to move. She stood before them. Her eyes went from the commander to her father. There was a look of pure maliciousness in Commander Pierce’s eyes. It was as though she had done him some great wrong, and, mentally, she went over the conversation that he had eavesdropped on. It did not concern him. It was nothing against him. He had no interest whatsoever. She’d run after him solely because she knew that he could not be trusted to keep his mouth shut. He took every opportunity that appeared to offer future leverage. He would scheme, plot, and grovel if need be. This played out even in the course of his dealings with… the Duke of Lancaster.

Jane’s eyes widened. Commander Pierce, in the anticipation of a favor, could tell the duke that the woman he wished to marry was not just merely bereft of virginity, but pregnant by another man. It would mean nothing to Commander Pierce that he was friends with their father or an admirer -the term used loosely- of Jane.

Jane could not let that happen to sweet Eleonor!

Her gaze moved to her father. He was looking at her, his gaze steady. He wasn’t angry.

He was furious.

“Father, I-”

“You what, Jane?”

Jane’s heart began to beat fast. There was a thundering in her ears. She tried to calm herself, tried to make her words even when she said, “I do not know what the commander has told you-”

“That I am harboring whoredom,” her father replied with vitriol. “The commander has told me that here, in my house, I have been living with girls that are intent on bringing shame to me, despite my feeding them, clothing them, catering to their every whim and fancy. Despite my toil, I have bred committers and coverers of fornication.”

Later on, she would mull over how flawed his speech was, for he had never catered to their whims and fancies. Even Eleonor, whom he clearly loved more, could not make requests of him without first weighing the consequences.

Now, she rushed to Eleonor’s defense: “Father, it was a mistake. Truly. She did not know!”

“Silence!” her father thundered. “You wish to make me the laughingstock of every English troop that hears it. My name, dragged through slime. All because of you. Everywhere that evil is mentioned, you are bound to be tied to it.”


“It was you who encouraged her to sin. You are a sinner, and that is not enough. You want to drag everyone that you can into the mire with you. You introduced your sister to sin, and now that it has sprouted into a bastard you seek to hide it.”



Every word he said compressed her until she was deflated. But then, if one thought about it critically, Jane had nothing to feel guilty about. She was a virgin, so how could her father accuse her of sin?

“Why did you not bring it to my attention as soon as you knew of it? Why did you choose to hide it instead?”

Jane was silent.

“You fancy yourself a loyal sister, do you not? That is very well. A loyal sister is to be desired, after all. Loyalty goes with sacrifice, does it not?” He looked Jane in the eye, and she shuddered. “So my dear girl, you will sacrifice yourself for the sake of this family.”

Chapter One

A week later

Jane stared at all her belongings in the entire world. They fit into two cases. That was all she had come to possess in her eighteen years on earth. She looked out of the window, at the daises and bluebonnets that bloomed in the square garden downstairs. They were the only beautiful thing about the castle. They had been her mother’s, she’d been told. Her father had kept them for sentimental reasons. Beyond the garden was a field that stretched on as far as the eye could see. She and Eleonor were seldom allowed to go into town, and so almost all their memories were of this castle. She had always wanted to be free of it, and now she would be.

Only, she was stepping into a brand of captivity perhaps even worse than this one. Ever since that day in her father’s office, Commander Pierce had looked at her as though she were property, as though she were conquered land. He’d had the effrontery to put a hand on her waist as he led her out of her father’s office after the deal had been struck. If her father had seen it, he had made no indication of it.

Jane had always thought that she would marry for love, that she would meet a man who understood her and cherished her more than anything in the world. They would have a little house on the countryside. She would fill it with color: saffron walls and curtains the color of the sky and freshly picked flowers for every table.

Instead, her hand was given in exchange for the commander’s silence. She was nothing more than the girls she’d heard about, whose fathers gave them out for drink or cows. Inside, she was quaking. She would do this all over again if it meant that her sister’s secret was safe. Still, Jane was filled with despair.

Ever since she’d told Eleonor what the price for the Commander’s silence was, her sister had withdrawn in what Jane knew was shame and regret. Jane had tried to reach out to her, to reassure her and ease some of her guilt. But she had stayed away, locked in her room, as the life within her grew and grew. Till now, Jane had no idea how the dilemma would be resolved, but she was sure that their father was hatching a plan that would make himself come out on top.

One of the maids entered the room, her steps slow and sorrowful. Her hands were clutched together in front of her. “’Tis time, my lady,” she said. Jane nodded and stepped away from the window. The maid took one case, and another came and took the other. Jane looked around the room and sighed. As she went through the door, her hand lingered on a cold wall. She went to Eleonor’s room and knocked at the door. “Eleonor? Darling? It is time for me to join the commander in Scotland. My cases are packed. They have been taken downstairs. I cannot leave without a goodbye from you. Please.”

She heard nothing, at first, and then she heard the sound of sobbing. “Oh, Eleonor, you cannot do this to me and yourself. Please unlock the door. If we part like this, I shan’t be able to bear it. Eleonor.”

