The Flesh Cartel #13: The House Always Wins
Mat and Douglas’s time as Nikolai’s wards is finally drawing to a close. Though torn apart by Nikolai’s machinations, their fates are still inextricably entwined: they’ve been sold to the same cruel master, and are united in their desire to go home. But “home” means two different things to the brothers: for Mat, their little bungalow in Nevada, and for Douglas, a swift return to Nikolai and Roger, the only people he believes still love him.
But first they must survive their new master. Smythe Hall is a twisted island paradise where Americans affect British accents and slaveboys dress up as slave girls, all at the whims of the rich and megalomaniacal Allen Smythe-Kennedy.
Meanwhile, FBI Special Agent Nate Johnson can’t let the case of the missing brothers lie. He knows it’s a waste of resources to chase ghosts down a cold trail, but after admiring Mathias “Stonewall” Carmichael ringside and at countless afterparties where he was too shy to say hello, he’s determined to solve the mystery and bring Mat and his little brother home.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.
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Allen’s beach party went on well into the night. Men and women passed Douglas around and played with him, but he went from body to body in a daze, unable to shake the memory of watching a man die. He didn’t understand how any of them could, but there they all were, drinking and chatting and laughing and fucking like murder was a normal part of any well-planned event.
What could he do about it, though? Nothing, except be a good boy and make his time here as smooth as possible so he could go home to Nikolai again, where all this would be nothing but a bad memory. A terrible, terrible memory.
He lay half-insensate in a lounge chair beneath a flickering torch, staring out at the ocean as someone’s bare foot nudged his spent cock. Whoever was touching him didn’t seem to want anything further from him or mind that he wasn’t engaging. When the foot traveled up his torso and nudged at his lips, he parted them without thinking. Tasted salt and sand and an echo of shoe leather. The foot went away. So, he thought, did the owner. Uniformed slaves buzzed around him, cleaning up and waiting on the last of the straggling guests. Nobody else bothered him, and he was glad. Tired, so tired. It was the same horrible downswing as after his coming-out party, but this time he was too numb to cry it out. There was nobody here to hold him, anyway. Even Finn seemed to be gone. Entertaining an overnight guest, probably.
Douglas found himself both pitying and envying him. Pitying him because he was probably as exhausted as Douglas, envying him for the attention he was no doubt receiving now. Douglas had once thought himself beautiful and desirable—Nikolai had made him feel that way—but now he felt . . . disposable. Worthless. Practically an appliance, for all any of these people noticed him, to be used and passed around, valued only for a pair of hot holes and his capacity to keep his brother to heel. And he hadn’t actually managed that tonight, had he? The master had had to whip the bastard.
No, not had to. Wanted to.
A body blocked the torchlight, and he shuddered again. Contained himself. Made himself smile and slide to his knees. But then he glanced up, and it was just Nedry—who might as well have been a master for all his imperial posture and the sneering derision on his face. Maybe Douglas should offer to suck his cock.
“I don’t need you anymore tonight. Go to bed.”
I don’t need you. As if Nedry owned him and not Allen. God, what a tool.
Still . . . bed. Shower. Maybe a real meal too—people had fed him morsels all night, but it wasn’t enough. He smiled up at Nedry, and this time it was real. “Thank you, sir.” He rose to his feet. Remembered his posture as he walked away; there were still guests here to see him, after all.
“Hey,” Nedry called softly after him. “Get sand in the hallway and I’ll have you beaten.”
Lovely. Back turned to Nedry, Douglas scowled, and mumbled a few choice words about having Nedry beaten. Why was everyone so awful here? Except for Finn, they were all a bunch of scheming, miserable bullies, and even Finn’s kindness only extended so far. Soon enough he’d forget his own time as the new boy and join in on Douglas’s abuse.
Now he really did want to cry.
But he sucked it up. Slapped the soles of his feet to knock the sand off and slipped through the slaves’ door into the dark network of halls that would lead him to his bed. Eventually. If he could find the way.
Luckily, after what seemed like ten hours of aimless wandering, he did. The room’s lights were out, and he could hear slow breathing. Obviously a couple of the others had returned already, though he couldn’t tell who. Sleeping. Yes, he wanted that too. He stumbled in the direction of his bed. He was so tired at this point that if they’d come on his pillow again, he’d probably sleep in it without complaint. But the pillow was dry, and no sooner had he lain down than he was asleep.
Not for long, though. He woke to someone straddling his chest and a thumb rubbing at his lips.
He groaned softly and twisted under the weight, trying to force his eyes open. Force himself into service again, though his body felt like it was made of lead and every fuckable part of him ached.
“You asleep, baby?” someone murmured from above him. Not a master. One of the other slaves. Henry, he thought. All around them, slow breathing let him know that the others were still asleep, getting their well-deserved rest. Everyone but Douglas.
Still, it didn’t matter if he was half-asleep or not, if he deserved rest or not. Someone wanted his service.
“Henry?” He rubbed his eyes, cracked a yawn. Yes, definitely Henry, long braid hanging heavy over one shoulder and down his chest, the ends tickling Douglas’s throat and Henry’s own cock, full and heavy. It wasn’t Douglas’s job to service the other boys . . . was it?
