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Hunted By A Shadow: Epilogue


(Two years later…)

The first year after our marriage, we focused on ourselves and work to make sure we were ready for the next step.

So here we are, standing in an orphanage with way too many cute faces looking for a home.

“We should buy the orphanage and adopt them all,” I mutter.

“This is hard,” Skylar says, looking a little panic-stricken.

A little boy runs into my legs and bounces back. Landing on his ass, he bursts out laughing.

Crouching down, I pick him up, and when we’re face-to-face, I ask, “You okay, little guy? That must’ve hurt.”

He shakes his head. “I’m tough.”

The smile on his face is filled with mischief, and it does something to my heart.

“Renzo,” Skylar whispers. My eyes flick to hers, then she nods quickly. “Him.”

I look back at the little boy, then ask, “What’s your name?”

“Georgi.” He points to where a little girl is sucking her thumb while holding a blanket to the side of her face. “That’s my sister, Raya.”

I glance at Skylar. “We can’t split them.”

“Definitely not.” She walks to the little girl and picks her up, then turns to smile at me.

I glance between the two kids, and when the little girl lays her head on Skylar’s shoulder and I see the emotion on my wife’s face, I know it’s a done deal.

We came for one, and we’re leaving with two.

I turn around and walk to where Sylvia is standing. She’s helping us with the legal side of things.

“Can we arrange the adoption for both Georgi and Raya?”

“Are you sure?” she asks. “Taking on two children can be daunting.”

“Dead sure.” I look at Georgi again. “Get everything sorted out. We’d like to take them home.”

“Take us home?” Georgi asks, his eyes wide on me.

It’s only then I think to ask, “Would you like that, little guy?”

His eyes flick to his sister, then he puts on a brave face and nods. “But Raya’s coming with me.”

A smile tugs at my mouth. “Definitely. You’re her big brother and have to take care of her.”

He nods again, his eyes constantly going to Raya.

Christ, I love the protectiveness he has for his sister. This little guy will grow up to be a force to be reckoned with.

My eyes flick to Sylvia, and I order, “Get the paperwork done.”

When Sylvia heads to the office, I glance at Skylar and say, “Come, amo. Let’s go sign everything.”

Heading to the office, I sit down and keep Georgi on my left knee while I sign everywhere that’s needed.

It takes a while before we’re allowed to leave with the kids, and as we carry our son and daughter out of the orphanage, Georgi asks, “What’s your name?”

My eyes meet his. “Renzo.”

“Do I have to call you dad?” he asks with a serious expression.

I shake my head. “You can call me Renzo or Dad or Papa. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”

He nods and once again looks for Raya.

“I’m Skylar.” My wife says as we reach the car.

We huddle together for a moment, just taking in the special occasion and staring at our children.

“You have a nice car,” Georgi mentions. “What’s your house like? Is there space for us? I always share a room with Raya so she doesn’t get scared.”

“Our home is way up in the sky in an apartment building,” Skylar answers while Raya snuggles closer to her, her little fingers playing with strands of Skylar’s hair. “It’s big, and there’s lots of space. You can share a room with Raya, and one day, when she isn’t scared anymore, you can have your own room.”

A smile starts to tug at Georgi’s mouth, and suddenly, his chin starts to tremble. He fights the emotions so fucking hard it has me wrapping him up in a hug.

“I’m here now, Georgi. I’ll help you take care of Raya. Okay?”

He nods and hides his face until he has control over his emotions again.

Lifting his head, he stares at me for the longest moment, and I see how tired he is from having to be strong all the time.

“You’re safe with me,” I promise.

He nods again, whispering, “Thank you, Renzo.”

“Let’s go home,” Skylar says, her voice hoarse from the emotional moment.

We strap the kids into the back seat before I signal to Vincenzo and the other guards that we’re leaving.

When I slide behind the steering wheel, I glance in the rearview mirror and see Georgi’s eyes locked on me.

Skylar pulls on her safety belt, then says, “We need to get clothes, and toys, and I need to decorate the rooms, and… shoot, what else –”

“Breathe.” I chuckle as I steer the car away from the orphanage. “Don’t forget to breathe, amo.”

“Yeah, right. That too.” She looks at me with a happy smile and places her hand on my thigh.


(Another two years later…)

“Look at my boy go,” Renzo praises Georgi when he finally has the hang of skating.

I hold Raya’s hand tightly as she carefully shuffles over the ice. “You’ve got this, baby,” I encourage her. “Just hold onto Mommy.”

“Okay,” she murmurs, all her concentration on not falling. She slowly gets better and excitedly says, “Look, Mommy. I’m doing it.”

“I see, baby. You’re even better than Daddy.”

“Daddy’s about to see his –” Renzo loses his balance and falls on his ass.

Georgi quickly skates back to Renzo and tries to help him up. “Are you okay, Dad?”

Renzo chuckles while I do my best not to laugh out loud.

“I’m fine. Help your old man get to the side where it’s safe.”

Skating in small circles with Raya, I watch as Georgi helps Renzo to the bench on the side of the frozen pond.

“Mommy, I’m cold,” Raya says. “I want to go to Daddy.”

“Okay.” I lead her carefully across the ice, and smiling at Renzo, I say, “She wants Daddy.”

He lifts her to his lap and engulfs her against his chest, while I look at Georgi and ask, “Want to race?”


We get ready, and before I can count down to one, Georgi shoots forward.

“Hey, that’s cheating,” I call out as I set off after him.

We spend another twenty minutes on the ice before we head back to Renzo and Raya.

After we’ve changed out of the skates and into our shoes, Renzo asks, “Who’s hungry.”

“Me,” Georgi replies. “Can we have hotdogs?”


We walk to a hotdog stand, and I order four hotdogs which we eat on our way back to the car.

While the kids climb into the back seat, Renzo leans in and presses a kiss to my mouth.

“What’s that for?” I ask.

“Just because I love you,” he says with a grin tugging at his lips.

Looking at the man who’s given me the world, my heart can’t contain all the love I feel for him.

“I love you too.”

“Happy?” he asks as he opens the passenger door.

“Very happy,” I murmur and steal another kiss before I get into the car.


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