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K.J. Jackson

Valor of Vinehill Books 1-5 (EBOOK BUNDLE)

Valor of Vinehill Books 1-5 (EBOOK BUNDLE)

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Torn apart by tragedy, five Scots will meet their matches when they least expect it. 

The fire that burned them all.
For some, it left visible scars, for others, wounds too deep to ever heal.

For these five Scots, love was never in the fates. Lust...definitely . Marriages of convenience—begrudgingly. But love? That would require hope, and some wounds can never be healed. Or can they? 

EBOOK BUNDLE. The entire 5 EBOOKs of the Valor of Vinehill series, each a steamy, heart-stopping historical romance adventure from USA Today Bestselling author, K.J. Jackson. 

This epic collection starts with The Iron Earl...
A lady desperate to escape. A hot-tempered earl in the wrong place and wrong time. A journey across the English isle that sends sparks flying and forges an attraction that neither can deny.

A lady desperate to escape.
Miss Evalyn Swanson is desperate to escape her stepfather and his nefarious plan to hawk her off to his vicious business partner. With time running out, she spies salvation at a house party in Lincolnshire. Salvation in the form of one hulking, brooding Scotsman that is conveniently traveling north. North, where she can disappear for good.

A hot-tempered earl in the wrong place and wrong time.
With his sister just married to his bitter enemy, Lachlan Ruddington, Earl of Dunhaven is in no mood to entertain the whimsical notions of a chit straight from the ballroom. Even if she’s an enchanting sprite, he has no time for anything other than quick dabbles with the opposite sex. He has an estate to right. A senile grandfather to battle. And a few more enemies he needs to mete out justice to.

An escape not quite according to plan.
Try as he might, Lachlan discovers the draw of Evalyn undeniable—though he’ll refuse it for as long as he can. Propriety demands it. His heart that he never thought to lose to an English lass demands it. The danger that lurks around her demands it. But if they can survive, they may just discover the truest love could be the love neither one of them ever anticipated.

This ebook bundle of historical Regency romances contains 5 stand-alone stories: 
1. The Iron Earl
2. The Wolf Duke
3. The Steel Rogue
4. The Christmas Countess
5. The Devil Baron



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Stirlingshire, Scotland, in the scattered lands between the Highlands and the Lowlands
March 1816


He was too late.

Above a rocky outcropping a mile away smoke snaked into the sky. The stream of blackened ash billowed into a ragged cloud, then vanished as the wind snatched it into oblivion.

Lachlan set his heels into his horse, thundering across the last field toward the small set of buildings just out of his view.

His brother and sister hadn’t waited for him at Vinehill. Not as they should have. Not as they said they would.

He was the soldier. They should have waited for him.

But no, not his siblings. Jacob and Sloane had taken off, following their third cousin, Torrie, to get to her family’s farm before the clearing men came.

How Torrie’s family had put off the brutes that were clearing the Swallowford lands for as long as they had was a miracle.

A miracle that was ending in front of his eyes.

Baron Falsted’s men were intent on removing one of the last families in the area. There would be no further reprieve.

The stench of the fire charred his nostrils long before he could see the blazes.

He crested the last hill.

Worse than he imagined.

Five buildings were now torches flaming from the ground, the air about them undulating with heat.

Yanking on the reins, Lachlan leapt from his horse before it stopped. He tore toward the hellfire, searching the flames. Searching for people in the sooty haze.

Three men. One far off on a horse, watching. One on the ground by the cottage with a torch in his hand. The third standing halfway between the two. None he recognized and all a distance back from the raging blazes.

His brother. Where the hell was Jacob?

Lachlan ran across the wheat field, flying straight between the barn and a cottage, both engulfed in fire. Heat singed his skin and his arm flung up, shielding his eyes from the heat that enveloped him.


Far at the opposite end of the buildings, the main house. Two bodies sprawled prone on the ground in front of it, blood smeared across one man’s face.

Not Jacob. Not Sloane. Not Torrie.

