I’m Robin, your temporary host. Last week, I showed you part of Rogue Night, my second book. But it didn’t show you how I met Sarn or why he agreed to help me.
Perhaps we’ll see that in today’s excerpt.
But first, a few announcements because Ran is driving me crazy. He wants me to tell you that Shards For His Giftwill be out before my next book, Rogue Rescue. And that’s fine because my book will have fallen gods, shapeshifters, magical strings, and a shocking revelation, and his won’t.
You can read both as they are written on Patreon or Kindle Vella. Find all the links above to start reading. Then come back for another look at:
by Melinda Kucsera
“She took my baby,” the woman Robin had mentally dubbed ‘Wolf Girl’ shouted again as she pointed a shaking finger at Robin.
“I didn’t take anyone, but someone took my baby,” Robin shot back. She set her bow case down and leaned on it. Robin needed the support while she convinced the Guard heading toward her that Wolf Girl was insane. If she didn’t, he might arrest her then who would save her baby?
No one. Robin had to lead that search and to do that, she had to stay out of jail. She couldn’t convince the Rangers to help her if she was sitting in a cell awaiting a court date. Robin shuddered at the thought.
The Guard was already looking at her with the wrong kind of interest. He saw her squared shoulders, her travel-stained clothes, and her bow case and deduced she was a warrior of some kind. Well, she was. Robin just didn’t feel up to a fight with anything other than words right now, and words had never been her forte. Well, that had to change right now.
“Listen to me,” Robin shouted over Wolf Girl. The half-naked woman wasn’t as hysterical as she should be if she’d just lost her baby.
Could she be lying about that? No, when that woman had said the word ‘baby,’ it was the only word that had rung true. Wolf Girl had a baby, but was that baby missing? If so, could the Wild Hunt have taken Wolf Girl’s baby too?
Before yesterday, Robin never would have believed them capable of such a crime. But she remembered the knife the womanish creature who led the Wild Hunt had held to her throat all too well. If that Huntress had taken Wolf Girl’s child, that woman would know it. The Huntress was too distinctive and looked too much like a deer to pass for anything other than what she was—a murderous hind. There was no way Robin could be mistaken for that creature.
“I don’t know who took your baby, but she wasn’t me. I only just arrived. You can ask the Ranger who helped my friend and I carry our wounded comrade up that windy trail out there.” Robin gestured in the direction she thought the doors were then realized she’d never gotten that Ranger’s name before he’d vanished into the mountain. Damn it.
Names hadn’t seemed important then. But now he was gone, and Robin had no way of finding him again. Great, that was one more thing that wasn’t going her way.
But the Guard latched onto her explanation with a desperation that surprised Robin. “What was his name? Tell me, so I can verify your story, and we can get this sorted.” He pulled out a little bound book and a graphite stick from a pocket on the utility belt cinching the waist of his dark blue tunic and trousers. The insignia of the Fraternal Order of the Guards of Shayari was stitched on the youngish man’s right pec: two black spears crossed over a white barbute. He held his pad up and prepared to write down what she said. So, she’d better say something. The Guard had such earnest brown eyes. Robin couldn’t look away from them.
“I didn’t ask his name. My friend was seriously injured when my daughter was kidnapped. Getting her help was more important than getting the name of that Ranger. Besides, I got the feeling he didn’t want to share that with us.” Robin paused to moisten her lips. They were dry and cracked from the cold, and she had no ointment to fix that, not where she could easily grab it anyway. Nor did she have anything else to add.
The Guard frowned as he picked over her words, searching for the truth, which was what she’d given him. Why didn’t he recognize that? Robin rocked on her heels as she waited for him to reply. If only she’d brought Strella with her. At least then she’d have some backup.
“Can you describe this Ranger?” the Guard asked. He was a youngish fellow who was out of his depth with this.
Robin suppressed a sigh, and the Guard took down what little she could recall. “He had brown hair, brown eyes, and a bad attitude. He wore winter whites instead of the usual Rangers’ uniform of variegated greens. That’s it.” Robin couldn’t remember if he had any facial hair, jewelry, or identifying marks, but neither had she really looked. That Ranger had been surly and thoroughly unhelpful, so she’d taken little notice of him after their disastrous meeting.
Now, Robin wished she’d paid more attention to that annoying man’s physical attributes and less to his conduct. But she hadn’t, so she was stuck until someone cross-checked the schedule and made a list of likely candidates. This Guard would do that, right?
Maybe Robin shouldn’t assume he would. He looked awfully green. He might even be a new recruit. That would explain why he was in this desolate place. “I’m sure if you check the schedule, you’ll find him. Or you could go to the infirmary and ask for Strella. She can confirm my story too. I traveled with her. She might have gotten his name since she spoke to him more than I did. He was rather curt with us.”
Robin fiddled with the lumir crystal hanging from the second button down on her red coat while she waited. She wouldn’t go to jail. There was only one Guard. Robin would get past him. Would the silent wall of fur and muscle backing Wolf Girl up try to stop her?
Get Rogue Night, book 2 of the Robin of Larkspur series, now.
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