Hunted By A Shadow: Chapter 41


When Fabricio brings the Bentley to a stop at the cemetery, I open the door and climb out. Walking around the back of the car, I wait for Skylar before I take hold of her hand.

I had the headstones placed recently and wanted to make sure they did a good job.

Walking to Harlan’s grave, Skylar’s fingers tighten around mine.

It’s the first time we’ve been back since the funerals, and I know it’s going to be hard for her.

When we stop in front of the graves, I read the words engraved on the granite.

Harlan Davies

The most selfless and loving father.

Devoted husband.

A guardian angel who walked among us for too short a while.

“God,” Skylar whispers, tears shining in her eyes before the spiral over her cheeks. “The headstone is perfect. Thank you, Renzo.”

“You’re welcome, amo.”

I let go of her hand and wrap my arm around her shoulders. Pressing a kiss to her temple, I take a deep breath of her soft scent.

She’s doing well, Harlan. No problems with the kidney, and she’s opening her own restaurant. You can rest in peace.

Skylar moves from under my arm, and I watch as she places fresh flowers at her parents’ graves.

“There’s so much to tell you,” she says to her parents. “I chose my signature dish. Obviously, I cried my eyes out. It’s the Korean spicy brisket soup you loved, Daddy. I think it’s going to be a winner.” She sucks in a trembling breath before she continues, “I’m opening my own restaurant, and I’m calling it Yukhaejang. Renzo’s done most of the work, though.”

She’s quiet for a while before she says, “Renzo’s good to me, Daddy. If you’re looking down on me, I don’t want you to worry. I’m safe and happy.”

She presses a kiss to her fingers, then presses them to each of the headstones. “I’ll visit again soon.”

She comes to take my hand before we walk to Louisa’s grave, where she also places flowers.

She sucks in a deep breath before letting it slowly. “I actually miss your meatloaf.” A chuckle escapes her. “I hope you’re happy and getting a lot of rest wherever you are.”

I give Skylar all the time she needs, and when she’s ready, I wrap my arm around her shoulders and lead her to the final grave.

“I saw you here when we came to visit Mom right after I got out of the hospital,” Skylar murmurs.

“I know.” I hug her to me. “Sorry for being creepy as fuck.”

She lets out a chuckle. “Hey, at least my stalker was hot.”

When we reach Giulio’s grave, my heart clenches with sorrow. It’s manageable now and more like an empty wind blowing through me.

There will always be emptiness because nothing can fill the spot Giulio had in my life.

Thinking of his infectious smile, my mouth curves up.

Christ, I miss his smile.

Skylar moves away from me to place the last bouquet of flowers by his headstone.

“Hi, Giulio,” she whispers. “My name is Skylar.” Her shoulders shudder as she tries to keep the tears back, and her voice is strained when she says, “Thank you for saving my life. Having a piece of you inside me makes me feel close to you.”


I glance away as my eyes begin to burn.

“I’ll live life to the fullest for the both of us.” Her voice cracks over the words. “And I’ll do everything in my power to make Renzo happy.”

I exhale slowly as the emotional moment threatens to overwhelm me. I know it will get better with time, and eventually, the memories of Giulio will make me smile.

Turning my gaze back to Skylar, I see her pressing a kiss to her fingertips and brushing them over Giulio’s headstone.

When she walks a few feet away to give me some privacy, I stand and stare at his grave.

“I killed them all, brother. I hope it gives you some peace.” I clear my throat before whispering, “Love you, Giulio.”

Turning around, I walk to where Skylar is waiting, and gripping her hand, I head to the Bentley.

When we climb into the back seat of the car, I say, “We’re going to Skylar’s restaurant.”

“Yes, boss,” Fabricio answers as he starts the engine.

When we leave the cemetery, I glance at Vincenzo and say, “Have Carlo and Antonio join you tomorrow. I want you to train them so they’re ready to guard Skylar once she starts working.” I glance out the window, then think to add, “Tell them to bring one of the armored SUVs so they can drive her around in it.”

“Yes, boss,” Vincenzo replies before he makes the calls to Carlo and Antonio.

Skylar doesn’t say anything about the guards I’m assigning to her, and it has me asking, “You okay with the guards?”

She nods quickly. “It’s for my safety.”

Leaning into her, I press a kiss to the side of her head. “You ready to meet all the staff?”

She nods again, a smile spreading over her face. “Thank you for handling everything for me.”

“Anything for you, amo.” When we turn up the street where the restaurant is, I say, “Close your eyes.”

She obeys with a chuckle. “I’m excited.”

Fabrizio stops the car right in front of the restaurant, and I quickly get out and walk around the back of the Bentley to open Skylar’s door.

Taking hold of her hand, I help her out of the back seat. I position her where I want her, then say, “You can open your eyes.”

Her eyelashes lift, and when she sees the sign in cursive letters above the windows, her hands fly up to cover her mouth.

“Oh my God. I love it!”

I feel the happiness burst from her like a living force, and I imprint this moment to memory so I’ll never forget it.

She makes an excited peeping sound that’s fucking cute and rushes into the restaurant. I trail behind her, my eyes glued to her face as I watch her look at the bamboo on the walls and the lanterns hanging from the ceiling in the seating area.

“It’s so beautiful,” she murmurs in total awe.

We walk to the kitchen, where Skylar pauses to stare at the space where she’ll create her masterpieces. She chose all the appliances and décor but hasn’t had a chance to see the final result yet.

All the chefs and kitchen staff stop what they’re doing, and turn to look at her. With a slight bow of their heads, they unanimously say, “Chef.”

Skylar steps forward to greet the staff she chose for her kitchen.

She’ll be the Chef de Cuisine.

The queen of her own empire.

My queen.

When she starts to talk about the menu with her staff and inspect the freezer and equipment, I turn around and walk to the office where Viviana is hard at work.

“Hey,” she says when she notices me. “Everything is almost ready. I’m just waiting for the tablecloths to arrive. I’ve advertised the opening and every table’s been reserved. It’s going to be a busy night.”

“That’s good to hear,” I say as I take a seat across from the desk. “Skylar’s getting to know the kitchen staff.”

“She’s here?” Viviana asks while climbing to her feet. “Introduce me!”

Letting out a chuckle, I stand up again and follow Elio’s wife to the kitchen. The woman’s managerial skills are unmatched, and I know she’ll be able to run the two restaurants.

Entering the kitchen, I say, “Skylar, give me a minute.”

She excuses herself, and when she sees Viviana, her smile widens as she says, “God, I’ve wanted to meet you for the longest time.”

The women shake hands, then Viviana admits, “I was heartbroken when I heard you were in a car accident. I wanted to steal you so you could help La Torrisi get a Michelin Star.” Viviana sucks in a breath, looking a little awestruck. “Luckily for me, fate brought us together.”

“Fuck fate. She’s here because of me,” I mutter, which makes the two women laugh.

Viviana continues as if I didn’t interrupt her. “I want you to know you don’t have to worry about the business side of things. Just focus on the kitchen.”

“Thank you, Viviana. I’m looking forward to working side-by-side with you.”

“I better get back to work. We’ll talk soon,” Viviana says before returning to the office.

I take Skylar’s hand and pull her closer. When she looks up at me and I see her blue eyes sparkle with life, my heart overflows with love for her.

“Happy?” I ask.

She nods and stands on her tiptoes to press a kiss to my mouth. “Incredibly happy.”


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