Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Raze by Tillie Cole! We have an excerpt of Raze below and a fantastic giveaway!
To take back life, one must first face death…
One man stripped of his freedom, his morals…his life.
Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unremorseful, unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. Death and brutality are the masters of his fate.
After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge…bloody, slow and violent revenge.
Revenge on the man who lied.
Revenge on the man who wronged him.
Revenge on the man who condemned him and turned him into this: a rage-fueled killing machine. A monster void of humanity; a monster filled with hate.
And no one will stand in the way of getting what he wants.
One woman stripped of her freedom, her morals…her life.
Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Triad’ bosses of New York’s Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it’s a virtual prison. Her father’s savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring—The Dungeon—ensures too many enemies lurk at their door.
She dreams to be set free.
Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. As manager of her father’s death match enterprise, only grief and pain fill her days. Her mafia boss father, in her world, rules absolute. And her fiancé, Alik Durov, is no better; the Dungeon’s five-time champion, a stone-cold killer, the treasured son of her father’s best friend, and her very own—and much resented—personal guard. Unrivaled in both strength and social standing, Alik controls every facet of Kisa’s life, dominates her every move; keeps her subdued and dead inside…then one night changes everything.
While working for her church—the only reprieve in her constant surveillance—Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn’t talk. Doesn’t communicate with anyone. He’s a man beyond saving, and a man she must quickly forget…for both their sakes.
But when weeks later, out of the blue and to her complete surprise, he’s announced as the replacement fighter in The Dungeon, Kisa knows she’s in a whole lot of trouble. He’s built, ripped and lethally unforgiving to his opponents, leaving fear in his wake and the look of death in his eyes.
Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man…this man they call Raze.
“God bless you, child… God bless you… You always take such good care of me.”
I smiled at the old man as he delved into his care package, immediately eating the ham sandwich that was tightly wrapped in saran wrap. He had been here at this spot for years. Well, I corrected myself, at least the three years I’d been serving with the church. Pav said this old man had probably been living on these streets for at least three decades. He always hid down here in this small alley, like a scared mouse afraid to leave his hole. I’d snuck away from my group against orders, but I couldn’t leave him without his food parcel. Something about this old man spurred me on to save him. He always looked so… broken, so sad.
I could relate.
“Kisa? Kisa, where are you?” A distant voice attracted my attention. I instantly recognized it as that of Pavel.
Glancing down to check on the old man, I smiled when I noted he was wrapped up in warm blankets and buried under a mass of boxes hiding him from view.
Rolling my eyes, I groaned when Talia’s frantic voice joined that of Pavel.
Glancing toward the growing gathering of volunteers at the end of the long alleyway, I started to jog their way, when suddenly, a scruffy, bearded man ghosted out of the darkness, tripping me to the warm, wet ground with a deliberately outstretched foot.
With no time to scream, I hit the ground, my palms scraping against rough asphalt. Suddenly, my attacker’s weight pressed down on my back as he tried to snatch my purse. He stank of alcohol and stale body odor. I fought back a retch. I didn’t recognize him as one of the homeless who frequented this alley. And he had absolutely no idea whose daughter he was fucking with!
“No! Get off me! Help!” I tried to scream, but the man’s weight on my back stole my voice from sounding out in the empty alley. The volunteers hadn’t seen me here being attacked, too far out of sight in the darkness to witness the crime.
My attacker kept yanking on my arm, making me see spots. I tried to free my arm from its place underneath my stomach, to release my purse, but it was trapped.
Then I abruptly stilled as I felt a sharp blade caress the side of my neck.
“Hand over your purse, bitch, or I’ll cut your fucking throat,” the low-toned voice ordered, but I couldn’t free my arm. Fear spread through my whole being.
The blade pressed farther into my neck, and I closed my eyes, expecting the worst. Suddenly, I heard a deep roar and my attacker was hauled off me, his strangled protest muting mid-wail as a crunching sound echoed around the towering walls of the alley.
Frantically crawling forward to escape the noise, I scrambled to my knees and flipped over on to my ass… and immediately stopped breathing at the scene before me.
My attacker was pinned against the wall as a huge hooded man pounded his face and stomach with clenched fists. I couldn’t take my eyes away. The hooded man was relentless, each punch delivered with precision, his chest heaving in excitement and his feet rocking from side to side as he relished the outlet for his aggression. He was enjoying the fight… He was getting off on violence…
I recognized the signs from watching Alik rip apart his victims in the cage.
Crawling to the wall of the alley, I used the hard brick to stumble to my shaking feet and whipped my head to the hooded man.
I shuffled to my feet, my eyes never leaving the hooded man who now had his hands on the man’s jaw.
As I realized what he was about to do, I lurched forward and shouted, “No!” But with a sharp jerk of his large hands, a loud snap ricocheted off the walls. My attacker’s lifeless body dropped to the ground at my feet—neck broken.
I stared at the unmoving body. Death didn’t usually faze me. I’d seen many dead bodies in my lifetime, more than most undertakers see in their whole careers, but the ease with which the hooded man killed filled me with fear and dread. It was obvious he had killed before; no first-timer was that smooth in the kill.
My eyes drifted up to the hooded killer, who was eerily still. He faced his victim, fists clenched at his sides, his packed chest rhythmically rising and falling under the sweatshirt that clung to his heavily muscled torso.
He was close to me. So close that I could feel the heat radiating in waves from his body. My breathing was labored and I wanted to get the hell out of here. But I couldn’t move, caught in hypnotic rapture as I stared at the strange man who loomed menacingly before me.
He took a step forward, my body bracing for attack, then he took another step closer. My back hit the wall as I drew back in fear, and the hooded man took one final step until he was almost flush against my chest.
My eyes were wide as I stared at his dark form and my breath came slow at the close proximity. The hooded man never moved, just stood still before me like a statue.
He was huge; wide and tall. Only the bottom half of his face was in view—his full lips, his stubbled, strong jaw… the bare top of his wide chest, demonic-looking tattoos covering his beautifully defined high pecs.
His head tilted up and more of his face hove into view. My heart began to pound harder as I waited to see his face, but the material from his hood hung low, shielding his eyes.
I watched as the man’s teeth ran over his bottom lip. Mustering a modicum of bravery and clearly defying all of Alik’s rules, I cautiously edged forward and blurted, “You… you saved me.”
My hands were shaking, my legs and voice, weak, and as dangerous as this man seemed, his body too tense and rigid, my fear waned. It seemed, as we stood here toe to toe, he wanted to study me, be closer to me.
The hooded man’s jaw tightened and his head tilted to the side, as if contemplating what I’d said. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, his aura animalistic, feral, yet it somehow… wasn’t.
I couldn’t explain it.