Vanquished (The Encounter #3)(4)

Written By: Pamela Ann

I could only hope he would give me the chance just to see him and have him hear me out. Waiting was truly nerve-wracking when my fate was hanging in the balance.

Chapter Three


“The hotel just informed me that Miss Isobel Callas is waiting in the penthouse suite in Monaco, Monsieur Xavier.” Beno?t threw me a questioning look just as I began to climb into my private jet, which was sitting on the tarmac in Berlin, ready for departure to Dubai.

Isobel. I thought of her as I gritted my teeth, my jaw locking as I wondered why she had decided to defy my demands. Had I not made things clear the last time I had spoken to her? What did she think coming to Monaco would gain? Had things unfolded differently, there could have been a slight chance. But ever since a few days ago, I was thoroughly reminded that this was a fantastical thought, wishful thinking. There was no escaping what my life was.

Yes, I had all these material things: the fame, the fortune, the prestige. But all of that came at a high price in a gamble that wiped out my family’s freedom, their ability to be loyal to a significant partner, to honor, to love.

Yes, I had grown up privileged and wealthy beyond measure, but I was forbidden from falling in love, or hell would come for the person I became attached to. For years, I had honed the best strategy to become distant with my well-chosen bedmates, and none of them had become a threat … until Isobel Callas.

As much as I adored her, treasured her beyond compare, I knew I must let her go. The warning had made sure I understood that. The flowers ensured I would follow through, or the threats would worsen. This, I must endure—facing her yet again, hardening my resolve as I told her this to her face.

This time, I must take all measures to push her away forever.

Chapter Four


Checking the time on the clock, I saw it was already past midnight. There was no doubt in my mind that Hugo might altogether banish me from his life, despite the fact that he was so courteous and accommodating, bestowing the penthouse suite to me. That was just how he worked—ruthless with a dash of chivalry. It was a mad combination, but it described him fittingly. He would always care for my well-being, but that didn’t mean much when I wanted so much more.

I didn’t want his kindness, niceties, or his well-mannered treatment to his present and past lovers. I wanted him, the man behind the exterior, the man I fell in love with beyond repair. Whether I truly was risking my life or not, I was never giving up, not before it had even begun. No, not yet. Not now.

My mental and emotional resources needed cajoling, a little encouragement, and replenishment. I causally strode towards the bar, ready to console myself with the vast and expensive selection of champagne that was chilled to perfection, simply awaiting consumption. Popping the top off the golden bottle, I didn’t bother to hunt for a glass since I wouldn’t be sharing it with anyone. I simply took a swig straight from the bottle, smirking at the thought of how painstakingly reckless ’I had been with everything in my life as of late.

The second my father thrust me into this sad lifestyle of high stake gambling, stripping my soul, my integrity and body, there was no going back to my old self. It wasn’t as if I didn’t care for my life. Hell, I loved life, loved everything about it: the uphill battles, the highs and lows, the laughter, finding love and falling again after the first time. Everything was a cycle, and I enjoyed the ride. As much as I cherished all of those, though, nothing compared to what Hugo was for me.

He was my beginning and my end. The man himself needed to understand that. And I wasn’t stepping out of this suite until I saw him, until I had proved my cause and my reason. This was it for me. This was me going out with a bloody shebang.

To hell with the rules and all the ghastly threats. Fuck it all.

So, there I was, a total contrast, dressed in my drab ensemble yet drowning myself in alcohol that cost a hundred times more than what I was wearing. How pathetically bizarre was my life? This truly represented me without a doubt.

Back in the day, the old Isobel would have been bothered, but after that damning chamomile incident in Paris, tarnishing such a lovely memory of mine, I gave zero f*cks to all those warnings and threats.

Gradually, with the bottle proudly clasped in my right hand, I dragged my feet towards the wide expanse of glass that overlooked the grand French Riviera, wondering over how unfortunate ’I had been in my endeavors. Some people had all the luck in the world, yet my stroke of misfortunes began the moment I was born when I was fathered by a drunkard who didn’t have an ounce of conscience in his DNA.

Sighing, my thoughts wandered towards my brother Yannis. I prayed that whatever happened with my father, with my fate, Yannis would find love and happiness someday. I had found mine, and it was imperative I fought for it.

This particular suite was the very same one where Hugo had tried to seduce me into … in the Jacuzzi. The bittersweet memories brought a heavy pang to my heart.

Closing my eyes, Hugo’s handsome face flashed before me, making me smile. No matter what lies came out of Hugo’s lips, I knew he felt something for me, too. How else would this powerful feeling—this strong tug at my heart—be as convincing if it wasn’t reciprocated? He was drawn to me just as I was to him. It couldn’t be denied, or we wouldn’t have had another rendezvous in Paris I knew there was more. I believed it with every fiber of my being.