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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Flesh Cartel, #8: Homecoming
Copyright © 2013 by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau
Cover Art by Imaliea, http://imaliea.deviantart.com
Editor: Sarah Frantz
Layout: L.C. Chase, www.lcchase.com/design.htm
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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.
This title is part of the The Flesh Cartel serial story. New to Riptide Publishing’s serial fiction? Click here to learn all about it.
After Dougie’s revelation in Nikolai’s bed, after Nikolai had shushed him and held him until long after his tears had stopped, he led Dougie back down to the basement bedroom Dougie had been calling home for the last however long. Dougie wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Part of him desperately wanted to be wrapped back up in Nikolai’s arms, in Nikolai’s private inner sanctum, borrowing Nikolai’s strength and conviction and basking in his love. But another part of him knew he needed this alone time to think, to process, to deal on his own. He wasn’t helpless. He needed not to feel helpless. Had to know he could cope, at least a little, on his own.
Nikolai sat him on the bed with a lingering kiss to the crown of his head and a whispered good-night. He closed the door behind him, but he didn’t lock it.
A show of good faith, no doubt. Of trust. Dougie wasn’t sure if Nikolai wanted him to take advantage of his freedom or not, but he suspected there was no wrong answer here. Felt confident enough in that, at least, not to add fresh fuel to the banked fire of his panic. Besides, he was certain as certain could be that all the doors