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  The Gallos

  The Beginning

  Note to Readers

  This is a short story giving readers an introduction

  to the Gallo Family.

  It is written from Sal & Maria’s POV (Mr. & Mrs. Gallo).

  As a reader, it’s not necessary to have read

  any of the Men of Inked Books.

  I hope after reading The Gallos that you’ll fall in love

  and want to get to know them a little more intimately.

  To the Men of Inked Fans who wanted Sal & Maria,

  I hope you enjoy their story.

  The Gallos: The Beginning Copyright © 2014 Chelle Bliss

  Published by Chelle Bliss

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.

  This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it to the seller and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

  Published: Chelle Bliss December 31st 2014:

  First Edition Copyright © 31st December 2014

  Editor: Lisa A. Hollett

  Cover Design © Chelle Bliss

  Cover Photo: Dollar Photo Club

  Formatted by: Chelle Bliss

  This book is intended for a mature audience only.

  Chapter 1 - Maria

  Sitting on the couch, I watched my husband, Salvatore, as he spoke to our eldest son, Anthony. The holidays always made me feel happy, but I longed for the days when the kids were young. The yelling, giggles, and kisses that came with youth had passed, leaving me with five grown children with no one to call their own.

  As they grew, I wished they’d find that special someone and settle down, starting a family of their own and bringing a grandchild or two into our lives. But not my children—no, they lived as if they had all the time in the world, enjoying life on their terms and making no apologies.

  Part of me envied them. They were young, unattached, and following their dreams. It’s not that I was jealous of my children because I wasn’t. There wasn’t one moment in my life I would change, but I’d love to do it all again. Time passed so quickly that it was hard to savor the moments as they happened. I wanted to experience it again. Falling in love, having children, raising a family, and every moment in between happened in the blink of an eye. The years passed with greater speed each year, no matter how slow I tried to make it go.

  As I looked down at the floor, Izzy was stretched out next to Anthony with her chin resting in her palms. She listened to Sal and Anth laughing and teasing each other, throwing in a crack or two herself. She was stunning with her long brown hair, big blue eyes, and high cheekbones. She was a knockout and single.

  Izzy, my only daughter, was most like me. She was a free spirit who didn’t take shit from anyone, most of all men. I raised her to be strong, independent, and fierce. I wasn’t sure there was a man on the planet who could wrangle her and keep her attention. She was easily bored with the opposite sex or found them too demanding. Izzy did everything on her own terms. The quickest way to end a relationship with her was to lay down rules or have expectations.

  Growing up with four older brothers made her rebel against any kind of restraints a man tried to place on her in adulthood. No one bossed her around, except for maybe Sal and me. She was a daddy’s girl and never wanted to disappoint him. Even now at the age of twenty-two, she’d do everything in her power to make him happy. I loved her for everything she was, seeing so much of myself in her.

  Today was New Year’s Day, a day for new beginnings and fresh starts with new dreams for the upcoming year. If someone were to ask me what I wished for, I would answer for my children to find the one person who completes them, bringing them peace and love in the new year.

  “Is it going to be the year the Cubs finally win the pennant, Pop?”

  Anthony laughed as he spoke with Sal, seeming happier than he had in a while. By trade, he was a tattoo artist at Inked, a shop the kids owned together nearby. If you asked him, he’d say he was a musician. It was his true calling, his passion for as long as I could remember.

  He hummed before he could talk, quickly learning to sing as soon as he was able to form words. I’d hear him in his crib, babbling to a beat until I’d grab him in the morning. He was content to lie there, signing to himself until I could drag myself from my bed. Music was his love, always had been. Preferring it to a real relationship, he told me that it was the one thing in life that never let him down. He had soured on women after high school, maintaining playboy behavior into his thirties.

  Someone would capture his heart, but it would take that rare breed, a woman so spectacular that he’d fall in insta-love, and fall hard. I prayed she wouldn’t break his heart, turning him off to any possibility of a lasting relationship. His focus now, besides tattooing and music, was the groupies. I wasn’t a fool. I heard him talk with his brothers about the women who threw themselves at him. Manwhore is a term I’ve heard Izzy use, and Anthony seemed to fit the bill. My baby needed someone to knock him on his ass and steal his breath. He’d find her if he wasn’t too busy with the trash with whom he spent his nights.

  “I’m so hungover,” Mike groaned, throwing his arm over his face as he stretched out on the love seat.

  “You never knew how to pace yourself, man,” Joe replied, leaning back, his foot resting on his knee as he kicked back on the couch.

  “I watched how much I drank for the first few hours, but then it all turned into a blur. Fuck!” Mike spat, clutching his head.

  “Want me to make you something to help with it?” Joe asked, grabbing Mike’s foot.

  “I don’t pollute my body this way. I just need time to adjust, Joe.”

  Mike was my fighter—more prone to violence ever since the day Anthony punched him in the gut when he was three. From that day forward, Mike wanted to learn to protect himself and usually tested out the moves on his siblings. More shit had a red hue in our home, caused by the blood that was often lost during a fight. Having four boys hadn’t allowed for peace and tranquility.

  Mike had beefed up since high school. Working out during his free time, training for a championship bout, and piercing at Inked left him little time to fall in love and settle down.

  He was a man driven with a purpose. He wanted a championship, proving that he was the biggest, baddest Gallo brother. He’d deny it, but I knew it was about him showing his superiority over the others. It was an internal drive, set at a young age, and combined with the unhealthy competition that developed between the siblings over the years.

  Mike needed someone like his sister. One who could put him in his place and love him at the same time. It wasn’t going to be easy, but a mother could dream.

  Joe was in a league of his own. He was a no-nonsense guy, so much like his father in looks and attitude that he held a special place in my heart. I’d never admit to having a favorite child, but being so much like Sal, the love of my life, often got him brownie points. He was tough but kind. His heart was bigger than any of my other boys, but he d