Vanquished (The Encounter #3)(5)

Written By: Pamela Ann



There was no solution to my borderline obsessive love for the man. All I was doing was following my instincts, which had led me here, to Monaco. My heart was my compass, and I hopelessly set forth to discover its truth.

Drunk on love and steadfastly nostalgic, my mind drifted back to the past, to the very moment I had set eyes on Hugo Xavier. It played like one of those romantic movie flashbacks by blocking out the bad things and solely focusing on the euphoric moments, the grand highlights that made me slowly fall for him, heedlessly, unassumingly, irrevocably.

I was consumed by a constant melancholy strung hopelessly inside of my heart like an old bloody love song by Edith Piaf’s gloomy, shattered dreams tone and style in her music. Turn one bottle into two, and by the time I reached the golden bottom of it, I had flown my body haphazardly across the massive bed, gloriously and unabashedly naked. I drifted to sleep, silently weeping, staining the Egyptian cotton sheets that softly grazed my cheeks.

In my beautiful yet miserable sleep, I dreamt of being in a bed of flowers, taking me back to the scenic city of love, the grand city of Paris. The tragedy of heartbreak happened before anything was given a chance to blossom, and the very man took me to Heaven and sent me back to Hell once he was done with me.

The way he had made love to me, with such fiery dominance and masculinity, had me begging for more, submitting to him in ways I had never thought possible. I knew sex—the raw, rough, smashing kind—and he had given that to me and more. I also wasn’t blind to the fact that there was another layer of affection, the unmistakable bond between two people who cared for each other.

He hadn’t said much, but his eyes had told a different story. I hadn’t gone mad or gone off the bloody deep end because I was passionately crazy about him. There was something there, the undeniable connection that I’ willed me to see through and fight until I knew I was completely and irrefutably defeated.

I was holding on to the greatest thing of all—the power of love—and nothing could stop me from accomplishing what I had come here for.

Hugo.

Drifting in and out of lucidity, teetering at the edge of the deep depths of my mind and reality amidst the thick cloudy haze of my inebriated senses, I fought to stay awake. Just when I was seconds away from submitting to my body’s demand for sleep, something yanked at my hand, making me release the smooth neck of the bottle from my grasp, shaking me out of my foggy slumber.

“Mmmm?” I groaned in protest with my lids still partially closed.

“What in the hell, Isobel! Beno?t or anyone could’ve walked in here, and you’re fucking stark naked!” Hugo roared, his powerful voice vibrating throughout the room. I could literally feel the echoes in every single atom of my body.

“Fuck, it’s you,” I groggily grumbled as I began to slowly pull myself together—well, as best as a drunk person could.

“You bloody bet it’s me.” Hugo’s less than pleased tone grated on me as his powerful eyes seared into me. “Put something on!” His eyes raked down my body, the intensity of his gaze burning my skin.

I felt hot all over, loving the reaction I got from him. All the while, I waited for that familiar hunger that usually came along with it. However, that never happened, much to my disappointment.

“Why? It’s not like you haven’t seen me like this. There’s no need to be coy with me, Hugo.” My voice came out raspy, wispy, and undeniably aroused.

“I prefer dealing with you dressed!” he ground out, his eyes flashing, unrelenting.

His harsh attitude fizzled whatever excitement I had possessed. Begrudgingly, I rolled off the bed, sans bed sheet, before lazily planting my feet on the plush carpeted floor and trying to get up yet miserably failing. Instead, I ended up laughing at the catastrophe that was me.

“Oh, Christ. Whoopsy!” My giggles turned into snorts, which made me more hysterical than before, cackling like a drunken sailor.

“You’re beyond sloshed! What’s gotten into you?”

Oh, dear. The French man wasn’t at all playful. His flashing eyes and the way his face seemed as if it was about to combust from frustration made me want to tease and goad him. After all, how many times had this man dumped me as if I was rubbish? As if I was someone dispensable, replaceable, and least of all special? It was wickedly twisted to even think of such rebellion, but it was the best I could do. I wanted more from him.

“You, idiot. You fucked with my heart before you fucked my body.” Smirking at his dark reaction, I tilted my head to the side, raising my chin towards him. “It should be the other way around, you know, but you’re a special kind of mind-fuck I didn’t see coming.”

Our eyes clashed, pulling and fighting for control, for balance, for something that was unreachable.

“Isobel.” He uttered my name as if it was wrenched out of him but said nothing more.

I was heartbroken. My heart was crushed and endlessly bleeding. Could he not see it in my eyes? Probably not. I was, after all, one among hundreds upon hundreds of women available at his disposal.

Trying hard to hamper the bitterness that sprung out of nowhere, I raised my brow at him. “Please don’t tell me I’ve already been replaced?” I threw out the question accusingly while my heart shattered once again. I hadn’t realized a broken heart could be shattered again and again, yet there it was, proving me wrong. It weakened me, made it unbearable to breathe. It was as if the air was made of thin, icy shards puncturing my lungs, but I had to keep on breathing to survive.