As readers of The Adventures of Xavier & Vic know, my sleuths acquire the most interesting employees. Today, I’m sharing more of L’il Pete’s history. This section from book 2.5 (A Right to Love) where charming Pete discovers the scary Mr. Tubs might like him.
Jacko returned to Xavier’s room and found L’il Pete sitting on the bed beside Xavier telling him of his scary escape from Tubs.
Jacko didn’t want the boy getting too confident about his ability to escape dangerous thugs. Xavier evidently had the same concern. “I can see you have courage, but a great man needs to use his brains, as well. You should have never taken that job, and the reason you got away from Tubs is not because you were smarter or faster than the giant. I happen to know he is deadly fast.”
Pete tilted his head in confusion. “Then why’d I get away?”
“Because Tubs hates killing little boys. So he moved fast enough that anyone watching would think he was trying, but not so fast that you couldn’t escape.”
L’il Pete shook his head in disagreement.
Jacko spoke up. “It’s true, Pete. I was just talking to Tubs. I had a favor I wanted him to do for me, and in return, he asked me to get you a better job. He said he’d been ordered twice to kill you. He was worried the next man sent wouldn’t have a problem killing little boys.”
Pete looked up with a grin. “Does that mean Sonny Tubs likes me?”
Jacko nodded. “I have no idea how a person couldn’t like you.”
Xavier studied Jacko. “Why don’t you hire the boy to take your messages?”
The boy sighed heavily. “He did, but me mum don’t trust the job and says I have to quit.”
“Evidently, I paid him too much, although to be fair, twenty pounds of his money was for the information about you.”
“Bloody Hell! First, you charge Victor ten pounds for a map I drew and then give this boy a mere twenty pounds to lurk in Ransom’s alley?”
Pete waved his hands frantically in an attempt to calm Xavier. “He didn’t pay me to be there. I was there watching vendors when I saw you. I’d heard about the reward and sought him out. While he said it didn’t warrant the grand prize, it got me a great job and twenty pounds.”
Xavier frowned. “I wish to speak to your mother. She is being entirely foolish in this matter.”
The great Victorian sleuth Xavier Thorn and his partner Vic Hamilton take a case close to home. Their youngest staff member, L’il Pete, discovers his mother murdered in the alley. Jacko is called up from the country to assist in solving the crime. The good woman’s murder proves to be tangled up with a much larger and shocking list of crimes perpetrated by a powerful man who may truly be above the law. Making matters more complex: Vic discovers her recent weight gain may be the result of a condition that could destroy her life and everything she loves.
Jacko didn’t expect a giant, a grumpy driver, and a former pirate to receive an overly warm welcome when they arrived at Vic’s house. However, Gregory surprised him with what looked to be a genuine smile.
“Please come in. Peter will be so pleased to see you.”
Jacko grimaced at the gentrification of L’il Pete’s name. Poor boy was no doubt in desperate need of rescue from this place.
Gregory led them to the parlor where Vic’s sister, Claire, was reading aloud about colored moths. Pete sat in quiet misery on the sofa next to some poor dope clearly bewitched by the petite beauty. While Jacko had never met Vic’s sister before, he was prone to dislike her from the stories his wife had shared.
Claire looked up from her reading and frowned at their arrival. “Vic isn’t here. How can you not know that?” She showered her scold upon Tubs. “I was under the impression it was your job to watch over him.”
“Vic’s with Xavier, so we came to visit Pete,” Jacko replied, resenting that this hothouse flower dare scold Tubs about anything. She clearly didn’t appreciate the difficulty of the fellow’s task.
Pete jumped from the sofa, his smile stretching from ear to ear. “You came for me?”
“We missed you,” Tubs stated.
The boy ran to Tubs and wrapped his arms about the giant’s leg.
“Peter, stop that. One does not go about hugging…people.”
Without a doubt, the lady had intended to say ‘servants’. Jacko was no longer on the fence regarding his opinion of her. His wife was right. Vic and Claire were exact opposites, with Vic having a genuinely good heart while Claire possessed only a false veneer of the same.
The besotted fellow stood and approached Jacko. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m David Brown, Claire’s husband.”
Gads! Someone married her? He shook the fellow’s hand. “Jacon Bienora.”
“He’s the pirate Alice married,” Claire said.
Jacko eyed her, then returned his focus to David. He seemed like a nice fellow, shame he’d married so poorly. “Former pirate. I’m reformed now.”
Well Kept Secrets
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Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved normally. But all those bad behaviors have given have lots of fodder for her humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Ghost Lover—Two British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. And there’s a ghost cat that roams about the book as well. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
Untamed & Unabashed—The youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia, tells her story. A faithful spinoff from Pride & Prejudice.
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist — The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets — L’il Pete’s mum is murdered, and discovering who & why reveals a great many secrets.
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