The Flesh Cartel #7: Homecoming
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:dubious consent, non-consent
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish. Click on a label to reveal its content.
Mat had few regrets in life, but the ones he held on to, those were big. Being too afraid to leave home at eighteen when Coach Darryl had first offered to take him on. Begging his parents to make the long drive to Bristol to watch some stupid fight, then pushing them away from the after-party (I’m nineteen now, Mom, I don’t need a babysitter!), and waking up at 3 a.m. to news of the accident that’d killed them on the way home. Losing Dougie to foster parents for five long years after that.
But none of that—none of that—compared to the regret he felt now at what he’d let happen in that room with Nikolai’s sick-fuck pedo client. At what he’d let Dougie think. The heartbreak, the betrayal on Dougie’s face, was the single most painful thing Mat had ever laid eyes on. How had he let Nikolai convince him that was right? How could he have abandoned—no, shoved away the most important person in the world to him? The one person in the world to whom he, in turn, was also most important?
God, he was a monster.
He rolled onto his back, then curled up on his other side, away from the family photo and younger-Dougie’s innocent, beaming grin, hugging his blanket tight around his shoulders. Moving hurt. Existing
He lay there awhile. He didn’t know how long. No sense of time in the endless merry-go-round of recrimination and self-loathing he was riding. Every so often, he’d escape it long enough to think about the safety razor in the bathroom. Maybe he could break the blade free somehow. All eighth of an inch of it. Yeah, fat lot of good that’d do him.
He must’ve slept at some point; he woke to the door opening, soft footsteps on the hardwood floor. Not Nikolai—no click of dress-shoe heels. He kept his eyes closed. Couldn’t be bothered to look.
The bed dipped under someone’s weight. A gentle hand brushed across his shoulder above the blanket. “I brought food. You should try to eat.”
Roger. Mat didn’t deserve the sympathy in the man’s voice, in his touch. He lurched away, didn’t bother to stifle the moan of pain at the motion.
“At least take these?” A hand appeared near his face, three little white pills cupped in an open palm. “Tylenol with codeine. You’ll feel better.”
Mat snaked one arm out from under the blanket and knocked Roger’s hand away.
“Hmm.” A thoughtful noise: half sympathetic, half disapproving. “The master said you might feel that way. I’ll just leave them right here in case you change your mind.” A soft tap—the sound of the pills being placed on the nightstand. Roger stood, disappeared into the en suite. Ran some water. Came back a moment later. Another soft tap—probably a cup of water. The man was babying him, for fuck’s sake. He didn’t deserve to be babied.
Roger sighed. “All right then. I’ll come check on you again in a little while.”
Mat ignored him some more.
“Try to eat,” Roger said again, then left, shutting the door softly behind him.
Word Count: 19,800
Page Count: 75
Cover By: Imaliea
Release Date: 05/31/2013