Lachlan spun, squinting against the embers spewing into his face. Where the hell were they?

He spun again. Movement out of the main cottage.

Jacob. Jacob carrying Sloane on his hip, her arms stretched out, dragging a screeching Torrie with her.

Flames engulfed Torrie’s skirts.

Five steps from the cottage, Jacob dropped Sloane. She scrambled to Torrie’s skirts, swatting at the flames with her arm, screaming as she tried to squelch the blazes.

“Jacob.” Lachlan ran toward them. “Jacob.” But his bellows didn’t stop his brother—didn’t slow Jacob one step.

His forearm swinging up to cover his face, Jacob plunged back through the flames licking out of the cottage door for air and he disappeared into the inferno of the house.

Hell, Torrie’s family had to still be inside.

Lachlan ran past Sloane and Torrie. Two steps away from the door, a terrifying creak filled the air and the roof of the cottage collapsed inward.

The surging blast of heat and flames sent Lachlan flying backward and he landed on his back.

Seconds slowed to lifetimes. One after another.

His ears ringing from the blast, he managed to push himself up from the dirt as embers spun through the air, sizzling onto his skin.

No. Not Jacob. It should have been him. He was the soldier, dammit. His was supposed to be the expendable life.

Sloane. Where the hell was she? He twisted his body to see behind him. Where?

Onto his knees, stumbling to his feet, he searched through the choking smoke, nothing but pounding in his ears, reverberations shaking his skull.


She’d rolled away from Torrie, the flames on their cousin’s skirt now dampened.

Screaming. Sloane was screaming. He couldn’t hear her, but he could see her through the blackened debris floating through the air.

Screaming, she struggled to her feet and charged directly at the man holding a torch that stood just beyond the reach of the inferno.

The brute tossed the flaming stick to the ground a moment before Sloane blasted into him, her arms swinging in attack.

A blade. A silver blade flashed in the smoldering air, high in the brute’s hand.

His brother dead and now Sloane—hell no—not Sloane too.

Lachlan found his feet and lunged at the two of them. Instinct from the years fighting on the continent engulfed him and his hands stretched out, reaching with one purpose. Stop the knife.

Lachlan crashed into his sister and the brute and sent all three of them sprawling, tangled, to the ground.

But the blade was in his hand—he’d managed that.

Red flashed in his eyes, taking his sight, taking his mind.

He rolled to his knees and plunged the dagger into the brute’s neck in one quick motion. His arm lifted and drove the blade into him again. And again. And again.

And again.

Lost. Lost in a netherworld of rage, for how long he didn’t know. A hell where he didn’t know anything other than the blade sinking into flesh again and again.



The slightest whisper of sound broke through the pounding in his ears.


Something hitting his back. Pounding on him.

His hand on the hilt of the blade stopped, high in the air.

He spun.

Sloane. Her face terrorized. Her eyes tortured in pain. Her mouth screaming at him.

Her arm—hell—her arm was bloody, festering.

He blinked, shaking his head.

He was too late.


The purgatory of fire and ash surrounded him, swallowing him.

Swallowing him whole.


Lincolnshire, England
October 1816

The gravel granite of the pathway crunched under the heel of her slipper, betraying her presence.

Devil take it. Too soon.

Evalyn wanted the man further set into the secluded alcove ringed with tall evergreen hedges. It would be far easier if she cornered him. Far easier for her plan to work if she could hold him captive deep in the alcove.

Her heel lifted from the gravel as she stilled in place, steadily breathing in the crisp night air flush with the scent of recently trimmed boxwood hedges. He didn’t move. Didn’t turn around. She dared a long look at her prey, staring at the wide expanse of his dark tailcoat stretching snug from the twin boulders of his shoulders.

Never mind that the Scotsman was twice her size and could step directly over her if he so chose not to be trapped.

Trap him? Hell, it’d be easier to trap a demon in a windstorm.

