Skip to product information
1 of 3

K.J. Jackson

Wicked Exile, An Exile Novel 2 (EBOOK)

Wicked Exile, An Exile Novel 2 (EBOOK)

Regular price $6.99 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.99 USD
Sale Sold out

She can’t afford to love anyone. He will never marry. They can never have a future…or can they?

A steamy historical romance from USA Today Bestselling author K.J. Jackson.

A fallen lady with a heart of gold and a spine of steel.
Long ago, Madame Juliet Thomson was exiled from her family. A fallen lady, she’s worked in one of London’s most famous gaming hells for the last six years. An arrangement that suited her well until an over-zealous lord determines she is his property. Which she is most decidedly not. But convincing the man is another matter, and she needs desperately to disappear for a while—somewhere safe, somewhere she cannot be found.

When opportunities present themselves, take them.
Evander Docherty wants one thing. To set his future bride in front of his beloved grandfather before the earl dies. A last wish fulfilled. Not that he actually plans to marry the lass. Nor that he even has a fiancée. But for his grandfather, Evan would do anything. Even strike a bargain with a fallen lady.

An attraction not to be denied.
While danger rears on the journey north to Scotland, Evan and Juliet quickly find the attraction between them is spinning out of control. But she can’t afford to love anyone. And he will never marry. They can never have a future…or can they?


Or you can find Wicked Exile on these retailers in ebook or paperback: Amazon ~ Apple ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ Google.


Ebooks are delivered instantly by a link in your confirmation email and also by email from Bookfunnel, our delivery partner.


You can read the ebooks on any ereader (Amazon, Kobo, Nook), your tablet, phone, computer, or in the free Bookfunnel app.


{ Chapter 1 }

September 1826

Death hung in the air, the tentacles of its wispy black fingers reaching up from deep below ground, seeping throughout the house. Becoming the very air.

Taking a deep breath of that tainted air to steel herself, Juliet shifted the tray of food she’d been balancing along her left arm and peeked her head into Hoppler’s room.

The strong mass of him on the bed, he lay facing his fiancée, Pen. They’d not been but a day engaged when this had happened. Pen shot by Hoppler’s cousin.

Hoppler’s hand splayed flat over Pen’s heart with his elbow awkwardly cricked above the bandages covering the bullet wound on her side, his fingertips measuring the breaths she took, the beat of her heart. His eyes were closed, though Juliet doubted he was truly asleep. How could he be?

Juliet’s chest tightened. She wasn’t one to be moved by a sad scene. But this was Hoppler. Her boss, her confidant, her most cherished friend. And Pen was the woman he loved.

Pen was dying—the surgeon had said so—though that had been days ago. Days where death had hung over this house, patient, and Hoppler had been nowhere but in his room, lying where he was now or sitting at the side of the bed, staring at Pen.

Deep, dark circles had encased his eyes, the whole of his body withering.

Hoppler wasn’t just the man that owned the brothel and gaming hell where she lived, he was the man that had made her life as right as it could be in the last six years. And to see him this shattered sent a spike of fury through her belly.


Love was the most brilliant joke the devil ever played on man. Love was evil. Love did this to everyone, eventually. Destroyed them.

Hoppler and Pen were merely the latest example.

Juliet’s lips drew inward, her teeth biting the inner skin. Leave him be. She’d try again in another hour to set food in front of him.

Turning her body to the side to keep the balance of the tray of beef and potatoes in her left arm, she pulled the door closed and turned to walk the tray back down to the kitchens.

On the ground level of the Willows, Hoppler’s manor house in Berkshire, Juliet rounded the fat newel post that was taller than her and moved into the main corridor that cut down the center of the expansive home.

“Madame Juliet, there ye are.” Jasper, Hoppler’s second-in-command, popped out of the study two rooms away from her. “Lucy said ye were in the kitchens, but I couldn’t find ye.”

“What are you doing here, Jasper?” She advanced on him. “You’re supposed to be in London at the Den of Diablo taking care of everything. Heaven help me if you have ruined anything there at a time like this. I’ll have your head if there is the slightest marker or pillow out of place.”

His hands flew up, palms to her as he stepped out into the hallway. “No, no.” He moved toward her, taking the tray out of her hands. “I’m just here for an hour at the most and then I’ll be on my way back into London and the Den. All is well there. Mary rode up with us as well.”

She stared up at him. “Mary? Why?”

“She suffered a wild fist last night and has a nasty ringer about her eye, so she’s taking the week off.”

“A customer?” Her mouth pulled to a tight line.

Jasper shook his head. “No, just a fight at a baccarat table she happened to walk past at the wrong moment. It was handled within a minute.”

Juliet looked over her shoulder toward the wing of the house where the women, visiting or retired from the Den of Diablo, slept. “Oh, well, I should check in on her.”

“That can wait.” He turned from her and motioned with his head for her to follow him. “Please, I need ye in here for a few minutes.”

Whatever Jasper needed, it was private. At least Jasper knew enough of the gabbing mouths of the women here at the Willows to bring her into Hoppler’s study.

