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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.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, excessive violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up.

256 pages, ebook

First published December 29, 2014

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About the author

Tillie Cole

50 books19.5k followers
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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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,708 reviews
Profile Image for Tillie Cole.
Author 50 books19.5k followers
November 15, 2014
RAZE is a VERY different book for me to have written. But I have to admit that it consumed me, made my heart pound with what might happen, how the story would develop, and the characters were so real in my mind that the novel took me very little time to write. I just let the characters live in my head, and take me where they wanted the story to go. RAZE has now found a special place in my heart. I LOVE this man so deeply that he makes my soul ache!
RAZE, the man, the fighter, the monster, is dark, tortured, and so insanely extreme in every conceivable way that sometimes I forgot how to breathe when bringing him to life on the page.

If you like fast-paced, heart-thumping, star-crossed lover based novels, then dive into RAZE!!!

Hope you all enjoy it!!!!

If you are a blogger and you would like to part of the RAZE Book Blog Tour, please follow the link below:

Profile Image for Christy.
3,758 reviews32k followers
April 20, 2015
5+ “Can I have you” stars!

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Their love story began on the day she was born.

Tillie Cole has been that author for me this year. Every year it seems, there is one author that comes out of nowhere and I am just completely taken by their books. I have read 6 Tillie Cole books this year, and 3 of them have made it on my top favorite lists. Her writing is addictive, her stories are so different from one another, yet all unbelievably good. This book was her most raw and gritty book yet. It was down right gruesome at times. It’s one of those books that is going to be difficult for a lot of people to read because of the content. But under all that, it has to be one of the most beautiful love stories I have read and it’s definitely a favorite of 2014.

Number 818, or Raze has escaped the place he’s been ever since he was a boy. A place where he was tortured and brainwashed. A place where he was trained to be a fighter. Not a normal fighter, no, a kill or be killed kind of fighter. When you’re fighting to the death, you fight to kill.

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Now that he’s out, he only has one memory from his past to go on to seek what he wants most. Revenge. Raze doesn’t know who he is, if he has family, anything like that. He knows he is a killer and he’s going to do what he does best. Find the man that put him where he was, and kill him. He’s found Alix and is preparing, but there is this girl. A girl with familiar eyes. The first person he can ever remember feeling the need to be near, the need to protect.

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Kisa Volkova is a Russian Mafia princess. She lives a sheltered and protected life. Then she meets Raze. This man is dangerous, she can tell. But there is something about him that draws him to her. She can’t stay away and she doesn’t want to. No matter how much she should. No matter how destructive it could be for them to be near each other, she has to be near him.

Raze and Kisa can’t fight this instant connection and attraction they have to one another. Being together is dangerous for them both, especially Kisa, but she can’t stay away from him.
I had never felt this before. Never felt this overwhelming lust, this consuming level of instant attraction... this raw and insatiable need to be with a man. It was dangerous. It was haunting. It was forbidden. And although it was wrong, it felt so perfectly right.

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There is so much more I want to say about this story, about what happens, about the stunning revelations and about the intense moments. And if you read the book we can talk all day about it, but I’m not writing any of it here. It’s one of those stories you have to read for yourself. The things in this book are so exceptionally beautiful at times it brought me to tears. How things came together. Just wow.

Raze was such a beautiful and strong man. Reading about what he went through will destroy you, but by the end I felt healed and happy. Kisa was a heroine that I loved. She had such strength and determination. She was willing to risk so much. These two characters were perfect together and both were survivors- so strong and resilient. They truly were a match.

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If it’s not obvious enough already, I will repeat it. This book is a must read. It’s just remarkable, exceptional, and completely extraordinary. Be prepared to feel. Be prepared to hurt, to cry, to be moved beyond belief, to have your heart stop and to be consumed by this gorgeous and enthralling story. It’s been days since I’ve read and my heart still feels for these two. It’s an unforgettable read that I loved from start to finish!
“I need you with me. I only feel at home with you.”

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Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,809 reviews28.5k followers
November 13, 2015
11/12/15: Re-Read for Reap...because I started it and was like "What fuckery is this again?" Need a refresher...

3 Predictable Stars

So I am definitely in the minority on this one.


While it was definitely a decent read, I just didn't love it. It was simply...


...in my opinion anyway.


Raze was hot.


