Robin in the Hood (Robbin' Hearts Series Book 1)

Robin in the Hood (Robbin' Hearts Series Book 1) by Diane J. Reed Read Free Book Online

Book: Robin in the Hood (Robbin' Hearts Series Book 1) by Diane J. Reed Read Free Book Online
Authors: Diane J. Reed
Tags: General Fiction
applying a sharp yank to keep me from bolting.
    “Hold on there, missy!” A woman’s voice cackled with a laugh.
    The more I struggled, the more I choked on the smooth curve of wood that kept me anchored in place, like a . . . a . . .
    Shepherd’s crook?
    What was this, some sicko fairy tale?
    When I grabbed at my neck to try and pull away, the woman gave me another jerk just to show she meant business. She tweaked my ear hard for good measure.
    “Ow! Ow—okay, okay!” I yelped, afraid she was about to clap me upside the head.
    “So, you fixin’ to mud wrestle with me all night out here?” the woman growled. “Or are you gonna come inside my wagon for a warm cup of tea?”
    I stiffened for a moment.
    Hmm . . . ear tweaking, or tea with Crazy Lady?
    For a split-second, I considered trying to kick myself free—if only I wasn’t still gagging on Loony Bo Peep’s hold around my neck. With that thought, she gave my ear another mean twist.
    “Ow—Tea! Tea!!” I cried.
    The woman cackled as if she were accustomed to such outbursts, which weirded me out even more. Thankfully, she released my ear and unhooked my neck, then wrapped her arm tight around my shoulders to guide me forward.
    Swell. There’s nothing like taking a little stroll in the middle of the night with a freaky stranger to keep your heart pumping. And just my luck, it was too dark to spot an escape route, let alone to see Stalker Guy any more.
    “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing, missy,” the woman said, as if she’d heard my thoughts. “Creek ain’t gonna hurt you so long as you’re with me.”
    I sighed, exasperated. “Who the hell is Creek? And can you please tell me why I should care?”
    The woman fell silent.
    I could hear her open a heavy door with a squeaky hinge, presumably to her wagon.
    “Well, I reckon them ain’t quite the right questions,” she said rather mysteriously.
    The orange glow lit up again and filled the night air with spicy smoke. To my surprise, the woman set a heavy hand on my shoulder and gave me jiggle, as if to wake me from a deep sleep.
    “What you really oughta be askin’ by now is—who in tarnation are

Chapter 5
,” I said defiantly, though the strange woman gave me a scrunched stare like she didn’t believe me. She puffed on her cigar, and I tried to wave away the smoke.
    “I see,” she replied, her lips curving into a smile.
    She set down her shepherd’s crook in a corner of her cramped, gypsy wagon that was filled with hanging herbs, dusty books, and jars of icky things like lizard’s feet and entrails. I watched as her black lace-gloved fingers skimmed a crystal ball on a shelf, and for the life of me, I thought I saw it cloud over. She turned to stare at me.
    Her eyes resembled a timberwolf’s. Their color was a peculiar, translucent gray with yellow in the middle, and they turned up slightly at the edges, as if caught in a permanent, predator’s glare. At this point, I was beginning to think stepping inside her wagon might have been the biggest mistake of my whole life.
    “Here, take one,” she insisted, picking up a deck of scuffed cards and handing them to me. She motioned for me to sit down at her rustic table while she did the same. I had to push aside a candelabra she’d lit with blood-red candles to make room for my elbows, paying special attention to avoid the flames with my hair.
    “I’m Granny Tinker, by the way,” she said, her voice a mixture of warmth and gravel.
    I’d noticed nobody used their last names around Turtle Shores, so her words gave me a start. The woman caught the look in my eyes and winked.
    So that must not be her
name, I realized. And she’s probably no grandma, either. Come to think of it, in the warm light of the candles, she looked more like a beautiful, aging rock star. Her thick, salt and pepper hair spilled luxuriously to her shoulders, and she wore a burgundy top hat with a peacock feather in it. Her

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