The Flesh Cartel #6: Brotherhood
In the season finale of The Flesh Cartel: Fragmentation, Nikolai sets into motion his plan to break the bonds of brotherhood between Dougie and Mat. Time and again, Mat and Dougie have proven they’ll do anything to stay together, anything to spare the other misery or pain. To sever that thread, Nikolai plots a strategy more cruel and clever than he’s ever employed before. And to pull it all off, he enlists the help of a willing accomplice: Mat.
You see, Mat and Nikolai have come to an understanding. Or rather, Nikolai has come to understand what makes Mat tick. How to wind him up. How to make him stop. And how very much he’s willing to sacrifice for his brother’s happiness.
But Mat is still a loose cannon, and there’s no telling how Nikolai’s plan will unfold. One thing’s for certain though: Nikolai never fails, and with Mat’s cooperation or without it, Dougie will be his.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.
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Nikolai left Douglas curled up on his side in the bed, sleeping the sleep of the truly exhausted. He had to be, to be able to sleep at all with that massive plug inside him. Hopefully this particular training would end soon.
But he’d worry about tomorrow when it came. For now, he closed and locked the door behind him, and headed down the hall to the vault-like wall that isolated one half of the basement from the other. It wasn’t exactly convenient to have to lock and unlock this door too, but it was crucial—at least for now—that the brothers never be able to hear each other or be reminded of the other’s presence. Only one last door to get through now: the one for Mathias’s suite. He unlocked it as quietly as he could, hoping to catch the man in a natural state. He could’ve checked the video feed on his phone, of course, but where was the sense of adventure in that? Besides, he trusted his leverage over Mathias thoroughly enough not to fear for his own safety.
Mathias was on the treadmill, running flat-out, naked but for socks and sneakers and the new spandex shorts Nikolai had had delivered this morning. Sweat slicked the whole glorious expanse of his muscular body. He didn’t seem to have heard Nikolai enter—no surprise between the whir of the treadmill, the pounding of his shoes on the conveyor belt, and the loud but even rasping of air in and out of his powerful lungs. A stunning sight indeed. Hypnotic, almost. Nikolai leaned against the doorframe and simply enjoyed it for a moment.
Such power. And soon, Nikolai would have it entirely under his control. His pet warrior. His champion. Hmm, maybe not. More like a dancing bear, beaten and kept in chains.
His moment of quiet observation abruptly ended when Mat caught sight of him in his peripheral vision and startled so hard he nearly flew off the end of the treadmill. Instead, he half tripped onto steady ground, rounding on Nikolai with a facial expression and body language that spoke of barely reined-in fury.
You made me beg you to fuck my ass, you fucking monster, that expression screamed. But out loud, Mathias only said—well, spat, “I was going for time on a half-marathon. What do you want?”
Nikolai could play this game too, saying one thing and meaning another. He raised an eyebrow that admonished—I don’t respond to that tone of voice—and asked, “How far did you go?”
Mathias glared hard at him for another long moment, then walked over to shut off the treadmill and peer at the display. He grabbed the towel he’d slung over the handlebars and wiped at his face with it, sucking down air like a man who’d pushed himself far too hard. “Eleven miles in fifty-two minutes. That fast enough to get away from this place, you think?”
“It doesn’t matter how fast you run, Mathias. We’d find you. Assuming, of course, you were even capable of leaving the building. And then what? What about Douglas? Would you leave him behind?”
Mathias bristled, fists balled at his sides. “He can keep up. Has since he was nine. Used to follow me on my morning run every day like a lost puppy.”
Mathias went silent then, looking the sort of confused Nikolai had grown very familiar with over the years: that wounded, wondering expression that screamed, Why did I just tell him that?
No matter how stubborn his charges were, they all wore that expression at one point or another.
