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K.J. Jackson

Lords of Fate Books 1-3 (EBOOK BUNDLE)

Lords of Fate Books 1-3 (EBOOK BUNDLE)

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Meet the Lords of Fate. Handsome. Sinful. About to learn when love is destined, there is no defense. Time for you to fall in love.

3 EBOOK BUNDLE. The entire Lords of Fate series, steamy suspense and action from the first page to the last. If you love irresistible stories with remarkable women, undeniable men, and hold your breath adventure, this box set from USA Today Bestselling author, K.J. Jackson is for you.

This sizzling historical collection starts with Worth of a Duke...

Fate is fickle. And fate has decided it is time for a hardened duke to do the impossible—let love into his life.

A lady on the wrong side of the ocean.
Lost and wandering the woods, Miss Wynne Theaton was surviving quite nicely until Rowen Lockton appeared. He saves her from getting trampled by a thief’s horse, but then becomes insistent on showing her where she truly is.

A duke refusing to deny fate.
Fate tossed Miss Theaton into his path, and Rowen Lockton, the Duke of Letson, is not one to deny fate. But the woman comes with a host of problems, not the least of which is her belief that she is in another country.

An undeniable attraction neither expected.
He was not looking for a wife. She was only searching for home. But fate has very different plans for the two of them—if they can survive not only forgotten secrets, but demons of the past.

This steamy ebook bundle of historical Regency romances contains 3 stand-alone stories: 
1. Worth of a Duke
2. Earl of Destiny
3. Marquess of Fortune



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{ Chapter 1 }

Yorkshire, England
January, 1821

He was done rescuing damsels in distress.


Done with grace. Done with witty conversations. Done with feigned kindness.

Done with women.

Throughout the season, the summer full of house parties, the mini-season—every function, every event, had the same women, the same machinations. A stubbed toe. A spilled drink. A lost direction. Anything to get the attentions of the newest duke—to get him alone.

He’d already expended too much energy—too much time—in the goal of gaining a wife and producing an heir. A goal that wasn’t even his own.

He was done.  

That resolve did nothing to halt his hand the second he turned the bend in the trail. No, his hand dove for the pistol in his overcoat, instant outrage at the scene down the hill.

Nor did that resolve curb his instincts—instincts that sent his heels into his horse’s sides without thought of the vow he had just spent hours brooding about.

Avoid women at all costs. Especially ones that needed saving.

Pistol in hand and horse thundering down the incline, Rowen Lockton, Duke of Letson, squinted. He blinked hard at the scuffle near the bottom of the hill, trying to clear the sleet from his eyelashes.

A woman, black cape swinging and dragging her down, had the bridle of a nag tight in one hand as she jumped and scrambled with her other hand, trying to reach a leather satchel. The satchel was high above her head, held from her grasp by a scrawny man on the nag.

Even from his distance, Rowen could hear her yelling, begging for the bag while the man laughed.

The nag spooked, and the man yanked on the reins. The nag reared, and there was no avoiding the front hoof that nicked the woman's head. She dropped hard at the blow, hand still tangled in the nag's bridle, leaving her hanging.

Fast down the hill, Rowen closed the distance and had his horse blocking the path before the thief could drag the woman any further, trampling her into the mud under the stomping nag. Rowen pulled up on his reins, his pistol pointed at the man.

The nag stilled and the scrawny man looked up from the woman dangling to the ground. Seeing Rowen's pistol, he stuck the satchel under his leg, digging into his pants and pulling out a short knife.

“I would recommend you sheathe your knife, sir,” Rowen said, keeping his voice casual.

“I ain't 'fraid o' a stinkin’ pistol.”

Rowen cocked the hammer, leveling the barrel at the man's chest, shaking his head in pity. “Look at me, man. Do you honestly think the pistol is the only weapon I have with me? I can easily run a bullet through you from this distance. Can you say the same for that butter knife you hold?"

The woman below scrambled to her feet, untangling her left hand from behind the horse’s bit ring.

