©1985 Sherrilyn Kenyon
Born to impoverished Irish immigrant parents at the turn of the century, James Cameron Patrick Gallagher entered this world with a chip on his shoulder.
It didn’t help any that he was birthed in the backroom of a sweatshop that should have been condemned, to a timid, fretful woman who’d been forced to return to work just hours after she had delivered him into the hands of his nervous, alcoholic father. A father who was indifferent to the boy at best and violent at worst.
From the first wail that had pulled oxygen into his starving lungs, Jamie spent his life fighting for respect. Fighting his way out of the poverty that haunted him as he grew up in the Irish slums of New York.
At age fifteen, he found his way out.
The year was 1916 and two important events happened to him. His father died after he had slipped and fallen into the river on his way home from a three-day drinking binge. Two weeks later Jamie went to work for the renowned gangster Ally Malone so that he could support his mother and eight younger siblings.
A thug and a bully, Ally had shown him a way to make money that had made Jamie’s poor mother’s knees ache from the untold novena’s she had prayed for her son.
But that was okay as far as Jamie was concerned. His new lifestyle afforded him the ability to buy his mother silk pillows to cushion her work-worn knees, and instead of praying with a cheap wooden rosary, she now had one made of gold and ivory.
It was a rosary she’d thrown in his face the day she had learned the real truth about her son.
Jamie wasn’t a poor innocent lad being led astray by those out to take advantage of him.
By the time he was twenty, he was a fierce gangster to be reckoned with.
Disowned by his mother, he’d given his younger brother a reputable job so that Ryan could care for the family without their mother knowing it was Jamie’s ill-gotten gains that kept them all fed.
Jamie had learned to harden his heart and to care for no one or nothing.
He became Gallagher. A man who had no other name. One who let no one near him, no one know him. He was ice cold and rock solid.
Until the day Rosalie had come into his life and chiseled away his granite casing.