Conquer Your Love(Surrender Your Love 02)

By: J.C. Reed

Chapter 3

SITTING IN THE backseat of the taxi with my arms wrapped around me, I realized Sylvie’s dress choice had seemed a good idea in the privacy of our four walls. Not so much in public. I kept pulling the hem in the hope of giving it more fabric, or length—anything that would help me feel less naked.

“You look so hot,” Sylvie whispered, probably misinterpreting my fidgeting. “I bet every guy in that club will be all over you the moment you enter the door.”

Did I want that?

Not really.

I wasn’t the attention seeking type or the one who wanted to be in the spotlight, but I couldn’t share that with Sylvie. She wouldn’t understand.

“No, I bet they’ll be all over you.” I pointed at her little black dress, which seemed to ride even shorter than mine. Or maybe it was the effect of her long and toned legs stretching up forever.

“You think?” Sylvie’s face lit up like a Christmas candle. Not only was she stunning, she also had a constant need to be reminded of it.

“I know,” I said, happy to no longer be the topic of the conversation.

I stepped out of the taxi into the balmy night air. My curls framed my cheeks and brushed my naked shoulders like soft butterfly wings, making my skin tingle. Club 66—the only club in the nearby area—was a tall, tower-like building with a glass front. The front doors were open and the faint beats of some Top Forty song carried over. A broad shouldered big guy stood to the side, eyeing us. I wasn’t sure whether he was supposed to be some kind of bouncer or just a guest waiting for his date, lighting up a cigarette or looking for phone reception.

“That’s all you could find?” Sylvie glared at me from under heavily mascaraed eyelashes.

I shrugged. “Want me to quote you? Like you said, ‘better than sitting at home, growing roots.’ If you don’t like it, we can still grab a pizza on the way back home and watch reality TV.”

Actually, I wouldn’t have minded that.

Just thinking about it—sitting around in pajamas, eating ice cream and watching a really sad movie, preferably where the male main character died, because Jett was as good as dead to me—sounded like the perfect night to me.

Sylvie scoffed and walked through the doors into what resembled a dimly lit reception area, leaving me behind smiling. With her it was all a matter of priority. Any sort of club was better than no club. At times I wondered how the heck we managed to stay friends for so long when we had so little in common.

The reception desk also served as a coat counter, which was obvious from the few jackets dangling from hangers and a lady standing there, cashing in. Sylvie and I weren’t wearing jackets, but we paid the cover charge and our hands were stamped, and then we entered the actual club area.

Being one of the few entertainment opportunities for those aged eighteen and up within a fifty-mile radius of Bellagio, the room was filled to capacity, overflowing with dancing girls and young men vying for their attention. The walls were covered in mirrors. Manufactured smoke wafted in the air, creating a dreamlike haze. Surreal but also a bit tacky. In the middle of the room was a huge staircase leading to a second story that, gazing up from my position, looked like it was bathed in darkness. I could already tell the music—the same fast beat I had heard outside—would make any sort of conversation hard. I mentally prepared myself for a long silent chat with the bottom of my glass as Sylvie and I maneuvered around the gathered crowds of people, heading for Sylvie’s most preferred spot: the bar.

“You order while I’m looking for a table,” I yelled at Sylvie so she’d hear me over the background noise.

“What?” she yelled back, her gaze fixed on her right where three people worked behind the bar, mixing and serving at a fast speed. I couldn’t tell whether she was so transfixed by the outlook of getting hammered, or the music was indeed way too loud. Tugging at her arm to get her attention, I leaned in to repeat in her ear and watched her flinch. Nope, it wasn’t the music. Just the anticipation of an alcohol-infused night.

I didn’t wait for her reply. Making my way past the staircase with a rope running across it and marked as ‘VIP area’, I scanned the tables and chairs lining the walls. They were all occupied, apart from one table. I dashed for it like a maniac, eager to ‘claim’ it before someone else spied me and beat me to it. I didn’t even care that my dress exposed way more of my thighs than was acceptable as I slumped onto the plush leather settee and bumped my knee against the table in front of it.

Long pangs of pain shot up my leg. I cringed to hold back a startled yelp, already missing my jeans, which would have provided a layer of protection.

“You okay?” Sylvie said, sliding next to me.

I nodded and grabbed a drink from her outstretched hand, realizing she had made the effort to remember I had sworn off alcohol for good because every time I so much as took a sip, something bad happened.

Like me waking up half-naked in bed next to a man who turned out to be my boss.

Or revealing all the things I wanted to do with said boss, which reminded me that I was jobless now, and probably had bad references. Talk about stupid!

I took a sip of my water with a slice of lemon, and placed the glass on the table as I watched Sylvie gulp down half of her margarita while searching the area for prospective male targets. Half a minute later they had spied her, and the first suitor found his way to our table. I looked away and tuned out because I knew he most certainly wasn’t going to offer me a drink, ask for a dance, or whatever he was about to say.