But Kisa was kind of flat and boring in my opinion.

Much like this pencil.


She just kind of went along with whichever way the "wind" blew.

No matter who was blowing it.

Mainly though, the story was just too predictable. I knew how this thing was gonna end VERY early on, like less than 5% in. Sometimes that works for me and I don't mind, so long as the journey to get to that known ending is good.

But for the entirety of this story, instead of feeling like this:


...or even like this...


I felt like this:




In fact, because it was so predictable, I often felt my mind wandering a bit.


All in all, still a decent read. Just not my favorite thing from Ms. Cole.




I want it so bad!

Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,928 followers
January 1, 2015
*****FOUR STARS*****
{BR with my Beautiful Bestie}

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Fighter 818 has lived in the dark and hellish Gulag prison since he was a young teenage boy. Forced to fight in Death Matches and being pumped full of drugs to bulk him up and fill him with rage. Electric shock therapy has also been forced upon him to make him lose the memories of whom he once was. He's had one purpose running through his mind that kept him going and it was etched on his prison cell wall.

Alik Durov. Brooklyn, New York. Revenge. Kill

All he knows is that this is the man who falsely accused him of murder and who is the reason he was sent to the Gulag. He plans to fight against Alik in a death match at The Dungeon, and this is where he will get his revenge.

Kisa Volkova is the daughter of the Pakhan, the top boss of the Bratva Russian Mafia. She is engaged to the man Fighter 818 is out to kill. She is trapped in a very abusive relationship and every day is haunted by the memories of the beautiful boy she loved with all her heart. A boy named Luka Tolstoi, who was the only son of one of the Bratva kings. Everyone thinks he died when he was 14, in a bus accident, but turns out, he's the guy out for revenge against Kisa's fiance.

The two will meet in a dark alley where Kisa is handing out meals to homeless people for her Church that she does volunteer work for. 818 aka RAZE comes to her rescue as she is about to be attacked by a robber. Kisa and Raze have an instant connection. Something about his eyes is so familiar to her.

They manage to get some stolen moments together and Kisa soon figures out that Raze is her one and only love, Luka. He sees her in his dreams but has trouble putting things all together in his head. When the sexy times finally happen, let me just say it is heartbreaking and then soon it is incredibly steamy. We find out some things that happened to Luka that just ripped my heart apart.

This book had a lot of extremely violent scenes and there was one in particular that had me praying for a slow and painful death for Alik. But there was also a beautiful love story in here too. A story about two people who were made for each other. Whose souls would find each other no matter what.

"You can have me, solnyshko. You can have all of me. You always have, and you always will."

I really enjoyed this one but something was missing. I can't really place my finger on it. Was it predictable? Yes. But it was still entertaining. The only other thing that I had a problem with was the Epilogue. My Bestie pointed out that it was too short. It felt rushed. We would have liked to see where Kisa and Luka are at years later, but we didn't get that insight.

Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,563 reviews5,864 followers
January 1, 2015
I'm not usually a romance fan. I can read them and sometimes I get a wild hair up my butt and even search them out. This book was being read by most of my romance fan friends and it caught my attention.

I'm actually glad it did. It's actually some pretty dark stuff...and of course I liked it.

818 aka Raze was thrown into a prison at a young age. That sounds not so bad doesn't it? Bullshit. He is raped, tortured, injected with drugs and made to fight to the death..over 600 times.
He has no memories of his previous life due to the huge amounts of brutality he faced.
Then he escapes. He wants revenge on a name that has been written in his cell for years because he was told he would forget if it wasn't written there.

Then for the girl. Kisa. She is a Russian mafia princess who is engaged to a major and I do mean major asshole. She has no escape from him due to family traditions (you do not go against this family)
Kisa's side of the story almost got this book a 3 star from me. She is supposed to be this classy chick and her side of the story doesn't read as so much class to me. (not that I'm a saint) Her inner dialogue has when she um gets worked up with the guy she keeps saying how her pussy is wet. Ewww. What woman does that inside her head? We don't really use that word for that.

For the guys side of the story it worked fine because these are some hard fuckers..I mean some of the most hardened guys out there.
Her fiance Alik? He needs his balls kicked in. Multiple times.

I did give this book a four star though. Because once I started reading it I wanted to keep reading it...and it did make this cold heart melt at times.

