The Flesh Cartel byRachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau
Story Rating: 3 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 1 out of 5
In this work of speculative fiction, people with enough money and the right connections can buy anything, including their own personal sex slaves. The Flesh Cartel is a super-secret, highly organized group that supplies these human cattle. They take people nobody will really miss and transform them into the perfect slave. “The Flesh Cartel” series follows two brothers as they are taken and processed through the cartel’s machinery.
Note that this is a serial publication. Serialization is the latest thing in ebook publishing right now, although it’s an idea as old as mass printing. Many of the great classic authors, like Dickens, originally had their works published in serial form a hundred years ago. Back then, printing a small chunk of a book at a time made it more affordable to the mass market. In today’s market, where most consumers are loath to pay more than 5.99 for a full length novel in ebook form, publishers are hoping that they’ll willingly pay 2.99 each for the same work in eight or a dozen installments.
In this first installment, “The Flesh Cartel #1: Capture”, we meet the two brothers, Mat and Dougie. They were orphaned and grew up in foster care. Mat is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter and works as a bouncer to put Dougie through school, where he’s studying for his PhD in psychology.
For reasons which aren’t made entirely clear in this first installment, Dougie is targeted by the cartel, and Mat is taken as well when he comes home unexpectedly, interrupting the kidnappers. On the long drive to the processing facility, Dougie is repeatedly raped by his kidnappers, while Mat is held in a cage, helpless to stop it. The rape is not described in any great detail, but it’s probably what got this book taken down from Amazon.
Power Play: Resistance by Cat Grant and Rachel Haimowitz
Story Rating: 4 out of 5 paddles
Sting Factor (kink): 4 out of 5
What happens when a strong man with hidden submissive tendencies comes across a powerful man who wants to dominate him? What happens when the experienced dominant forces a vanilla man into submission without a shred of teaching? Resistance is the answer. Brandon is a stubborn construction manager who is picked up at a bar by the self made man, Jonathan. Jonathan and Brandon’s chemistry is like lithium in water, explosive. Jonathan chases Brandon and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Brandon needs the money and is willing to give six months of his life as a sexual slave to earn the money he needs to buy the construction company he wants.
This story is an intense BDSM story which clearly demonstrates how a BDSM relationship can turn so wrong. It is stated over and over again that Jonathan is a much sought after Dom who trains submissives very well. This may be the case. Here’s the interesting thing. He’s only ever trained willing submissives who are in the BDSM lifestyle and want to submit. This key element is what makes this story so painful to read. Brandon is neither versed in the lifestyle nor is Jonathan teaching him anything other than pain, humiliation and abuse.
Jonathan’s domination style is very hot and a Dom I’d be willing to submit to for six months. This is only because there would be negotiation up front and I would know what I’d be signing up to experience. I would be a willing sub with known hard and soft limits. The negotiation scene in this story is maybe two sentences. There were no discussions of hard or soft limits. All Brandon asked for was no blood. This shocked me since Brandon doesn’t even want to be in the BDSM lifestyle. Jonathan did nothing to prepare Brandon whatsoever.
Thank you for joining us on the Power Play: Awakening virtual release tour! *throws penis-shaped confetti borrowed from Anne Tenino* No party is complete without favors, so we’ll be giving away winner’s choice of one backlist book from Cat or Rachel to one lucky commenter from this blog at the end of the tour. We’ll also be giving away a lovely custom chainmail bracelet with a silver padlock clasp (handmade by the awesome Amara Devonte) to one lucky commenter drawn from all the tour stops, so follow along and party with us at each–you can earn an entry at every stop!
Top. Dominant. Sadist. Submissive. Bottom. Masochist. Switch. Slave.
If you’re involved in the kink scene, chances are you identify as one (or more!) of these roles, which may or may not be mutually exclusive. A slave will bend over quite submissively to take his/her Master/Mistress’ punishment, though it would be a mistake to equate their obedience with masochism. Not all Tops consider themselves Dominant—in fact, I’ve known several Tops who enjoyed switching it up.
Not all sadists are naturally Dominant, either—which proves a stumbling block for Jonathan and Brandon, the protagonists of Power Play: Resistance and Power Play: Awakening. Jonathan’s definitely more of the former than the latter, though that doesn’t stop him from taking on the deeply submissive (but not at all masochistic) Brandon for a six-month contract.
Brandon’s a total newbie. He knows nothing of kink except what he’s experienced in Jonathan’s bed. He has plenty of questions, but no idea where to start, not that his instinctive fear and distrust (born from an abusive childhood) will let him. Jonathan, on the other hand, has trained subs before, but never one so green as Brandon. Still, they both think they can handle it until . . .
From Between the Sheets to Between the Covers
I love discovering great BDSM fiction. I also love great BDSM. No doubt these two things have a lot in common, but in the M/M romance genre, it’s surprisingly difficult to find BDSM fiction written by folks who live—and thus thoroughly understand—the lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with glitterkink, or an author experimenting with handcuffs and blindfolds and a spanking, but when I’m in the mood for some kink, I want to sink my teeth into an in-depth psychological exploration of Domination and submission, sadism and masochism, and how all those very complex and not-always-complementary parts fit together in a relationship.
I do so love reading books like that. And it seems the best of them come from authors who are writing what they know.
I recently co-authored a 90,000-word Kinkapalooza with beloved friend and fellow kinkster Cat Grant. In part this pairing worked so well because she’s a sub and I’m a Dom. We’re both lifestylers and have been for a good long while. She’s a reasonably hardcore masochist. I’m an unreasonably hardcore sadist She’s a reluctant—one might even say belligerent—submissive. I’m a demanding but nurturing Dom. While we never played together in real life, we talked extensively about our backgrounds and our experiences, and found a great many of them migrating onto the page.
Much of the psychology of Jonathan (our deeply sadistic Dom) and Brandon (our not-really-at-all masochistic closeted submissive) came out of our real-life experiences. Neither of them are perfect by any means. Jonathan is in many ways the kind of Dom I am. He gleefully inflicts pain, but never ever neglects thorough and loving aftercare. He doesn’t hang on trappings like titles (“Sir” or “Master”) or shouting, but he quietly commands total respect. He loves his cane, and cages, and breaking boys fresh. He makes mistakes and isn’t afraid to admit it or apologize when he does.