The man clamped his mouth shut, staring at Rowen’s pistol. Rowen could see the thief blustering, wanting to argue—wanting to spit in his general direction—but was just smart enough not to.

Rowen gave a nod to the woman below. “It appears I have wandered upon a distinct difference of opinion between the lady below and you, sir, on the ownership of that satchel.”

“You ain't come up on nothin', nob.”

“Hell and damnation, you ass.” The woman had already slipped between the two horses and was after the satchel under the man's leg. “Give me my damn bag back.”

The man started to swing the short knife in her direction.

“It will be the last thing you do if that blade even whispers her skin.” Rowen’s voice was no longer casual. It was death.

The man froze, his eyes darting back and forth to the thick woods that surrounded the trail on either side.

“Do not even think it,” Rowen said. “You will get nowhere in these woods on that horse.”

The woman reached up, grasping the long leather strap on the bag, and yanked it from under the man’s leg. Clutching it to her chest, she skirted out from between the two horses, stopping at the side of the trail.

“I think you would do well to remove yourself from these lands before his lordship learns of this. I believe he would not look kindly upon a thief in his woods—certainly not as generously as I am.” Pistol still trained on the man, Rowen nicked his horse to the left, allowing enough room for the man and his nag to pass.

The man glanced at the woman, then at Rowen. Fuming and clearly weighing his options again, he finally shook his head and kicked his horse into movement, eyes shooting daggers at Rowen as he passed.

Rowen did not lower his pistol until the man was well over the hill and out of sight.

When he finally looked down at the woman, she hadn’t moved from her spot. She still clutched her bag and still stared at the area on the trail where the thief had disappeared. Sleet had collected on the top strands of her dark blond hair braided to the side, some of it frozen, some of it melted.

Rowen dismounted.

It wasn’t until he walked across the trail to her that she looked up at him. The dire set of her mouth instantly disappeared when she met his eyes, a bright smile appearing and turning her whole face into—Rowen could only describe it as—innocent radiance.

Blast it.

Another distressed damsel. And a beautiful one at that.

He needed to extract himself from this situation as quickly as possible.

“Thank you, sir. I was in a bit of a jam there and was not having any success at getting my bag back.”

“A jam?” Rowen’s eyebrow cocked.

Her hazel eyes turned serious. Big, hazel eyes—blue flecks flashing—that were a direct view into every emotion that flickered through her body. “I had hoped I could hold on long enough that he would tire and give me my satchel back. Silly, now that I think on it. But I did not know what to do.”  

She lifted up the dark leather flap on the bag and peeked inside. Satisfied, she closed it, retying the leather strings that held it closed.

He studied the bag. “What is it you were fighting so hard for?”

“Oh…I…” A sheepish look overtook her face. “Nothing.”

“It was something you almost just died for.”

Her bottom lip sucked under her front teeth as she eyed him. “If I do not show you, are you going to try and take it from me as well?”


“Thank you,” she said with a breath of relief. A slight blush began to color her cheeks as she looked at him. “But you are still curious?”

Rowen nodded. The fleeting thought that this was an elaborate trap by this woman and that man went through his mind. Throughout the years, he had not only honed his skill of judging intentions, he had mastered it, and everything about her told him she was not a threat. Misguided, being alone in the thick of these woods. But not a threat.

“Fine. Best to have you not wondering.” She untied the flap and opened the bag, holding it up so he could see inside.

“What? Brushes? That is what he stole? Did he know?”

She shook her head. “No, I do not think so. I have nothing else of value on me—I was surprised he took them. I came upon him just as he was grabbing my bag, and he ran.”

“Why would you risk your life for them?”

“Why would I not?” She snapped the flap closed, retying it, and then wiped a stream of melted sleet from her forehead before it could drip off her eyebrow. “They are the most important things in the world to me, save for my mother and grandfather.”

Rowen laughed.

“Do not laugh at me, sir.”

“No. I only laugh at the absurdity of this situation. That I just risked my own life and limb for a few brushes.”

“You were hardly at risk, sir. You had a pistol. That man was weak. A weasel. And weasels rarely do damage, unless they are incensed or crazy.”

