Reviewed by JustJen
Title: The Flesh Cartel #17: Boxed In
Author: Heidi Belleau & Rachel Haimowitz
Series: The Flesh Cartel #17
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 64 pages
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 2, 2014
Available at: Riptide Publishing; Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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..
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: dubious consent, explicit violence, non-consent.
Review: So close, yet so far. As things draw near the end, the boys are now concentrating on recovery. It is going easier for some than for others it seems.
Doug, don’t call me Dougie now, seems to be having the most difficulty, as expected. Outwardly, he seems ungrateful and non-appreciative of being saved. The reality of his mental state is shown through his actions. He feels let down by Nikolai, and is at a loss as to what he will do without a master to serve. To that end, he believes he has nothing to offer anyone but his service and who he has been trained to be.
Mat is doing a bit better, though he has been fairly stable mentally all along. Still, he realizes he will need professional help to really heal. He is at a loss as well in regards to what he will do. He cannot go back to fighting after what doing so turned him into, etc. On top of that, he continues to harbor a humongous amount of responsibility where Doug is concerned. At the same time, he is having a difficult time dealing with Nate’s sudden rejection and stand-offishness.
Then there is Nate, who is dealing with his trauma in his own way. He carries an extreme amount of guilt over what happened at Allen’s between him and Mat and believes Mat couldn’t possibly feel differently about those events.
Basically, the main safe house set up for all the victims wasn’t working so well for Doug, setting him back and causing him to fall back on his old ways of servicing whomever he can. Mat takes control and responsibility again, and they are moved to a private safe house until the trial. They seem to make a few breakthroughs thankfully. But, the real joy was Nate returning Mat and Doug’s things and the intimacy that followed as they finally communicate.
Things are moving along, but there is still a ways to go for these guys (mostly Doug), and with only two episodes left, very little time in which to get there. It has been a fantastic ride though, and one I’m really not quite ready to see end. This is a very unique, well written serial that continues to keep me intrigued. As with all previous episodes, I’m eager for the next.
Overall Impression: I loved it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*