Today I am so pleased to have the fabulous Liza O’Connor here with Well Kept Secrets. Welcome Liza.
Well Kept Secrets
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, when Pete’s mum made him stop working for Jacko. Just to remind you how adorable L’il Pete is.
Tears formed in the boy’s eyes and his lips quivered. “Me ma says I can’t work for you no more.”
“Did she say why?” Jacko asked.
L’il Pete nodded but said nothing.
“And what was her reason?”
The boy looked away. “I don’t wanna tell ya.”
Jacko touched his arm. “Well, I need to know.”
L’il Pete scuffed the floor with his shoe. “She says something ain’t right for you to pay me so much for so little.”
Jacko sighed. “I see. I paid you too much, did I?”
“I guess so.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out twenty-five pounds. “I have to give it back.”
“Now that’s not fair. You earned the money fair and square. In fact, you helped save a man’s life.”
The boy looked up in shook. “For real?”
Jacko nodded. “Yes, and I need to go see him. Would you like to meet the man you saved?
The boy stood up straight and nodded with vigor.
When they approached Wicked, Jacko picked up L’il Pete and held him before his horse. “Don’t bite this boy. He’s got character.”
Wicked snorted and tossed his head, but he didn’t nip when Pete petted his nose.
Jacko mounted and then reached down and helped the boy up.
The boy laughed as they left the barn. “This is the funnest thing I’ve ever done.”
All the way to Xavier’s tenement, L’il Pete called out to other street boys so they could see him on the horse.
When the boy saw the Queen’s Men, he pointed at them. “Soldiers! Ain’t they grand?”
Jacko passed through the line of soldiers guarding Xavier’s temporary quarters. Pulling the horse to a halt at the boarding room entrance, he helped Pete down and then dismounted his horse. One of the Royal Rifles came to take the steed. “Just leave him be. He bites.”
To prove this, Wicked nipped at the man.
“I don’t bite.” L’il Pete held out his hand. “Will you shake my hand, sir?”
The soldier smiled and shook his hand.
Jacko led the excited boy upstairs. Pete remained happy until he spotted Tubs. Upon sight of the ugly giant, the boy froze.
“He won’t harm you.” Jacko nudged him along. By the way Pete clung to his leg, the boy didn’t believe that to be true.
“Where’s Vic?” he asked Tubs.
“Home getting a bath.” Tubs focused on the boy and frowned.
Jacko opened the door to Xavier’s room and his heart stopped. The bed was empty. Damn it, he should have never trusted Tubs!
“The boss is in the other room now,” Tubs said.
Jacko rushed to the other door and relaxed when he opened it to Xavier scolding the doctor. He had no trouble getting Pete inside. The boy was so anxious to get away from Tubs that he hit the door full force, knocking it out of Jacko’s hand. When it slammed against the wall both Xavier and Dr. Connor looked at him as if he were mad.
Jacko shrugged and closed the door, while Pete stepped toward Xavier. “Hello. I’m L’il Pete and I helped save you.”
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.
As dim light crept through the window, Pete’s stomach turned to lead. Something had happened to his mum. She was never this late.
Maybe she was hurt and needed his help.
With chattering teeth, he abandoned the warmth of the blanket and shoved his tiny feet into the boots Vic had bought him so he could do his job as their message boy without his feet falling off.
To the best of his memory, he couldn’t recall anyone whose feet had actually frozen and broke off, but he knew of seven boys who plum froze to death in the cold.
At least he didn’t have to waste time getting dressed. He’d never taken off his clothes or coat last night…much too cold for that, given their apartment wasn’t a bit warmer than outside, only less windy.
His parched throat drove him to the table, hoping some water remained in the pitcher. He spied an inch in the bottom, frozen solid. Without a fire, he had no way to warm it up. And he had nothin’ to start a fire with.
He put a torn, sad coat over his good one, so nobody would realize he had something worth taking. Then he tied rags around his fine leather boots to hide them too. Otherwise, he’d be stripped bare and left to die in the cold before he got two blocks from home.
The people who lived in this part of London would take advantage of anyone smaller, and unfortunately, Pete was not only nine, but a really small nine at that. Most seven-year-olds could take him in a fair fight, not that anyone hereabouts fought fair.
Thus, Pete had to use his brain to keep what was his. So far, it’d worked. Nobody had any idea what a great job he’d landed at Thorn’s Private Inquiries. Both he and his mum had the good sense to keep his good fortune a secret.
Well Kept Secrets
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Need to catch up?
The Troublesome Apprentice
The Missing Partner
A Right to Love
All Xavier books Free with Amazon Unlimited
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 her 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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