The weather has been searing in the UK over the last few weeks and I have had to resort to wandering the through the dappled light of medieval Sherwood Forest to keep me cool!
I’ve been working on the second adventure in the Robyn Hood series, and been having an absolute blast getting to know these characters again, while introducing a couple of new ones into the mix!
If you haven’t read the first book, it’s free on Kindle Unlimited, so check it out below.
PRIDE. AMBITION. BLOOD.
Will she flee from danger? Or fulfil her destiny, stand up to injustice, and become the fabled outlaw of legend: Robyn Hood?
But in the meantime, scroll down for a sneak peek of book two: SCARLET, where Robyn Hood and Littlejohn meet a mysterious young woman in the woods…
CHAPTER THREE: A SISTER IN NEED
Robyn and Littlejohn wound their way along a familiar deer track. They kept low and quiet though it had been several miles since they had seen any sign of the mysterious soldiers.
High above them, the bright green leaves of summer were already beginning to turn to gold and bronze as the trees whispered in the early evening wind.
Suddenly Littlejohn raised a hand.
Robyn immediately halted and crouched low to the ground listening. There was a faint moaning, the sound of someone or something in pain.
Then a short sharp shout. “Getup Dammit!”
Littlejohn turned to Robyn, his eyebrows raised and she returned his look of curious surprise. Without further conversation, the pair of outlaws edged closer to the disturbance.
Staying hidden, Robyn peered through the undergrowth.
A dark brown mule, carrying several leather packs and chests, was sitting on the ground, reclining like a stubborn cat, while a nun, in a white tunic with a dark scapular, white cowl, and black veil pulled uselessly upon his bridle. The large wooden cross around her neck swung frantically as she muttered obscenities at the disinterested animal.
“Damn you, you useless beast, can you not work in my favour for once in your worthless little life!”
Robyn bit down on her lips and squeezed her hand over her mouth lest the laugh that shook her belly escape and reveal their whereabouts.
Littlejohn grinned down at her. Then gave a tiny nod toward the woman. Robyn understood his idea at once and agreed furiously. On the silent count of three, the pair of them sprung from the undergrowth.
“Greetings, Sister,” Robyn exclaimed, genuflecting with extravagance.
But Robyn was shocked when the woman pulled a sword from under her scapular and swirled around pointing it directly at Robyn’s chest. “There’s nothing for you here, vagrant,” the nun snarled.
Robyn instinctively went to draw her bow but upon remembering it was snapped in two pieces, she raised her hands in surrender. “We mean no harm, sister.”
“We’re just two ‘umble foresters, passin’,” Littlejohn said, leaning casually upon his stave, despite the woman’s drawn weapon. She turned to him a dark scowl upon her brow. “We thought, din’ we Rob, that we might offer some assistance to a lone sister in need.”
“I assure you,” the woman spoke without a trace of a Saxon accent, and Robyn suspected she must come from a wealthy Norman family. “I am in need of no assistance, especially not from a pair of ruffians, such as yourselves.”
“Ruffians, so we are Rabbit?” Littlejohn cast a twinkling glance at Robyn, who sniggered in response.
“Indeed, we are!” Robyn replied, “Although I know not what we have done to warrant such unusually high praise!” She bowed again at the sister, as Littlejohn guffawed.
“Yes, well you are very droll the pair of you, but I would ask that you leave me to go about my business unharassed.”
“So we will.” Littlejohn nodded, leaning on his staff unmoving.
“Aye,” Robyn agreed, reclining against a tree to appear to the world as nothing but nonchalant, “we’ll not stop you leaving.” Robyn folded her arms and turned her face to the last rays of the evening sun as if preparing herself for a nap.
The sister muttered angrily but turned her attention back to the stubborn mule, which only let out a groan of refusal as the pulled upon the beast’s bridle.
Littlejohn sniggered, and shook his head but said nothing.
The young sister sighed heavily and threw down the rope. “And you think you can do any better?” she demanded.
“Who goes there?” cried Littlejohn as if startled from a dream.
Robyn jumped up, alert. “Why ’tis a second nun, Littlejohn! Greetings Sister!” she exclaimed, bowing extravagantly. “Are you searching for your fellow sister? We saw her a while ago, did we not, fellow ruffian?”
“Aye, we did, we did,” Littlejohn replied, scratching his beard, “but we cannot tell thee which way she went as she was so quick and capable and needed not the help of two ruffians such as us.”
“” Aye,” Robyn added, struggling to hold her voice steady, “She was so fast in fact, ‘tis almost as if we did not see her leave at all.”
“Neither of you is amusing in the slightest.”
Robyn couldn’t hold in the laugh any longer, and it burst from her like steam from under the lid of a stewing pot. Littlejohn chuckled next to her.
“We mean no ‘arm by it,” he explained, his voice soft and friendly, “but if you need assistance, then what little we have we can share with a friend who’s walked a long way, carrying a heavy burden.” He pulled a small crust of bread from one of his many pockets and stepped forward.
To Robyn’s surprise, the woman nodded and smiled slightly at this. “Thank you, kind sir, you do the lord’s work.” She reached out to accept the offer.
But Littlejohn snapped his hand away from hers. “I were talking to him.” He nodded toward the mule, who at that instant heaved itself from the ground and trotted over to take up Littlejohn’s offer.
The sister’s face reddened and her eyes widened in what seemed to Robyn something closer to panic than anger. Seeing the young woman’s fear ended Robyn’s merry game instantly. “The offer of hospitality extends to you, of course, sister,” she spoke with her gentlest of tones, “Please excuse our merrymaking, we’ve had a devil of a day.” Robyn winced as she realised her language, but the nun seemed not to notice and was instead fixated on Littlejohn and his easy taming of her charge.
A thick, heavy gobbet of rain splashed on Robyn’s tunic, followed hard by a second against her hood. The sister gasped and tutted as they all realised the torrent that was about to be unleashed upon their heads.
“Will you at least,” Robyn had to raise her voice to be heard over the sudden downpour, “will you at least take up our offer of shelter?”
The sister glanced at Robyn, her bright green eyes were remarkably beautiful and they sparkled like a cat’s. Her gaze was so intense, Robyn almost believed the young woman could read her intentions as easily as she might read a book.
With one last glance back at Littlejohn and the easy command, he had taken off her pack mule. The sister turned to Robyn and gave a curt, defeated, nod of assent. “I am at your mercy,” she said. Although there was something about the young woman’s manner that made Robyn wonder if perhaps, in truth, it was the other way around.
I hope you enjoyed the preview!
If you did, why not start the adventure in book one: OUTLAW