Romance fan friends-I'm watching you. You guys might just be on to something.

P.S. this book has some raunchy ass sex scenes...not that I read those parts four times or not.
Profile Image for Lady Vigilante (Feifei).
632 reviews2,667 followers
December 31, 2014
4 stars!


Even though this is only the second book I’ve read from Tillie Cole, I can already see what a versatile writer she is. I mean this in a good way but never in a million years did I expect the author of Sweet Fall – a highly emotional and poignant NA romance – to come up with a gritty and twisted mafia romance like this one. Though there were a few hiccups along the way, this book was INTENSE from start to finish. There is something special about this author’s writing that is just gripping and makes the book unputdownable. On top of that, there’s this hidden element to the romance that’ll be revealed early on in the story that just made my heart RACE. I was rooting for these characters hard!


Number 818 or ‘Raze’ is taken from his home when he was a young boy and then raised and brainwashed into a cold-blooded killing machine in the fighting rings, where one fights to kill. He doesn’t remember much about his past because of the drugs fed to him, only that he has one purpose: to get revenge on the man who wrongly accused him of a crime he didn’t commit. His search leads him to the heart of a ruthless death match enterprise and straight into the path of a blue-eyed girl whose face is eerily similar to the girl in his fuzzy memories.


Kisa Volkova is the daughter of the man who runs a savage underground fighting ring and betrothed to the long-time champion, a demented and truly twisted man who’s obsessed with possessing her. She’s well aware that in this mafia life, she has little say in what she wants and is physically and emotionally battered by her fiancé’s demands and the invisible iron cage her family has her own. Fully knowing that her heart belongs to another – a man she has never seen again since her childhood – Kisa has resolved herself to become the dutiful wife everyone in the mafia expects her to be.

On one fateful night, Kisa is saved from an unknown assailant by Raze, who’s come to the city to get his revenge against Alik Durov, who’s also Kisa’s fiancé. Without spoiling anything, Kisa and Raze have this insanely intense connection and can’t help but be drawn towards each other, even though their attraction is the last thing they need with Kisa already engaged to another and Raze only interested in his revenge plan.


The first half of this book left me breathless. My heart was pounding from the fight scenes, the sizzling chemistry between Kisa and Raze, and the hidden element to their romance that gave my heart a squeeze. I just wanted them to be together without any obstacles in their way, you know? But their road was not an easy one, and I’m glad the author made it bumpy or else it really would’ve cheapened their romance. I think my main concern with this book was the big discrepancy between the first and second halves of the story. It seemed too convenient that every problem Raze had (from his memory loss to revenge plan etc…) was wrapped up and concluded so nicely. The first half of the book really set a gritty and challenging pace for these characters and though I’m sure it wasn’t the author’s intention, I felt like the second half of the book got a little too cheesy and predictable. Nevertheless, my overall enjoyment of this story was high, and I could overlook these things because I was invested in the romance and genuinely cared about the characters’ welfare.


By the time I got to the end of the book, I was sad the story was ending and wished there was more. I love the mafia world the author set up and strangely enough, there were two side characters I loved just as much (maybe even a little more) than Kisa and Raze and whether or not it’ll happen, I wish the author could do books for them too: Rodion (Kisa’s brother) and fighter number 362 (Raze’s rival and friend). All in all, this story had my attention from beginning to end, got me invested in these characters, and had me wishing there was more to the story after it ended…which I think are all essential aspects that comprise a good book. I couldn’t be happier to end my 2014 reading year on a high note!

Raze is a dark contemporary romance set in the mafia world. It’s a true standalone and unrelated to the author’s other books.
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,000 reviews11.8k followers
March 17, 2016
2.5 Stars

He was as cold as an arctic winter... but he was a beautiful monster...

After so many friends raved to me about how amazing this book was, I was beyond excited to be finally reading it. Given that I've also spent quite a few months avoiding it. Why? Because my picky Russian ass has yet to read a book with the MCs being Russian and not having it be butchered to hell and back. So I get a little touchy.

I have to say, I was very impressed with the way the author accurately portrayed the Bratva and the true brutal underbelly of it. The concept and the story were intriguing, violent, intense, and gripping. The book kept my attention the entire time reading it. But unfortunately there were too many issues that I had along with it that ultimately killed my buzz.

