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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Flesh Cartel, #10: False Gods
Copyright © 2013 by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau
Cover Art by Imaliea, http://imaliea.deviantart.com
Editor: Sarah Frantz
Layout: L.C. Chase, http://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 .
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