“She simply does not want to see you,” her father said, materializing from around the corner. “She has realized the harm that loving you does to people. And now she must preserve herself from further harm. You must leave immediately.”

Shortly after the commander had found out about Eleonor’s pregnancy, he’d had to return to Scotland to join his countrymen in solidifying the English position on Scottish land. His regiment was camped in an abandoned castle at Loch Lomond. Jane had never heard a good tale about Scotland. To hear everyone tell it, it was a land of illiterate savages who worshipped wood and stone and vehemently refused the efforts of the English to bring them civilization. To crown it all, there was a war going on. Commander Pierce had promised to send two soldiers of his to guide her safely through, but that did not inspire a lot of confidence in Jane. She had met their commander. And weren’t men reflections of their leaders?

“Yes, Father, I will leave,” Jane said. “I just need to say goodbye.” Her throat caught. She turned to Eleanor’s door and banged on it. “I just want to say goodbye, Eleonor.”

Nothing, except the sobs.

“Come on now,” her father said. “You must leave at once.” He took her arm and steered her in the direction of the stairs. They both descended them, and when they got outside, there were tears in Jane’s eyes. Her cases were in the carriage, and a small group of her father’s serfs had gathered around to bid her goodbye. The gardener who tended her mother’s flowers made a way for himself and presented her with a beautiful bunch of white daises. His hair was grey and wild. His shirt had patches in it. His breeches were caked with mud. And yet the open-toothed smile that he gave her as he pressed the flowers into her hands almost broke her.

Your mother would have wanted you to have them,” he said. “She would be so proud of how beautiful and… and brave you have become.”

“Oh,” Jane said, her voice shaking. A fat tear rolled down her right cheek and she quickly wiped it away with her free hand and smiled. “Thank… thank you.”

“Back to work!” her father thundered. Throughout their interaction, he’d hovered by the door, but now it appeared he could not take more of this. They dispersed speedily, and Jane felt as though a part of herself had left her.

“What are you waiting for, then? Get in!” he bellowed at her. She got in the carriage. She had seen that Commander Pierce had assigned two guards to her carriage. They sat up front with the rider, with unsmiling faces and menacing muskets.

“All set, Mr. Marsh?” the rider enquired.

“Yes,” her father replied. “Carry on.”

Jane stared up at the castle with longing. If only Eleonor would just come down and-

“Wait!” she suddenly heard. She whipped her head around. Eleonor was running down the steps. Jane threw open the carriage door and stepped out. Her sister enveloped her in a powerful embrace. When they pulled away, there were tears in their eyes. Eleonor looked like a shadow of herself. Her eyes were sunken. Her hair, which she took great pride in, was tangled. Her skin was sallow. “Oh, Eleonor!” Jane exclaimed. “You mustn’t carry on so. You must be strong. For yourself. For us. For the baby.”

Eleonor nodded and smiled through her tears. “Sometimes I think you were actually meant to be the older sister, but you just dragged your feet, as always, and let me come first.”

Jane laughed.

“You are so wise,” Eleonor said, tucking a tendril of hair behind Jane’s ear. “And brave. And kind. And selfless. I do not deserve you.”


“I owe you everything, Jane. Everything. I will never be able to thank you enough. I am sorry for hiding away like a coward. All the hours we could have spent together… Oh, I have been such a fool.”

“No,” Jane said. “Do not be hard on yourself. Please.”

“I shall visit you as soon as I can. Whether it’s in Scotland or on the surface of the sun. I will find you, Jane. I love you.”

“I love you, Eleonor.” They embraced again.

The coachman snorted. “I don’t mean to interrupt, but time is against us. We must be on our way.”

“Let her go, Eleonor,” their father said. Eleonor obliged, but not before pressing a piece of parchment into Jane’s hands. She gave her a look which made Jane quickly slip it down the sleeve of her gown.

“Read it on your journey,” she whispered. “May Mother’s spirit guide you.”

Jane nodded and got back on the carriage. She shifted the bunch of flowers, so she had more room and turned to her family. “Goodbye, Eleonor.”

Eleonor smiled sadly and waved. “Goodbye, Jane.”

“Goodbye, Father.”

Jane’s father did not even bother to say it back. He turned away and began to walk up the stairs. The carriage began to move. Her last memory of the castle was of her sister waving, her tangled hair billowing in the breeze.


Jane felt a lump form in her throat. She looked outside the carriage, at the green vegetation that they drove past. She could count the number of times she had left the Marsh residence. They were almost always at her Uncle Howard’s prompting. Uncle Howard was not here to hold her hand as he did when she was a child. She was headed for enemy territory, where her only relative would be a man she did not care for.

That was an understatement. She loathed the Commander.

