Today, I have Xavier Thorn, the renowned Late Victorian Sleuth. Despite his reputation for having no patience, I’m planning to ask him tough questions.
Xavier: Just to set matters straight, I have great patience as long as you don’t ask the same question twice, ask me ridiculous questions, or stutter in fright. If you do any of those, I will react accordingly.
Nancy: All right, now with the niceties set aside, let’s begin. I understand when you first met and fell in love with your apprentice Victor Hamilton, you believed she was male.
Xavier: As would have anyone! She makes a most convincing male, with her short hair, her flat chest, her straight waist, the hint male of accoutrements beneath her pants, and her pleasantly low voice. In addition, she carried herself with a high level of confidence and bravado only found in young men. Women are taught early on to be meek and demure. Plus, I knew her aunt who had always referred to Vic as her nephew. So no. Since I had yet to see her naked, I did not have any clue that she was female.
Nancy: And yet, you fell in love with Vic, even before you knew her true sex.
Xavier: That is true. I fell in love with Victor Hamilton. Her gender was irrelevant to me.
Nancy: Personally, I’ve no issues with that, but you lived in the Victorian era. Didn’t you felt unease at this turn of events?
Xavier: None whatsoever. I met Vic during the decade called the “Decadent nineties’. It was an era of change, inventions, and challenging the status quo. A decade where intelligent people sought the difference between right and wrong from Logic, not the Church of England. It was a time when homosexuality spread wide amongst the intelligentsia; a time when men chose to publically flaunt their love for each other in clubs and saloons that catered to their needs.
Nancy: What was your prior preference before meeting Vic?
Xavier: When I was a young man, I fell in love with a lady who chose to marry another. To escape my disappointment, I threw myself into my work and never had an interest in either gender until the day I met Victor Hamilton. He captivated me in less time than it took to solve the mystery of his aunt’s death.
*Xavier leaned forward* I did not care about his gender. I was only certain he was special, and that he’d awakened my dormant heart. Later, I discovered he was actually a she, but I tell you without shame or hesitation, his gender never mattered. I fell in love with the person, not the body.
Nancy: Wasn’t this the decade that Oscar Wilde was thrown into prison for being a homosexual?
Xavier: The attempts of parliament to stop a behavior the Queen and the Church of England disapproved of only pushed men such as Oscar Wilde to flaunt his preferences more so. However, Oscar wasn’t arrested until 1896, and he only went to prison because he foolishly took his lover’s father to court to sue the man for slander for calling him a ‘poser’ by which he meant a homosexual. The father, to prove he had not slandered Oscar, had only to prove Oscar was a homosexual. This was an easy task since the author had flaunted his preferences openly for more than a decade. Having proved Oscar was indeed ‘a poser’ the court eventually had no choice but to send him to prison.
However, I met Vic in 1893, and while new stricter laws had been passed in1885, among the intelligentsia, few believed they would actually be enforced. And generally, that was true.
Nancy: Were you happy, when you discovered Vic was female?
Xavier: I was relieved to finally discover what stood between us. But to be honest, instead of risking being jailed, she is in danger of being put into Bedlam if anyone discovers her true gender. But if that ever happens, I will break her out of Bedlam before a single hour has passed. Words cannot express how much my troublesome pup means to me. She is the center of my world now.
Nancy: Well, I’m glad to hear that. Let’s find out more about your story…
The Adventures of
Xavier & Vic
The Troublesome Apprentice
By Liza O’Connor
Cases to be Resolved:
The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death
The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple
The Disappearing Scarlet Nun
The Clever Butcher’s Wife
The Rescue of Lady Anne
While investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.
As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.
Xavier held his pen, poised to write a second note. Perhaps he should retrieve Victor in person. No, he must wait. The young man would come or he would not.
Since returning to his office, he had spent considerable thought on his feelings towards Victor. The combination of the boy’s brilliant young mind with Maddy’s eyes and character had brought his stone-dead passion to life. He had never experienced such intense sexual stirrings before, and certainly never for a young man.
This sudden hardening of his manhood at the mere thought of the fellow was most distracting, and frankly unwanted, at least on his part. What Victor thought or wanted, he had no idea. However, since the young man refused to come to work, even when summoned, Xavier surmised he had not been comfortable with the length of time he’d been held last night.
Xavier cursed and threw his inkwell at the door. Unfortunately, the door opened at the same exact moment and the glass bottle slammed into Victor’s stomach, covering him in India ink.
“Damn it, Victor, knock before you enter,” Xavier cursed as he rose and approached the boy. “You are covered with ink,” he complained.
The fault is entirely yours, but we will make no more of it. Just remember to knock in the future.”
“I daresay I’ll not forget for a very long time,” Victor growled.
“Excellent attitude,” Xavier declared with excessive cheeriness. He ceased smiling as the young man continued to glare at him. “I hope you have not come to hand me your resignation because I will not take it. You have committed to remain three months, and I will hold you to it. And why are you so damnably late today?”
“Because I was sleeping and Gregory did not give me your note until I woke a half hour ago.”
“A fine excuse if masters customarily wrote notes ordering their people to work and, without such a note, the people were not meant to come.”
“Given last night, it had not occurred to me…never mind. You are right, I am completely in the wrong, and I apologize. I will be here at the crack of dawn each morning.”
Xavier relaxed. “Good enough.” He returned to his desk. “About the embrace last night…it was a one-time event.” He watched Vic’s expression and thought he caught a moment of regret before acceptance and relief took over.
Victor nodded. “I understand. You showed me a moment of kindness and I show up eight hours late for work. However, surely throwing an inkwell at me and ruining my best suit somewhat balances matters.”
“I did not throw the inkwell at you, but I am in agreement all should be forgotten and we will proceed from here. First of all, you need clean clothes. I doubt my clothes will fit you.”
The boy gave Xavier’s lean but muscular body a quick study, blushed, and agreed they would not.
The tightening of his loins caused by Vic’s perusal of his person unsettled him. “Well, you cannot remain as you are. You will make a mess as you dig your way through a mountain of paperwork. Go to the kitchen and find something to solve your problem. I expect you back here in ten minutes, ready to work, not a second later.”
The Troublesome Apprentice
I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.
Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.
She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)
Ghost Lover—Two British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
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.
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