Be warned....nitpicking galore to follow...

The character's names.
First we have Kisa. But here's the thing; I've never heard of a name like this in Russian. Ever. It is a very common term of endearment however. It loosely translates to "pussy cat" or "kitten". Whatever your fancy. But here's the issue, Kisa's fiance likes to call her "Myshka", which translates to 'little mouse'.

Yeah. Threw me too.

The writing.
OK look, I know I'm picky here but this just didn't work for me in the least. I found some parts of the book to be choppy. It goes from incredibly emotional and gritty to borderline cheesy.
Like this phrase here:
"Please, sit, papas."
Why on earth would someone say, "Please, sit, fathers"? Unless you're in church. But again, that's neither here nor there. My main issue came with the dialogue, internal and external. The repetitive terminology, especially within the character's dialogue managed to frustrate me enough to take me out of the story at times.
The overuse of endearments and names within one paragraph being my main issue. I get it; she's your Myshka, your Solnyshko, and he's tvoya lyubov. I just don't want it repeated ad nauseam, feel me?

Also, in Russian culture you never refer to someone respectfully especially of authority by their first name. So you would never call your employer Mr. Alik. You'd refer to him by his first and middle name, so Alik Abramovich in the case here. But again, that's neither here nor there.

The heroine Nothing about Kisa worked for me. She was bland to the point of blending in with the furniture. There was nothing about her that grabbed me as a reader or endeared me. She was weak and her simple acceptance of things just being what they are and such is life did nothing for me either. Don't get me started on her vagina's pavlov response to the mere presence of Raze. The woman would walk into a room, see his back without knowing it's him, and already she's raring to go?

Taking into consideration her borderline abusive psycho of a fiancé and their relationship, I'm shocked she had no emotional or mental scars. This is especially true towards the end. She moves on from all of it without so much as a bat of a eye lash. No lingering emotional trauma...just is what it is.

The overuse of the word "channel
Perhaps this is just me, but I have never once referred to my southern region as a "channel" during internal monologue during sex. So the fact the Kisa thinks how her clenching channel wrapped around his cock made me wonder if perhaps she was a victorian maiden in her past life.

The overuse of endearments
Considering the gritty and brutal subject matter of this book, I can understand why the author would want to dilute that with a beautiful love story. However, I just can't picture any person in their late 20s referring to the other as "my love" on a constant and consistent basis. I'm talking about multiple times during one sex scene. Perhaps it's my inner cynic kicking in, but this was just too much cheese for me.

The graphic sex scenes with Kisa's fiance
I'm not a reader that has an issue of a graphic sex scene with a person that's not the main love interest in a romance. Especially not when it fits the plot as it did here. That being said, it didn't need to be as often or as graphic as it was here. After the first time, I didn't see a reason for it. Yes, I get it, Alik is brutal and sadisctic. He feels that Kisa is his property and he goes absolutely batshit at another man so much as looking at her. I do NOT want to be reading about this more than I need to which was for basically . Did it fit the plot? Sure. Could it have been toned down? Absolutely.

It could have easily been fade to black or just loosely mentioned. It simply didn't need to be as graphic as it was past the first 2 times.

Having said all that, the story itself was unique and gripping enough to have me turning the pages. Sure it was a little predictable in places but I don't think it was ever really meant to be a huge secret. I didn't see a good part of the ending coming, so in terms of suspense and grit, it certainly fit the bill. Raze was the star of the book. I couldn't help but fall for him right away. The violence was graphic and at times extremely difficult to read. But at the same time, it just didn't effect me as much as some of the other gritty and dark books I read. While this may not have completely worked for me, I'm intrigued enough to continue with the series. Hopefully with the next book being traditionally published, some of the issues I had here may be ironed out.

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

For more reviews visit
Profile Image for Brandi.
628 reviews1,279 followers
December 31, 2014

Holy hell. I don't even know where to start. This book was OTT and predictable, BUT I really liked it. I don't know why, but it was addictive. Seriously, I couldn't put it down.


818 aka Raze has no memory of his life before the Gulag - the hell he has lived in, forced to fight to the death for as long as he can remember. The only thing that keeps him going are the words carved into his cell wall.

Alik Durov.
Brooklyn, New York.

