Happily Ever After… Who doesn’t love a good old fashion boy gets the girl fairy tale? There’s a reason fairy tales have been around for ages, telling stories, teaching moral lessons, and preserving history. Even in this fast-paced, techno world where magic has faded and innocence is devalued, we still gravitate to stories that end happily ever after. I love a happy ending as much as the next person, but I think even better than the ending is the main character’s journey.
When I was a kid, I dreamt about being swept off my feet by Prince Charming or magic fixing all my troubles. As I got older, I realized that all the Fairy Godmothers in the world wouldn’t have been able to help Cinderella if she wasn’t ready, willing, and able to help herself. Somewhere along the line, it penetrated my thick skull—happily ever after is there for people who are willing to create it. Since then, I’ve been chasing my happily ever after. A big part of that dream is my writing career.
When I saw a chance to write for a twisted fairy tale anthology, I jumped at the chance. It was so much fun to use a familiar backdrop to send the characters on a whole new adventure. I chose Robin Hood and twisted the story from Robin the knight coming home from the crusades to save Nottingham to Robyn being the wife of a knight who followed the Lion Heart to the Holy Land.
Left behind to fend for herself in an increasingly desperate situation, Lady Robyn Ashby fights to survive and protect her people after losing her home and land to the greedy and corrupt King John. Robyn, Little John, Will Scarlet, Friar Tuck, and the rest of the fabled bandits find a haven in Sherwood Forrest and, true to legend, help and protect the downtrodden citizens of Nottingham. When her husband returns from the dead, can Robyn set aside her bitter resentment and strike a blow for the people?
“The Lady of Sherwood” is my installment in Ravenous Fables! Full of reinvented fairy tales, this anthology is bursting with adventure, romance with a liberal dose of heat, and of course, happily ever after! They’re not your mama’s fairy tales! The paperback is live now, and you can preorder the ebook for just 99 cents! Worth every penny!!
An excerpt from “The Lady of Sherwood”…
With a sigh, Robyn pulled off her boots. The grass felt like a carpet under her feet, and she wiggled her toes.
“You can’t trust him, Robyn,” Will Scarlet said, materializing out of the forest.
Robyn closed her eyes and let the sunshine hit her face. So much for her moment of peace. “I have no reason not to trust him, Will.” She opened her eyes and looked at the young man. “I know we don’t want to remember this, but he didn’t know how it would turn out when he left. They all believed they were on a mission for God and King. He’s not the same man who left us.”
The realization slowly dawned on Robyn, though she hadn’t wanted to admit it. Her anger and resentment of Simon had kept her warm on cold nights when her belly was empty and her heart broken.
Will scoffed, “I can’t believe how quickly, you of all people, forget. He’s a king’s man through and through. People don’t change. This fallen lord ruse is meant to toy with your heart. It seems to be working, judging by the way you stare at him. Why don’t you open your legs for him and have done with it?”
Robyn’s cheeks flamed with anger and embarrassment. Before her reprimand could leave her lips, Simon hurtled out of the trees, tackling Will. They scuffled in the grass while Robyn watched with bemused irritation. Larger and stronger, Simon had Will by the back of his shirt and shook him like a mother dog with an irascible pup.
“You’ll apologize to my wife, boy,” Simon snarled.
“She doesn’t need you to defend her.”
With a sudden movement, Will dropped and twisted out of Simon’s hold. Simon might be bigger and stronger, but Will was faster. Simon lunged after him, and they tumbled to the ground. Will managed to pull away, and the two men separated, glaring at each other. Robyn’s bowstring sang twice in quick succession as she planted an arrow at their feet. They froze and looked at her. She walked to Will and plucked the arrow from the ground.
“Get out of my sight,” Robyn said with icy finality.
Will’s wide-eyed expression crumpled, and his shoulders slumped. He spared one final glare at Simon before slinking away.
Robyn turned to Simon and pulled the other arrow from the earth, wiping the tip clean with her shirt before putting it in her quiver. She turned to leave, uncertain what to say and in desperate need of space.
“When did you learn to shoot a bow?”
Simon’s question stopped her in her tracks. “When I had to hunt or starve. Hunger is a powerful motivator and an unforgiving tutor.” Robyn’s anger surged forward, reminding her that this man had caused years of hardship. She spun on her heel, confused by her own seesawing emotions.
Simon’s hand closed around her elbow and turned her back to him. She stiffened in his hold.
“I’m sorry, Robyn.” He pulled her into his arms and crushed her against his chest, which was as warm and solid as she remembered. Her anger snuffed like a candle. Tears pricked in her eyes as she rested her cheek against his chest. Over the years, Robyn had dreamt of him holding her like this, even when she burned with hatred for him.
“I’m proud of you. I always knew you were strong. I hope one day, you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me,” he whispered against her hair. Simon let her go and brushed a tender kiss across her lips. He looked at her for a heartbeat before stepping away.
Robyn swallowed and sat in the soft grass. Unbidden, a memory floated to the surface. Simon sat beside her on the grass next to the lake at Ashby Manor. Hot summer sun filtered through the leaves of the trees. She had worn her hair down at his request, though it was incredibly uncomfortable in the heat. He swept it up in his hand and blew cool air across her neck, making her shiver and her stomach clench with desire. Lazily, he laid her back on the thick grass and, one by one, worked the buttons of her bodice loose. The image dissolved in her mind, but she could still feel the kiss of sunlight on her bare chest, the cool grass in her fists as she clutched them in pleasure, and his mouth. Oh, she remembered his clever, wicked mouth and how he seared her skin with teasing kisses until she writhed beneath him in need.
Robyn pulled in a shaky breath. The memory left her aroused. She wasn’t that woman anymore, and the days of sunlight were lost to the shadow of hunger, hatred, and death. Robyn swiped an impatient hand across her face to erase the tears, wondering if they were for the woman she used to be or the one she had become.
“Robyn?” Little John called from within the camp behind her.
Grateful for the interruption, Robyn pushed to her feet and slung her bow over her shoulder. “I’m here, John,” she answered as she banished her melancholy thoughts and strode out of the meadow.
About the Author
A.C. Dawn is an active and enthusiastic author and reader of short stories, novellas, and novels. She enjoys bringing her characters to life and strives to stir the imagination of her readers. She believes the best writing touches the reader in ways they hadn’t expected and will never forget!
So, that’s the official bio…
Really, I’m a lover of chocolate, a strong jawline with a 5 o’clock shadow, and romances that make your heart pound and your middle get all squishy. I love quiet country living on my north Georgia farm with my family and fur babies of all shapes and sizes. I think the scariest thing in life is how fast my daughter is growing and an empty coffee pot. I can’t stand slow drivers in the fast lane and wimpy handshakes.
I have endless stories rumbling around among the rocks in my head. I can’t wait to share them with you!