She followed him into the room, closing the door behind her, only moderately annoyed he was veering her off her schedule of the day. She needed a distraction—any distraction from the worry at what was currently transpiring upstairs in Hoppler’s bedroom.

Jasper moved to the sideboard and set the tray of food down, then picked up the decanter of brandy and lifted it to her. “Drink?”

Looking at him, she shook her head. She’d already had her allotment for the afternoon hours before she went up to Hoppler’s room. The spirits in Hoppler’s study were stronger than usual and she knew her limits.

Movement flashed on her right and Juliet spun to face the whole of the wide room. A tall, burly man had just stood up from one of the wingback chairs facing the fireplace. Not burly in fat—burly in muscle, in strength. Brown hair that was a touch longer than fashionable. Fine threaded clothes that fit him well—unusual for the size of him. Usually, broad men didn’t wear their clothes well. This one did. A hard face with a scar that ran along his right cheekbone. Grey eyes with specks of blue that were busy drifting up and down her body.

Something she was accustomed to. In her line of work, men appraised her like horseflesh all the time.

But not at the Willows. The Willows was a sacred space away from London, away from the Den.

How she’d missed seeing the man when she’d walked into the room, she wasn’t sure. The chair he’d sat in was big, but not that big—it’d been her practice for years to scan the entirety of every room she entered and catalog all the men in it. Threat. Docile. Drunk. Entitled. Poor. Privileged. Desperate. She knew what was transpiring in any room by the moment her second footfall touched the floor.

But not in this instance.

She resisted the urge to wipe the tired blur from her eyes. Apparently, she hadn’t been sleeping well either the past few days.

“Who is this?” She looked back to Jasper.

A glass of brandy in each hand, he walked across the room and handed one to the man. “Juliet, this is one of my cousins from Scotland. Evander Docherty, Lord Hedrun, grandson to the Earl of Whetland. Evan, this is Madame Jul—excuse me. This is Miss Juliet Thomson.”

She offered the man a pinched smile, then shifted her glare to Jasper. “And just what, exactly, is Lord Hedrun doing here at the Willows, Jasper?” The Willows was off-limits to any man save for Hoppler and his men. Jasper knew that full well.

Jasper ignored her glare and took a sip of his brandy. “Evan has a proposal for you, and I thought ye might be amenable to it, so I brought him here.”

A proposal? Why in the world would Jasper bring his cousin to her? She flashed Jasper an exasperated look, then turned to the man. She needed to be done with whatever this business was and send them on their way before any of the women currently in residence found out. “Yes, Lord Hedrun?”

Lord Hedrun gave his cousin a disgruntled look before his gaze shifted back to her. “You look like a woman that will not mind if I dispense with the pleasantries?”

At least he read that correctly in her. She nodded. “Yes.”

He gave her a curt nod. “I need a fiancée. A fake fiancée. One that will accompany me to my home in Scotland that I can present to my grandfather as my betrothed. You will be needed for a week at the castle at most, endearing yourself to him, and then you will be able to return to London. I will pay well for your time.”

“I assume this entails bedroom privileges?”

“No. That is not part of the deal.”

She stared at the man, allowing herself only one blink in response. She’d heard far too many extraordinary requests in her days at the Den—mostly involving inventive human acrobatics that weren’t physically possible—but this one put all of those to shame.

Her eyes squinted ever so slightly at him. “Why?”

“My grandfather is dying and he wants my future—the future of the earldom—wrapped into a tidy bow before he departs this earth. I mean to give him that.”

She needed that drink.

She stepped to her left and snatched Jasper’s glass out of his hand and took a healthy swallow. Her gaze swung back to the Scot. “You don’t think a lie on someone’s deathbed is sacrilege?”

With a grunt, his wide shoulders lifted, in a shrug or in exasperation she wasn’t sure. “If it makes my grandfather happy in his final days, then no.”

“Why me?”

“Jasper recommended you. You’re a lady—fallen, yes, but a lady. I saw you at the Den of Diablo the day before you left for this place. Ye look even younger than you did there—that suits well.” His hand flipped up toward her, waving about her body. “You talk properly. Your posture and movements are impeccable. And you’re beautiful, regal—all the things my grandfather wants to see in the future of the title.”

Jasper’s Scottish brogue had years of London in it. Not so this man’s low burr. Pure, straight from the northern lands.

Juliet took another sip of the brandy. “I don’t recall seeing you at the Den of Diablo.”

“I wasn’t there for the women or the gaming.”

That would do it. If a man walking into the Den wasn’t interested in either of those things, she had little interest in him. Yet still, he was so big—tall and brawny—she should have noted him.

Maybe she wasn’t just tired. Maybe she was losing the edge of her that kept hawk-eyes on everything about her.

Lord Hedrun’s mouth pulled to a tight line. “Forgive me, but time is of the essence, Miss Thomson. As I said, I will pay you well for your time away from your business. Your accommodations along the way will be the finest available.”

Miss Thomson?

It had been a long time since anyone had referred to her thusly.

