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Finding Love - Paperback

An enemies to lovers mafia romance

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★★★★★ Missy is such an amazing author. This book didn't disappoint, so hard not to give anything away with this series In a review. Best option is to get hold of this series don't plan anything for a weekend and read. - Kathleen, Goodreads

SYNOPSIS


Emilia

Where am I? And why won’t he leave me alone?

The man I've been investigating claims we're lovers, but all I see is a murderer.

Now, stuck under the same roof as I recover, I don’t know who to trust.

My gut says I need to run, but my body seems to remember something I don’t.

Luca

I've found her, only to lose her all over again.

She gazes at me as if I'm a murderer and she isn’t wrong.

My patience wanes as she challenges me at every twist and turn.

But neither of us was prepared for the betrayal threatening to take it all.


CHAPTER ONE LOOK INSIDE

BOOK 3

EMILIA AND LUCA'S DRAMATIC FINALE....

Chapter One – Luca

Desperate.

I don't recall ever feeling this way.

Frantic.

It’s rare for me even to think this word.

Insanity.

This shit is all the fuck around me.

It was stupid and careless of me to consider we were safe in the damn Hamptons.

All I wanted was for Emilia to have a normal week away from the restraints of the family compound—those bland stone walls blocking out the world.

I blink away the burning of my tired, scratchy eyes and stare at the familiar faces standing in my father's office. "Somebody give me some good news!" I grunt out the words in a bad-tempered tone, my upper lip curling in disdain at the ineffectual assholes in front of me.

Men in my position do what's best for the people they love, even if it means upsetting them. Emilia might have loathed me for forcing her to stay here—where I knew she would be safe—
but all I needed was for her to be exactly that. Safe.

Now look where that's got me.

Emilia is in a hospital bed.

And she has no memory of anything that's happened between us.

I’m a damn stranger. Again. One she fears and probably resents.

And considering all I’ve ever done is cause her pain, she may be right.


