Welcome to a Talent Spotter Release Day Celebration.
Author: Liza O’Connor with her latest release. August 1 – 7.
The Troublesome Apprentice: The Adventures of Xavier & Vic BOOK 1.
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.
Claire sat on a chair next to the bathtub and scrubbed Vic’s neck and shoulder with a bristle brush, trying to remove the black ink stains.
“I cannot believe he assaulted you with an inkwell.”
“Nor could I, but he could not have known for certain it was me entering.”
“Then why did he throw it?”
“It may have been because the door was opening and whoever was on the other side had not knocked and asked permission to enter.” Vic frowned. “He seems to have some very odd quirks.”
“Well, that is certainly one. You might have been a client.”
“Fortunately for him, it was only me. He’s ruined my chest wrap. I will have to order a replacement.”
“Perhaps you should order several…”
“True, I’ve only three that are fit to wear now.”
“What else is wrong with him?”
“Who?” Vic asked and frowned when she realized Claire meant Xavier. “Who said there was anything wrong with him? I only said he had a quirk. His tendency to fire secretaries may be justified. You would not believe the horrid state in which they have left my desk.”
“You said quirks, as in plural. What other quirks does he possess?”
Vic sighed. “He is obsessed with timeliness. If a client is one minute late, they are to be sent away with a new appointment, and I am to arrive at five in the morning while he still sleeps so he will not yet be expecting me.” Vic couldn’t help but laugh at her sister’s bewildered expression “I know, it makes no sense whatsoever, but I will arrive tomorrow morning at five and wake him up from a sound sleep to let me in.”
“I am now afraid to ask, but are there any more of these oddities?”
“Well, he is constantly touching me.”
“How?” Claire moved her chair in closer.
“Nothing lurid,” Vic scolded. “When he’s talking or when I’ve made an observation he thinks particularly insightful, he will stroke my arm or squeeze my shoulder. I doubt he’s even aware of his actions, but—”
“But it makes your secret being discovered all the more probable,” Claire said and frowned. “Vic, I think you should reconsider a position at the bank.”
“Nonsense. Nothing about my arms and shoulders will reveal my secret,” Vic protested. “And he needs me. His office is a shambles.”
Claire smiled. “And you like him.”
“Well, of course I like him. He’s brilliant, insightful, and helped us uncover Aunt Maddy’s killer. I have also discovered, beneath his gruff exterior and constant rudeness, he is very thoughtful and caring.”
“Oh dear, you’ve fallen in love with him.”
“I have not. And I find you most aggravating. How dare you claim to know anything about love when you have purposely avoided introduction to all young gentlemen. Until you give up your commitment to spinsterhood, do not dare make false accusations about my heart. If you can do without a man, at least credit me with the same strength.”
“Me thinks thou doth protest too much,” Claire teased, and escaped her chair before Vic could douse her with water. “And you are clearly picking up Mr. Thorn’s bad manners. Gregory feared as much.”
“Do not tell Gregory about any of this.”
“Because he will follow me to work in the morning and give Xavier a verbal thrashing.”
“Perhaps Mr. Thorn needs a dressing down.”
“But I need to learn how to balance a ledger and Xavier has assured me, if he starts his day in a surly mood, he remains so.”
“My poor Vic, the light of freedom was so bright we never considered the cost of emancipation.” She knelt beside the tub. “I only hope your path does not carry too high a price. If Mr. Thorn discovers the truth, will he reveal your secret?”
“No. He will no doubt be furious, and I’m certain he’ll fire me, but when I explain the situation and the danger it will put you in, if the truth becomes known, I’m positive he will keep my secret.”
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