His shoulders swayed slightly and his head cocked to the side, his left ear lifting to the moonlit sky. Brown hair curled about the curve of his ear and reflected a glimmer from the torch lit above her head on the pathway.

She turned into a statue, attempting to make him move his feet farther into the garden alcove by her thoughts alone.

Just three steps further, sir. Three was all she asked. Three tiny steps.

The man turned fully around and the rage she’d witnessed in him as he walked through the ballroom still pounded deep lines into his forehead. His head tilted down, his eyes pinning her.

Her lips parted, words lurching over her dry tongue. “My lord, I was hoping to have a word.”

“I don’t think you want it with me, lass.” The low rumble of his Scottish burr shook through her belly.

The timbre of his voice was more than enough warning. She should run and she knew it.

But there was nothing else for it.

She charged forward, straight at the impossibly wide chest of Lord Dunhaven.

She’d barrel into him if she had to, but she would get him deep into this alcove.

A step before she crashed into him, he jumped backward one, two, three steps.

Far enough.

They were secluded, or at least enough so.

Her heels dug into the gravel, skidding to a stop, her breath leaving her in a whoosh as she looked up at him.

The anger on his forehead relaxed, a knowing smile curving onto his lips. “You’re not out here for a word, are you, lass?”

Before she could answer, his hand lifted, wrapping about the back of her bare neck, and he descended, his mouth meeting hers.

Warmth juxtaposed with the hardness of his lips as the faint smell of brandy and spice filled her head. Without thought, without resistance, her mouth fell to his—fell deep into a well of desire instantly out of her control.

Blast it.

She didn’t know this man. Didn’t know him at all, and he was kissing her?

Not only that, she was letting him.

The momentary loss of her senses sent a jolt of fear down her spine. She yanked her head backward, breaking the kiss, though she refused to let her feet retreat.

She had him cornered and she meant to keep him so.

He pulled up, his hand falling from the back of her neck as his eyes searched her face. A lascivious smile danced about his lips. “Why so nervous, dove?”

The murmur of far-off voices floated through the night air of the expansive gardens and over the evergreen hedge.

She glanced over her shoulder, her gloved hands settling across her belly and the golden embroidered silk of her gown. She would have to talk fast. “My name is Evalyn—Eva.”

“Then my name is Lachlan.”

Her head swiveled back to him and she met his eyes, now hooded deep in the shadows of the alcove. Shadows that masked whether the anger that had been palpitating from him just moments ago was truly gone. “You’re also soused, Lord Dunhaven.”

“Lachlan, sweet lass. I want to hear the name from your exquisite lips.” His fingers lifted and his thumb settled onto the center of her lips, then dragged slowly across the delicate skin still pulsating from his kiss.

Her shoulders pulled back, her spine stiffening. “Lachlan then my lord. And it does not negate the fact that you’re foxed.”

“My lips and hands still work the same, dove.”

She snatched his wrist, tugging his hand from her face. “No. I did not approach you for this, Lord Dunhaven.”


She stifled a seething breath. “I did not approach you for this, Lachlan.”


“No. I understand you and your companions intend to leave the duke’s estate tonight?”

“Aye. We are done with Wolfbridge.” His head tilted to the side. “You said your name was Eva?”

“Yes. You are leaving posthaste?”

“In a number of hours. Aye.”

“Take me with you.”

He laughed, a low rumble that vibrated through his body and shook the gravel under her toes. “Take you with us?”

“Yes,” she said the word with simple, unshakable determination.

“Forgive me, Eva, but do I forget making introductions with you?”


“You are serious?” The smile slipped from his lips and he straightened, sobering, all amusement at her request vanishing. “It won’t happen, lass. Not how we travel.”

“Why not?”

“One, I don’t kidnap spry young chits from their marriage-mart-minded mamas. Two, I don’t know you. Three, I have a band of eight men with me.” He leaned down, setting his lips next to her ear, his breath tickling her skin. “Eight healthy, virile, single men.”

