Friday, May 19, 2017

Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski

Title: Lady of Sherwood
Author: Molly Bilinski
Series: Outlaws of Sherwood #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale
Release Date: April 24, 2017
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.

After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.

As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.

Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.

Chapter Five: Much, the Miller’s Daughter
“That still makes it murder. It doesn’t change that. Nothing changes that.”

“You’re an outlaw, then.” Maggie shrugged. “You’re the Lady of Lockesly. You’re a warrior woman from the old tales. None of those things mean we don’t want you to stay with us.”

"You came back to the manor,” Kitty added. “You came back for us. To find Gisborne and protect us. You could have abandoned us.”

Robin’s expression morphed into something stricken, and her eyes widened. “Why would I have done that? You’re—you’re family. You’ve always been as much family as my mother.” True, Jemma was the sister she’d never been gifted with, but the others had a spot in her heart all the same. One that was rapidly growing by the second.

“Then come with us.” Maggie’s tone said she wouldn’t take no for an answer. “Be an outlaw, but come with us. Even outlaws need friends.”

"I’m an outlaw, same as you,” Jemma murmured when Robin looked meaningfully at her. “I went with you to kill him, and I attacked his men.”

Robin locked eyes with each girl in front of her and she found nothing but tempered steel staring back at her. All of them might have been younger than her and Jemma in physical years, yet they showed a resilience and a courage born from the night’s events.

Robin knew she’d been right earlier to call them smart. Nottingham was large enough for them to all blend into new crowds, and if they kept their wits about them, no one would ever have to know the last survivors of Lockesly Manor were harboring two outlaws.

“All right,” she said. “We stay together and head for Nottingham tomorrow at dark. We don’t want to be seen,” she added. “Not if any of Gisborne’s men are still in the village.” And looking for revenge if he was dead.

Bonus Scene
Robin stood in front of Much, Jemma’s staff in her hands and raised as though she were going to swing for Much’s head. Much, with a look of intense concentration on her round face, gripped a stick and let Jemma reposition her feet and hands as necessary.

“Steady your weight,” Jemma said quietly. “You want to have a strong base, but you need to be able to move quickly.”

“If I bring this down, you almost want to rise to meet it instead of letting it push you back,” Robin added.

“Stay ahead of it, then.” Much braced, and Robin brought the staff down slowly enough for Much to anticipate the movement and react accordingly.

“Balance.” Jemma adjusted her elbow. “The last thing you want is to be knocked on your arse because then you’ve got to dodge the attack and get back on your feet, which is tricky.”

Much smiled wryly. “Is that why Robin shoots them from a distance?”

She giggled. “Probably, but have you seen her when she’s got to use her bow like a staff?”

“It’s a good, solid yew bow.” Robin put a little more pressure against Much’s stick to see what would happen, and grinned brightly when the younger girl stayed strong and balanced. She even pushed back a bit, and Robin’s grin sharpened.

Robin leaned away, slid the staff down her palms to a different grip, and drew back in preparation to jab for somewhere in Much’s midriff.

“Now, if you’re very quick and confident, then you can swing down and knock it aside.” Jemma guided Much’s hands and arms into the movement, and used the stick to deflect Robin’s attack. It happened slowly, so Much could ease into it.

“That’s going to hurt if you get hit with it,” Robin said, snapping her arms back as though she were going to try stabbing forward again. “It’s going to crack or break your ribs if it connects, and there’s no shame in jumping out of the way.”

Jemma put her hands on Much’s waist and helped her swerve her hips to the side and out of the line of fire from the staff in Robin’s hands. “Swerve first, and then try to knock it out of the way. If you can somehow knock it out of her hands, that’s great, but usually you won’t get someone to part with their weapon.”

“Especially men,” Robin added. “That’s who you’ll be against, most likely.”

Much froze.

Robin lowered her staff and rested one end of it on the toe of her boot like she frequently did with her bow. She rubbed the side of her nose and softly said, “It’s…it’s ugly. There’s nothing dignified about it because someone is actively trying to hurt you and your focus is on making sure they can’t.”

She lowered the stick. “And you want to hurt them back.”

“Only to give yourself enough time and space to get away,” Jemma added gently. “If it comes down to it, whether it’s them or you, we’d always rather have you.”

“It’s a difficult choice to make, Much.” Robin reached out and wrapped her fingers around Much’s wrist. “We’d rather none of you lot – you, Kitty, and Maggie – have to make it.”

The implication sunk in a bit, and Much took a deep breath only to blow it out again. “Right.” She readjusted her grip on the stick and raised it once more. “Again?”

“Absolutely,” Jemma said. “Remember what I told you about your elbows.”

Robin smiled sharply and tightened her fingers around the staff.

Author Bio:
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.



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