“Come on, sweetie, just a quick suck. You’re so pretty, and the master’s guests teased me all night.” His thumb swept across Douglas’s lips, a gentle caress, almost a lover’s touch. “You won’t tease me, will you, sweetie? Nikolai’s boys would never do that. Too perfect, every one of you.”
God, it had been so long since someone had complimented him, made him feel—not good, this wasn’t good—but wanted, at least. Henry wanted him. Wanted his pretty mouth, his perfectly trained mouth, a testament to Nikolai’s skill. And he was being so kind about it too, although Douglas doubted if he’d stay kind for long if he was refused.
Douglas swallowed nervously. “I won’t tease you.”
“Of course you won’t.”
Henry’s cock was already so close to Douglas’s mouth that all he needed to do was lean forward and glide inside, moaning the moan of a desperate man. Douglas kept his promise, didn’t tease. Worked, in fact, to get him off as quickly as he could. Not that he was in a rush to end this, even though his jaw was sore and his head was fuzzy with fatigue—not now that Henry’s fingers were stroking through his hair and an endless stream of praise was falling from Henry’s mouth—but Henry was clearly desperate to get it over with, find his release. Douglas took him deep into his throat, slid both hands around Henry’s ass, fingers prodding tentatively at his crack. Douglas didn’t know if he’d be too sore to enjoy being penetrated, but the moment his fingers brushed close, Henry rose up off his heels with a breathy, “Oh yeah, sweetie, just like that,” and a moaned, “God, so perfect, you’re so good, touch me.” So Douglas slid one finger inside, then two, then three. They went in easy; Henry was loose and slick. Half a dozen strokes later, he was tight and spasming, clenching around Douglas’s fingers and shooting down his throat.
He kissed Douglas after, and stroked his face. It felt good to be touched, never mind that he’d had to buy this affection with his body. If it meant not feeling so alone, he’d suck every cock here.
When the bed shifted with a new weight, Douglas realized he might end up doing exactly that.
Mat woke to the stink of shit. Shit, and hay, and animal, and maybe . . . leather? But the shit was definitely the most urgent.
Scratch that. The pain was more urgent than any of it. Jesus fuck, his back.
He rolled onto his side with a low groan, feeling every inch of scraping hay on his flayed skin.
That got his eyes to open. Which was when everything started making sense: He was in a barn. Lying on a pile of clean hay, half on top of what he assumed was a horse blanket, half on the hay itself. Naked. Tacky all over with God knew what. Daylight streaming through a high window skewered right through his eyeballs to the back of his skull. He was burning with thirst. Sore. Abso-fucking-lutely miserable.
Well, at least he wasn’t tied up. And he wasn’t sharing his stall with any horses, though he could hear their soft nickering through the wooden walls to his left and right.
What the fuck was he doing here, though?
And was there a way out?
And if there was, could he make it? It wasn’t like he was in any fucking condition to swim to the mainland.
But he had to try. Fuck it, he had to. He owed it to himself, even if he died partway. At least he’d be free of this fucking hell.
He rolled back onto his stomach, had to use both hands to push himself into a tottering, half-upright position. Scabs across his back split and oozed, and he couldn’t help but moan. Didn’t stop him, though. He clambered to his knees. Planted one foot in the hay—
“Are you awake, then?” a voice called. Cultured British accent, just like Nedry, but definitely not Nedry.
Shit. So much for his escape attempt. He could stay quiet, maybe? Wait until Mr. Bean went away?
But no. Key in a lock, and the stable door was swinging open, and a beautiful brown-skinned young man, lean and strong and naked but for a tiny pair of cargo shorts like he’d come right out of the Blue Lagoon, walked in and did a double take. “Hey, hey, no, you shouldn’t be moving, what are you doing?” He hustled inside the stall, pausing only to shut and lock the door behind him, then crouched down beside Mat, gentle but insistent hands on his shoulders. “Here, lie down, please, you’ll hurt yourself.”
Mat collapsed back to his belly beneath the barrage of concern, vaguely stunned, letting the man’s words wash over him in their almost musical British lilt.
“Good, that’s good, you stay right there, and I’ll get you some water, all right? Name’s Reginald, by the way. And you’re Mathias.”
Yeah, thanks, I know my own name. Seemed rude to say that, though. The kid was obviously a talker, maybe one of those nervous types, jittery around the edges, uncomfortable with silence. Seemed nice enough, though. Mat didn’t want to be a dick to him.
Reginald left, came back a minute later with an armful of supplies and the promised water, in one of those reusable plastic bottles with a pull top like a straw. Mat rose up on one elbow and gulped down half of it in a single breath, then lay back down, panting, waiting for the agony in his back to settle. Reginald, meanwhile, was arranging water and cloth and disinfectant and some kind of ointment in a jar that smelled strongly herbal.
“I’m not a doctor,” he said as he worked, offering it up without apology. “Just used to dealing with injuries. And keeping the master’s horses fit, of course; polo can be a rough game for beast as well as rider. Although before this, you know, when I was, um . . . Yeah. My experience was all with livestock—um, animals.”
Mat barked out a laugh. “You’re in luck then, because apparently I’m a dog. Woof woof.”
Which of course immediately reminded him of Dougie, of that horrible video feed back at Nikolai’s, and suddenly Mat was heaving the water right back up.