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.
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Hello all, and welcome to the Oh Thank God It’s Finally Finished last-episode blog tour for
the Flesh Cartel! 🙂 Episode #19 has just released, and thus concludes the serial whose first
episode released nearly two years past. We’re so excited to be sharing the boys’ happy
endings with you, and to be with you here on this last look at the nearly 400,000 word
journey into and then out of the darkness of human trafficking. We’ve done our best to make
this tour fun and interesting both for folks who haven’t yet read the books but might be
considering doing so, and for folks who’ve already begun (or already finished!) the series.
Plus, there’s some very cool prizes up for grabs at the end of the post!
Thank you all again so much for sharing the experience of the Flesh Cartel with us, and for
being a part of our farewell tour. Thanks also to our host for having us!
If you follow/have been following the tour, you’ll see that one of our tour stops features
art by the exceptionally talented Ariaa (y-gallery link). As a special treat for one lucky
commenter on our tour, we’re commissioning one more Flesh Cartel-themed image from
them . . . and the blog tour grand prize winner gets to pick the scene of their choice! So if
you have a favourite scene from the series that you’d like to see brought to life in gorgeous
art, now’s your chance! The lucky winner will also receive a $25 gift certificate to Riptide
Haven’t read the series yet? We’re also giving away a copy of the first season to five
lucky commenters! That’s six fantastic prizes in total! All you have to do to enter is leave
a comment on any stop on the tour. Each comment (up to one per tour stop) counts as its
own entry, so the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.
About the Authors:
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives
in Alberta 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!)
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and
place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of
all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
Connect with Heidi:
• Blog: www.heidibelleau.com
• Twitter: @HeidiBelleau
• Goodreads: goodreads.com/heidibelleau
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author and the Publisher 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
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.
Connect with Rachel:
• Website: rachelhaimowitz.com
• Tumblr: rachelhaimowitz.tumblr.com
• Twitter: @RachelHaimowitz
• Goodreads: goodreads.com/metarachel
• Email: email@example.com
Interview with a Super-Fan
For this stop, we asked one of our biggest fans, Rosa Orias (@RosaVOrias on twitter), to
send us some of her burning questions about the series now that it’s coming to an end.
We’ve had a blast interacting with Rosa on twitter over the last two years, and were very
excited to see–and answer–the things she was most curious about. So, without further
ado . . .
1. Describe your feelings about the serial’s end.
R: Some mixture of relief, satisfaction, pride, and nervousness. I’m glad to see it over (two
years is a long time to spend in a single world; you’re ready to move on creatively at the
end of that), but oh man, writing that last line was just one of the most satisfying things I can
remember doing in years. Heidi and I had a little virtual celebration and then each went out
and did our own celebration in meatspace (sadly we live like 4,000 miles apart), and when
we met up at RT we went out for a celebratory meal, which was awesome. I look back on
this nearly 400,000-word behemoth and have a hard time believing we wrote it sometimes-
-I’m very proud of how the story came out and that we finished something this big without
getting complacent or letting quality slip (personally, I think the last season is the strongest
of all of them). But then there’s also this, you know, kind of low-level terror because you
so desperately don’t want to disappoint anyone who’s stuck with it all this time, but you
also know that everyone’s reading for different reasons and it’s literally impossible to make
everyone happy with where we decided to take the story. But even knowing that, there’s a
huge fear of letting people who trusted us down. I think Heidi and I are both very anxious to
see the last episode released for exactly that reason.
H: Relief, mostly! But also definitely a little bit of sadness, too. Finishing a project is always
bittersweet, and this was a big project so the feelings are bigger too. You get so emotionally
tangled up with these characters over the course of the story, and saying goodbye is as sad
as saying goodbye to a real person, in a way. At the same time, this was so much work over
such a long period of time, and it’s satisfying to know it’s finished and that we successfully
completed this massive undertaking and also to know that we can take a break. And yes,
we’re nervous to know what people think of the ending, too! It’s been a long buildup and
hopefully it satisfies.
2. What’s your favorite scene in the whole serial and why?
R: The shower scene between Mat and Nate–the first time they’re physically intimate with
each other. It isn’t even about the sexual activities that occur (I mean they basically just
mutually masturbate). It was the buildup and payoff of all of Mat’s suffering, all of Nate’s
doubts, all of the sexual tension they’d been enduring for so long. It was a huge release for
both of them, and the opportunity to give Mat something so good and pure and beautiful
after all he’d endured.
