Daily Archives: January 18, 2015

The Flesh Cartel (complete series) by Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau

cover52093-mediumSublime service, made to order.

The Flesh Cartel: an international, multi-billion-dollar black market that trades in lost souls. Or more specifically, their bodies. The Cartel trainers are masters at breaking a human mind. Fortunately for their ultra-rich clients, they’re just as skilled at putting people back together again—as perfect pets, well-trained and eager to please.

Two orphaned brothers caught by the Cartel learn just how far the human spirit can bend—and how badly it can break. But with support from each other and a determined FBI agent, they may also learn how to live—and love—once again.

***

This is a serialized story now available in five novels in print and ebook.

Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: explicit violence, forced incest, non-consent, dubious consent, drug use, kidnapping/abduction, self-harm.

Kimi’s review:

Holy shit. To say this wa not an easy read would perhaps be the understatement of the century. It’s not a romance, so put that idea right out of your head. It’s a taut psychosexual thriller that takes you on a bareknuckle ride through Hell and gone. I won’t say back, because there is no coming back from something like this. There is an out and forward, but no way back.

Big brother Mat has sacrificed a lot in order to make a home with his brother and put him through university. Doug, or Dougie as Mat still calls him, is close to completing his PH.d in psychology. Unfortunately, Doug has caught the eye of some unsavoury types who decide to take him as he fits the profile for being some one they can disappear easily enough- orphaned, alone except for a brother who’s an MMA fighter on a downward spiral, barely keeping their heads above water, and very, very attractive. When an exceedingly rich man puts in a request for a certain body type and look, wheels are set into motion to make his disappearance one that doesn’t raise any suspicion. Unfortunately for Mat, he comes home a bit earlier than they had anticipated and finds he too is grabbed.

What follows is a regime of sexual and mental abuse designed to break the men’s minds and spirits, with a lot of what happens being helped along by other victims of the cartel. Nor are they the only victims currently being broken and sold, which they discover to their horror, as both male and female victims are heard in the cells and seen in various locations at the facility. Auctioned off as a pair at an auction that quite frankly made my hair stand on end, they are bought by a trainer. Nicolei is a consummate professional in training sex slaves. It’d be easy to hate him as we watch the mind games he plays with Mat and Dougie, but rather than give us a completely unlikable villain, the authors gave us a complex man who has genuine regrets and affection for his charges. It’s quite a conundrum, made all the more tragic when it all starts to come apart for the cartel. I couldn’t bring myself to feel affection for him, but my heart did break for him and for his right hand man. In another life, given very different circumstances, their lives would have been very different instead of being warped beyond all reason.

The story doesn’t end when the brothers are at last sold by Nicolei to their master either. FBI agent Nate Johnson has been a long time fan of  Mat, and he has been following his instincts that something doesn’t add up with the MMA fighter and his PH.d candidate brother’s disappearance. he’s like a dog with a bone, and he doesn’t stop until he has the answers he’s looking for. Of course, the truth is much, much bigger than he’d ever dreamed, and it makes for an explosive  climax  when law enforcement pulls off their operation. Following up on what happens afterwards was a rare treat, but it was not a ready made HEA. Nate and Mat connect on a personal level, which was indeed very romantic, but Dougie was straight and his head is having a hard time separating out sex and affection and feelings of well-being. Given that his mind and body have been conditioned to associate sex with a male master as “happiness”, he’s in a bad place. The authors manage to showcase how his sexual traumas cause this, and his finding his way out of it, without demonising the LGBT community.

It’s a very well written series, but one I could only read in VERY small doses and with a lot of happy in-between as it is simply so vividly depicted that it crawled right under my skin and wormed itself into my brain. The abusive pseudo BDSM (it’s NOT BDSM of course, despite the twisted lies the masters tell themselves, it’s abuse) in particular is brutal, and of course anything but safe, sane, and consensual, so readers should be warned that a rather strong stomach for those scenes alone is required.

This title can be purchased as a serial or as a series with three seasons (volumes) from Riptide.

Rating: 5

kimisig

A Bond of Three by KC Wells

Dreamspinner presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5962hw

bond threeBlurb

In the kingdom of Teruna, the red-cloaked Seruani teach the Terunans the art of love. Taken from their homes at seventeen to be trained, they are shunned as outcasts by society and considered the lowest of the low. So when Prince Tanish falls in love with the Seruan Feyar, the man who took his virginity and the only one to share his bed, he is not about to declare that love. No one can ever know, because the consequences would be too painful to consider for both of them.

When the king of Vancor visits Teruna, he promises that his son, Prince Sorran, will marry Prince Tanish to solidify the alliance between the two kingdoms, with the proviso that the virginal Sorran is instructed in the art of pleasing his husband-to-be. When Tanish’s father chooses Feyar to be this instructor, the lovers decide Prince Sorran must be taught that this is to be a marriage in name only….

A resentful prince, unwilling to share his lover.

A resentful Seruan, unwilling to share his prince.

And the shy prince whose very nature sparks changes in the lives of all those around them.

Teruna is about to change forever.

Review
This is a fantasy world called Teruna, with royalty who are trained in lovemaking by Seruani. The Seruani are reviled by society (now) but used to be treated as honored citizens. Feyar is the Seruan of the Prince Tanish. They are in love.

Tanish is betrothed to Prince Sorran for political reasons. Feyar and Tanish vow to hate Sorran and continue their affair despite the engagement.

When Prince Sorran arrives we find out he’s a virgin and that Feyar is assigned to teach Sorran how to make love to Tanish! When Feyar meets Sorran he realizes he can’t hate Sorran and instead Feyar and Tanish end up falling in love with Sorran.

The three men vow to live as lovers but Sorran cannot do it while Feyar is still being treated as scum, so he acts to help change the way the Seruani are treated.

There is also some drama with other potential lovers, the King and an invading army.

Phew! That’s a lot of stuff for a relatively short story, but it’s really well done. On the one hand all the new words and funny names were a bit bulky and got frustrating at times…but I really liked the bit of supernatural magicky stuff that was included and I really liked the many hot sex scenes. (yowza!) I felt that the triad relationship was fairly believable, though I do think Feyar and Tanish accepted the new guy a bit too easily… but the magic elements make that more believable as well.

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the message and thought the triad was great.

PS I love the cover with my cocky boys Levi and Duncan!

4 of 5 hearts

4

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