My father sighs deeply before glancing around the room as I did. My brother, Dante, looks roughly as well rested as I’m sure I do—the dark circles ringing his eyes speak of days spent shaking every tree, accessing every bit of intel he can gather about the man who put Emilia in the hospital after leaving her for dead. He is slumped in a leather club chair in front of Papa’s desk, his head propped on one hand.
My cousins, Niccolo and Francesco, are weary, standing with their backs against the bookshelves lining one wall. They returned from their patrol, for lack of a better word, only minutes ago after spending the night combing the streets for any sign of Alessandro Vitali or one of his close associates.
When no one offers an answer, my father shrugs. “I wish I had good news for you. We’re still looking for him, but he’s gone underground.”
Cesco flexes his right fist, where I now notice traces of dried blood along his knuckles that hint at his interrogation methods. “Word on the street is he’s holed up with some bitch he keeps a secret.” Disdain drips from his every syllable, and I have to agree. Hiding behind a woman like a fucking pussy after leaving another woman for dead is just the type of scum Alessandro is.
Pain grips its way around my chest, suffocating me when I think about what he could have done to my poor Emilia if we didn’t get there in time.
I know he’s turned into a ghost, of course, though who could blame me for hoping we’d find him and crush his skull to powder? But that won’t change things right now.
I can’t live without Emilia.
I can’t force her memory to return.
There’s nothing to do but blindly grasp in the dark for some hint of light. Hope. I should know better by now.
I rake my hand through my messy hair and let out a heavy sigh. “Thank you for the update,” I offer as I stand, stifling a groan when my tight muscles ache at the slightest effort. “I’m headed back to the hospital.”
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” When I shoot my father a glare, he holds up his hands in surrender. “I’m asking for her sake. I know you feel like you have to be with her, but forcing yourself on Emilia isn’t helping her memory return.”
Resentment bubbles in my chest. He sounds like my mother, who gave me the same bullshit last night after bullying me into coming home for a few hours. The thought of them talking behind my back leaves me gritting my teeth. “I’m not forcing anything on anyone. But I’m going to be there for her whether she wants me there or not.” I can’t pretend the nights I’ve spent on a cramped sofa have been comfortable or restful, and it’s not like I got any rest last night, either. The same meager nightmare plagued me.
Those nightmares follow me down the hall of my family home, taunting me with every step I take.
My fault.
All my fucking fault.
Sometimes, in those dreams, I find her dead. Other times, I hear her screams and the sound echoes in my head long after I’ve woken up. It’s echoing in my head now—her pain and terror.
Vinny is waiting for me when I step outside, where I can almost taste snow in the air. I barely feel the cold that quickly penetrates my button-down, and it doesn’t occur to me until I’m in the car that I forgot to put on my coat before leaving. What does it matter?
I growl and grit my teeth at my own weak, pathetic thoughts. Emilia has never needed me more than she does now, even if she doesn’t know it yet. She will soon. I have to believe she will. I can’t let her find me exhausted and sick when she does.
The first snowflakes land on my shoulders once I exit the car and hurry into the hospital. It’s been five days since we first rushed Emilia through these doors, I know the layout like the back of my hand. I don’t bother going through the motions of checking in with the front desk staff or getting a stick-on name tag. They know better than to try to stop me on my way to the bank of elevators, one of which I step into before pressing the button for the top floor.
The guards are changing shifts when I arrive. “How is she?” I ask Massimo, who was arriving as I was leaving for home last night.
“Just woke up maybe an hour ago. The roses you ordered got here before that.” He barely stifles a yawn before leaving while Bruce takes his place on a folding chair outside Emilia’s door. His brother, Bruno, was murdered in the guest house the night of Emilia’s kidnapping, so he takes his duty seriously. It’s personal for him. No doubt he wishes one of Vitali’s guys would come along so he could have his pound of flesh in return.
Rather than enter through the door to the family waiting room on the other side of the suite, I open the one to Emilia’s room to say good morning. Oddly enough, it’s one of the things I miss most—something as simple as wishing her a good morning, basking in the warmth of her sleepy smile, and watching her return to life after hours spent resting in my arms.
How was I supposed to know it would all end so suddenly? That I’d go back to being the enemy, someone to fear and dread?
I have to pretend not to notice the way she stiffens and draws the blankets closer to her chin as soon as she sees me. “Good morning,” I offer with a grin. “I heard your flowers arrived. What do you think of them?”
How can she look so much like the Emilia I left for what I thought would only be an hour? Granted, there are changes, starting with the uneven tufts of hair left behind after the Vitali crew crudely chopped most of it off. Then there are the slowly healing bruises and lacerations to her face. The sight of them sickens me, not because of the damage they do to her perfect beauty, but because they, too, serve as a reminder of how I failed her. I should be the one whose face looks like a punching bag, not her. She’s never done a single thing in all her life to deserve what happened to her.
All she did was love me.
“Roses are my favorite.” She won’t look at me, focusing her attention to the lush blooms arranged in a crystal vase on the bedside table. I can let that go since the twitching of her lips is more important. The way she smiles softly, looking at the flowers.
I still have the power to bring a smile to those bruised lips.
“How are you feeling today?” Fuck, this is so awkward. I’ve been inside this woman. I was minutes from asking her to marry me the night she was taken. I’ve envisioned our life together so many times the future seems more real than the present.
Yet here we are, strangers to each other.
She glances away from the blooms before averting her gaze again. “I was watching the news earlier. I saw you on TV. Now I know where I recognize you from.”
Goddammit. “What did you see?” I ask, approaching the bed, one slow step at a time.
“Something about violence between your family and another,” she explains. “Vitali, the name was. I recognized that too. From work, I guess.” She lifts a shoulder, her voice flat and emotionless. “So, at least I understand that much. How I knew your face.”
What am I supposed to do? Congratulate her? Tell her I’m glad? Once again, I’m torn between patiently loving her and desperately needing her to love me, this constant back-and-forth, push and pull. It’s infuriating, but I can’t show her my fury.
“Is there anything you want to ask me?” I ask, fighting to be gentle as I sit on the edge of the bed. She sucks in a sharp breath through clenched teeth, but I won’t get up when it’s her nearness I need most. I can’t stay away. “Whatever it is. I’ll do my best to help you remember.”
