Robyn Hood is back for her third adventure, and it’s shaping up to be her biggest one yet!
Book Three in the Robyn Hood adventures is currently a work in progress, but I wanted to give my readers a sneak peek of what’s to come.
In the first two books, readers have followed Robyn as she’s made a name for herself as a skilled archer and a brave defender of the oppressed. But now it seems that not everyone in Nottingham is a fan of Robyn’s brand of justice.
Some of the townsfolk of Nottingham start accusing Robyn of things she hasn’t done!
With the town divided between those who believe the rumours and those who trust Robyn, it’s up to her to clear her name. But finding the real culprit won’t be easy, especially with danger lurking around every corner.
This book is full of action, suspense, and mystery, and I can’t wait for you all to read it.
So buckle up, because this is sure to be one wild ride!
Just Another Day in Nottingham
Robyn Hood snaked a path around the back of the hovels that made up the lower town of Nottingham. Her hands stung with cold and she pulled her hood low to stop the worst of the rain from pouring down the neck of her tunic.
Even sticking to the wicker pathway did little to prevent the thick mud from caking on her leather boots. At least the sloping thatch peaks of the huts kept the worst of the wind at bay.
She sidestepped out of the path of a child careening through the alleyway, a sack slung over their shoulder.
“Oi?” the child shouted as they passed, and she turned to see them skid to a halt. “Are you Robyn Hood?”
Robyn smiled and put a finger to her lips. Giving the child a wink before she returned to her journey.
Suddenly, she received a soft thwack to the back of the head and spun around in time to receive a second clod of wet mud to her face.
“That’s for Odel Wainwright!”
“Hey, you little scut!” Robyn wiped the mud from her eyes, ready to give chase, but the child had gone. “Who’s Odel Wainwright?” she muttered.
“You could at least learn their names.” A woman stood leaning against the doorframe of her home, the thatched eaves protecting her from the October weather. She held out a rag and Robyn gratefully took it.
“Morning, Martha.” She wiped the worst of the mud from her face, though by the stink of it she was sure it was more than just wet earth. “So who’s Odel? He’s not another one of the town guards, is he?”
Martha raised an eyebrow. “He couldn’t guard his own backside, that one. As you well know. I thought you were a good one Robyn, I really did. But you went too far with that last thievery of yours.”
Robyn stared at the woman and tried to fathom the jest, yet there was nothing but disdain in Martha’s eyes. “The bishop, you mean?” she asked dumbly. “He stole that gold from the church, Martha, you know that. Besides, the sheriff’s got most of it now.”
“Don’t be playing silly goose wi’ me.” Martha snatched back the filthy cloth from Robyn’s grasp. “Now, be off with ye, or that little tyke won’t be the only one lobbing shit.” With that, the woman slammed her door and left Robyn dumbfounded in the alleyway.
Robyn allowed herself a moment of bewilderment before shaking it off with a promise to discover how she’d insulted Odel. She had to admit there had been one or two nights in the Blue Boar where the memories of the evening weren’t as crisp as she would have liked. Hopefully, it was only a simple misunderstanding.
A few moments later, she rapped on the door of another home in the nest of mud-brick and thatch huts. It opened slightly and a pair of iron-grey eyes peered out. “What do you want?”
“How is he?”
“How d’ya think?”
“Let her in, Nell,” came a deeper voice from within.
The woman’s face disappeared for a moment and Robyn hovered near the door, trying not to listen to the pair’s hissed exchange as the rain tapped relentlessly against her hood.
Finally, Gage, a man with thick cheeks and a ready smile, opened the door wide. “Come in, then.”
“There’s nowhere for you to sit,” Nell snapped as she took her place on the stool by the hearth.
Robyn was grateful to be out of the wet and the cold, if only for a moment. “That’s all right, I’ll not be staying long. How is the patient?” She focused on Gage and tried to ignore those piercing iron eyes. Robyn knew she’d done wrong by the Fultons, but Nell had never been quite like this before.
“Still bruised, but thanks to you, we paid for a poultice and the swellings are all but gone.”
“‘Thanks to you,’ he says!” Nell snapped. “It’s this one, what shot you!”
Robyn felt her cheeks redden as she replayed the image of Gage in his Nottingham Livery tumble like a sack of bricks after taking an arrow to his flank. “I am sorry about that.”
“And young Warwick was knocked on the head. The Caldwell boy won’t be walking for another month–“
“She’s heard all this afore, Nell,” Gage growled, as he offered Robyn a grim smile.