“Even if you could both run, you realize there are . . . fail-safes in place for such a possibility, don’t you?” By Mathias’s expression, no, he didn’t. He really had no idea how big this operation was, the fool. Too self-centered to understand he was just one tiny piece of a huge puzzle. “Do you really think this organization could run as long and as secretly as it has if anyone was allowed to go free? Personally, I’ve never lost a slave, but I know of other trainers and owners who’ve been careless enough to. Remember the men who first captured you? They’re the lowest on our totem pole. Slightly above them—though far below those such as myself or Madame, of course—you’ll find a different breed of procurer. Bounty hunters, smart enough to outthink any slave. You’re valuable, you understand: The hours I put into you. The money your owner paid for you. The information you have, as worthless as it is in the grand scheme of things. These men are trained. Smart. If you escape, they will find you, and you won’t like how you’re treated when you’re brought back to the fold.”
Mathias balled up his sweat-damp towel and threw it at Nikolai. “I don’t like how I’m treated now.” Then he turned and took two steps toward the bathroom, clearly intending to snub Nikolai by way of getting himself a drink.
But Nikolai had other plans. He sprung forward, clotheslining Mathias’s throat with the towel and yanking him back. Mathias fought for half a second before he forced himself still, hands balling into trembling fists at his sides when Nikolai twisted the towel tightly enough to warn, but not to choke.
“On your knees, boy,” Nikolai snapped, “and don’t you ever throw things at your betters again.” He wrenched on the towel, pulling down until Mathias crashed to his knees, hands now clutching the material at his throat. “Are you no better than a child, then, to throw a tantrum when things don’t go your way? Should I punish you like one? Perhaps I didn’t hit you hard enough yesterday. Shall we revisit the matter?”
“Fuck you, prick,” Mathias rasped. Nikolai had expected rebound, backlash after the large concession yesterday—Mathias had built up too much disgust, self-hatred, and impotent fury for the moment of breaking to stick—but this was stronger than he’d anticipated, even for a fighter like Mathias. Perhaps such drastic reactions called for the same in turn.
Nikolai released the towel and slapped him. “I asked you a question, boy. I expect an answer. A proper one.”
Mathias bared his teeth like the dangerous animal he was. “Go ahead, beat my ass. But if you wanna fuck it, you’ll have to force me. I’m not falling for your bullshit mindfucks again.”
“No, you’re not going to fall for one. You’re going to help me create one.”
“What? No, I’m fucking not. Fuck you.”
“Yes, you are. Now, stay. Can you do that? Or do I need to restrain you? Answer me honestly.”
Something in his tone must have broken through Mathias’s shield of fury, because he actually went silent for a moment, eyes angling up, clearly considering the question. “You gonna hurt me?” he finally asked. No fear in that question. Plenty of belligerence, though.
“Do you need me to hurt you today, Mathias? Is that what this is about?”
“Fuck you. Go do what you have to do. I won’t move. Don’t need to tie me down. Fucker.”
Well. This was a substantial backslide. Nikolai would have to react swiftly and decisively to nip this in the bud. He knew just the thing.
“You must be thirsty after your run,” he said, opening a cupboard door and finding what he was looking for immediately.
“Yeah. I was trying to get a drink before you tried to strangle me to death with my own fucking towel.”
“Oh, my boy,” Nikolai chuckled, picking up a wicked spider gag, “you’re much too expensive to kill. I’m afraid that’s just one more method of escape you can chalk up to the impossible.”
“We’ll see about that, you smug fuck.”
“Hmm. Interesting choice of word, ‘smug.’ An excessive amount of pride in one’s achievements, isn’t it? Well, my pride is certainly not excessive. I am a master of men, after all.” He crouched, and true to his word, Mathias didn’t move, not even when Nikolai stretched his mouth open, wedged the prongs of the gag past his teeth, and buckled the strap behind his head. “You, on the other hand, are awfully self-important for someone who can just as easily be a human toilet as a prize fighter, you understand?”
Realization dawned in Mathias’s blue eyes, which widened almost as much as his brother’s were naturally. Fear. Yes, much better. He scrabbled for the gag, fingers finding the buckle, trying to undo it, so distracted he didn’t notice Nikolai’s heel driving toward his groin until it was too late.
Mathias cried out and crumpled to the floor.
