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REVIEW: “The Flesh Cartel #16: To The Victor” by Rachel Haimowitz & Heidi Belleau



In the exciting final season of the Flesh Cartel . . .

With the help of the FBI, Mat Carmichael has let himself be re-taken by the Flesh Cartel. Objective? Rescue his brother, exact revenge, and destroy the entire organization from the inside.

FBI Special Agent Nate Johnson will be playing backup, of course, but to get Dougie out alive, Mat will need to make sure his brother is out of Allen’s clutches before calling in the troops. Now that Mat’s back in bondage, though, there’s no way he can do it alone. He’ll have to ask for help from the only man within the Cartel who cares about Dougie’s welfare: Nikolai. And even knowing it will destroy him, Nikolai delivers.

Bringing down the Cartel should have been the hardest part, but it doesn’t take long to realize that the real challenge has only just begun. Dougie doesn’t know how to be free anymore, and Mat is forced to admit that he may no longer be strong enough to help himself, let alone his brother. But with loved ones in their corner and their love for each other banked but not extinguished, Mat and Dougie learn that you can come home again, no matter how desperate the circumstances you’ve left behind.


***Note: The last reviews for this series will be brief. There is so much in this last season that cannot be talked about without spoiling and I refuse to do that. Just know, for me, this journey with Mat and Dougie – as hard as it was at times and yes including the ones where I thought I wouldn’t make it – were worth it. It was all worth it.
To the Victor was a reader’s game of breath play for me. The authors of the series should hold lessons in technique to hold one’s breath, because that is what I did yet again with this episode. I read these episodes back to back and I am lucky I had them available at my immediate disposal but now I am all caught up with them and I don’t know what to do.
We get Mat in this and he is in pure Mat form; the fighter, the hero, the brother and the man. I keep saying it lately, but Mat is amazing. Whether prepping a team for their mission, to trying to protect Nate, to “no matter what” for Dougie, he is so good. I hurt for him so much watching him submit… on his own. But he did it and he did it gorgeously and with such purpose.

Hope. He’d forgotten what hope felt like. Like power. Energy. Happiness, even.

Nate, my GOD Nate what did you do? All that is stolen from you. Stolen from you and Mat, it made me sob at my desk. I cannot believe you put yourself in that position, but the fierce protective nature you have over the fighter you worshipped, I adore you, sir. Simply adore you.

Dougie, you are at the end of your new rope my boy. So hopeless. So lost and so Douglas that I kinda wanted to smack you and then cradle you in my motherly arms rocking you to sleep while singing James Taylor. Goodness. You have had me so conflicted this whole series and while I found beauty in your submission, I think you need to let go. But how the fuck are you going to do that? That is the question that repeats over and over again in my head and my heart. How do you come back from that? Can you come back from that?

Nikolai, my crush still stands. I don’t know what will become of you, but you do things for those you hold dear. You are a manipulative bastard, but I still kinda dig ya dude.

Once again, that end. The end of this episode… talk about making you want more. Good lord. How the hell do they do it? Knowing what they know and end the episode like that?

God Speed, Mat. God Speed.




FC5E16_ToTheVictor_500x750Title: The Flesh Cartel, #16: To The Victor
Author: Rachel Haimowitz, Heidi Belleau
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages: 58
Release Date: May 5, 2014
Purchase Links: Riptide, B&N, Amazon

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This entry was posted on July 29, 2014 by in Dark & Twisted, Reviewer: Sara and tagged , , , , .

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