She was quick enough to know when she was no longer welcome. “Well, I only came to give you this.” Robyn pulled the purse from her belt and held it out to him. “That should cover the wages you’ve lost, but if you still need anything–“
“No.” Nell stood, holding out a wooden spoon between Gage and Robyn. “We’ll not be takin’ no more.”
“But Doc said I need rest for a few weeks yet.”
“No matter.” Nell narrowed her eyes at Robyn. “We’ll not be takin’ it. I couldn’t hold my head up high knowing it came from Cynric’s purse.”
“He’s a grandfather. Did you know that?”
“I didn’t,” Robyn replied, too stunned to ask who Cynric was. Had she shot him, too? She could have sworn she’d found them all.
“Now, you’ll be going.” Nell waved the spoon at her, and for a moment, Robyn didn’t move. “Out!” Nell repeated, and Robyn dived from the door as it slammed shut behind her.
This time, she knew no accidental insult could be to blame. Nell had as good as said Robyn stole money from a grandfather. Someone was turning the people of Nottingham against her and she needed to find out who it was before–
“There she is!” The scut who’d thrown the clod stood between two town guards and pointed as fiercely as if they held a spear in battle.
“Curses.” Robyn turned on her heel and dashed down the alley as the guards rattled after her, ordering her to halt.
She zigzagged between houses, hoping to lose the pair in the maze of back streets and pathways. Robyn leapt over a wicker fence and rolled into the mud, panting for breath. A startled goat bleated their surprise until Robyn patted their head and let them gnaw at her sleeve.
“What’s all this racket?” A red-faced woman emerged from her home carrying a bucket and stopped open-mouthed when she eyed Robyn squatting with the goats.
Robyn held a muddy finger to her lips. But the woman’s eyes narrowed, and she started banging her bucket against her doorpost. “Robyn Hood!” she yelled at the top of her lungs, more than loud enough for her pursuers to hear. Robyn dashed from her hiding place. “Robyn Hood!”
“What did I do to you?” she asked as she leapt over the wicker fence.
“Not me, Edwin, the Smith’s new lad.”
“Of course.” Robyn shook her head and bolted, racing away from the sounds of the chase.
She ran a few houses further, then squeezed down a narrow gap to double back via the yards. She had to leap across what felt like a hundred fences and prayed that the rain kept the residents inside lest there was yet another crime they would accuse her of. Finally, she came to the end of the row and peered around the last house, retreating quickly as another set of guards charged out from Nottingham’s gatehouse.
She had no way to tell how many they would send out in hot pursuit of an infamous outlaw. She had to hide, that much was certain. But where? The entire town seemed to want to see her caught. She peered around the end of the house again. The gatehouse was clear, and she smiled at the audacity. Sometimes the best place to hide was right under their noses.
Careful to look around, keeping an eye out for anyone who might spot her, Robyn dashed across the street and into the scrub on the far side, where she scuttled down into the ditch under the gatehouse.
The water surged into her boots far higher than she’d expected, but she was out of sight. No one but the poorest vagrants ever came down here. She heaved herself up onto a ledge under the bridge and panted in the putrid air as she emptied first her left and then her right boot.
“Eh, Robyn? That you there?”
Robyn’s eyes snapped up and her breath caught in her chest as she recognised the familiar clawed hands and watery eyes of what she hoped was a good friend.
“You’ll not turn me in, will you, Nora?”
“Turn you in, not likely. What do you take me for, eh?”
“So,” she started cautiously, “you’re not angry with me for some terrible crime enacted upon a friend of yours?”
Nora cackled and shuffled along the ledge. The poor woman’s hands had swollen again. Robyn wished Nora would take the money she’d offered and visit the doctor, but Nora wouldn’t trust him. She said nettles did better than any oafish doctor ever managed.
“I heard what you did to the Fishmame brothers,” Nora whispered conspiratorially.
Robyn held her breath. She wasn’t ready for more running, especially not through a thigh-deep ditch.
“But those buggers deserved it,” Nora cackled again. “threw me off their front step for no good reason. That were a nice spot for the night, that was.”
Robyn smiled, relieved to be hidden and glad that Old Nora still had her humour, though she’d lost everything else.
“Sit with me a while, Nora, while I think. Then, if the coast is clear, I’ll take you for a drink at the Blue Boar.”
“Bit early for a drink yet, Rob. It’s not even noon, is it?”
“Oh, Nora, it’s already been a very long day.”