She’s considering the idea. Her memory of the past few months might have vanished, yet some things don’t change. She’s as easy to read as ever. “No,” she finally decides, drawing her knees close to her chest when my hand drifts too close to her leg.
The bitter bile of rejection rises in my throat, leaving me fighting to maintain composure as I draw my hand back. There’s no way in the world she doesn’t remember how useless it was to deny our connection. Fuck, I tried to deny it myself, yet I had no choice but to threaten to turn my back on my entire family if it meant protecting her life.
“You mentioned work,” I prompt. “You remember your job?”
Her twitchy fingers work the blanket’s hem, almost compulsively picking at a loose thread. Anything, so long as she doesn’t have to look at me. “Sure. I mean, mostly. I know I have a partner, but I can’t picture them. I can’t remember the last case I worked on. I need to get back to it,” she points out. “They have to be wondering why I haven’t called. Why don’t I have a phone in this room? Why can’t I have my cell?”
This again. Like my answer is going to change. “I told you already. It’s complicated,” I murmur as gently as I can when what I want to do is scream.
I should be glad to see the anger that flashes across her face. It means she’s stronger. Why does that strength have to be directed at me? “Letting the people who know me know I’m alive is complicated?” she snaps.
And I thought it would be a good thing to visit her. This is the first time she’s dared to make a demand of me. I should be glad she’s feeling strong enough, but that’s the furthest from my mind. “You’re not missing anything, I promise. Besides, the doctors didn’t think it would be a good idea,” I remind her. “There’s too much missing from your memory, and you might not be able to process everything coming at you all at once.”
“Like what? You threw yourself at me when I first woke up, and I had no idea who you were. Today, I found out you’re a member of a mafia family.” She spreads her arms. “I’m still alive and breathing, right? That didn’t break me, did it?” The defiance in her voice reminds me of what first drew me to her, besides a body I’d give anything to touch again. Her attitude has never failed to turn me on, and the present moment is no exception.
I’m burning to put this bed to use.
Maybe then, she’d remember me.
Us.
“For all you know,” I counter as quietly as I can. “It might have set you back when I startled you. Your team said you need to be careful.”
“Why do they speak to you but not to me? Isn’t that a violation somehow?” she demands, lifting her chin. Fuck me. I’d give anything to kiss the defiance away until she melts in the heat.
“They know how important your care is to me. I brought you in after you were hurt.” It’s not easy remembering that night—the helplessness, holding her, and feeling like she was slipping away no matter how tightly I clutched her.
The entire team knows better than to address anybody but me when it comes to her condition. No one outside these walls is to know she’s a patient. No calls to family. Besides, I’m her family. They go through me and me alone.
“And how…” her voice wavers and cuts out, but she pushes through like the warrior she is, “… how do I know it wasn’t you who hurt me?”
It takes everything I have not to flinch under her simple question. Never has innocence pierced me the way hers does now. “You need to trust me, Emilia. All I ask for is your trust.”
“You won’t let me have a phone, and I’m supposed to trust you?” She sinks against her pillows with a weary sigh, like sitting and talking with me is too much. “I’m sorry, but you’re asking a lot.”
As much as I loathe it, there’s no choice but to tell her the most convenient part of the truth. “You aren’t a detective anymore. You resigned weeks ago.”
“Bullshit,” she blurts out in a trembling voice as the color drains from her cheeks. “I would never.”
“You did.” Gesturing toward her right arm, I explain, “You have a scar there now. You were shot in the arm and suffered nerve damage.”
She doesn’t want to believe me. I see it in the way she flexes her hand and winces as she lifts the sleeve of her flowered gown to examine the small yet very visible scar left behind. “You were shot by a man we assumed was already dead,” I murmur as she studies herself. “It was my fault you were hurt. I should have made sure he was dead. I’ll never forgive myself.” Truer words have never been spoken.
“So I quit my job?” Her voice is soft, like a little girl who’s lost her way and doesn’t know what to believe or where to go now. Here I am, ready to take her by the hand and guide her, and I’m the last person she’d rely on.
“You did.” I’m trying like hell to ease her into it. Gentleness isn’t my strong suit. I don’t have a lot of practice with it, let alone patience.
Her baby blues are full of apprehension when they meet mine. “Where do you come into this? You knew what I do… did… for a living, but we were still together?”
I’ve had days to consider how I’d explain everything, yet words escape me. It could be that no amount of imagination could possibly prepare me for being in her presence. She won’t let me touch her, yet I can see her. Smell her. Feel the warmth radiating from her trembling body. Her presence is too powerful, and I came too close to losing her to do anything but yearn for her now.
Emilia needs me to be stronger than that.
Swallowing back my longing, I murmur, “It’s a very long story. All I can do is ask you to trust me. Believe me when I tell you we were together, and we were happy. Vacationing in the Hamptons, having a great time.” Another swallow, this time to clear the lump in my throat. “Planning a future together.”
That’s what does it. She flinches at the word future, frowning, her brows drawing together. “My head hurts. I need to rest now.” Without another word, she turns, facing away from me, ending the conversation by revealing the stitches running along the back of her head—twelve in all, and every one of them a silent condemnation.
“I’ll let you rest, then. But I’ll be in the other room if you need anything.” She offers no response, only pulling the blanket over her shoulder and tightening into a ball.
This is the way she acts when she knows nothing but my name. How much worse will it get when she remembers how we met? Her determination to build a case against me and my family?
I can’t let that happen. She needs to love me again before she remembers more, or she needs to remember everything all at once. Since the medical team believes her recovery will take time, the former seems my only path to salvation.
I have to make her love me.
Considering I don’t know how I managed it in the first place, I’m fucking lost and more determined than ever to find Vitali and end his miserable life before wiping his entire family off the map. Nobody takes what belongs to me.
But killing him won’t bring her back, and that matters more than anything because I need her more than I’ve ever needed anything. I was born to be hers.
Yet here I am, closing a glass door, separating us again. There’s nothing to do but take everything boiling in me—the love, the loneliness, the fear for Emilia’s health and safety—and pour it onto a sheet of paper embossed with the hospital’s logo. There’s a stack of it in a drawer along with other office supplies. I wonder how many people have conducted business in this room while waiting for a loved one to recover.
Touching the pen to the page is almost therapeutic. I can allow myself to crack open and pour out everything threatening to choke me.
Dear Emilia…




