Thank you for joining us for The Flesh Cartel virtual book tour! All week long, we’ll be giving readers an up-close look at our new psychosexual thriller, The Flesh Cartel. The first episode in this serial story, Capture, is now available for purchase via the Riptide Publishing website. Because October is also Riptide Publishing’s Anniversary Blog Hop Bash month, we’re giving away an extra special reader prize at every stop along this tour—and all month long! One commenter from every stop we make in October will win a $10 credit to Riptide Publishing. Simply leave a comment below by 11:59 pm on Sunday, Oct 7th to enter. Visit the First Anniversary Blog Hop Bash page for our complete October schedule, and make sure to check out each stop to increase your chances of winning great prizes all month long!
Today we’ve managed to retrieve a special transcript to share with you all—a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the processing center where our heroes were taken to be evaluated and sold. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the world of the Flesh Cartel.
Subject M-36-526 – Douglas Carmichael
Procurement District: Las Vegas
Audio Recording 1A Transcript
3 Days Post-Procurement
Interviewer: Hello, Douglas. Do you know where you are?
M-36-526: N-no sir.
Interviewer: No need for those formalities here, Douglas. I’m your friend, all right? I just want to talk.
M-36-526: O-okay. Talk. Yeah. That’s, um . . . You won’t . . . hurt me?
Interviewer: That’s not what I’m here for.
M-36-526: Talk. Okay. I can do that.
Interviewer: I never doubted you could. Let’s begin. I’ve been looking at your file. Says here you’re a very bright young man, can you tell me about that?
M-36-526: I’m not—I’m not a genius or anything, but, um, I guess I’ve always liked school. Never had a hard time with it. I thought . . . After our parents died, I thought maybe I wouldn’t be able to go to college, but Mat—my brother, you, um, you have him too—Mat worked so hard and saved every penny to make sure I could. So I worked hard too; I knew how much he’d sacrificed for my education. I graduated with a BA in psych, a 3.8 GPA. And then I got my Masters in social work—I wanted to help kids like me and Mat, you know? Who’d been . . . whose parents had died and who’d maybe been separated in the foster system and . . . Well, anyway, I couldn’t find any work there, people with way more experience are being laid off right and left, budget cuts you know. And I was worried about money but Mat said he’d take care of everything and to go back to school, so I’m getting a Ph.D. in clinical psychology now and in a couple years I’m gonna be a doctor and open my own practice.
Interviewer: That’s very interesting that you equate intelligence with school, Douglas. Looking at your file, I see your brother never pursued higher education, would you say you’re smarter than him?
M-36-526: [blushes] Well, he would say I’m smarter than him. But he’s an elite athlete, you know? And those people . . . well, maybe they’re not all logical-mathematical or existential smart—book smart, you know?—but their spatial intelligence and their kinesthetic intelligence and, for strategic fighters like Mat especially, their interpersonal intelligence are off the charts.
Interviewer: I’d hardly call him an “elite” athlete. Given that fact and how he views your relative intelligence, do you think your overachievement gives him feelings of inadequacy?
M-36-526: I think you have no idea what you’re talking about. He fights for the UFC. That’s the best of the best—way harder to do than earn a master’s degree.
Interviewer: I think you’re speaking out of turn and should remember where you are, Douglas.
M-36-526: [swallows hard] I’m sorry, sir, you . . . you said you wouldn’t hurt me, you said you were my friend. F-friends don’t . . . don’t threaten each other for speaking their minds.
Interviewer: You’re very good at that, aren’t you? Saying the right thing. Do you think that’s your education speaking, or some survival skill you learned growing up with the hardships you did?
M-36-526: I . . . My education. Years of psych, you know how it is.
Interviewer: So your need to please the people around you and smooth over conflict, that doesn’t come naturally to you?
M-36-526: [shrugs] Maybe. I don’t know.
Interviewer: That’s a very dismissive answer, Douglas. Does this line of questioning make you uncomfortable?