H: There’s so many scenes I really enjoyed writing or am proud of! The one that comes
to me off of the top of my head (other than the shower scene Rachel cited above), would
be a scene from the 18th episode, when Dougie crawls into Mat’s bed after finding out
about Roger’s fate. Moments of clarity are so satisfying to write, and this one especially
was a long time coming. And I loved seeing that moment of brotherly love and comfort and
vulnerability between them after their relationship had been so strained and perverted and
nearly destroyed. It was a very special moment of healing that really meant a lot to me to
3. Which book was the most difficult to write and why?
R: If you mean which season, I’d say Season 5, because putting a person back together
is always harder than breaking them into pieces. If you mean which episode, I think the
last one (#19), because of the weight of all the expectation on our shoulders, the desire to
make it good and worthwhile for as many readers as possible–and of course to tie up all the
necessary loose ends for our boys, and to do so in a way that didn’t make the story drag by
bleeding all the tension out of it.
H: Definitely the fifth season! Not only is it complicated psychologically, but we knew it had
to be emotionally satisfying for our readers AND we were writing it while incredibly fatigued.
It’s so much more difficult to write the last ten thousand words than the first, that’s just a
fact. But boy does it feel good!
4. Did you take a real person as your inspiration to design the characters’
personalities? Who and how?
R: Not even a little bit. I can’t think of one specific person that really anyone in this story
reminds me of, except physically. I think we began more with character archetypes, but
even that was more of an unconscious than a conscious process. Mostly, we let the
characters develop from the situation, which is what we started with, by asking ourselves,
“Okay, what kind of person would be the most interesting and create the most tension in this
H: What she said! Mat and Dougie (and Roger, and Nikolai) are all from our own minds.
Honestly it might have been a little weird/unethical to draw inspiration from a real person
writing a book like this…
5. Speaking of heroes, which traits do you share with Mat and Dougie?
R: Haha, um . . . wow, that is a really interesting question. And tough. I guess, hmm, I’m
kind of a socially awkward, cerebral nerd like Dougie. I share Dougie’s reading tastes (his
favorite authors are mostly my favorite authors) and also his tastes in contraband (much of
that list was some of my favorite foods). I was also a psych major in college the first time
around, and I’m the youngest sibling of two and very close to my big sis, also like Dougie.
Huh, which maybe makes it a little weird that Mat’s my favorite character ;-p
H: I’m an older sibling, like Mat. I’m bad at confrontation–sometimes to the point of
cowardice and betrayal–like Dougie. I’m a survivor of sexual violence, although not human
trafficking. Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything!
R: She’s lying. She totally vacationed in Hawaii once.
6. Of the villains, who is the most evil? Nikolai Petrovic or Allen Smythe-Kennedy?
R: Definitely Allen. The man’s essentially a sociopath and a sadist without a conscience
and a narcissist. He’s also a misogynist, and for all that he might think he loves his wife, he
clearly treats her like just another thing he owns. Nikolai, on the other hand, is much more
nuanced in his evil. He absolutely, to the marrow of his bones, believes he’s doing a good–
even a wondrous–service to the men he trains. He isn’t cruel unless he “has” to be, he isn’t
a sadist, he doesn’t lack empathy, he isn’t a pig. He has a very strict moral code; it’s just
been twisted into a pretzel by his totally fucked-up upbringing.
H: I can’t rank them against each other! Sorry, I know that’s a cop out. But it’s true: I think
they’re both terrible. Allen’s the more conventional/visible kind of evil: spoiled, selfish,
narcissistic, rich and exploitative and cruel. Nikolai, like Rachel said, isn’t quite as cut- and-dried, if only because he’s so psychologically twisted he believes he’s doing good.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that what he does is wrong. He’s not as outright
violent or incapable of human feeling or empathy as Allen is, but that doesn’t his actions
and the effects of those actions. Is he more sympathetic than Allen? For sure. But to me
that doesn’t make him any less evil!
Bonus question: What’s Nikolai’s middle name? XD
R: LOL, you really want to know this, don’t you? We never gave him one, though, I’m sorry!
He might not even have one, but he hasn’t told us so we don’t know 🙁