ARC Review: The Flesh Cartel Season #2, Episode #3: Choices by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau

Posted January 9, 2013 by Leigh in Reviews / 3 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
ARC Review: The Flesh Cartel Season #2, Episode #3: Choices by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau
The Flesh Cartel, Season 2: Fragmentation
by Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz

4 Stars


Released: July 29, 2013
Series: The Flesh Cartel
Published by Riptide Publishing
Pages: 252
Format: ARC


“And it just keeps reeling me in, further and further…” ~ Under the Covers

So, here we are in episode 3 of the Flesh Cartel, Choices.  In this episode, we see what happens immediately after the Auction.  As per Nikolai’s instructions, Dougie is put into complete isolation, in total darkness, and is completely sensory deprived for days on end.  Mat, on the other hand, is provided with some more luxuries, like food and a bed, but is still tortured to hell and back and back again.  I’m not really sure which one is worse.  For Mat, it really doesn’t look like there is an end in sight at all…not that what the reader has learned about his apparent future would lead one to think there will ever be an end to his sadistic treatment.  But ever the eternal optimist, I hold out my hope.

As with the previous episodes, the cruelty and torture pervade and endure.  And as disgusted as I still get (thankfully, I’m not desensitized yet), I cannot stop reading.  In this episode, Haimowitz and Belleau provide the reader with such interesting insight to Nikolai, the brothers’ buyer and “trainer.”  He is such a fascinating dichotomy.  He has to be cruel to Mat so as to prepare him for his ultimate master.  And yet for Dougie, he has taken such a liking to him and sees such a perfect sub in him, that he provides him with care and, dare I say it, loving gestures.  And while all of his actions are egoistic and self-serving, we see that he WANTS to be caring and tender to Dougie.  While part of me wants to like him for those tidbits of kindness, another part of me wants to hate him for his manipulations.

Added to the paradox that is Nikolai, we see in individual exchanges with both Mat and Dougie the he provides them with “choices.”  He lets them know that they have a choice in how things will happen, and he gives them this breadcrumb of hope that they will actually have some say and control in their lives.  He tells them that he won’t force them to do things that they don’t want to do.  However, those “choices” come with consequences.  If they choose wisely, the consequences can be great.  If they choose poorly, the consequences can be equally as tortuous as anything they’ve experienced previously, albeit in different ways.  So, really, what choices do they have?  As we got a glimpse of some of the brothers’ choices once in Nikolai’s care, we also saw some consequences.  It appears that there will more of the same in the next episode, “Consequences,” and here is another reader waiting on the edge of my seat for its release.

*ARC provided by publisher

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Guest Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I am a wife and mom of two sassy and fabulous kids, and I have decided I will be forever 39.After college, I became a paralegal and read only legal documents and eventually some baby naming books.Then about six years ago, I needed to check out all the hype of some teenage vampire romance, and that was all she wrote.It didn't take me long to rediscover my love of reading that I had throughout my youth, and I was devouring every paranormal romance and urban fantasy series I could get my grabby hands on.

Through Amazon forums and Goodreads, I met a lot of amazing women with that same passion, including the lovely ladies who started UTC.While those genres will always be two of my favorites, I have discovered that M/M romance is my primary love.That kiss between Qhuinn and Blay in Phury's book (you BDB lovers know what I'm talking about!) sealed the deal for me.I love a story where love is hard fought and hard won.I am also a firm believer that EVERYONE deserves love and a happy ending, and the beauty in achieving that is what keeps me coming back for more.

I have amassed quite a collection of book boyfriends through the years, with the top two being John Matthew and Jamie Fraser.**le sigh**In the M/M genre, my best buddy is Randy Jensen.Two of my favorite tropes are Friends to Lovers and Out for You, and I enjoy just about any subgenre - PNR, UF, contemporary, historical, RomCom, Young Adult, Erotica, Mystery/Thriller - in my M/M romance.As long as it is written well, eventually gives me an HEA, and makes me have all the feels, I am one happy girl.
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