Nico, a young Italian lad, endured a difficult childhood in New York City’s violent Five Points predominantly Irish neighborhood, but the rough environs didn’t stop him and his friend Joe from playing kick the can on Mulberry Street. In the aftermath of the first newspaper boys’ riot a turning point in Nico’s life occurred?he met Sean, ringleader of the protestors, and Nico’s idol. The remarriage of Nico’s Mama to a drunken brute with two sons was bad enough, but when his Mama died from her husband’s beating, Nico ran away from home, riding the rails to Chicago, enduring physical harassment along the way.
Chicago proved incongruous: ruffians, sexual predators, and unfair policeman on one hand; a compassionate judge, understanding bosses, and friendly coworkers on the other. Nico successfully navigated the streets, boarding house bullies, and the docks. During his travails he made friends?John a coworker with whom he shared a bed, Ezra, the son of freed slaves, and pesky Pete, his second roommate after John is viciously attacked on the dock. Soon he’s back on the train, this time riding First Class due to an agreement between two railroads to transfer the experienced office clerk to Las Vegas, New Mexico.
In Las Vegas, an older Nico learns the joys and sorrows of relationships, but living in a mansion with his boss, a ruggedly handsome Scotsman, makes it all seem worthwhile until he’s betrayed by his lover. Nico struggles to overcome depression, but attempts at new relationships falter as he’s distrustful and fearful of being hurt again. Nico hoped his epic search for love ended when he buys a carriage to show off his latest promotion at the railroad and he hires a sexy carriage driver with a secret that would dramatically change Nico’s life.