Author: Tillie Cole
Age group: Mature new adult
Genre: Dark contemporary romance
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.
“Raze?” Viktor called as I made notes on my pad, and I heard a dumbbell clatter to the floor. “You need to meet Ms. Volkova. She runs things around here, for her father. He runs the whole show.”
Raze turned to face me; it felt as if a northern wind had gusted in. Scribbling the last note on the paper, I looked up to see a ripped and cut muscled man standing panting, salty sweat dripping to the floor. His eyes were downcast, Eye Black smudged underneath each one to disguise his eyes. But like a pull, a will for him to lift his gaze, his head lifted and I found myself staring into a pair of brown eyes, the left iris smudged with a hint of blue… my blue, the color from my eyes…
“Y-you?” I whispered as I drank in this man. It was him. Him! All six-four, two twenty pounds of him. Tanned skin covered in scars, marks, and sadistic tattoos. I saw the recognition flash across his eyes, but in a second, his stare was numb again, like he was blocking me out, like he was blocking everything out, except the rage he kept hidden. I grew breathless as his packed abs and pecs tensed under my scrutiny, his bulging thighs clenched at my attention, and his traps danced as his jaw tightened the more I stared.
And his face? Finally, I could study his face in the light, and my God… he was beautiful. Without meaning to, my lips parted in want and a silent hiss slipped out. Raze’s stern face was covered in dark stubble, three large scars marring his weathered skin, one down his cheek, one angled down his forehead, and one slashed under his left eye. But they didn’t make him any less handsome. Hell, Raze couldn’t be described as handsome. Rough, raw, dark, dangerous, intimidating… the opposite of handsome. But I couldn’t tear my gaze from him.
And then those brown eyes with a hint of blue bored so fervently on my chest, a chest panting a shade too hard, betraying the effect he was having on my traitorous body. My nipples became erect, far too sensitive against the material of my camisole. The brush of the fabric sent jolts of pleasure to my clit, and I had to fight the urge to drop my hand to my pussy, from palming the flesh of my breasts.
And then one thought broke through the trance, through the hellish spell I’d found myself under. I had given him ten grand. He was the buy-in. I had given him the money to get his revenge… and he’d bought into my Dungeon.
“Viktor, leave us alone,” I ordered rather too harshly, my demand met with silence.
I stared at Raze and he stared back, the tension palpable between us. “Viktor, leave,” I commanded again.
“Viktor! Leave!” I shouted. I heard Viktor sigh and exit the training room, slamming the door.
My heart pounded like a drum in my chest, so hard I feared Raze could hear it in the few feet between us. His sheer size was intimidating, his cold stare bone chilling, and I had to fight the urge to think of Luka.
But this man was not Luka.
Steeling my nerves, I asked, “Why are you here?”
Raze’s eyes flared and his lips tightened, but no answer was forthcoming.
Anger infused my blood and I stepped closer, watching his muscled chest tense, and I snapped, “Why?”
A growl ripped from his throat and he closed in on me until I smelled that fresh snow smell of his skin mixed with the scent of his workout.
I gasped as Raze’s large frame loomed over me, causing me to stumble back until my shoulders hit the wall. I darted my gaze up to meet his and held my breath.
His brown eyes darkened as he stared down at me and his face flushed red.
“Revenge.” The ropes and veins in his traps bulged in tune with his reply.
“On who?” I whispered, watching a small bead of sweat running from the bottom of his throat down his chest, before fluttering my eyes up to refocus on his mouth. His lips were full, his cupid’s bow defined.
Raze’s palm slapped on the wall above me, caging me in, and his head lowered even farther, my breasts heaving at the proximity. He inhaled deeply, drinking in my scent. His face flushed and, for a moment his eyes closed, a frown pulling on his forehead.
Raze began shaking, his muscles twitching, and I could see a storm brewing in his acrimonious expression as his eyes snapped back open.
“On the man who lied. On the man who wronged me. Condemned me. And turned me into this!” He reared back, slapping his chest. Raze walked to the punching bag and slammed his fist into it so hard that the heavy chain from the ceiling groaned. Raze set to a short pace, back and forth, back and forth, and I remained still against the wall, just watching him.
“What? What has he turned you into?” I asked cautiously and immediately regretted the question when Raze seemed to exude resentment. Shivers raced down my spine.
Raze stopped dead and ran his bandaged hands down his face. His attention immediately shot to me, and he said, “This killer. This monster who needs blood, needs to kill, maim, slaughter.”
My hands were now shaking, gaze fixed on the tally marks. Raze obviously caught my stare. Moving to the bench, he picked up a steel knuckleduster, well used if its look was anything to go by, yet the spiked sharp blades glinted in the florescent light. A whimper escaped my mouth.
Raze stalked over my way, slipping the knuckleduster on his hand, and set me in his sights. Fear froze me to the spot. I tried to swallow back a cry. Raze didn’t stop until he was almost on top of me, his hands fisted at his sides, the right clad in steel lifting to run over his abs, his abs covered in uneven, straggly inked tallies.
