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TAINTED PASSION

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Cora Miles is a beautiful and strong-willed girl born out of wedlock to a poor and struggling mother. From a young age, she craved the genuine love of a father. However, life plays a cruel game on her when she ends up with a pedophile stepfather and an evil stepsister. After years of enduring abuse, Cora flees her past life on her twenty-first birthday and starts a new life in a faraway countryside as Olivia Johnson. For one whole year, Cora, now Olivia, adopted the fake identity of a local farm girl and worked for the Dawsons as a vine dresser. Everything was perfect for Olivia until she crosses paths with two wealthy and handsome gentlemen, who are both rivals in the same line of business. Both young men are tenacious and want Olivia as a wife. But Olivia's falsehoods and past are out to hunt her. How far is Olivia willing to go, to keep her real identity a secret? Would she succeed in her mission or would karma come calling?

Chapter 1 The Stepfather

Cora sat still in front of her vanity mirror staring at the reflection of a young lady she could barely recognize.Her lips were as red as scarlet and her hazel eyes were shimmering with a thousand emotions. Her neck was adorned with precious stones and on the center of her head sat a delicate crystal tiara."Look at you, sweetheart!" Matilda Felan beamed at her beautiful daughter. "I'm sure even the gods are jealous of such rare beauty. You are such a lucky girl.""Lucky!" Cora said with a bit of melancholy in her voice. "If you think I'm lucky, then why do I feel miserable, Mother."A tear drop escaped Cora's shimmering eyes. "If this is what it takes to be lucky, then I want to be doomed forever."The smile on Matilda's face suddenly disappeared and was replaced with horror."I want everyone out of this room, now." Matilda snapped at the maids who were still putting finishing touches to Cora's elegant attire.The maids bowed their heads and quickly exited the room."Do not sound ungrateful, Cora Miles Felan." Matilda glared at her daughter's reflection in the mirror. "Do you know how many young ladies out there are praying to be in your shoes? You have virtually everything you could ever want in life at your beck and call. You...""No Mother," Cora turned around to face her mum. "I do not have everything. I'm just a pretty bird locked up in a cage. My only existence is to do my owner's bidding. It is true I have everything that money can buy. But the one thing I desire the most and can never have is my freedom."Cora took her mother's hand and gazed sorrowfully into her eyes. "I want to be free, Mum. Please, help me.""Enough of that nonsense!" Matilda angrily flung her daughter's hands away. She picked up the hairbrush lying on the table and ordered Cora to face the mirror.Abigail bit down on her inner lips and did as her mother instructed."I will not have you ruin this perfect night with your childish whining." Matilda took down the tiara on Cora's head and started brushing her hair all over again.Cora stared at her mum through the mirror, wondering whether she had ever loved her."Your father has gone through a lot of trouble to organise this pre birthday celebration just for you. All you have to do is smile and enjoy your day."Cora inwardly chuckled at the thought of the so-called pre birthday party.'What is a party without friends in attendance? The guest are just a bunch of disgruntled family members who are compelled to attend.' Cora hissed.Matilda patted Cora gently on the head and kissed her on the cheek. She dropped the brush back on the dressing table and picked up Cora's tiara."Babygirl, you are my star and you've brought so much good fortune to us." Matilda placed the tiara on Cora's head and smiled."I know you may feel cheated but life hasn't been fair to either of us. There is always a little sacrifice to pay for happiness. You know I'll do anything just to make you happy. I have done my part raising you and now it's your turn to take care of me. Please, my love, don't ever say those words again, especially in the presence of the maids. You know how much some people hate us in this family. They will do anything just to kick us back to the street empty-handed."More tears streamed down Cora's face as she listened to her mum's heartbreaking words."No more tears, cupcake, otherwise you'll ruin your makeup." Matilda turned Cora's chair around and dabbed Cora's tears with tissue paper. She retouched Cora's makeup and smiled."Tomorrow, you will clock twenty-one years of age and your father has big plans for you. Just make sure you do everything he says, okay?""Okay, Mother," Cora's plastered a sweet smile on her face as her hatred for her mother quadrupled.Just then, the door to Cora's room opened and a tall devilishly handsome man strolled in."How is my princess?" Valentino asked cheerfully as he walked up to the beautiful mother and daughter."She's having cold feet but she's fine." Matilda welcomed a brief kiss from her husband."Honey, can you give my princess and I some privacy for a special father and daughter bond?" Valentino stroked his wife's cheek while staring at his beautiful daughter's reflection."That wouldn't be a problem, honey." Matilda turned to her daughter and flashed her a deadly stare. "Cora, be nice to your daddy."Cora's heartbeat began thumping louder as Matilda walked out of the room. She felt goosebumps all over her body as Valentino's hands came resting down on her shoulders."You look ravishing, my love," Valentino's hands slowly moved from Cora's shoulders to her arms. He made her stand up and turned her around to face him."Your beauty grows with every new age and so does my love for you." Valentino tried to kiss Cora but she turned her face to the other side.Valentino chuckled evilly at Cora's reaction. He let go of her arm and was about to move away from her to lock the door when she quickly held him by the arm."Dad, I'm sorry!" Cora said in a trembling tone. She knew the consequences of her actions and was scared of how they would impede her plans for the night. "Mum applied too much lipstick on me and I didn't want to make a mess.""You don't have to call me, Dad when we're alone. Simply call me the pet name I thought you." Valentino turned back to Cora, his voice was frigid and void of the initial tenderness. He strolled over to the dressing table and picked up a face wipe.Using the face wipe Valentino carefully cleaned every bit of lipstick from Cora's lips and asked icily."Do you have any more complaints, my love?""No, b...boo!" Cora held back her tears for fear of exciting Valentino. He hated it when she showed weakness and would torment her body until she lost the zeal to cry."Kiss me and make it believable." Valentino pulled Cora into his arms and waited patiently for her to do her magic.

Chapter 2 An Escape Plan

Cora gulped down severally and tried to conjure any romantic scene from most of the books she had read. She didn't know what games Valentino was up to and she was terrified of pissing him off.The only young man that had ever dared to kiss her in the past had been missing for ages. Cora didn't need a soothsayer to tell her that Valentino had killed that man.Thinking about her first and last kiss now, she closed her eyes and leaned closer to her stepfather's lips.When her soft lips touch Valentino's lips, he lost the will to hold back from her softness and innocence.Cora allowed Valentino to torture her lips as much as he liked until he was satisfied."I have a special surprise for you, Cora. But you have to wait till tomorrow night before you can see it." Valentino whispered seductively into her ears.He was tempted to undress her and taste a little bit of her sweetness. However, the phone vibrating in his pocket reminded him

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