Rowen shrugged.

She sighed again. “Do not look at me like that, sir. There must be something you would risk your life for?”

“No. Nothing.”


Rowen crossed his arms over his chest and shook his head.

“Interesting.” She cocked her head, looking at him curiously. “Well, we are of different sorts.” She paused, watching him while clutching the bag to her belly. “But I do thank you. You look to be travelling as well. Can I offer you some of my food? I had just snagged a squirrel before I came upon that man at my camp. It is not a lot of meat, but it is something.”

“That is not necessary.” Rowen glanced back over his shoulder at the hill. He wasn’t quite sure that the thief was gone for good, and judging by the man’s anger as he left, Rowen didn’t like the thought of that man coming back after this woman.

But the more he talked to her, the more Rowen realized he needed to disentangle himself from the current situation. She was too attractive. And her speech pointed to her roots being in the Americas. Not a true Englishwoman. Which made her oddly interesting to Rowen. Interest that did his vow to avoid all women little good.

“Please, sir, I insist. It is the least I can do to thank you. Plus, I need to get back to the squirrel before it goes bad and I am famished.”

Rowen gave a quick nod. “I will stay for a short while, at least until you move out of the area. I am not convinced that thief is leaving these lands.”

“Excellent. And truly, thank you. I did not mean to interrupt your travels, but I do appreciate your assistance. I do not know where all these odd Englishmen are coming from—” Her mouth pulled back in a cringe. “I apologize. I did not mean to include the present company in the ‘odd’ part. But these woods—this area has been particularly disconcerting.”

“No offense taken.”

“Thank you. I am Wynne. And your name, sir?”

“Rowen—Rowe is what I am most accustomed to.”

“Very nice. Proper forest introductions are complete.” She gave him a bright smile and brushed past him, disappearing into the woods on the opposite side of the trail.

Rowen grabbed his horse’s reins and followed her into the trees, clomping through the thick, wet underbrush. Below the tree cover, the sleet yielded, only the occasional drops falling on Rowen’s shoulders.

“I did not expect to come across a trail like that,” Wynne said over her shoulder to him, still clutching her bag. “And I am not too far inward—I have been following the stream.”

Within a few minutes, Wynne stopped in front of a small fire nestled between the thick roots of an oak tree. It sputtered against the dampness. She stuck her head through the long strap of the satchel, slinging the bag to her back.

Rowen tied his horse’s reins to a low branch as she moved to a mangled knee-high root. She grabbed the tail of a dead squirrel sitting on top of the root and picked up the sizable knife next to it, pointing the tip to the flickering flames. “You can warm yourself by the fire—what little that is left of it. It has been hard to find dry wood. I have to gut the squirrel, but I would rather not do it here—not with the bears.”

Rowen stopped motion and glanced at her, startled. “Bears?”

“Yes. The bears and coyotes can sniff out the slightest blood, and I would rather not invite them to camp. Even if I now have to move on from here, I would rather eat in peace.”

Rowen stared at her, mouth agape as she stepped over the tall root and started in the direction of the stream Rowen could hear. Bears? Coyotes? Where the hell did this woman think she was?

A moment passed before he shook his head and followed her. He caught up with her at the stream and watched from a distance, silent, as she knelt by the water and took the large hunting knife, handle wrapped in strips of rough leather, and slid it along the end of the squirrel. Skin removed, she worked the long blade efficiently, and within minutes, the squirrel was gutted and she was separating the meat.

He stepped closer to her. “That is a rather large knife.”

“It is. My grandfather’s. He hates it when I take it.” She smiled up at him with a quick glance. “What is it that brings you this way? You are the first soul I have come across in days—aside from that thief. Why are you in the area?”

“I breed horses. I was in the vicinity to assess a stallion for siring—impeccable lines, I was assured.”

“Not as impeccable as touted?” she asked, not looking up from the squirrel.

“No, it was not. It is why I like to make my own determinations on the worth of a horse, rather than send a proxy.”

