Title: Daughter of Sherwood (Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy Book One)
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Raised in the kitchens of Nottingham Castle, Wren has no idea she is the daughter of the legendary Robin Hood until she is summoned to Sherwood Forest. Since Robin's death many years before, the resistance against Norman tyranny has been upheld by a magical triad, but now one of the guardians has died. With two young men, Sparrow and Martin, Wren must form a new triad with a bond strong enough to defend Sherwood's magic. To one of them, she will also give her heart.
From the moment Wren bursts into his life, Sparrow loves her. But he knows she may choose his lifelong rival, Martin, as her mate. Martin wants Wren also, but Sparrow fears Martin is driven not by love but by ambition. When Martin is captured and held at Nottingham Castle, will the conflict between love and duty destroy the triad?
For the first time, Lil hesitated. “You have heard the tales,” she said, “of how Robin loved a baron’s daughter called Marian, and she forsook her father’s house to follow him.”
“You would have me believe that true, as well? No one would leave the comforts of a Norman dwelling for the forest.”
“You did not know Marian, a woman of considerable passion. But she was not Norman; equal parts Saxon and Celt fired her blood, just as that of Robin himself.”
“She lives still? Where is she?”
Lil’s expression turned grave. “She crumbled when Robin died, all her considerable spirit torn to shreds. To be sure, we feared for her sanity. She gave birth to you in Sherwood but decided she could not bear to stay and raise you.”
“She abandoned me?” Pain squeezed Rennie’s heart, a familiar ache that seemed to have accompanied her all her life.
“Child, she had no choice. Her love for your father was a desperate thing, fierce, unending. Well, we all loved him.” Abruptly, Lil’s voice wavered. “That was how Robin inspired his followers, through love and belief. He wove a kind of spell—it is that we refused to let die.”
“But my mother, Marian—what happened to her?”
“She entered the convent near Lincoln, three days after your birth.”
Rennie’s anger acquired a thread of hope. “I might go there and see her, then?”
Lil shook her head. “She died three years ago. Child”—she grasped Rennie’s arm—“I wanted to tell you then. By Herne’s horns, I wanted to tell you a score of times. But I knew your ignorance protected you. And you are far too important.”
“Important? Me?” Rennie scoffed. “Now I know you lie.” And that hurt unbearably; Lil never lied to her. At least, never that she had known. Suddenly the beloved old woman seemed a stranger.
“Everything rests upon you—on you and Sparrow, and Martin.”
“Two fellows named after birds? What—”
“Not two named after birds—three.” Lil spoke with emphasis. “Three is a magical number. You were birthed three weeks after Robin’s death, your mother nursed you three days that you might live, she died three years ago. Three of you.” Lil’s voice dropped so Rennie had to lean forward to hear. “Three birds.”
“Martin, born first, so very much the son of his father, Will, with that fierceness bred into him: Martin Scarlet. Sparrow Little, with his father John’s strength and gentleness. And you, child—Wren.”
“Eh? But my name is Re—” She stopped abruptly, unable to go on.
“Wren, lass, not Rennie, though ’tis what I always called you. Three birds, all birthed in Sherwood. And now the time has come. You must go back.”
Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. These days while she's writing, you can always find her latest rescue, Lacy, nearby. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura's mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
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Laura Strickland Author @LauraSt05038951
Title: Champion of Sherwood (Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy Book Two)
Author: Laura Strickland
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
When Gareth de Vavasour, nephew of the Sheriff of Nottingham, is captured by the outlaws of Sherwood Forest and held for ransom, he knows he will be fortunate to escape with his life. Amid the magic and danger that surround him, he soon realizes his true peril lies in the beautiful dark eyes of Linnet, the Saxon healer sent to tend his wounds.
Granddaughter of Robin Hood, Linnet has always known she is destined to become a guardian of Sherwood Forest, along with her sister and a close childhood companion. She believes her life well settled until the arrival of Gareth. Then all her loyalties are tested even as her heart is forced to choose between love and the ties of duty, while Sherwood declares its own champion.
“This will hurt,” the woman told Gareth, and he caught his breath. Each time she had told him so, it had proved true, and he believed her now. He braced himself for more pain and told himself he was nowhere near the end of his endurance. Was he not a proven knight? Had he not endured broken bones before, been tossed in the lists and taken many a hard fall?
Aye, but then he had only needed to get to his feet and weather his injuries. He had not been surrounded by a pack of carrion ravens.
True, he found himself, now, alone inside a dim hut with this woman. But he knew the scavengers still lurked outside—he could hear at least two men just beyond the door, no doubt guarding it, and talking to one another. The other noise outside had not abated. Folk seemed excited by the proposed spectacle of his death.
But would they provide him this care only to kill him? The woman—Linnet, he had heard someone call her—had skill in her hands, quick and gentle. Already she had set his broken arm and now worked over the ugly wound at his shoulder, which brought her very close to him, indeed. She poured some vile- smelling liquid into the wound, and he caught his breath sharply.
She had not lied: it hurt.
“That will help keep the poisoning from setting in,” she said with brief asperity.
“Does it matter? They wish only to kill me, that crowd out there. They will never send me to Nottingham return me, even should a ransom be paid.” He stole another look into her face. Nothing like he had imagined a Saxon peasant, she was entirely surprising. Aye, some of their women were bonny and reputedly lustful, with bountiful yellow locks and still more bountiful bosoms. None of that fit this woman at all.
Her face floated above him, a pure, almost perfect oval. Most of her dark brown hair lay gathered under a head covering, but her brows soared like two dark wings over eyes so beautiful and unusual he scarcely dared look into them. Fringed by the longest lashes he had ever seen, they appeared liquid dark, bottomless and wild. In truth, she felt wild withal, despite her neat clothing, a foreign creature not meant for this place. Yet her hands remained kind and calm, her face serene—an intriguing contrast.
“They will not kill you,” she said softly. “Though, it will go better with you if you tell them your name so they can send word to Nottingham.”
Gareth shook his head.
A slight frown marred her smooth brow. “A word of advice—you will tell them, sooner or later. Spare yourself their persuasion.”
“Torture, is it? As might be expected of cowards.”