Episode #8 in The Flesh Cartel Series, the ongoing enslavement story of brothers Mathias and Douglas.
Author: Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
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.
It surprises me that I have become so engrossed in this series, as I don’t usually care for non-con and have very little tolerance for torture and enslavement stories. My heart has been ripped out numerous times as I have read episode upon episode of the brothers’ suffering, torture, and anguish. Yet I cannot let it go. I suppose it is because the authors simply refuse to allow me to do so.
In this episode, we see more of the mysterious and devoted Roger, who makes unbelievable sacrifices in order to help Nikolai bring the boys to heel. We see him as more of a victim here, his devotion unswerving, especially as he helps Nikolai with his plans for controlling Mat. The majority of this episode, however, focuses on Dougie and his near frantic attempts to understand and accept his place, to please Nikolai, and to let go of all that he knew to be true of his previous life and ambitions. Nikolai’s head games and manipulations continue to bring Dougie literally to his knees, resulting in the brother careening into confusion and uncertainty about his future with Nikolai even as he tries desperately to transform into the perfect slave for his master. The episode ends with a confrontation between Mat and Nikolai that leaves the reader wondering who truly has the upper hand.
We do learn quite a bit about Roger in this episode, and I was very pleased about that. However, I wish I could have seen more of his past. I am very interested in him and his history since he plays a much larger role in this installment. Both he and Jeremy mention how Nikolai “saved” them, but I would have liked further explanation of the how’s and why’s of that salvation. Additionally, I wanted more of Mat here. I feel it would have created a better balance between the brothers’ stories and satisfied my emotional investment in both of them.
I have forged an emotional attachment to Mat and Dougie that seems unshakable. I fell hard for these two brothers from the get-go, and they will not release me. They beg me to stay with them, not to give up on them, to believe with my entire being that if I just hold on, just persevere along with them, there is still hope that they will find emancipation. So I do. I sit in their cells with them. I watch them endure torments beyond my wildest imagination – and theirs. I implore them to not give up, to remain strong, to cling to the most minute scrap of hope, because I truly believe that the authors will not abandon them. I believe that in the end, they will finally find freedom – and each other – once again.
This series is, obviously, not for everyone. I do not recommend it for faint of heart. It is dark and brutal. It is also very compelling, and the characters are sympathetic and irresistible for readers who might consider this their cup of tea.
I would like to thank Riptide Publishing for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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