She nodded and leaned forward, flicking innards into the running water, and then dunked the bloody knife into the stream. Blade clean, she set the knife on a rock and scrubbed both hands in the water, shaking her head. “Ouch. That is wicked cold.”

She looked up at him as she scrubbed her fingers. “I know you must be new to these parts, but do you know what mountain I am on? I am not quite sure how, but I seem to be off Shiote Mountain and am having a devil of a time orientating myself.”

“Which mountain?” Rowen’s eyes narrowed at her. Again, where the hell did she think she was? It was quickly becoming clear this woman was possibly a bit addled.

“Shiote. I have been following the stream. I assume I will hit the valley where I can see Shiote Mountain, but I cannot figure out how I strayed off the mountain in the first place. Shiote is my home—with my mother and grandfather.”

Her fingers clean of the blood, Rowen noted that several of her fingertips were stained dark, almost black. Whatever that was, it didn’t wash off. She quickly rinsed the meat and stood, walking past Rowen back into the woods.

Rowen was close on her heels this time.

“So you are lost?”

“Yes. I do not recall how I moved off the mountain. I was painting, and grandfather was with me. But I sometimes lose time when I am deep into a scene, and he tends to wander away from me to hunt.” She stopped to pick up a long stick, swiping the end twice with the knife to make a point, and then started to thread the meat onto the stick as she walked. “And then the next thing I knew, I was alone in these woods.”

“How long have you been following the stream?”

“A few days. With no luck of direction except for the stream. That is what my grandfather taught me to do. Follow a stream downward. You will always end up in a valley or a wide clearing to orientate yourself, or come across a travelled path. But I do not think that trail over there counts—aside from the thief—it looks more like a little used cut-through than anything else.”

“It is.”

She looked over her shoulder to him, relieved, just as they arrived at the fire. “Good—so you know where we are?”

She quickly sat on a thick root, adjusting her satchel on her lower back, and sank the tip of the knife into the dirt, the leather handle sticking upright. Tossing a few scraps of bark by her feet onto the fire, she started to roast the meat, slowly spinning it above the flames.

Rowen stood a distance from her, trying to decide what to do.

On the one hand, he didn’t want to leave her vulnerable to the thief coming back. On the other, she was clearly confused about not only her current location, but what land mass her feet were even on—and that meant she was thick in a heaping mound of trouble that she didn’t even realize she was in. Trouble he had no desire to embroil himself into.

He pondered her, watching her roast the meat, head cocked to the side as she hummed. She didn’t have the slightest inclination she was an ocean away from her mountain. His eyes drifted downward to the hunting knife stuck into the ground.

He stepped to a spot across the fire from her. “Why did you not take the knife to that man?”

The humming stopped. “The knife? Oh, this?” She glanced down at the blade by her leg, then looked up. “I do not know how to use a knife on a man.”

“You knew exactly how to use it on a squirrel.”

“Truly, sir, a squirrel and a man are hardly the same thing.”

“A given. But they both cut the same.”

Her face contorted into squeamishness. “Yes, well, my grandfather has never taught me how to use a knife on a man—only on game. I would not know what to do. Perhaps it is a skill I should ask to acquire.”

Rowen knelt, balancing on the heels of his black boots as he clasped his fingers in front of him. “It does seem a good skill to have. One never knows what is around the bend. Especially when one is a young female alone in the woods.”

“Honestly, sir. This is the first time I have ever encountered a thief in these mountains.”

“Your accent, Wynne. I am trying to place it.”

She pulled the meat from the fire, jabbing a thumb on the thick of it. “Spongy.” She shook her head, sticking the meat above the flames once more, and looked to him. “I am surprised an Englishman could discern regions. I do not have the mountain dialect, do I?”

Rowen shrugged, clueless. “No?”

“I lived in New York until I was thirteen. When my father died, my mother and I came to live on grandfather’s mountain. Even after all these years, I know I still do not have the proper twang.”


There it was. She thought she was on a mountain in America. One mystery solved.

Rowen hid a sigh.

Any way he looked at it, he couldn’t leave her. A woman with no notion of where she was, where she was headed to—and as far as he could discern, entirely too innocent.

