The Flesh Cartel #10: False Gods
With a wedge at last driven between Mat and Dougie Carmichael, courtesy of Nikolai Petrovic’s expert manipulations, the brothers must each accept their new path forward: Dougie, a perfect slave, sweet and obedient and loving. Mat, a tightly reined dog, snarling and snapping but never allowed to bite.
Unfortunately, no transformation, however well planned, is without its growing pains. Mat’s leash is so tight it’s choking him. Dougie is tormented by a little voice inside his head—a fragment of his former self—that he cannot silence.
And Nikolai’s most difficult tests for the brothers are still to come.
The critical question isn’t whether they can pass those tests, but whether they even want to. Without each other to lean on and live for, a bleak future has become bleaker still. But Nikolai’s too good to let his slaves slip through his fingers—by death or by despair.
A noose, a nighttime sky, a shared lover, an unexpected friend. A foreboding forest cabin. A lavish party with all the debauchery Nikolai’s clientele could want. It’s all coming in season 3 of the Flesh Cartel.
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes:drug use, dubious consent, explicit violence, forced incest, heavy kink, non-consent
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish. Click on a label to reveal its content.
Heat Wave: 5 - Very explicit love scenes
Erotic Frequency: 4 - Fairly frequent
Genre: erotica, horror, suspense / thriller
Orientation: bisexual / pansexual, gay, heterosexual
Pairing: male/male, male/male/male, menage, multiple partners
Themes: abduction/kidnapping/hostage (actual), abuse, alpha/alpha, angst, commitment, enemies to lovers, family, hurt / comfort, power imbalance, slave / capture (actual), trust issues
Kinks: barebacking, biting, bondage, breath play, caging/confinement, collaring, cum-play, dirty talk, electrical play, face-fucking, fisting, forced orgasm, hate-sex/angry sex, humiliation, ice / cold play, incest (actual), insertables, knife play, orgasm denial, puppy play, rimming / anilingus, rough sex, sadomasochism, slavery (real), voyeurism, watersports
Careers: athlete, fighter (professional), professional (other), student
Mat had quite deliberately steered Dougie into the backseat rather than the front, despite the open passenger door. He didn’t know this person, this shadowed would-be rescuer with a knit cap pulled low over his forehead against the winter chill, and though he hoped, he couldn’t bring himself to trust. So he clung to Dougie as long as he could—safe, he’s safe, he’s finally safe, please let it be true—as they settled in the back of the car. Had to force himself to let go, turn away just for a moment, so he could close the door.
Mat froze, arm outstretched toward the open car door. Tried to swallow past his dry throat. Felt a fresh chill crawl up and down his clammy, frigid skin.
He knew that voice.
Of course he did.
Roger. Turned around in the driver’s seat, arm extended, the muzzle of a handgun jabbed into Dougie’s cheek. Dougie, trembling and tear-streaked, so wide-eyed Mat could see the blue of them even in the dark car.
“Close. The. Door.”
Don’t hurt him. You’re supposed to be my friend. Please don’t hurt him.
Very slowly, every inch of him fighting not to run like a fucking coward and leave Dougie behind, Mat reached for the door handle with one hand, the other hand palm up near his head. Pulled the door carefully shut—no sudden movements, no loud startling noises. He heard the click of the automatic locks, noticed immediately there was no way to open them again from the backseat—someone had broken off the manual lock lever—and by the time he’d turned back again, the gun was pointed squarely at the center of his chest.
Good. Better him than Dougie.
Roger squeezed the trigger, and the world went black.
“No!” Dougie threw himself at the gap between the front seats, knocking Roger’s hand away, knocking the gun away, but he was too late, too late, heard a too-quiet pop-hiss and Mat grunted and jerked, hand flying to his chest and then slumping, limp as the rest of him, in the darkened chasm of the backseat. “No!” Dougie screamed again, even though it was too late, even as Roger shoved him against his seat with a hard hit to the sternum from the butt of the gun.
“It’s just a tranq dart. Master doesn’t want him rabbiting again. I don’t have to shoot you too, do I?”
“No,” Dougie said, for the third time, but this time it was a sad little whisper. It seemed to be enough for Roger, though, who lowered the gun and then lifted a cell phone to his ear. Distantly, Dougie heard ringing, heard the faint “Hello, Roger” from Nikolai on the other end. His chest hitched at the sound, one-quarter conditioned pleasure, three-quarters terror.
“I’ve got them, Master.”
Speech from Nikolai then, something short that Dougie couldn’t make out beyond the general tone of satisfaction.
“No, no trouble, Master.” Pause. “Yes, Master, just like you said, about half a mile south of the forest service road. We’ll be there soon.”
He hung up, pointed a silent finger at Dougie—You be good now, you hear?—then turned and started the car.
Started back to Nikolai’s.
Dougie eyed the dart sticking out of Mat’s chest, fingers itching to remove it, but instead he clenched them in his lap. Pressed himself against his seat, exactly equidistant between the dangerous car door and his dangerous brother. Not touching anything. Especially not Mat.
Mat, who wasn’t dead but wasn’t alive either, wasn’t okay, would never be okay again, not anymore, not now that Roger was dragging them back there. But Dougie? Dougie was fucking relieved, at least in part, to be going back to Nikolai, back to routine and responsibility, all the things that Mat didn’t have, that Nikolai wouldn’t give him.
Mat deserved to be free. Needed to be free.
Dougie wasn’t sure what he needed. Didn’t even know what he wanted. To be free out in the wilds by his brother’s side, or to be a good boy, loved and safe and cherished?