“You okay if I go for a dance?” Sylvie whispered in my ear. “He’s quite cute.”

“Have fun.” I smiled at her encouragingly. In all the years we had known each other, I had grown used to guys probably thinking I was the less hot friend, the baggage, at times even the gatekeeper of the hot tall blonde.

For a few minutes I just sat there listening to the club music; my mind wandered off to the estate and my own life plans. I had no job but would inherit a property that was worth quite a bit of money. Not that losing a job had happened to me before, but it wasn’t my style to live off someone else’s cash. As soon as I figured out how long I’d be staying I knew I’d find employment, even if just for a few weeks. The language barrier might be a problem, but I hoped in a tourist area someone might have something for me that wouldn’t require fluent Italian language skills.

“Thanks for saving our spot,” Sylvie said, sliding back into her seat. I looked from her to the full margarita glass in her hand. It was at least the second drink and that barely twenty minutes within our arrival.

“You should slow down a bit. We’re not in New York where we know the place.” I wasn’t usually the voice of reason—or a buzz kill—but we were in a different country.

She waved her hand and shot me a dazzling smile. “Relax, Brooke. You weren’t this boring when you were still guzzling down tequila shots with me.”

I smirked. Granted, she had a point, but still. Nothing wrong with being careful. Better safe than sorry, right?

“Look at that hot Italian guy.” Sylvie pointed past a group of dancing girls to a guy with a tattoo on his neck and a black leather jacket draped across the stool beside him. He looked like he belonged to a gang. I couldn’t really judge whether he was hot, or not. Obviously I didn’t have Sylvie’s hawk eyes when it came to spying an attractive specimen of the other gender in a dimly lit club. From the distance I could barely make out more than his height and cropped hair, ripped jeans, and what looked like lots of ink covering his bare arms. For all I knew, he could be between twenty and fifty years of age, with a hideous face.

“He looks like a drug dealer,” I remarked dryly.

Sylvie laughed that tinkling laughter of hers that told me she had probably heard the opposite of what I just said, and she grabbed her glass. “Time to get acquainted.”

Oh, god. Not him.

I grabbed her arm and yanked, forcing her to face me. “Please don’t hook up with the local mafia. I don’t want them knocking on our door, or burning down the house the moment they realize you go through men like others change their underwear. He looks like trouble and trust me, I have a keen eye when it comes to spotting trouble.” I raised my brow, not stating the obvious.

Something flickered in her blue gaze. First I thought it was a spark of realization that I was right—and then her mouth pressed into a tight line and I knew it was determination. She was about to try to prove me wrong.

“Oh, come on, Sylvie. That’s so stupid.” I rolled my eyes. Sylvie yanked her arm away.

“Just because he looks like a bad boy doesn’t mean he is one. Besides, I’m not interested in dating him. Just in having a drink and then chatting for a few minutes. You know, meet new people, and maybe improve my Italian.”

Sylvie didn’t speak one word of Italian. During our flight she had been using her meager Spanish and French vocabulary, think ‘muchas gracias’ and ‘merci’ when talking to the flight attendant.

“Chatting? Really? Do I need to remind you that’s what you always say?” I crossed my arms over my chest and regarded her coolly.

“Chill, Brooke. I know what I’m doing. Besides, we’re here to have fun. You might as well start having it.” She shot me her most reassuring smile, which wasn’t reassuring at all. If there was one thing I could say about Sylvie, it was that her taste in men sucked almost as much as mine. Given that mine had just hit rock bottom, I could only hope she wasn’t going to try to top me.

She leaned in to place a soft peck on my cheek, and then she was gone before I could mentally devise a strategy to keep her away from a natural human disaster. My eyes following her through the crowd, I leaned forward in my seat and craned my neck so I could watch Sylvie’s every move—just in case she was aiming for more than a drink. As if sensing the blonde behind him the tattooed guy turned, and then they were engrossed in conversation. Just in the blink of an eye. My heart fell in my chest as I observed their body language. Both leaning into each other, Sylvie smiled at something he said, and then he smiled. The next thing I knew they were on the dance floor, his arms wrapped around her. Her body grinded against him as the DJ switched the tune to something fast but sexy. The kind of music that invited you to let the guy you’ve barely known for five minutes play acrobatics with your tongue.

My gaze glued to Sylvie and her conquest, I took another sip of my water when something tickled my neck and someone’s hot breath caressed my ear.

“Brooke, what the fuck do you think you’re wearing?”

I jumped in my seat at hearing the familiar voice in my ear, and my heart skipped a beat. Turning, I looked up to see him leaning over me, barely an inch away. The way he made my heart hammer, I knew I was far from over him.

Top Books