He stood straight, his mouth pulling tight into a smug frown.

Smugness that didn’t give her even a moment of pause.

She wasn’t afraid of eight virile men. She couldn’t afford to be. Not with what awaited her in the Duke of Wolfbridge’s ballroom not but a hundred steps away.

“You won’t be kidnapping anyone, Lord Dunhaven. I swear it. I will be joining your traveling party of my own free will.”

“You don’t even know our destination.”

“I heard you say you were ready for the journey home. Your home is in Scotland, correct?”

His dark eyebrows drew together, sending the shadow deeper onto his face. “Stirlingshire. You were eavesdropping in the billiards room? What else did you hear?”

“Nothing. I was standing in the ballroom near the entrance to the room and I heard you speaking with your companions inside. I only overheard that you would be leaving this very night and to a place far, far from here.” She braved her hand upward, her fingers grasping onto his arm. “And Scotland is a place I can disappear into. A place I need to disappear into.”

His stare skewered her for a long moment before his gaze moved to her fingers gripping his forearm.

Too forward—far too forward, she knew. As an earl, she couldn’t imagine he would be accustomed to strange ladies grabbing him. Then again, the man had had no problem grabbing her neck and kissing her—a complete stranger—only a moment before.

He shook his arm, flinging her fingers from the sleeve of his dark tailcoat. His look lifted to her face. “What are you running from, lass?”

“My reasons should be of no bother to you.”

“You think an incensed suitor of yours chasing me through the English countryside with a bullet meant for my chest not a bother?”

Her hand flitted in the air. “That is dramatic. There will be no such threats upon your person.”

“Then you won’t mind telling me what you’re hoping to escape.” His arms drew up, crossing over his wide chest.

“Please, my lord, I will do anything. I need to leave and you are my only chance for a true escape.”

His left eyebrow shot upward, the devil pulling his lips back in a terse line that curled up at the corners of his mouth. “Anything, dove?”

Her breath caught in her throat. The man was dangerous. How had she not seen that?

More dangerous than just his brawn, his thick arms that could pop her neck in an instant and not think twice on it. Dangerous in how the wicked gleam palpitated in his eyes—hazel eyes, if she could trust the flicker of moonlight catching his irises.

She wasn’t trading one malicious monster for another, was she?

What had she heard Lord Dalton call him—whisper to his companion as Lord Dunhaven had passed by them? The Iron Earl.

That was it. And that was dangerous.

The man was an iron wall, hard from the tips of his toes to the unyielding glint in his eye.

She started to take a step backward and the lecherous sneer of Mr. Molson’s lips flashed in her mind. The way his fingers had ground into her sides when he’d caught her alone in the south corridor. His whispered words of blades and blood and sinking into her, splitting her in two.

A shudder, and her heel dropped to the ground, digging in.

No. She couldn’t let Mr. Molson happen. She couldn’t let the nightmare of that man and his twisted world capture her.

For a long breath, she stared at the glowing white of Lachlan’s loose cravat. She’d seen this man with his sister, the new Duchess of Wolfbridge. She’d seen the care and adoration he had for her well-being. He was a boulder of unmovable granite with everyone, everyone except his sister. Evalyn had witnessed that in the last day and a half since he’d arrived at the duke’s castle.

This man—Lachlan—he had it in him. Kindness. She’d seen it. No matter what he was to everyone else at Wolfbridge, with his sister he was loving.

Plus, he was an earl. A Scottish earl, but still, he had to adhere to some sense of propriety—including knowing how to leave his hands off her person. How to keep his men’s hands off her person.

Her feet solidly in place, she tilted her chin upward. “Anything your household requires, I can do it, my lord. I can join the kitchens, I can sweep, mop. I can sew. I can contribute, my lord, I swear it.”

He stifled a guffaw. “Now why would a fine lass of the ton be willing to trade in silks and madeira for a scullery maid’s life?” He grabbed her wrist, stripping off the glove from her right hand. He flipped it palm upward and examined her skin in the moonlight. He snorted. “Soft. This hand has never once felt a scrub brush in it.”

