This is a newsletter takeover.
I hope you had a good week. This isn’t Ran, but don’t worry. Ran is fine. But his book isn’t releasing in a few weeks. Mine is, so you get me for the next couple of weeks.
Who am I?
I’m Robin. Yes, I’m that Robin, the character Ran likes to complain about. I don’t now what his problem is. I’m just a single mother trying to save her daughter. You’d think he’d have some sympathy for me, but I understand. He likes to get all the page time.
But sometimes, other characters need to get some page time too. Now, if you’ve just read the Curse Breaker series, then you might not know me since I only appeared in a few scenes in Curse Breaker Hidden.
Before I introduce myself and my story, my Scribe (Melinda Kucsera), asked that I tell you the latest episode of her podcast is available to listen to in all the places you listen to podcasts or on YouTube.
There’s also an audiobook of Season 1 to make catching up easier, and it’s on sale for a 1.99 for a limited time.
And my third book, Rogue Ranger, is coming out on March 10.
Oh, and Ran says hello and that he’ll return as your narrator soon. Okay, that’s the end of the announcements.
As I said above, I was just a traveler trying to find work and shelter for myself and my daughter until tragedy struck. Here’s an excerpt of the night my life changed forever from my first book:
by Melinda Kucsera
Warrior. Mother. She was both now, but could she continue to be? Robin pondered that as she ignored the snores of her tentmate. Outside, night fell, and snow too, but she was warm enough under three blankets.
Robin turned the broken arrow over and listened to the wind whistling through the nearby mountain pass as she ran her finger along the crack in the arrow’s shaft. Three months ago, she’d given birth to the healthy baby girl asleep in the wicker bassinet to her left. But she still felt like this arrow—broken inside.
End over end, the arrow spun in her hands. Maybe ‘broken’ was the wrong word. ‘Changed’ might be more apt. Giving birth had changed her body, making it curvier and fuller in places than before. It had also forced her to face the grim reality of her future as a new mother with no prospects. Sure, Robin had a bow and could outshoot most Rangers, but that wouldn’t put a roof over her daughter’s head, not when a stupid law controlled the number of Rangers a settlement could hire.
The last rejection she’d received echoed in her mind as Robin twirled the arrow around her index finger. “Sorry, lass, we’ve got no room for anyone else on the roster,” the hatchet-faced lieutenant had told her four days ago.
But he’d let her pitch a tent outside the Ranger’s barracks while she’d tried to figure out where to go next. Can’t have a woman and her baby sleep on a bunk in a house full of men. No, sir, that just wouldn’t be seemly. So, Robin had lit out of that forgotten town the next morning without a thought for the weather.
She aimed for a spot well away from her baby and her still snoring tentmate and threw the broken arrow into the darkness. Strella was out cold from the grueling hike up the mountainside, which had become a desperate scramble over icy rocks as the storm raging outside had closed in on them. Robin was just as exhausted, but her mind refused to quiet down and let her sleep, so she stared into the darkness again consumed by worry.
Would Mount Eredren be any different? It was perhaps another two days’ hike depending on the conditions of the trail, and what mother nature had in store for her tomorrow. Mount Eredren was also the next closest settlement and far larger than the two she’d already tried.
“Will they have a place for me, or will they be just as full-up as the last one?” Robin asked aloud even though only her baby was listening. As she shifted on her pallet, that question hung there in the darkness, tormenting her.
Robin rubbed her aching breasts through her red leather brigandine. Though calling the uncomfortably cold thing she lay on a ‘pallet’ was a misnomer. Handfuls of pine needles and leaves on the frozen ground with a couple of blankets thrown over them hardly counted as a fit surface for sleeping. But it was the only accommodation available this deep in the hinterlands.
Rosalie whimpered in her sleep, reminding Robin she wasn’t alone in her discomfort.
“I know, girl. This was a bad idea. I should have toughed it out until spring.” Robin sighed and pushed away that regret. It couldn’t warm her or her baby.
Outside, the wind howled as it buffeted the tent again. The storm must be intensifying, but the tent’s construction was sound enough to withstand its onslaught. Thank all that was holy for that small mercy. In the silence between gusts, snow blanketed the precipice and covered the trail she’d hike tomorrow.
“I really must start thinking instead of reacting. A little forethought could have landed us in a much better position.” But her gut had told Robin to grab her daughter and go, and she hadn’t questioned it. Maybe she should have.
Rosalie grunted even though she was too young to understand. She was probably just responding to the tone of her voice. Robin wasn’t sure she’d made the right decision.
At twenty, she was a single mother with no home, no job, and nothing to her name but the baby listening to her rant and the rucksack under her head. A tear squeezed out before she could stop it. She wanted to scream, but Rosalie beat her to it.
Robin snapped out of her funk into full-mother mode. She might have screwed up their lives for the time being, but she would be the best damned mother despite that.
“Don’t cry, sweetheart, Mama’s here. I’ll fix whatever’s wrong. I promise.” Robin swiped another tear from her eyes and levered herself up but stopped halfway when a cold, hard object touched her throat. “What the—”
A knife resolved out of the shadows and above it, two startlingly bright green eyes appeared. They seemed to float in the darkness above Robin. Watery light crept into the tent, revealing the rest of the intruder, and she was definitely not human.
Robin wanted to kick herself for not hearing the strange creature’s approach. That’s what she got for letting her insecurities out to play when she should have been on guard. Damn it; she was the daughter of a Ranger. This bitch should not have gotten the drop on her or her tentmate, but she had, and Strella was still dead asleep. If Rosalie’s scream hadn’t even woken her, would Robin’s?
Probably not and the idea of screaming for help like she was some waif in need of a rescue galled Robin. Her pride wouldn’t allow it as she matched stares with the intruder, who was not as solidly built as she was. If she could just get her hands on a knife… Robin hid a smile as a plan formed.
“Don’t move,” The green-eyed creature said.
“Who are you?” Robin asked, risking a slice, but the knife didn’t bite into her exposed flesh. Did that mean this creature hadn’t come to kill her?
“I said not to move.”
The knife didn’t waver as it pressed into Robin’s neck and drew a bead of blood. Point taken. As Robin lay back against her makeshift pallet, she let her arm slide up until her hand touched the rolled-up tunics inside the rucksack she’d been using as a pillow. Robin had unbound her hair earlier, and it hung in a straight dark fall over her shoulder, covering her arm and the hand she shoved into those tunics seeking a weapon.
“And I asked you a question. Who are you?” While Robin waited for an answer, she grasped the bone handle of her knife but didn’t draw it out of the rolled-up tunics hiding it from view. Her captor hadn’t told her to be quiet, and anger was coiling in her gut like a serpent ready to strike. Robin managed to keep that anger out of her voice but not her eyes.
They blazed with righteous indignation and a promise of retribution, but the fierce look was lost on her captor because there was only a little light filtering into the tent through the unsecured flap. It was enough to backlight her captor but not Robin since that creature’s shadow fell across her.
Get Hunter’s Night, book 1 of the Robin of Larkspur series, on sale now for 99 cents.
That’s it for this week. I hope you’ll return next week for more!
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