Juliet set into place her meticulously contrived smile. The one she used to let men know they weren’t going to get exactly what they wanted, but an even more desirable option—if she sold it right. “I am afraid I cannot be the one to help you, Lord Hedrun. Regrettably so, on my part, as your offer sounds extremely generous.” Her right hand lifted, her fingers pointing toward the door of the study. “Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful women here at the Willows that have retired from their work at the Den of Diablo. I am positive that for the right coin, one of them would be happy to accompany you north and play the part. Jasper will be able to help you with that.”

With a quick incline of her head to Lord Hedrun, she handed the empty glass back to Jasper and spun, exiting the room as she heard the Scot grunt again.

She’d made it five steps along the hallway before the study door clicked closed behind her.

Jasper rushed to catch up to her. “Juliet, wait.”

She turned around to him. “I don’t want to do it, Jasper. Don’t ask. The last thing I want to do in this moment is to go north with a beastly, grunting, burly Scotsman.”

“Ye don’t understand. Lord Vontmour knows you’re here.”

She froze. “He what?” Her head shook. Impossible. “No.”

Jasper nodded. “Yes. It was an accident. Hannah inadvertently told him—she’s still so new she didn’t ken the history of him—his infatuation with you. She thought she was making conversation with him.”

“Blast.” Her fisted hand slammed into her thigh. This was the second time in a month she’d needed to escape to the Willows to avoid that man. Lord Vontmour had gotten progressively worse during the last three months. Demanding. Possessive. Belligerent.

So much so that Edgar had to tear Vontmour off of her the last time he’d been at the Den. Juliet had left for the Willows the next day. Best to give Vontmour time to cool.

“Hannah didn’t ken, and after she told him where you were, she figured something was off about him, so she told me. She feels terrible.”

Juliet’s eyes closed, her breath seething though her teeth. “Dammit.”

Jasper’s thumb pointed over his shoulder. “It’s why I brought Evan here—it solves the problem, at least for now. Both his and yours.”

“No—that”—her forefinger spun in a circle toward the study door—“solves nothing. That is a complication. You know I don’t stand for complications.”

He cringed. “You really need to tell Hoppler about Lord Vontmour.”

Her hand lifted, waving in front of him. “No—not now—Pen is dying as we speak, so we will not bother him with this.”

Jasper shook his head. “But—”

“No—don’t you dare tell him.” Her glare cut into him. “This is nothing. Nothing compared to what he’s dealing with. And it’s exactly why I can’t leave him at the moment.”

“I ken, but Hoppler is the only one that can control Lord Vontmour.” He shrugged. “Save for me killing the bastard.”

“Don’t even think it.” Her arms threaded together across her chest, her look going upward to the coffered ceiling that lined the corridor. “No, we are taking care of Hoppler at the moment—not the other way around.” Her glare dropped to Jasper. “I repeat, we will not bother Hoppler about this. Swear it.”

“But I don’t ken if any of us can stop Lord Vontmour except for him. Ye ken Hoppler has something on almost everyone that walks through the doors of the Den.”

Juliet exhaled a long breath, her look going over Jasper’s shoulder to the door of the study. “He’s strong—that one?”

“Embarrassingly so.”

“His character?”

“The best of the clan. Honest to a fault.”

“Did you tell him any of this—about Lord Vontmour?”

“No. I only told Evan I had the perfect person for the job.” Jasper nodded with his head to the upper level. “This is how we take care of Hoppler. How we keep you safe until ye are safe. This will disappear you for a while—long enough to get you away from Lord Vontmour and for Hoppler to have his head straight enough to take care of it.”

“But when—no—if Pen dies…” She paused, swallowing hard. “He will need—”

“He’ll need the strongest we have watching him every minute so he doesn’t do something rash.”

She nodded. At least Jasper understood the reality of the situation. “And you will send word if Pen does die? Hop will need more than strong men stopping him from spilling his own blood. He’ll need me.”

“I’ll send word. I swear.”

The door of the study opened and Lord Hedrun stepped out into the hallway. “Jasper, we need to head back into London—I don’t have time for this. I should already be on the journey home.”

“Wait.” Jasper looked to Juliet with his eyebrows raised. “Juliet?”

Pulling her shoulders back, Juliet stifled a sigh and her gaze centered on the enormous Scot filling the hallway. He swallowed up any space he was in. “You would like to leave now, today? And the journey north will be made in haste?”

Lord Hedrun’s left eyebrow cocked at her words and he looked to Jasper. “Bad idea, Jasper. The lass is going to be there for one purpose, and I don’t trust this one. We go back to the Den and find another one.”

Jasper threw his palm up. “Except Juliet is the best. She is exactly what you want in front of the Earl. I am well versed with all the women and believe me—Juliet is the perfect person for the job. A proper English lady, through and through, you won’t find better than her.”

Lord Hedrun eyed her. “You can be docile?”

Good heavens, what did he think she was? An ogre? “I can be docile in front of your grandfather, if that is what you are asking. That is what you are asking for, are you not? A proper, docile, charming lady for your grandfather to approve of?”


“Then I am the best.”

“Humble, too.”
She set a placid smile on her face. “Honest, Lord Hedrun.”

“It’s Evan.” He looked to Jasper, then looked to her, his grey eyes searching her face for a long breath, judging her soul. “Fine. You be the one.”

View full details