Read Randall #03 - Sherwood Ltd. Online

Authors: Anne R. Allen

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Randall #03 - Sherwood Ltd.

BOOK: Randall #03 - Sherwood Ltd.
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Table of Contents
 

Title Page

Foreword by Saffina Desforges.

Chapter 1—The Man in the Green Hoodie

Chapter 2—Poor, Out of Luck, and Friendless

Chapter 3—No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Chapter 4—Little Beige Lies

Chapter 5—Sherwood, Ltd.

Chapter 6—Not Right for Us at This Time

Chapter 7—Robin Hood Airport

Chapter 8—Fairy Tale Villages and Mutant Zombies

Chapter 9—Welcome to Sherwood

Chapter 10—Down the Rabbit Hole

Chapter 11—The Merry Men

Chapter 12—A Two-Headed Shilling

Chapter 13—Good Manners for Bad Times

Chapter 14—The Major Oak

Chapter 15—Full English

Chapter 16—Rubber Gregory

Chapter 17—Quiz Night

Chapter 18—Getting Sorted

Chapter 19—A Nice Cup of Tea

Chapter 20—Damsel in the Dungeon

Chapter 21—The Outlaws of Sherwood

Chapter 22—Lincoln Green

Chapter 23—The Fangs of Sherwood Forest

Chapter 24—Lost Boys

Chapter 25—Vermin

Chapter 26—Three Times Naught

Chapter 27—The Wendy House

Chapter 28—Greenwich Mean Time

Chapter 29—The Whole Chicken

Chapter 30—Tricksters

Chapter 31—The Panic Button

Chapter 32—Gisborne

Chapter 33—The Arrival

Chapter 34—Cuddly Predators

Chapter 35—The Witch and the Gunslinger

Chapter 36—Honor Among Thieves

Chapter 37—Shagging the Devil

Chapter 38—Wolfshead

Chapter 39—A Handy Dungeon

Chapter 40—Out of the Woods

Chapter 41—King Canute

Chapter 42—Dungeon Master

Chapter 43—Fairy Thimble Cottage

Chapter 44—The Swords of Sherwood

Chapter 45—The Way We Live Now

Chapter 46—Home is the Hunter

Chapter 47—A Matter of Life and Death

Chapter 48—Leader of the Pack

Chapter 49—The Real Maid Marian

Chapter 50—The Green Fairy

Chapter 51—The Third Man

Chapter 52—Fakes

Chapter 53—Dr. Alan Greene Makes a Phone Call

Chapter 54—Distressed Damsels

Chapter 55—A Spot of Weather

Chapter 56—My Life as a Plush Bunny

Chapter 57—Summer Rain

Chapter 58—The Trespasser

Chapter 59—Swynsby-Under-Trent

Chapter 60—Not Precisely All Right

Chapter 61—Old Friends

Chapter 62—Drowned Rats

Chapter 63—An Arrest

Chapter 64—Peanut Butter and Jelly

Chapter 65—Gay Best Friends

Chapter 66—Madri-Gal

Chapter 67—Clueless Pills for Breakfast

Chapter 68—Out of the Way

Chapter 69—The Great God Peter Pan

Chapter 70—Three Murders

Chapter 71—Chamomile Tea

Chapter 72—Storybook Barbies

Chapter 73—Lady Bountiful

Chapter 74—Into the Woods

Chapter 75—Fairy Thimbles

Chapter 76—Professional Liars

Chapter 77—Dorcas

Chapter 78—Grey Goose

Chapter 79—A Night Visitor

Chapter 80—Advance

Chapter 81—Nothing but a Lubber Lost

Chapter 82—Coyote Redux

 

SHERWOOD LIMITED

 

 

 

by

 

Anne R. Allen

 

 

© Anne R. Allen, 2011. All rights reserved.

 

 

This novel is a work of fiction. The resemblance of any characters to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

 

 

Published by Mark Williams international Digital Publishing

 

 

Foreword by Saffina Desforges.

 

(UK bestselling author of
Sugar & Spice
and the
Rose Red
crime thrillers.)

 

 

When you see the name Sherwood you automatically think of Lincoln green, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and Robin Hood and his merry men.

 

If you’re a baby-boomer the theme from the old Richard Greene series will surely be floating through your mind as you read this. Younger readers may be thinking Michael Praed, Jason Connery or Russell Crowe.

 

But the Robin Hood legend is part of our culture, whichever side of the Atlantic you’re on. We all know it. We all love it. Which is why you will just love Anne R. Allen’s
Sherwood Ltd
.

 

Those of you who have read Anne’s previous books in the
Camilla Randall Mysteries
series will know the background to the Manners Doctor, as Camilla is known. But there’s no need to be familiar with Camilla’s past to enjoy this latest romantic-comedy adventure.

 

Anne R. Allen herself is a celebrated blogger about writers and writing, so no surprise her novels often have literary themes. We last saw Camilla Randall in the hilarious romantic comedy
Ghostwriters In the Sky
, fighting not entirely imaginary menaces amid a writers’ conference in California.

 

Sherwood Ltd
takes up Camilla’s adventures from there, with the Manners Doctor turning up in England in pursuit of a publishing deal that may or may not exist, in what may or may not be Robin Hood country, and among men only some of whom are merry.

 

As for Robin… You decide.

 

 

 

S.D.