She yanked her hand away. “Looks can be deceiving, my lord.”

“Can they?” His eyebrow had not fallen from its high perch.

“The fortitude of my will is able to see me through anything, my lord. I can and I will do whatever is necessary. No matter how dirty. No matter how low. I swear upon it. I need this. I need to leave with you tonight.”

“Yet your will cannot see you through whatever it is you are trying to escape?”

The murmur of the voices grew louder, footsteps crunching on the gravel pathway coming their way.

Time was running out.

She exhaled through gritted teeth. “My will is smart enough to know what I can and cannot survive. And I cannot survive what is ahead for me if I stay.”

His folded arms lifted slightly. “Why would you choose ruin, as that is surely what you are hoping for by asking to leave with us?”

“If ruin alone would help me, I would have done that the first night of this affair with a random gentleman. Ruin will not help me escape what is ahead.”

He stared at her blankly, his eyes still edged with skepticism.

He wasn’t taking her seriously—nothing of what she’d said had filtered through his brandy-soaked brain with any sense of urgency.

The footsteps drew closer.

Only a few precious seconds left.

Desperation sent her hand flinging out and she drew the dirk from the belt about his waist. Her hands in a flurry, she shoved the blade of the dagger between her breasts and yanked it downward, slicing open the gold embroidered bodice of her gown.

Her mother’s gown, the only thing she had left of her.

For how the sound of the fabric ripping sliced Evalyn to her soul, it was a sacrifice she had to make. She needed to leave. Tonight.

Her breasts half spilling forth, her nipples only barely concealed by the tattered gold and white fabric, she held up his dirk between them. “Don’t make me trap you, Lord Dunhaven. Give me your word I can come with you tonight, or I throw this dagger out into the pathway. I scream. They find us together like this and you are going to be bound to me in ways you would never want to be.”

That threat made it through his brandy-addled mind.

The fury on his face was instant and his lips pulled back as a low growl shook his chest. Shook the air around him. “Brutal little harpy.”

Without breaking eye contact, she threw the dirk behind her. It hit the ground, skidding into the granite gravel.

His next breath seethed from his mouth, his eyes skewering her.

But his ire didn’t bother her. It couldn’t. Not with what awaited her.

Her words slowed, softened to the slightest shaking whisper. “My stepfather is Baron Falsted and he will demand satisfaction.” She grabbed his forearm, the cords of muscle under his coat sleeve steel against the grip of her fingertips. “But I don’t ask that of you. I only ask that you swear you will take me north. Far away from here where I can disappear. Please. I am begging you…begging you, my lord. Please.”

His cheek twitched and his slow burr deepened into a rage that sent her legs trembling. “Baron Falsted?”

Her head bobbled in a frantic nod.

He sucked in a breath through gritted teeth and his arms fell to his sides. “Aye, then it seems I’m saddled with extra baggage on the journey home.” He glanced up at the night sky. “We leave in two hours, lass.”

“In the darkness—in the middle of the night?” Her look flew up to the stars above. “But—”

“Two hours and we meet at the stables. If you are there, you can come. If not, we leave without you.”

He stepped around her quickly, disappearing out past the evergreen hedges that lined the entrance to the alcove.

She heard the scrape of the dirk across the gravel as he picked it up.

His footsteps retreated and a low, murmured acknowledgement floated over the tall hedge to her as he passed the people that had been walking on the pathway.

Her hand clasping the front flaps of her ripped dress to cover her breasts, she exhaled, sinking down onto the wrought iron bench nestled along the wall of evergreens beside her. Deep in the shadows she waited for the people passing to vacate the area. Her eyes lifted and trained on the stars above her. They twinkled especially bright tonight, the full moon lending shards of hazy light to make them bigger than usual.

Stars she had stared at her whole life, wishing upon.

Stars that had finally delivered.

A way out.

Finally, a way out.

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