M-36-526: [shifts in chair] I guess . . . I guess I just don’t like dwelling on it, you know? I was only thirteen when my whole world fell apart. I lost everything. One day my parents just never came home again—we didn’t even get to say goodbye, they died right on scene of the damn car wreck—and then suddenly it’s social workers and foster care and custody hearings and I can’t even be with Mat anymore because some 19-year-old kid who cage-fights for a living isn’t a fit guardian and then I’m living with two total strangers in a new neighborhood in a new school and everything feels like . . . feels like . . . [sniffles, wipes eyes] . . . Like now, actually, the ground gone beneath your feet and you find yourself doing whatever you can to make sure that doesn’t happen again because you know you won’t survive it. So yeah, you say what you think people want you to say and you do what you think people want you to do and you be small and quiet and polite and you don’t draw any attention to yourself and you hope nobody will think you worth the bother of fucking over again, okay? Is that what you wanted to hear?
Interviewer: I don’t want to hear anything, Douglas. That’s not what this is about. This interview isn’t about pleasing me or saying the right thing. It’s for assessment purposes only. Completely out of my hands, after this point. Whether you satisfy me or not won’t change your fate or your treatment here.
M-36-526: [Stands.] Well in that case, this interview’s over. I’m done. Leave me alone or beat me up or rape me or whatever it is you want to do—everyone else here already has—but stop pretending to care about me, okay? You obviously don’t, so just . . . just go. Please. [Turns around, back to the camera.] Just go.
Interviewer: Did that outburst make you feel better, Douglas? Why won’t you sit down and have a sip of water. Tissue?
M-36-526: Do I have to?
Interviewer: I think you know by now that nothing here is optional, Douglas.
M-36-526: [Sits reluctantly, arms crossed. Crying silently] No. It didn’t make me feel better.
Interviewer: Why did you do it, then? You don’t seem to be ruled by your emotions. You’re too smart for that, everything you do is calculated and chosen. So why are you resisting now? You must know it won’t get you the outcome you truly desire.
M-36-526: I did it because you said you wouldn’t hurt me and you’re the only one. I’m powerless here. Yelling at you might not have solved anything, but it did feel good for a second. And who knew—maybe you would’ve listened. Maybe you would’ve left. I had to try.
Interviewer: So it was a test then. Very interesting. Do you often test the people around you?
M-36-526: I don’t often have to, no. Most of the people around me don’t kidnap and rape me.
Interviewer: I’m sensing a fair bit of resentment. We’ve already established that your general pattern is to act in whatever way results in the least interpersonal conflict. A trait you’ll find absolutely invaluable here, I’m sure you’ll soon learn. In light of that, do you think the attitude you’re projecting now is ultimately going to serve you here?
M-36-526: [Standing, shouting] I don’t know! I don’t know what you want! Nobody will tell me anything and you won’t let me see my brother and I just want to go home! [Begins to pace.] Resentment? Damn right I’m resentful! How would you feel if someone snatched you out of your own home, tortured you, tortured your brother in front of you, wouldn’t even tell you why they took you and then sat you in a room to have a “friendly little chat,” huh? You think you’d just . . . just smile and nod and pour some fucking tea and be best buds for life? I don’t . . . I . . . [drops back into chair, scrubs hands over face] Fine. You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll . . . I’ll try to stay calm, okay? I’ll answer your questions.
Interviewer: That’s very good, Douglas. And as for your uncertainties, I feel as if the truth will come clear to you soon enough. I’d like to pick this conversation up with you at a later date, perhaps when this period of adjustment and denial is coming to its end.
M-36-526: Okay. Yeah. Okay. I guess you’ll know where to find me, huh?
Interviewer: Indeed, Douglas. Fall back on what you know—be what they want you to be—and we’ll talk again soon.
In this first installment of the exciting new psychosexual thriller, The Flesh Cartel, orphaned brothers Mat and Dougie Carmichael are stolen in the night from their own home. Taken to a horrifying processing facility, they are assessed, microchipped, and subjected to unspeakable brutality—all in preparation for sale to the highest bidder.
In a world where every person has a price, the beautiful and subduable PhD student Dougie is highly prized. His brother, a rough-edged MMA fighter, is less desirable—and potentially too dangerous—but he still has his own appeal.
Abused and locked up under round-the-clock surveillance, with no idea where they are or even why they’ve been taken, escape seems impossible, which leaves staying together their only hope. And after being separated once by the foster system, they’ll do anything to keep it from happening again. Anything at all.
Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and the Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.
When she’s not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn.
You can find Rachel at her website, Tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Fantasy Unbound. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.
Don’t forget to leave a comment here by Sunday October 7 at 11:59 pm EST to enter to win a $10 credit from Riptide Publishing!