The Flesh Cartel #9: Trials and Errors
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, explicit violence, non-consent
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish. Click on a label to reveal its content.
“I’m ready to do what you want. I’m ready to be who you want.”
Nikolai peered down at Mathias—the source of so much frustration these last weeks, the source of Roger’s recent pain—and read the sincerity in his face. In his body, too, weakened and thinner than before, naked, a near perfect picture of submission. Not capitulation, not by any means. But obedience, at least. No attitude he could detect. No anger, either—they’d have to work on getting that back, but how hard could that be? The man looked almost casual, but for the glint of determination hardening his eyes and jaw. He suspected Mathias was trying to hide that, though, trying to appear unfazed. It was a farce Nikolai was willing to let him cling to, at least for the moment.
“If you’re sincere,” Nikolai said, “then your first step is to return to my good graces. I think you know what that means.”
Mathias’s tongue darted out to lick at cracked lips, and his eyes went to Nikolai’s crotch. Then he blanked his face—it’s all good, look how cool I am with this—and nodded. “But just so you know,” he said, and the absence of the “sir” at the end of that statement was more pointed than the words he’d spoken, “I’m not doing this for me or you. I’m doing this, all of this, for the people it protects. Roger”—Yeah, I know you beat him, fucker, that gaze said—“and Dougie. So I’ll do it, I’ll be the good little slave, I’ll fight when you want me to fight and I’ll stop when you tell me to stop, and I’ll suck your cock and take the beating I know you plan to dish out afterward, and I’ll even fucking thank you for correcting me if that’ll get your rocks off. But the instant—the instant you take Dougie away from me, I’m done. I’m outta here.” He leveled his gaze at Nikolai, no forced ease now, just naked truth and angles sharp enough to flay someone on. “So you’ll let me see him, you understand? And when we leave this place, we leave together. Or you can tell me no, and we’ll find out just how bad for business it is when your client’s new multimillion-dollar prize offs himself before the fucker even gets to have any fun.”
Well, that was . . . not unexpected, Nikolai supposed. In fact, he couldn’t help but be impressed by the fact that his fighter had such a wily little brain behind the brawn. Still, the reality of it rankled—he knew damn well he couldn’t call Mathias’s bluff, at least not now, because it wasn’t one. He couldn’t play the trump card of Mathias’s affection for Roger again, either, not without Mathias wising up to their little game. And time had made it clear that nothing short of breaking Mathias for good would knock the unrelenting stubbornness out of the man. Oh, Nikolai could break him, could break anyone, but the client’s requirements wouldn’t permit that. Not this time.
Which meant Nikolai would simply have to outsmart him. Wear him down piece by piece and stay three steps ahead.
Fortunately, he had an idea.
“All right,” he said. “But do be careful what you wish for.”
Word Count: 17,500
Page Count: 69
Cover By: Imaliea
Release Date: 08/03/2013