I am going to marry a monster.
He is my everything.
He manipulates people for fun. He takes over their lives, consuming them. He dominates and crushes, ruling them, claiming their souls. No one can survive the games of Damon Hunt.
Before now. Before me.
I am Ella Knight. I am corrupted. My sister was a victim of Damon's games. It’s my turn to play now.
Damon Hunt has been my sole focus, my everything for three years, since my sister’s death. I'll manipulate him. I'll take over his life, consuming and crushing him. I am going to take away his soul. Damon Hunt will not survive my games. I will win.
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February 12th 2014
I look down at Cory and feel nothing; no joy at breaking him, no happiness at succeeding, and certainly no sadness over lost love. I don’t really remember feelings nowadays. Love isn’t real. It hurts people. It’s a word used too often without meaning. I have no time for love. I am empty. A single vessel floating around a universe of nothing. I have no reason to feel anymore. No real reason.
The weeping man before me brings no emotions out in me. They never do, they’re just collateral damage. They’re all the same - easy to please, easy to hurt, full of broken promises. The world would be better off without men in it.
I didn’t need to ruin Cory. I was ready when I left Scott. Cory just happened to catch my eye at the right time. Or wrong time, depending on how you look at it. I want to laugh at his pathetic display of weakness. Crying over a break up? Disgusting. Love sucks, get over it already!
“You’re weak. Nothing but a pathetic piece of shit.” I snarl.
“I don’t understand. Why? What’s changed since this morning?” his eyes plead with me. This is the part I like. Seeing how far I can push them. “Baby, I love you.”
“You think you love me after three months?” I laugh and shake my head. “You were easy.”
“I do. You know I do. You feel the same, you said you loved me. Why did you fuck him?” I can see the doubt set in as he looks up at me. I smile. Stupid man.
“I’ve never loved you. It was all a game. You were a game.” He sucks in a shocked gasp. “I saw you the night before in the bar. You’d cheated on your girlfriend, but you were still trying to make her feel bad for your actions. After you got caught. Like it was her fault your dick slipped into the redhead. I had to have you then.”
I walk to him and crouch down so we’re eye level. “It took one flash of leg to get your attention. One smile to get a drink. Three days for you to say you were sorry for the first time. By day eight you told me you loved me.” I tilt my head to the side to look at the poor excuse of a man I’ve been shacked up with for the past three months.
“Why are you doing this?” he cries as his head drops forward, shoulders hutched over in defeat.
“Because I can.” I snap. “You tried to manipulate a vulnerable woman. You used love to hurt her. I couldn’t let you get away with that, you needed to feel the pain you caused your ex.”
“So this has all been revenge for Carol?” Cory asks in an incredulous voice.
“No. I’ve never spoken to Carol before. This was about more than just your ex, Cory. It was about the man you are. What you represent. I knew on day five that you would be the easiest. A few words in your ear and you believed my words over a fourteen year friendship. Never put hoes before bros, it’s a known fact. That friendship took twelve days to break. Twelve days as opposed to fourteen years?” I laugh at his stupidity, shaking my head. “Pathetic.”
“Tony certainly did. Just not the way I told you.” I’m ready to leave. I stand and move to collect my bag from the kitchen table. “I never needed anything from you. I don’t need anything from anyone. All that money you’ve given me, I didn’t need any of it. I just needed to see how hard you would try to keep me.”
“Why?” realisation is finally sinking in. He sounds broken.
“Why? Why? Because I lost everything. All because of a man like you.” I shout at him before calming my voice. “Your dad never touched me, you know?” a sob tears from his throat, raw pain. “Sure, he grabbed my arm and made those marks but only after I told him I was using you. Good thing mummy dearest believed him.”
“You bitch.” he cries, looking torn up. Yes, he’s too broken to even stand up to me. I walk to stand in front of him.
“I am a bitch. I don’t feel. I don’t love. I hate. I only hate. I hate you.” I grab a hand full of his brown hair, squeezing it into a fist then pulling his head back so he’s looking at me. “I would say it’s been fun but you’re the same as the rest of them. A lying, cheating, lousy lay. Have fun trying to build bridges.” I push away from him, stride to the door, and exit, leaving it to slam behind me.
I smile as the cold, February air stings my face. The winter sun is shining bright. It’s deceiving. Like me, beauty surrounded by nothing but bitterness. It takes nothing but a smile to lure men in.
I use them.
I manipulate them.
I break them.
That’s the best part, leaving them broken with nothing and no one left. I had everything taken away from me because of one man. The Demon.
Damon is a hunter. He preys on innocent women. He breaks them, tears them apart until they have nothing more left to give.
It’s time for the hunter to be hunted.
Alicia Taylor is 28, lives in Derbyshire in the UK with her husband and two step-daughters.
Corrupted is her debut novel which she cowrites with Natalie Townson. This is book one in the Manipulation Trilogy.
Her love of reading led to blogging which led to this - dipping her toes in the indie author pool.
Natalie Townson is 31, a mother of one beautiful little boy and lives in Gloucester in the UK with her Husband.
Corrupted is her debut novel that is a book one of the manipulation trilogy, that she co writes with Alicia Taylor. She is currently working on book two of the series which is nearly complete.