Published by Julie Johnstone on September 8, 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
She’s the weapon intended to destroy him. He’s the key to her freedom.
Dark days have come to Scotland, and fierce warrior Robert the Bruce would do anything to release his country from English rule—and not just because he’s the rightful heir to the Scottish throne. As the bloody war rages on, enemies on both sides of the fight surround him, and Robert must dance a dangerous line between truth and deception. One misstep could topple his nation and cost him his life, yet one woman tempts him—and threatens his mission—as no other ever has.
Elizabeth de Burgh longs for freedom in a time when women have none. So when she finds herself ordered by her ruthless father and her godfather, the King of England, to seduce the leader of the Scottish rebellion and reveal his secrets, she yearns to fight back against their cruel plot. But they threaten to kill her beloved cousin, leaving her no choice but to comply. As she grows close to Robert and the mask that hides the man who would be king is peeled away, she cannot imagine aiding in the destruction of the noble Scot bent on liberating his people.
Bound by duty and honor but ensnared by passion, Robert and Elizabeth must determine if they are each other’s biggest threat or greatest source of strength. And moreover, they must decide how much they are willing to risk for the one thing neither ever imagined they’d find with the other—extraordinary, boundless love.
“Why the frown?” Robert asked, genuinely curious as to how Elizabeth’s mind worked.
Elizabeth cast her gaze around them—he suspected to make certain neither her father nor the king were in listening distance. They were not, and her eyes met his, fiery with what appeared to be indignation. “Women have such an unfair lot!” she said, hushed. “I vow I’m just as good of a hunter and rider as you, but naturally, the squire handed me the horn and you the spear. I am defenseless while you get the weapon. I suppose if you fall under the boar, I’m to whack the beast on the head with the horn.” Sarcasm dripped from her words.
He burst out laughing, which earned him a reluctant smile that made his chest tighten. “I will protect ye from the boar,” he promised her.
“Yes, but who will protect me from you?” Her expression had turned earnest, her eyes searching.
“Do ye believe ye need protection from me?” he asked, feeling he was on the verge of some truth.
“I cannot say for certain,” she said in a low voice. “And that is my dilemma. I want to trust you, but should I?”
“I do nae wish to harm ye,” he said. “Do ye believe ye are on a path that is harmless to me?”
She bit her lip and stared at him for a long moment. “I’m on a course I did not set myself upon, as I told you.”
He frowned. “That is nae an answer to my question.”
She smirked. “Perhaps you should answer mine first… Should I trust you?”
“Likely, ye should nae,” he said honestly. “I mean ye no harm, but harm may come.”
Julie is giving away one digital copy of Outlaw King.
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~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
Outlaw King is the first book in the Renegade Scots series by Julie Johnstone, and what an amazing book it is.
From the very first pages, excitement abound, pages in which rightful heir to the throne Robert the Bruce meets Elizabeth de Burgh when she ends up amidst a battle between her father’s and his men. He doesn’t see her again until years later but in that time he has never forgotten her, nor she, him.
The battle to keep Edward from gaining control of his beloved Scotland sees Robert taking desperate measures. Subterfuge comes into play, he needs to make time for William Wallace’s army to gather alongside his own men, and the only way to do that is to tell Edward that he is ready to take a knee before him. Wisely Edward accepts this to be true but puts a plan into action to ensure that if Robert isn’t speaking the truth then he will be done for treason.
That plan brings Elizabeth back into Robert’s life. Her father blackmails her to seduce Edward in order to find out any secrets he has and to let the king know them. The idea of betraying Robert is abhorrent to her. She wants a Scottish king, she wants the English ousted from Scotland. But she has no choice in the matter or does she? Can the immediate connection between herself and Robert, and her deeds from the past help them to realise that they can work together to doublecross her father and Edward? Can they trust each other when it comes to life and death?
So there you briefly have an idea of what happens in the book. An outline is nothing compared to reading the whole thing which I wholeheartedly hope you do. The excitement, the intrigue, the betrayals and the clashes all come together to leave you feeling awed. Add to that the love and passion developing between Elizabeth and Robert, and this book will have you reading as quickly as you can so you can find out how it ends. Robert is the ideal Scottish warrior, he’d lay his life down for his people and the woman he loves. There were scenes where I broke my heart for him and what he had to do. His is such an emotional story and him such a perfect hero that you can’t help but give him a piece of your heart before the story ends.
I have read and enjoyed many of this author’s books, but this one I have to say must be her best yet. It ticked all the boxes for me and I can’t recommend it enough. I am very much looking forward to the next in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.