Though professing to be just a simple dumb thug, there was always more to Giles than his lot in life suggested. So, I starting asking myself, what’s his story? How does someone so honorable and deep end up working for the likes of my favorite villain? Take a look at the Prologue to BETRAYED BY SHADOWS:
“So, who do you want killed?”
It was just business to Jimmy Legere, but to the unexpected visitor balancing on that razor’s edge of no going back, it would change everything.
“If I knew that, I wouldn’t have come to you.”
Balls and respect. Jimmy liked that. He leaned back in his chair, fingers tented, amused. “So why you here, fixin’ to make a deal with the devil, college boy?”
Giles St. Clair took a deciding breath. “I need to know who murdered my father.”
Legere waved a dismissing hand. ”Tracking down murderers is the NOPD’s job.”
“Well, they didn’t do a very damn good one.” Heat sparked in St. Clair’s words. “They asked questions, filled out forms, then filed my father away in a drawer. They weren’t interested in justice when it pointed someplace they’re paid not to go.”
He didn’t have to specify where; his unwavering stare said it plainly enough. All avoided roads led to organized crime.
“So you came to me. You think I can do better?” Legere challenged, still indulgent.
“Considering the killer was employed by Vic Vantour, I’m certain of it.”
The mobster’s eyes narrowed with cunning interest. Vantour. His biggest competitor for the docks, an annoying roadblock to the full control he coveted. “Vantour? You sure of that, boy? What kind of business did he have with your daddy?”
“None. That’s what got him killed.” The curl of disgust showed that Giles St. Clair hated lowering himself to make this request of someone no better than the villain he was after.
Jimmy’s smile widened. “You think your daddy would approve of what you’re doing now?”
“No. But he’ll rest easier once it’s done. And so will I.”
“A man’s life is expensive,” Legere mused, tapping his fingertips together as he waited for the young man to squirm and plead. But the kid never broke a sweat. His intensity was almost unnerving. “So, how you planning to pay for this favor? With your college fund?”
The young man’s features tightened. “That’s my mama’s money.”
Jimmy shrugged, then baited his trap like the skilled predator he was. “So maybe you’re thinking of working it off. Whatchu going to school for?”
“I got me a slew a businessmen already, the best money can buy. And something tells me you knew the second you stepped into this room that you weren’t going back to college to finish that degree.”
That cold and bitter truth was met with a determined “What do you need?”
Jimmy took his time studying the young man who’d come so boldly into his home. Behind the Ivy League clothes was the stuff that gave starch to the boy’s spine and fire to his stare. Stuff Jimmy could use and mold.
Though the kid’s voice was unaccented, Jimmy caught the earthy patois of Cajun Country. Tough, no-nonsense folk, those bayou people; clannish by nature, suspicious of outsiders, but fiercely loyal once their word was given. Jimmy assessed him critically. A big fellow, broad shoulders, with an unmovable stance and a direct, unflinching stare. That could be valuable, once channeled into intimidation.
“Max,” Jimmy called quietly.
“Whatchu need, Jimmy?” came a low rumble from the shadows of the room.
“Find out about Vic Vantour’s interest in—” Jimmy broke off and asked his guest, “What’s your daddy’s name?”
“Clovis Robichaux,” the college boy said, hard resignation flatlining his gaze.
The kid wasn’t a fool. He knew what he was getting into, signing his name in Jimmy’s book of souls.
“Get a name for the trigger man, Max.”
“You want me to take care of him for you, Jimmy?”
Legere passed Max’s question along with a lift of his brow.
“No,” St. Giles replied quietly. “It’s family. I’ll take care of it myself.”
Jimmy believed he would.
And he believed he’d just acquired a damned fine asset.
A good man drowning in bad deeds . . . that’s how I describe Giles St. Clair. A man with a conscience he can’t afford to recognize, he’s surrendered the life he could have had to save a family who won’t forgive what he’s become. I couldn’t resist him. And neither can Brigit MacCreedy. More about her tomorrow . . .