Veronica: Because I don’t exclusively talk about science fiction and fantasy! Liza is back to introduce her characters and give us an excerpt:
Barns is a mixture of high intelligence and petulance. Almost all of his fellow officers at Scotland Yard hold him in contempt. They believe the only reason why Barns received a place and is given the most interesting cases is because he’s related to some big-wig in parliament. (This is all conjecture on their part, but it’s pretty accurate.) Barns is the son of the head of External Affairs, Lord Berringbarn, who has never had a nice word for his worthless son. Fortunately, the Director of Scotland Yard thinks more highly of the young man, so when someone died while attempting to shoot Vic, he sends Barns.
Chaos abounds in Late Victorian England. Xavier goes off on a mission without Vic because her protector, Tubs, is not well enough to keep Vic from harm right now. In fact, Tubs is dying and the doctor doesn’t expect him to live for more than a week. Upon discovering Tubs’ dire situation, Vic sets about rescuing him instead.
Good thing too. To all appearances the two strongest crime lords of London have declared war on each other. Only the two attempts on Vic’s life tells her this is all a clever plot by a third party—worse yet, a female villainess.
To stop the crime lords from destroying one another, leaving their territories open to the Russian spy, she must bring Seth and Samson together, share what is really going on, and get them to agree to work against this third party. Not an easy task since Seth Sojourn thinks Vic is nothing but a foolish sop. Unfortunately, Xavier has gone missing, so it’s up to her to convince the angry crime lord that her plan is best. Otherwise, this villainess will kill everyone who gets in her way and bring England to its knees.
Vic peered through the window. “Can I help?”
“No, you are involved in the crime.”
“Barns,” she growled. “I did nothing that was even close to criminal.”
“I didn’t mean it that way. I meant you were the intended victim, thus you cannot participate in the scene evaluation. It could compromise our case against the murderer.”
“The driver is already dead. He doesn’t require prosecution.”
“No…yes, I see your point. But you still may not assist.”
“Why not? I’m quite sure he’s murdered people before. No sane person shoots someone for cursing at their bad driving.”
Barns sighed. “I’m going to need help on this.” He climbed out of the carriage and gripped Vic’s arm. “Let’s go see the crime scene.
Once inside, he smiled at Tubs. “Mr. Tubs, Vic said you were recovering, but this is a grand sight. I could use your help on this if you are willing.”
“I can tell you the dead man’s name, his profession, and who he works for,” Tubs offered.
Barns smiled. “Well, I know his profession, but I would like his name and who he works for.”
“Robbie Conrad, assassin, Sojourn Seth.”
Vic snorted. “No wonder he was such a terrible driver. And see I was right. He has murdered before.”
Barns filled with pride, pulled out his notepad and showed it to Tubs.
Tubs nodded. “You’re learning fast.”
Vic grabbed the notepad and tried to read his scrawl. “Your handwriting is terrible. What does this say?”
“It says ‘Assassination attempt. Failed at accidental carriage death, died during second attempt. Target: Victor Hamilton.”
Knowing what he claimed it said, she was able to make out the words. “Why would Seth want me dead? Oh… uh oh.” She looked at Tubs. “Do you think he knows about the Tilly disguise?”
“The what?” Barns demanded.
“Nothing to concern you,” Vic said.
“It does if it’s related to this case.”
Tubs gave the matter thought as he rubbed his bald head. “I don’t think the two are related. That’s a very good disguise. This is something else.” He looked to Barns. “I’ll interrogate Vic and then let you know what his motivation might be. In the meantime, you need to let your boss know about this immediately.”
Barns frowned. “I know that. It’s why I was taken away from something important and sent to investigate this instead of some idiot on the force. And trust me, we have a great deal of those.”
Tubs chuckled. “You probably shouldn’t say that out loud, but I’m not arguing with you.”
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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 nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
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