“What is your name?” he asked her in her own tongue, which he struggled to recall, but it came when he needed it to.
“Bethan,” she said quietly. “Bethan of the Carvetii.” Her cheeks flushed pink.
A neighbouring tribe and one that his people had likely fought and traded with over the years he’d been absent. “Bethan, don’t be afraid. I am a powerful man, yes, with strong muscles, but I know how to use them wisely. Come closer.”
She shuffled toward him and lowered her hands to her side, taking the chains with her. The links stretched across her belly and the ones about her ankles clinked as she walked.
Atticus chortled. “She likes what you say, I can see it. Keep it up, she’ll be eating out of your hand while you smart her backside. These Britons have no wits.”
Felix guessed Atticus had no clue as to what he’d said. “Closer, Bethan.” He’d no desire to drag her screaming across the room.
The dark eyes stayed on him as if she was blotting out everybody else. Behind her Rufus shifted to the edge of his seat. Reaching up to her long hair, Felix coiled it between his fingers. “Down,” he said firmly.
Apparently, he’d hypnotised her. She slid onto her knees, taking the weight of the chains between her wrists. He lifted them while keeping his hand bundled in her hair and slowly, he drew her over his lap. Her bare bottom rose up and the creamy ass cheeks parted slightly.
Gods, be patient! He would enjoy spanking her, but no more. In the temples of Rome, he’d sworn on the altar of Ceres, goddess of the harvest and fertility, that he would only spill his seed once he reached his new lands. He’d waited two months to reach Britannia; he could wait a few more days before he fucked a woman. He raised his hand and brought it down with a crack.
Bethan screamed and jerked across his lap.
Atticus roared with laughter.
Rufus’s nostrils flared, but he said nothing.
Felix rested his hand on her ass, feeling the heat rise to the surface. “Be brave, Bethan,” he said quietly. “The gods will reward you.”
She slid over Felix’s iron-clad thighs and he looped his arm around her waist until he fitted her snugly against his firm stomach. He tilted her bottom higher until her palms rested flat on the floor.
Across the room, Rufus was clearly entranced. He had a bird’s-eye view, especially of the cleft between her arse cheeks. Lucky for him. She just wished Atticus wasn’t there. The bastard roared with laughter when the first blow landed where her buttocks met. Felix’s mighty hand covered both of her cheeks easily and she thrashed her head from side to side as the shock of the pain heated her arse to the temperature of hot coals. Felix said the gods would reward her. How exactly? Weren’t they laughing at her misfortune along with Atticus?
Rufus stayed quiet. She twisted her head and managed to spy him out of the corner of her eye. As Felix rained down his spanks, she matched Rufus’s gaze with as much courage as she could muster. It lasted a few minutes, then she started to cave in to the pain blazing in her backside. She hollered and writhed. Only the firm grip of Felix kept her in position and prevented her from falling off his lap.
“Keep still, wench,” Felix murmured. “I shan’t stop yet. Atticus will not be satisfied with this unless you show him your pain.”
He understood. The gladiator knew that she was suffering for the commander and not him or Rufus.
She sobbed and tears collected in her eyes. “It hurts.” But, she refused to shed a drop for Atticus.
“And so it should. You stole,” he said loudly, then rattled more smacks down, criss-crossing her poor arse and thighs with them. The chains weighed her down, preventing her from lifting her legs or kicking her feet.
He was sympathetic up to a point, it seemed. What of Rufus?
Through a tangle of dangling strands of hair, she glanced at him. He clutched the edge of his seat with white knuckles but made no attempt to intervene in her plight. Perhaps he was just as eager to see her punished as the other? Neither of them cared for her fate—they’d be gone in the morning.
The spanking continued unabated by her cries and appeals for mercy. It was what Atticus wanted—chastised by the hand of a famous gladiator.
“Rules are not to be broken, girl,” Felix accompanied each word with a flurry of slaps.
“Oh, mercy, lord,” she entreated. Her arse was on fire and the heat went deep into her flesh to her very core, where to her shame it coaxed other sensations into being, including a strange buzz she’d never felt before in her sex. “Please, Commander, I can’t take any more.” She bit on her lip and absorbed the smacks. She probably could, but Felix was right, it had to appear she was suffering badly.
“I don’t care,” Atticus snarled from across the room. “Keep at it, gladiator. She’s not even close to fainting.”
Felix paused. He rested his hand on an arse cheek and squeezed. “Seems to me she is sufficiently punished.”
Atticus snapped his fingers impatiently. “Yes, yes, her ass is red hot, but I want it black and blue. I want to hear her scream.”
“You agreed, sir, that I should choose the extent of her punishment.” Felix spoke with a great authority. Did he call out to the crowds for their support when he fought? Was that how he won them to his side?
Atticus growled. “I agreed but only to see you make her suffer.”
“You wanted to entertain me, and I have been.” Felix’s hand drifted along her furrow and down between her folds. The chains clanged against the stone floor as her feet rose up onto their tiptoes. He lingered and used his fingertips to probe. She gasped. For a moment the discomfort in her bottom was supplanted by something quite different, almost delightful. The tingle shot along her spine and her nipples felt as if a magical hand had pinched them.