It was that last part that particularly unnerved him. Depending on whom fate put in her path next, life could go very horribly for her.

Young. Attractive. Innocent. He shuddered. Very horribly.

The last thing he wanted was to be saddled with an addled woman—he had enough problems to deal with here at Notlund.

Wynne pulled the meat to check it again, impatient, and groaned as she stuck it back into the fire, tapping her booted feet under her skirts. He imagined her heavy cloak did her well in this cold but could see the skirt of the dress she was wearing was rather thin.

He would have to take her with him—the very last thing he wanted at the moment. But first, he would have to delicately convince her to come with him.

“You are a painter?”

Her bright smile appeared. “Yes. I was taught in New York from an early age, and since we moved to the mountain, my grandfather has been teaching me. He is not trained like the masters in the city—his strokes, his sense of scene and how he approaches it is very different—but his pieces are breathtaking. He has taught me things I never would have imagined. And he has shown me how to make my own paints from what I can gather from the land.” She chuckled. “Which my instructors in New York would be appalled at. Such a thing is so far beneath them. But I actually enjoy it.”

“You create your own paints?” Rowen asked.

“Yes. Grandfather is nothing if not self-reliant and demands the same from me. He is happy to take care of mother, though. We are very alike, he and I, while I am told my mother is very much as my grandmother was.”

“Your grandmother has passed?”

“Yes. I never knew her.” Wynne pulled the skewered meat from the fire, tested it, then smiled and started peeling back strips of meat and blowing on them. Shaking her fingers from the heat, she stood and held the stick above the fire to him. “If you do not grab pieces now, I will gobble it all before you blink.”

Rowen held his hand up. “Please, eat. I am not hungry, and you look ravenous.”

The side of her mouth pulled back, perplexed. “I am, but my mother would be horrified if I did not share. Especially after your kind help.”

“I truthfully want to watch you eat it. I am not hungry.”

Eyes narrowed at him, she stepped back, sitting on the tall root and tearing into the meat. Several pieces swallowed, her suspicious look only intensified. “Why did you come with me if you were not hungry?”

She tore off another piece and chewed slowly, staring at him.

At least she had the good sense to question his motives. That was the first sign of healthy skepticism he had seen from her.

“I do not desire anything from you, Wynne. I know where I am and would be pleased to help you on your way,” Rowen said. “I would have offered earlier, but it was clear you were famished and needed to eat. And I did not wish to leave you alone with that thief still in the vicinity.”

Her left eyebrow rose, touching the blond hair that swept across her brow into the long side braid. “Your intentions are honorable?”

Rowen nodded. “They are. If you will place your trust in me, I would like you to accompany me for a stretch down the trail we were on.”

She fingered a strip of meat hanging from a bone. “Why?”

“I think it will help you get to where you need to go.”

“You know where Shiote Mountain is?”

“No. But I can at least get you to a place where you can figure out where you need to go.”

She eyed him for a long moment, fingers still rolling the piece of meat back and forth. “My grandfather would not approve.”

“Your grandfather is not here.”

“But he always told me, no matter what, follow the water. It would get me home.”

“That may be, but I think in this instance, he would approve.” Rowen stood, hands behind his back in the least threatening manner he could manifest. “If where I bring you does not solve your problem, I will be happy to return you to this stream, and you may go along your way. It is still early afternoon, and at the worst, it will only take away part of your day.”

She popped the piece of meat into her mouth, staring at the fire. She looked up at him, her hazel eyes big. “You are an honest man? Honorable?”

“If I were going to steal your brushes or assault you, would I not have already done so?”

“You might just be an odd duck that likes to watch women eat.”

Rowen laughed at her solemn look. “That is true. But I think the odds are slim on that account, and you can safely take the chance that I am not one of those.”    

She stood, fingernails scraping the last remnants of the meat off the bones. “I will go with you, but please, if you are an odd duck, I would prefer you continue to hide it from me.”

If he was the odd duck?

Rowen shook his head. “I will do my best.”

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