Font Size:  

Chance shakes his head at me. “It was either him or you, and unfortunately, my brother can’t give birth.” His eyes narrow on me. “That’s the only reason I saved you.”

Even though I know birthing children is my sole purpose in life, for some reason, it hurts hearing it from Chance.

Whether it’s from emotional and physical exhaustion or just that I’m tired of keeping quiet, I say, “I’m not a breeding machine.”

For a moment, the corner of his mouth lifts, and he almost smiles. “Prove it to me and train your ass off.”

“I will,” I say with so much bravado, I shock myself.

I’ll train hard and fight in the war to earn my freedom so no one can force me to do anything I don’t want to .

Chapter 17


Lying in bed in the clothes I got from Raze, I stare at the wall, trying to process the past two days.

I’m tired, but I can’t fall asleep.

When I close my eyes, I see Ethan’s body go limp and drop to the ground. I see the pain in Chance’s eyes.

I can’t stop thinking about how it felt when he kissed me.

I’m scared of this new life, not understanding any of it. I feel alone with only questions to keep me company.

I don’t understand how it was so easy for Chance to kiss me and how it meant nothing to him. It changed my world, and instead of being a wonderful moment, it’s a sad one.

Turns out the deviants aren’t that different from the virtuous. Emotions still need to be controlled.

And I can’t. Mine are all over the place.

After tossing and turning until the blanket is wrapped around my legs, I kick it away and give up on sleeping. I listen to the even breaths and snores from the others.

Deciding to explore the ward on my own while everyone’s asleep, I get up and tip-toe out of the sleeping quarters.

The lights are dim as I walk down the corridor and make my way to the animals’ enclosures. Slowly, I inch closer, curiosity bubbling in my chest.

The first pen holds sheep, and I smile when I see they’re all huddled together, a cloud of white fluff. I watch them for a while before I move to the next pen. The cows aren’t fluffy, and they’re huge in comparison to the sheep. I don’t look as long at them.

When I see the pigs, I let out a chuckle. They look naked. A fat one lies to the side. It has floppy ears that curl at the edges.

The next enclosure seems empty, and I almost pass by it when I see the chickens in the corner. There are tiny ones pushing their way beneath the bigger ones.

My heart turns to a puddle of goo when I hear the peeping sound they make.

“Oh, my soul,” I whisper. “So cute.” I crouch down and clutch the fence, wishing I could hold one.

“They’re cute until they start crowing,” a male voice says from behind me.

I quickly straighten up and glance over my shoulder, recognizing the man from the shower. I don’t know how long he’s been here, seeing a side of me I’m not sure I want him to see.

“I’m Kenzo.”

Chance said something about Kenzo being my best bet, or something along those lines.

Kenzo holds his hand out to me, and for a moment, I hesitate before I shake it, like I’ve seen men do. His grip is firm around my fingers, then he lets go.

Kenzo is a little shorter than Chance, more Ethan’s height. His black hair draws attention to his gray eyes. The longer you look at Kenzo, the more you realize just how attractive he is, and I only notice now that the man is actually wearing clothes.

I can’t guess his age, late twenties, early thirties.

He moves past me and opens the gate, letting himself into the chicken enclosure.

“Shouldn’t they sleep?” I ask, worried he’ll disturb them.

“It’s all they do.” He picks up a little one. It looks even smaller in his hand. “Eat, shit, and sleep.”

When he comes back to the fence, a smile spreads across my face.

“Come in,” Kenzo says in a hushed tone. “They don’t bite.”

Not waiting for a second invitation, I quickly let myself into the enclosure and make sure the gate latches behind me. With a smile I can’t contain, I look at the yellow ball of fluff in his hand.

“Go on. Touch it.”

“Really?” I ask, my chest filling with a warm sensation.

The corner of Kenzo’s mouth lifts in a grin, and it’s all the encouragement I need. I try to keep my hand steady as I lift it to his, moving slowly, so I don’t scare the little chick.

When I brush the tip of my finger over its feathers, it lets out a soft peep.

“Oh, gosh!” I coo.

“Here.” Kenzo takes my hand, forming it into a cup, and eases the little chick into my palm.