She tried to tame the emotions that were welling up inside her. Her thoughts went far and wide until she developed a headache, and then she fell asleep. When she woke up, she stared out to see that the sun was beginning to set. She dried her tears quickly and unfolded the paper that Eleonor had pressed into her hand. It was Eleonor’s curved handwriting, the rounded R’s, the I’s with what looked like tear drops on top, the G’s and Y’s that invaded the line of words beneath them. And before even reading the letter, Jane knew that she would cherish it forever. Keeping it was, in a way, keeping a part of Eleonor.

She began to read:

My dearest Jane,

I have not the words with which to express how sorry I am for the outturn of events. I have known Father to be callous, but to claim that this last action of his did not shake me to my bones would be to lie. I hate him for what he made you do. And, more importantly, I hate myself for the part I played in it. If I had exercised more discretion, you would not be in this situation.

I am very sorry, Jane. I do hope that one day, you shall find it in your heart to forgive me.

“There is nothing to forgive you for,” Jane whispered to herself, and she continued to read.

I know you are disappointed in me already, and so what harm could a little more disappointment do? I am sorry. I am a wretch, trying to make jokes in this situation. But Jane, I must tell you: The father of my child is Scottish. I know your eyes will grow wide when you read this.

Eleonor was right: Jane’s eyes did go wide.

His name is Ramsay. He has blond hair and blue eyes. He is from a Scottish clan around the border. That is all I know about him.

Do you remember the storm that destroyed all our crop and made Father near-delirious for a week? Recall that I went riding that day. We had no idea that a storm was coming. When I returned, you were sick with worry. You asked how I had managed to weather it out and return. Well, it was Ramsay who saved me, Jane. I was riding through the border when it began. He took me into his his arms and on his horse and then, from there, to a makeshift tent where he had set up camp. Oh, no man had ever been as sweet to me as he was! He gave me the very clothes on his back. He had a broth made for me. He sang me to sleep. We lay together afterward. And it was the most magical thing.

I fell in love with him, Jane. It did not matter that he was a Scot in that moment. We met secretly for a while after that day and when I told him that I was pregnant, he was happy, Jane: truly, he was. There is no way to feign such joy. We planned to run away the next day, but I went to where we had agreed to meet, and he was not there.

Please do not judge me, Sister. I know that we and the Scottish are sworn enemies. But Ramsay was not at all like the Scottish were described to us. He was kind and loyal and very decent, and he looked at me like I was the sun itself. At least, that is what I thought. I see now that I am a fool for trusting him. For he left without any explanation.

Oh Jane, I have caused you so much trouble already, and I would never ask anything more of you if I had a choice. But Jane, do you think you could find it in your heart to try to find him? Please try. He did not tell me his clan for fear of putting me in danger. I know that no one else can find him. You are brave and adventurous and brilliant. Please tell Ramsay of the condition I have found myself in with the duke. Tell him that if he has any of the love he claimed to have for me, he must rescue me from my impending fate, if not for my sake, then for the sake of our child.

Please save me.

Love, Eleonor.

Jane folded the paper carefully and put it beside her on a chair. She removed the neckpiece that her uncle Howard had bought her on her sixteenth birthday. With it, she anchored the paper to the chair.

She then sighed.

It was a huge task that her sister had entrusted her with. She would be new in Scotland. She had no one to help her carry out this assignment. If the attitude he had portrayed before them all these years was anything to go by, she knew that Commander Pierce would not let her simply walk the length and breadth of the country. He seemed the type that did not allow things that he thought he owned out of his sight.

The thought filled her with fear. Her fear transformed into pure terror when she remembered that she would have to perform wifely duties. She had avoided thinking about it this past week in the oblivion that time and space afforded her, but she did not have that luxury anymore.

She had to face her reality.

And it was a grim one indeed.

She looked outside the window and was struck by the freedom of the trees that the carriage whizzed past. They grew as much as soil and sunlight and rain allowed them. No one laide claim to them. She would never have that kind of freedom. Something suddenly caught her eye and her head whipped to the left. There, on the low vegetation, was what appeared to be a boy on a horse. She blinked.

And he was gone.

She could not have imagined it. She inched closer to the window and looked outside it. There was nothing but grass in every direction as far as her eyes could see. She took her eyes away from the window and stared instead at her hands.

Her fate was worse than prison itself.


If you liked the preview, you can get the whole book here

  • OH MY!!!! I can’t wait. Jane is in for one great adventure looking for Ramsay, hating her husband. And Finding her own Scott? WOW

  • Can’t wait for the book. What an exciting time lies ahead for Jane. Anxious to find out of her Scot! Wonder about Eleanor’s outcome too!

  • What a perilous start for Jane. Her loveless life just has to get better, right? I’m sitting on pins and needles to see where you take your readers, Juliana! Thank you for teasing us! 🙂

    • You’re very welcome dear, so glad you enjoyed it! Jane’s journey is indeed just beginning, and I’m thrilled to have you along for the ride. Hold onto those pins and needles; there are plenty of twists and turns ahead. Happy reading! 😊

    • Thank you my dear Janice! I am glad to let you know that the book will be out on Amazon this Friday, May 10th!!! Can’t wait to read your thoughts about it!

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