We at Secrets and Scandals are dedicated to bringing you the juiciest of dits and peeks into the
ton and its lovers. Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Doctor Robin Harris, companion to the erstwhile Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood. Joining us is the Viscount himself and this journalist hopes Westwood will feel free to chime in at his leisure. We will be asking Dr. Harris the same questions as were posed to Westwood during his interview and hope the reader will be enlightened and amused at their combined answers.
As usual, since S&S is very exclusive and quite protective of its interviewees, all names will be redacted upon publication but for a select few. You, lucky reader, are one of the few.
Westwood’s solo interview was published at Joyfully Jay and now, we have the ultimate pleasure of hosting Dr. Harris and the Viscount today.
Westwood: Thank you for having us here.
Harris (whispers): But this is your house.
W (whispers back): We’re thanking them for the article.
H: Oh, yes. Well then, thank you very much for speaking with us. Me. Us. Thank you.
S&S: As you know, Westwood was asked these very same questions and for curiosity’s sake, we wanted to see your side of things, Dr. Harris. So, if you could please read these off one by one and I will record your answers for our readers. Please feel free to be as honest and intimate as you like. Our readers are quite discreet.
What was your first impression about your partner?
H: Mostly I needed to urinate but I was frightened to do so because my kidneys were aching.
W: After you peed. Or perhaps right before?
H, after studying Westwood: I thought he was quite handsome and large. I could tell he was an aristocrat. That much is obvious merely looking at him. I recall being concerned about the house because I didn’t have the best of housekeepers. Getting people to work for me was… problematic. But really, mostly I needed to piss.
What is your wildest fantasy?
H: Oh that is difficult. I suppose it would be polite society’s acceptance of men who love other men. It would be lovely to share a dinner with Westwood out in the open. I watch other couples—married couples, or so I hope they are—touching and laughing with one another as they dine or dance. I think that would be brilliant.
W (reaching over to pat H’s leg): That does sound lovely.
If you could give up one of your senses, which one would it be? Why?
W: Really? You wouldn’t be able to feel me.
H: That would be problematic. Do you suppose it would just be the hands or would I lose that sensation everywhere? Because if so, then yes, touch would be an issue if I lost it. But really now that I think of it, could you really experience the rest of the senses without touch? If you lost that sense, how would you know something was too hot to eat and one would scald off the tongue, thus losing taste as well.
S&S: It’s really just a simple matter of picking one and why you would pick it.
W: No question is simple with Robin. Jam selection for the morning toast is a discussion about pollination and native versus invasive species.
H: If it was just my hands, I would choose touch.
What is the naughtiest thing you’ve done as a child?
H (growing emotional): I was very young when I fell into the hands of the Heretic Society. I’d rather not answer that.
W: Next question, please.
What is the wackiest gift you have ever received or given someone?
H: I once gave someone a flower that bloomed continuously. It was mechanical and the petals opened and closed with a switch. I was new to creating mechanicals and the thing would snap open and close at the oddest moments. I found out later the giftee had used it during love play and it gripped his partner’s body in a very tender area.
W: Most of his inventions seem to have a particular fondness for snapping off tender bits. His cat is also no exception to this oddity.
H: The cat does not count as one of my inventions.
W: It has prosthetic legs. It is nearly half yours and half whatever demon wrought it forth.
If you were a fruit, what would it be?
H: A banana. No, a guava. Those are nice. The white ones that are a little bit sweet but meaty. I like them a little bit green. They squeak when you bite into them.
W: That describes him to the exact degree. I fully endorse that Harris is a slightly green white-meat guava.
The most embarrassing thing someone has ever said or done to you is…?
H: Westwood has a horrible habit of pinching my rear in public. Once, at a recent soiree, he missed my hind and squeezed the expansive bulbous end of a very conservative matron. Then, when she turned to see who pinched her, he blamed me!
W (apologetically): She is one of my grandmother’s dearest friends. Robin’s already known to be an eccentric and wouldn’t be blamed overly much.
H: You told her you thought my hand was possessed by a randy Gypsy!
W: It was the best thing I could think up on the spot. It was probably the greatest thrill that old girl has had in a long time.
What was the craziest thing you’ve done on a dare?
H: I designed and constructed a set of goggles for a near-sighted goat. Then after a bit of brandy—
W: It was a lot of brandy.
H: Quite an amount, yes. I was then convinced to put the goggles on the billy goat. Needless to say, he wasn’t pleased about my climbing on him and while the goggles worked perfectly, they only served to allow my caprine adversary the clear vision with which to attack me. I could not sit down for a few days following that.
W: That wasn’t all he couldn’t do for a few days.
Have you ever committed a petty crime?
H: Once again—
W: Next question. We don’t need to get into the past, Robin. Those were not your crimes. Remember that.
Your worst date. Describe it.
H: I don’t really recall the exact dates of certain events. I choose not to recall the anniversary of—
W: They mean a romantic encounter.
H: Oh. As in a tryst? An informal one? Perhaps the first dinner I had with your family? I was mostly uncomfortable but it didn’t go too poorly. As long as you are with me, I am assured to be pleased in some way.
Lights on or off?
H: How would you see if the lights were off?
W: That is what I say every time we retire for bed.
H: This is about that?
H: Why would you want to see that? It’s quite…it’s embarrassing. All that flopping and I’m so very pale. No, light’s off. Better to preserve some of Westwood’s waning sanity.
If you could go back in time to tell your 16-year-old self something, what would you say?
W: Next question—
H: No, this one I want to answer. I would tell young self that I will meet someone who will bring me much happiness and that the pain I am feeling now will be drowned out of existence by the joy to follow. To just keep surviving because it will get better.
If you had to describe your relationship in 5 words, what would they be?
H: Five words you say? About Westwood?
W: About our relationship.
H: Ah, let me think. I would have to say… healing, sanctuary, comfort, enlightening and freeing.
If you could name a drink after yourself, what would it be?
H: A drink? After the goat incident, I would think I should stick to tea.
W: You do like a nip in hot chocolate.
H: True. A thick sipping chocolate with butterscotch liqueurs and whipped cream.
What do you think women find most attractive about you?
H: Women? I don’t think women find me attractive at all.
W: He is marvelously obtuse. Women eye you all the time, my darling crow. You just don’t notice.
H: I can’t imagine what that would be. I would say the women of my acquaintance enjoy that I listen to them. I’ve had some interesting discussions with several women in the ton. Usually over cards.
W: Don’t play cards with him. You’ll lose your father’s shirt as well as yours.
What would your autobiography be called?
H: Something pertaining to my name, yes? Perhaps given what my contributions have been in this world, it would be called Harris’ Folly.
W: Not everything you’ve done has been disastrous. You’ve given much to those in need. And there is your relationship with me—
H: Yes, Harris’ Folly. Especially because of Westwood’s involvement in my life.
What is the sexiest thing about your partner?
H: He will be insufferable.
W: I won’t listen.
H: You will read it later. I might as well say it then. I find his heart to be the sexiest thing about him. He’s allowed me to have a piece of it, something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
W (kissing his partner on the cheek): You have all of my heart, crowling. Until the end of time.
Clockwork Tangerine Blurb
The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.
Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.
Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when
Marcus reaches for him instead.
Purchase Clockwork Tangerine at:
I’m Rhys Ford. I am an author and also a reader. You can find me at the following places:
My Blog: www.rhysford.com
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