Chapter 1—The Man in the Green Hoodie

 

 

Anybody can become an outlaw. For me, all it took was a little financial myopia, an inherited bad taste in spouses, a recession—and there I was, the great-granddaughter of newspaper baron H. P. Randall, edging around in alley-shadows, about to become a common thief.

Okay, I was only stealing trash: a clear plastic bag stuffed with enough bottles and cans to redeem for a quart of milk. I’d seen it from the window of my friend’s San Francisco apartment where I was doing a little uninvited house-sitting. All I’d found to pour on my morning flax flakes was a dusty bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. Not the best fortification for a day of job-hunting.

I stretched an arm into the dumpster, but the bag of recyclables was just beyond my reach. Praying the gathering dusk would make me invisible to passersby, I kicked off my heels, hoisted myself to the dumpster’s rim and—with a triumphant clatter of Pellegrino bottles—extricated my treasure, safely unobserved.

Except by some dog who had materialized behind me in the alley—a skinny, bedraggled thing—investigating my discarded shoes with a hungry snout.

“You’re not to eat those.” I balanced on the edge of the dumpster, keeping my toes out of biting range. I adore dogs, but this one had odd, not-safe eyes.

A light flared from the street end of the alley.

I froze.

“Are you all right up there?” A man moved toward me—all spiky hair and bony shoulders, silhouetted against the lights from out on Castro Street. I managed to twist around to a sitting position, clutching my trash bag. I hoped I wasn’t poaching on his territory. The homeless, like everybody else, would have rules of etiquette. What irony if an etiquette expert were to be attacked for bad manners.

The man struck another match and reflected flame glinted off steel-rimmed glasses as he lit a pipe. The scent of tobacco wafted above the garbage stink. He came closer. I clutched the glass-filled bag, ready to use it as a weapon.

“The coyote,” he said: “The trickster: ‘always poor, out of luck, and friendless’—Mark Twain said that, I believe.” His accent was British. Reassuring. “I’d hoped to see a bit of the wild life of San Francisco, but that’s not the sort I had in mind.”

An ulp moment.

“That was a coyote?” I tried to breathe normally as the animal slunk away. “They don’t eat people, do they?” Thank goodness I was wearing my most conservative pants suit. I didn’t want to appear connected with “wild life” of any kind.

“I’m told they like to nibble on human feet.” The man gave a half-smile.

I wiggled my naked toes and shuddered. “Thanks for scaring it away.”

“I’m no expert on coyotes, mind you.” He puffed on his pipe. “We haven’t many in Nottinghamshire.” He was tall and good-looking, in an unkempt, What-Not-To-Wear sort of way: Oxford don meets Pirate of the Caribbean. A little older than me. Mid-forties, maybe. He wore a hooded green sweatshirt with the Golden Gate Bridge embroidered on the chest. Probably a tourist. I relaxed a bit.

“Not a lot of coyotes in Manhattan either,” I said. “I’ve just arrived in San Francisco myself.” My instinct was to offer a hand and introduce myself, but:

1) I didn’t think it wise to give my name to an alley-person—no matter how educated and/or attractive.

2) I didn’t want my dumpster-dive to make its way into the press.

3) My free hand was occupied with keeping myself from sliding, derrière-first, into the smelly trash below.

I decided it was time to make a quick exit. But a passing headlight showed the glitter of broken glass on the pavement below. Not nice for jumping on in bare feet.

“Let me help.” The man stuck his pipe in his teeth and reached up to circle my waist with big, powerful hands. He lifted me down gently. “Did you drop something valuable in the skip there?” He smelled of peach tobacco and Scotch.

“Just some recycling.” I avoided eye contact and made my way toward my shoes. I wished his touch hadn’t felt so electric.

“You risked life and limb rather than pollute? Are you sure you’re not a native?” He offered a supportive arm and friendly grin as I stepped into my pumps, but I resisted the urge to flirt. My soul-crushing divorce—plus a fizzled rebound romance—had cured me of trusting good-looking men. Even polite ones. Besides, this was the Castro; the man had to be gay.

He re-lit his pipe. “You’re here for a bit of a holiday then?” His accent wasn’t BBC English, but something edgier—more northern.

“No. Work,” I said, lying by omission. I picked up the bag. “I must run.”

“What sort of work do you do?”

My least favorite question. Since MetroFeatures dropped my column six months ago, I hadn’t done any actual work—unless you counted nursing my dying mother, staging a ridiculously lavish funeral, fighting the foreclosure on my apartment—and dealing with those condescending debt consolidation people.

“I write.” I gave him a dismissive smile and moved toward the building.

He laughed. “Indeed! I don’t suppose you have an unpublished novel lying about? Something a bit steamy?” He puffed his pipe. “Perhaps involving whips and chains?”

My head pounded. Of course. A stranger in a city alley at night—what made me think he wouldn’t be a pervert? With a quick pivot I took off toward the stairs.

I could hear him running behind me.

“Lass! I’m sorry!” I could feel his breath on my neck

I launched the trash bag in the direction of his solar plexus and ran as quickly as stiletto heels would allow. I heard my Pellegrino bottles shatter as the bag fell short.

The man wasn’t fazed a bit. “Don’t go!”

One of his big hands clamped onto my wrist. With the other, he reached into his pocket.

Oh, great. He had a gun.

Chapter 2—Poor, Out of Luck, and Friendless
BOOK: Randall #03 - Sherwood Ltd.
8.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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