Nikolai crouched beside him and grabbed him by the hair, yanking his head until they were face to face, even though Mathias was in too much pain to make eye contact. “What part of hold still do you not understand? Did I say you could touch the gag? Do you think I put it on just so you could take it off a moment later? I feel as if we’ve regressed dramatically, Mathias. Do I need to keep you shackled 24/7? Break your hands?” He swiped at the drool already leaking from Mathias’s lower lip and smeared it across the man’s cheek. “Should I lock this on permanently? I do love to fuck a man’s mouth when he’s wearing one of these. But that’s not what I have planned for you today.”
Mathias made a groaning animal sound.
“What was that? ‘Please piss in my mouth, master?’ Very well.” He pulled Mathias upright by the hair. “Do. Not. Move.”
Not trusting his fighter to obey, he kept hold of Mathias’s head with one hand and undid his fly and pulled out his cock with the other.
“I’m sick of your pride, Mathias. I’m sick of this tug-of-war with you. Perhaps I can’t teach you your place with pain. Maybe not even with kindness. But you will learn. Now swallow. Spit this out or vomit it up and you’ll regret it sorely. Oh yes, I mean the serum. I think going a few days without it has left you a little cocky. Maybe you need a nice long reminder.”
That wide-eyed fear returned, powerful enough to eclipse the hatred and the sneering derision. Nikolai wasn’t certain, but he thought perhaps Mathias would’ve opened his mouth of his own free will if the spider gag weren’t already doing the job so cruelly. Good to see at least some fears remained stark and fresh in the man’s mind.
Before said fear could fade, he guided his flaccid cock between Mathias’s spit-soaked lips, just enough to keep himself in place. He wanted to make sure his urine hit Mathias’s tongue, rather than run straight down the back of his throat. He wanted Mathias to taste it. The urge to flood him was strong, but it was so very hard to swallow when you couldn’t close your mouth, not to mention the disgust factor—best to control himself, urinate as slowly as possible. Besides, that would prolong Mathias’s misery. So he relaxed his muscles just enough, let the first of it out in a dribbling stream.
Mathias lurched back with a shout the moment it struck his tongue.
Nikolai tightened his grip on Mathias’s hair. “Hold still. Hold still, or you really will get the injection, and I’ll piss in your mouth while you’re writhing in agony on the floor. I can’t say my aim will be very good then, however.”
Mathias stopped squirming. Glowered up at Nikolai with pure hatred in his eyes. The muscles in his jaw flexed. Fighting the gag.
“Would you really risk biting me, Mathias? What if the gag slips?” Fresh fear again, this time for his brother. He squeezed his eyes closed, seemed to force his jaw still by sheer force of will. “The best you can do is relax and let it happen. Take it like the hole you are right now.”
Once Mathias stopped fighting, Nikolai relaxed and simply enjoyed the sight of the defiant boy’s throat swallowing piss. Of piss dribbling over his lips, down his chin. Nikolai finished off. Zipped up.
He tilted Mathias’s head back and completed the man’s humiliation by spitting down into that open mouth. Mathias’s stomach heaved, eyes and jaw clenching momentarily. Fighting to keep it down. “This is what you are now,” Nikolai told him, very calmly so Mathias would have no doubt he believed his own words, that none of this was bluster. “I own you. Every time you want to fight me, or think you can fight me? I want you to remember the sensation of my piss running down your throat. The taste of my piss. The feeling of having a belly full of it.” A choking noise at that, another hard tensing of those beautiful abdominals. “That is what you are now. That is all you are.” And yes, there it was, a lovely tear streaking down one cheek, a wetness caught in his eyelashes. “Now, are you going to accept your place, or will I have to make you eat shit, as well?”
Mathias shook his head vehemently, eyes wide, pupils dilating. He fisted Nikolai’s pants legs in both hands—not violent, just desperate. “Nnnnn,” he managed through the gag, still shaking his head, and then a sort of “clhhh, ghhh!” that Nikolai was fairly certain had begun life as Please, don’t.
Just as well, because that was one threat Nikolai did not savor the thought of following through on. He did in fact enjoy kissing his slaves on occasion, and there were some things even a thorough wash couldn’t really clean away.
I applauded Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz for their writing talents in this last episode of the season . . . [I]t is brilliant . . .
The second half of this book had tears falling from my eyes . . . This series just keeps getting better.
[S]trong, unapologetic, brutal and chillingly honest . . . [R]achel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau are geniuses . . .