Dominic (Benedetti Brothers Book 2)

By: Natasha Knight

His glance fell on her again as she was forced forward toward the thick stone block that took up the center of the platform. The switches stood, cut and ready, soaking in a pail beside the block. There were too many of them to count.

Her stomach heaved and she was glad they’d not fed her this morning.

“Bring her,” Captain Amro said.

Strong hands forced her forward.

Once again, Rowan resisted, struggling against them. She turned to one of the guards. “Please,” she begged, catching his eye. His filled with fear and she used this, used their archaic belief that the breeders, with their startling green eyes and slanted pupils, could curse them with a mere glance. “Let me walk on my own,” she pleaded.

He nodded once and looked away.

She had intended on taking her punishment with her pride intact. They could punish her body, but they could not touch her mind, not unless she allowed them to.

She was innocent of any crime, unless resisting rape was a crime. She raised her eyes to the captain’s and if contempt had a sound, it would be the hiss that left her lips in that moment. His gaze was flat, devoid of any emotion at all, and, keeping his eyes on hers, he bent to pick up one of the switches and tested it, the sound hushing the crowd, sending cold fear to her core.

She closed her eyes then and forced a deep inhale. Exhaling, she stood straighter and opened her eyes, meeting the captain’s gaze once more.

His eyes narrowed at this shift.

“Face the people you have wronged, breeder.”

Breeders were only given first names. They were known simply as breeder to most as this was all they were.

The guards turned her to face the people and all eyes lowered as she scanned the angry crowd that had come to bear witness to her punishment.

“She cannot harm you now,” Captain Amro said to the people. “Watch. This is why you came.” Then, to the guards: “Strip her.”

One held her while the other tore away her dress, stripping her naked. Rowan kept her head raised even as she felt heat flood her face.

“Bend her over the block.”

She was taken to the large, cold stone, the top of which declined a little so that once she was bent over it, her hips would be the highest point and her head would lay some inches lower. A hand at her back pushed her forward so she bent at the waist. The restraints at her wrists were undone and her arms were stretched outward, the chains affixed to the holds set in the stone. Her legs were next and Rowan rested her chin on the rough stone as her legs were spread and her ankles rebound. Next were the leather ties just above her knees and finally, the thick leather strap was pulled tight across her low back forcing her back to arch, raising her hips higher to present a target to the captain.

“You’ve always been prideful,” Captain Amro said from behind her, coming so close that every hair on her body stood on end as she stiffened. He ran his knuckles just over her hip before leaning in close to her. “But I don’t think you’ll be so proud once I’m finished with you, breeder.”

She hated him. His breath on her ear made the hair on the back of her neck stand on end and she clenched her hands into fists.

“It could have gone easier for you, but just remember, you chose this,” he whispered only for her to hear.

That’s what this was about really. He would punish her for her resistance. Most of the breeders were too afraid to and she didn’t blame them for that. Fear could paralyze in a time like this, and today, as the breeders watched the example they made of her from behind their locked windows, that fear would only be strengthened.

“Get on with it then,” Rowan hissed at him, feeling her body begin to tremble as he ran the length of the switch over the flesh of her bare bottom. She would not show her fear. Not to this man. Not even as she knew he could whip her raw.

Captain Amro stepped back then and that was when she saw a male doctor approach. She had seen him before, but males were not permitted to treat or have any contact with the breeders unless they were being bred. He carried in his hand a large syringe, the barrel of which was filled with a dark green gel-like substance that she recognized immediately. Her eyes widened and she snapped her head around to watch Captain Amro watching her with a small, victorious grin on his face.

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