He wished he’d never run. When he’d woken up this morning things had been so clear and simple, and now they were all fucked up. Roger was focused on the road, no answers coming from the back of his head, and Dougie was too afraid to ask the questions because what if he never stopped? Questioning, that’s what had brought him here in the first place, questions and doubts cracking away at his safety and certainty and what had it gotten him?
Your brother back. Yourself back. Clarity. Distance. Perspective.
Yeah, and what had that gotten him? Nothing but fucking trouble. What the fuck was he supposed to do with perspective in a locked fucking car or a locked fucking room in a locked fucking house in the middle of nowhere with a master who wouldn’t let him keep it? Oh God, he’d have to start all the fuck over again now, wouldn’t he? Have to . . . have to suffer again, bleed again, need again before he could ever kneel again at Nikolai’s feet and mean it, be happy there, survive and thrive, and fuck Mat for forcing that on him, for stripping him of weeks, months of labor, of scant inches torturously gained. He couldn’t go back to that. He couldn’t. He didn’t want to be Nikolai’s good boy again. Wouldn’t survive another transformation.
Another breaking. He broke you.
But you were happy then.
No. He turned to Mat, slumped on the seat beside him, thought of all his brother had tried to do, how brave (foolish!) he’d always been, how strong (stupid!), how willing to risk it all for what mattered (prideful and stubborn!), thought, I should be more like him. I should be brave. I should take control of my own life. I should stop this.
He looked at the back of Roger’s head again. Roger’s hands on the wheel. Roger’s car on some dark lonely two-lane highway in the middle of nowhere. He could grab Roger. Choke him. Snap his neck, even, like he’d seen in the movies. Except he wasn’t that strong, was he? But he could grab his arms and make him swerve the car, and maybe they’d all die in some dark ditch but at least that would be the end of it. This sad fucking story.
Or maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe Mat would die and Roger would die and you’d have killed them both and Nikolai would never take you back and you’d be alone, all alone, fucked-up and unlovable and lost.
Or he could go back. Go back and take his punishment and let Nikolai fix him no matter how much it hurt, how long it took, and then be happy again. Loved again. Never, ever alone again.
You scaredy-cat. Chickenshit. Coward.
No. Just . . . practical. He wanted to live. No matter what that took, no matter how ugly it might get, he wanted to live. And he wanted Mat to live, and Roger to live, and even if he did crash the car and even if they did all survive, what then? Nikolai would just send more men when they didn’t return.
Nikolai’s punishment would come. It was always going to come, and there was no stopping it, and wasn’t that what Dougie wanted? A world that made sense, a world that followed rules, a world where what you saw was what you got and every promise was fulfilled.
I want to go home. Back to school and back to Vegas and back to Serena Chang’s tits half falling from her too-tight shirt. Home.
Nikolai is your home now.
Oh God, maybe he should crash the car after all. Just crash it and kill himself and put an end to this fucking shouting match in his skull.
But too late again, too late. The tires were already crunching up the graveled driveway. For all the hours he’d stumbled blindly behind Mat, stupidly trusting, stupidly hopeful, the drive back to Nikolai’s had only taken ten or fifteen minutes. God, they’d been fooling themselves even worse than he’d thought, hadn’t they? There’d never been any hope at all. They hadn’t gotten anywhere.
No wonder there hadn’t been any guards. They’d never stood a fucking chance.
Roger pulled up in front of the house, put the car into park, and turned to face Dougie. Dougie didn’t miss the tranq gun held firmly in one of Roger’s hands. Steady hands. A man with no split loyalties. A man who, yesterday, he thought he might’ve died for, if the need had arisen. But now . . . God, what now? He felt . . . nothing. Not even hate.
Roger inclined his head toward the house. Toward where Nikolai was no doubt waiting to bring Dougie back to heel. “It’s not too late to fix things,” Roger said, and Dougie hated how sincere he sounded, how sympathetic, how loving. “I know it may seem like it is, but it’s not. The master is a reasonable man, and he cares about you very much. I think you know that.”
Dougie wasn’t willing to reply to that last bit, not just now, because he didn’t know that. Oh, he did, he did, but at the same time . . .
Instead he just lowered his eyes, stared at his hands fidgeting in his lap because it was so much easier than looking at Mat or Roger or the house, and said, “I’ll go quietly.” Because, really, what else was he supposed to do? What options did he have? The thought of walking back through that door twisted his insides so bad his heart felt choked by his lower intestines, but fighting would only make things worse. So, so much worse.
“I know you will, little guy.” Roger killed the engine, and the locks popped. “Go on up. He’s waiting for you. I’ll deal with your brother.”
“But—” Dougie looked to Roger, to Mat still slumped unconscious beside him, to Roger again. “I mean, aren’t you—” coming with me? I can’t do this alone. I’m not strong enough. I’ll run, I’ll panic, I’ll stand frozen in the yard until the cold takes me, I’ll . . . I’ll . . . Please.
Roger smiled sadly and shook his head. “You need to make the choice, Douglas. You need to prove to the master—and to yourself—that you’re strong enough. You are, I know it. I’ve seen it. You’ve made some terrible choices tonight, it’s true, but your brother can’t mislead you now; you’ll make the right choice this time.”
Dougie wished he had half as much faith in himself as everyone else seemed to. Roger, Mat, Nikolai. But he’d let everyone down, hadn’t he. Every last one of them. Even though they each expected different and conflicting things, he’d somehow still fucked up in every conceivable direction. Why did they still believe in him? Why did they still keep him around?
It didn’t matter why, only that they did.
Dougie took a deep breath, opened the car door, put one foot in front of the other.
His fate was waiting. The least he could do was walk to it like a man.
Word Count: 25,500
Page Count: 98
Cover By: Imaliea
Release Date: 08/31/2013