“My kills,” he announced coldly, his voice sounding like he’d swallowed broken glass. The fear I harbored deep inside intensified. I focused on his mouth, his face, and saw nothing but rage. It was as though any emotion but hatred had been cast out. No humanity was evident in his stare… but those eyes… those eyes!
“Over six hundred,” Raze suddenly added, dragging me back to the here-and-now. I followed the trail of his hand and realized what he’d just said.
“Six hundred?” I gasped.
Raze’s lip hooked into a humorless smirk. His spiked hand fisted, and I heard his knuckles crack as he leaned in. “Over.”
Raze’s feet edged forward again, and he held out the spike and brought it toward my cheek. I couldn’t breathe as the metal drifted closer to my skin, only then to witness Raze drag it down his bare chest and abs to a tally comprising three marks.
Slamming the spike into his skin, blood instantly pooled, and he dragged it down to make a messy, uneven line. All the time, he didn’t remove his brown eyes from mine. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop him from harming himself. I wanted to gaze into those eyes and pretend I was here with Luka. My kind, beautiful Luka, brown eyes with a blue smudge that matched mine.
But this man, this Raze, was fucked up. Too fucked up.
He wasn’t my Luka, no matter how hard I wished he was.
Releasing the spike from his torso, Raze directed his hand my way, and I flinched, bringing up my hand, which clutched my pad and pen, to defend my face. The pen was ripped from my grasp. Raze placed the plastic between his teeth and snapped it in half, spitting shattered pieces to the floor. Ink began to drip on his skin. Guiding the broken pen to the new gash, Raze stabbed it along the cut and rubbed the ink into the open wound.
“Raze!” I shrilled. I fought the urge to knock the pen from his hands. But Raze soon released it from his grip and, lowering his mouth to my ear, said, “Another kill… your kill, the one I killed for you.”
As I choked back my shock, Raze backed away. He threw his knuckleduster back to the bench, and resuming a vacant concentration, he lifted the dumbbells and continued his routine.
Slapping my chest, I worked on breathing. What the hell had just happened?
Who was this man?
Kisa VolKova is resigned to her life. She must marry her fiancée, Alik "The Butcher" Durov, despite being terrified of him. She was born into the Russian Bratva in New York and her father the leader of the Bratva wants her to marry the son of one of their allies. Kisa's heart has always belonged to another who unfortunately died much too young.
Prisioner 818 doesn't remember much about his life prior to the Gulag. His life consists of fighting and killing his opponent or die trying. When an uprising leads to his freedom, he doesn't hesitate to follow his plan of revenge towards the man who wronged him. As a fighter, he must join the Dungeon but he needs money to do it. This is were Kisa comes into play. One moment with her is all it takes for him to decide to help her, but can he survive the fight with Alik, a cold blooded murderer?
This is a dark romance. You've been warned.
Kisa is constantly in pain due to the bastard Alik. I hated him. He deserved to die a slow death. He was such a bastard. I'm not sure how Kisa was able to remain there for so long. And don't get me started on how much 818 has already endured, years of abuse and fights. He is full of scars inside and outside to remind him every day of how screwed up his life is, and revenge is the only thing keeping him going. As the reader you feel for him, you want him to kill his enemies and during one of his fights you can also feel his despair. I wanted him to win and to get the girl. I also wanted him to get tons of therapy afterwards.
I am hoping another fighter get his own book but I guess it is not meant to be.
“Whatever our souls are made of—”
“His and mine are the same.”
Cliffhanger : No
About the Author
Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, Tillie Cole, is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.
Having been born and raised as a Teesside Smoggie, Tillie, at age nineteen, moved forty miles north to the 'Toon', Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, where she attended Newcastle University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Religious Studies. She returned two years later to complete a Post-Graduate Certificate in Teaching High School Social Studies. Tillie, regards Newcastle to be a home from home and enjoyed the Newcastle Geordie way of life for seven 'proper mint' and 'lush' years.
One summers day, after finishing reading her thousandth book on her much loved and treasured Kindle, Tillie turned to her husband and declared, "D'you know, I have a great idea for a story. I could write a book." Several months later, after repeating the same tired line at the close of another completed story, she was scolded by her husband to shut up talking about writing a novel and "just bloody do it!" For the first time in eleven years, Tillie actually took his advice (he is still trying to get over the shock) and immediately set off on a crazy journey, delving deep into her fertile imagination.
Tillie, ever since, has written from the heart. She combines her passion for anything camp and glittery with her love of humour and dark brooding men (most often muscled and tattooed – they’re her weakness!). She also has a serious side (believe it or not!) and loves to immerse herself in the complex study of World Religions, History and Cultural Studies and creates fantasy stories that enable her to thread serious issues and topics into her writing -- yep, there's more to this girl than profanity and sparkles!
After six years of teaching high school Social Studies and following her Professional Rugby Player husband around Europe, they have finally given up their nomadic way of life and settled in Calgary, Alberta where Tillie spends most of her days (and many a late night) lost in a writing euphoria or pursuing a dazzling career as a barrel-racing, tasselled-chap wearing, Stetson-sporting cowgirl... Ye-haw!
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