The Adventures of
Xavier & Vic
The Servant Serves a Deadly Cup of Tea
The Magical Accruing Interest
The Mesmerizing Mrs. Meyers
The Bank Robbery of Mammoth Proportions
Vic has become a full partner of Xavier Thorn’s Private Inquiries, yet trouble threatens their personal and business relationship as facts from the past come back to haunt Xavier. Worse yet, a formidable foe returns and proves to be more than Xavier can handle. Fortunately, with his amazing partner and a growing staff, they are ready to take on any problem that comes their way. If only their clients were more forthcoming with the facts!
London, England September 1894
Vic woke the moment Xavier slipped from their bed. She rolled to her back and ran her hands through her short blonde hair. “It’s still dark outside.”
Xavier turned on the gas lamp by his dresser, illuminating his tall, sinewy form. “I am all too aware of the time.” The grumpy petulance in his voice indicated whatever assignment called him out did not rate higher than his sleep...or their normal morning wakeup routine.
The later she greatly enjoyed. Her partner might be fourteen years her senior, but he easily matched her in stamina and desire.
After splashing water on his dark hair, he briskly combed the wayward strands into submission. Once done, he opened the closet and glared in outrage. “Victor, you have appropriated more than your share of the closet again.”
“That’s because my share should be half, not a quarter. In fact, since you care nothing about clothes and I’m a ‘fashionable young gentleman,’ I should have more than half.”
He snared a collection of her silk shirts and tossed them upon the bed. He followed with an armful of her suits.
Bolting up in fury, Vic glared at him. “Stop mangling my clothes!
“It appears I have no choice if I am to locate my desired apparel.”
While she might love her annoying curmudgeon, times like this, she wanted to strangle him. “I put a suit on the hook for you. Why must you burrow in the back of the closet at all?”
He pulled out a somber black tuxedo with a crimson silk vest. “Because I require this one.”
Vic studied the garment in shock. Where the bloody hell had that come from? In their year and a half together, she had never seen this suit. Even odder, the design was the latest fashion. It could not have resided in the closet for more than a few weeks at most. “That is very fine. When did you buy it?”
“You’re the detective in training; tell me.”
Resentment flooded her mood and made her surly. “I rescued you when the whole of Scotland Yard could not. You should give me my due. I am not only a detective, but a highly skilled one at that.”
A faint smile came to his lips as his black eyes narrowed. His large, hawkish nose gave him the appearance of a bird of prey, ready to swoop. “Then answer my question. How long has this suit been here?”
Thinking back, she recalled a finger smudge residing on the sleeve of her supposedly clean shirt last week. When returning to the closet to retrieve another shirt, she had tripped on a stool that for some reason lurked halfway in the door.
Now those oddities finally made sense. “Last Monday.”
Xavier’s eyebrows rose a half inch. “Ha! I was not even here last Monday.”
“But you did not put the suit in the closet. If you had, it wouldn’t have taken you so long to find the garment. Nor would you have required a stool to manhandle my shirts.”
“What on earth are you going on about? There is no stool in this room.”
“There isn’t now, but there was last Monday.”
His brow furrowed. “And what the blazes does that have to do with my suit?”
“Nothing if Li’l Pete wasn’t so adamant that all messages and deliveries fall in his work domain.”
“Refrain from calling him ‘little,’ if you please. He is trying to overcome that hindrance.”
Pete was their youngest employee, nine years old, and small for his age. Hell, she had been taller when she was six. But Pete was a determined little fellow with a double helping of character. He’d also been destined for a short life until the good pirate Jacko introduced him to Xavier.
Realizing her impossible partner still awaited her solution, she returned to the mystery at hand.
A glance at the legs of Xavier’s suit-pants told her Pete hadn’t worked alone to retrieve Xavier’s suit. Had he done so, the pants would be covered in mud, given the torrid rain they had Sunday night.
Tubs must have accompanied Pete to the tailor and then carried the suit for the boy. Seven-foot-tall and sturdy as a rock, their largest employee could easily hold the suit above the muddy walkways, and no one on Earth could knock him down. He was thirty-four stone of solid muscle.
Xavier arched his right brow in challenge. “So you are saying I sent a three-foot boy to retrieve the most costly suit I have ever purchased in my life?”
She chuckled at the annoyance in his voice. Xavier hated ‘wasting’ money on clothes. The purchase had to have killed him. She imagined it cost him nearly a hundred pounds.
“No. You sent Mr. Tubs along to assist in the retrieval. However, I believe once the garment was safely brought upstairs, Pete insisted on securing the suit in your closet, which explains the dirty handprint on one of my shirts and the stool I tripped over.”
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