“All I want is to keep you safe,” he insists, murmuring into my ear while I weep on his shoulder, wondering which of us I hate more. “That’s all. I’m here for you. Let me be here for you.”

Sadly, I want to let him. It’s because I’m lonely, confused, and scared of the unknown that I lean into his embrace, my arms snaking around his neck so I can hold on tight. Like I’ll fly away if there’s nothing keeping me on the ground.

Something takes over. Instinct, maybe. Something that makes it possible to turn my face toward his neck or inhale his spicy cologne and the unique scent of his skin. It stirs something in me— memory? Or am I so hard up for comfort that being this close to him feels like a good thing?

He pulls back far enough to look into my eyes. “Let me protect you,” he whispers, undoing me a little bit at a time with every word that tumbles from his generous mouth. “Let me love you. It’s all I ever want to do. That’s all I ask.”

★★★★★ A gripping end to this trilogy. Lots of twists and turns with Emilia’s recovery and rekindled passion with Luca. Loved it! - Maddie, Goodreads

TROPES:

❤️ Forbidden Attraction

❤️ Possessive Mobster and Fiery Detective

❤️ Enemies-to-Lovers

❤️ Kidnapping and Stalker Vibes

BOOK(S) INCLUDED:

✔️ Finding Love - Paperback

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What’s Your Desire?

Whether it be enemies-to-lovers or forced proximity, Missy Walker’s bundle has you covered. Hear from Missy herself about her favorite tropes!

Why you need these books.

There are hundreds of spicy authors out there, but only one Missy Walker. These stories are unique because they are born not just from her imagination but also from the real-life fantasies of her readers. So why invite her into your bedroom?

Forbidden Romance: Meet the taboo men of your dreams through your favorite literary tropes.

Sexy Encounters: Enjoy intricate details of those secret meetings that keep you up at night.

Endless Love: Feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of every book with the HEA you deserve to read.

Hear from Missy’s, erm, “highly satisfied” readers!

Waiting for your Paperbacks? Here’s how it works!

Print books are printed to order and shipped by our print fulfillment partner, BookVault. Print time is usually 72 working hours. After books are printed, they are packaged and shipped directly to you by the shipping method you choose at checkout. Rates and delivery times will vary depending on your delivery address and shipping method.

Average shipping times: To U.S. addresses, 2-3 weeks.

Missy Walker Author

Finding Love - Paperback

$14.99 $17.99

“All I want is to keep you safe,” he insists, murmuring into my ear while I weep on his shoulder, wondering which of us I hate more. “That’s all. I’m here for you. Let me be here for you.”

Sadly, I want to let him. It’s because I’m lonely, confused, and scared of the unknown that I lean into his embrace, my arms snaking around his neck so I can hold on tight. Like I’ll fly away if there’s nothing keeping me on the ground.

Something takes over. Instinct, maybe. Something that makes it possible to turn my face toward his neck or inhale his spicy cologne and the unique scent of his skin. It stirs something in me— memory? Or am I so hard up for comfort that being this close to him feels like a good thing?

He pulls back far enough to look into my eyes. “Let me protect you,” he whispers, undoing me a little bit at a time with every word that tumbles from his generous mouth. “Let me love you. It’s all I ever want to do. That’s all I ask.”

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