Kisa Volkova is a Russian mod princess, engaged to a psychopath, she lives a sheltered life under the constant control of Alik. One night while volunteering for the church, she is attacked and saved by a mysterious man. She knows she must stay away from him, but something about him calls to her and she can't resist.


I won't go into the story too much more, I don't want to spoil anything. Raze was an interesting, fast-paced, steamy romance. While a bit ridiculous, I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Beverly.
1,005 reviews800 followers
January 7, 2015
5 Raze Haze Stars

I couldn’t be more blown away with this beautiful, heartbreaking story. It begins as one thing and then completely transitions into another, both sides had me completely captivated.

When things begin we learn of an underground fight ring. The boys, yes boys – not men, fighting in these fights are not fighting for money, but something much more precious, their lives. This is where we meet fighter 818. He is the undefeated fighter at his camp. When the fighters rebel and cause a riot 818 is able to escape. He has been drugged, abused and taught to kill; he doesn’t remember his name, where he is from or his family. The only thing he knows is his desire for revenge - he must kill Alik Durov.

Alik Durov is the heir to the Bratva family and a lethal fighter. He is engaged to his family friend and the female heir, Kisa. Alik is a horrible man who enjoys hurting others, he is mentally unstable and abusive to Kisa. Despite Kisa’s fears of Alik she does what she was raised to do: be a good Bratva woman. She isn’t in love Alik, but loves him in a friendly way. She knows he needs her and is scared for him to be without her. Kisa’s one true love was her childhood friend and boyfriend Luka, but Luka is gone.

A lot of people find Kisa’s demeanor and attitude to be frustrating, but I get her. She was raised to be a certain way and lost her true love a long time ago. She knows no matter what she will never love another like she did Luka, so she will be the woman she was raised to be. A lot of people think it is weakness that keeps her in her situation, but I think it takes great strength to sacrifice yourself for the ones you love.

Once she meets Raze everything changes. She sees something in him and wants to help him. There is something about him she can’t turn away from.

I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone, so I will stop there. This story brought out so many emotions in me and had me thinking about it nonstop. It begins dark and transitions into one of the most beautiful love stories. I loved watching things unfold and seeing the compassion, desire, and protectiveness between these characters. I was on the edge of my seat reading this one and couldn’t wait to turn the page, then when I got to the end I was devastated it was over.

Tillie Cole has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I truly believe she can write anything, her writing always evokes such strong emotions in me. Her stories are well written and she creates unforgettable characters. I always find myself completely enthralled and cheering for them. As much as I love all her stories, I think Raze is my favorite. There was just something about this story that hooked me. When I say I was in a Raze Haze it was legit, I couldn’t stop thinking about this beautiful story of two broken people hell bent on healing each other.

Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,495 followers
February 8, 2017
4 Stars!!


I have read many books from Tillie Cole, but none of them was like this one for me. I’m a sucker for dark, gritty and twisted reads and this romance mafia was all this and more. To say I’m glad I finally give this book a try would be an understatement. If you haven’t read this book yet my advice is to consider reading it ASAP. This story didn’t disappoint. It was gripping from start to finish even if at times it was a little rushed and predictable. The writing was flawless and the hero a damaged man you will root for from the start.

“From now on, you’ll be known as fighter 818, and if you want to live, you’ll learn how to fight and how to survive here, in hell.”

Number 818 (Raze) was taken since he was only a young boy to a place where he became a cold killer, a killing machine, a fighter who not only fights for entertainment, but fights to stay alive. Kill or be killed. That’s how Number 818 lived since he remembers.


His brain was shut down blocking out anything but the need to kill, erasing his knowledge of who he is and where he is from. He knows only one thing – that he must get revenge on Alik Durov. For what exactly? He doesn’t remember, but he knows and he feels this man wronged him like no one else. And he will find him and he would kill him no matter what.


Kisa Volkova is a Russian Mafiya princess. Her father is one of the three “Red” Bratva Kings in New York, the top boss, the one who rules the Russian underground in the city. Her fiancée is a sick, twisted, possessive man who controls almost everything in her life. She knows very well her role as the Pakhan’s daughter and the fiancée of the best death match fighter Bratva has. Even if she ‘has enough time’ to fall for her fiancée, she never forgot her first true love.

Kisa and Raze meet when Raze saves her from being raped and possibly killed. They part ways, but they meet again when Raze comes to fight for Kisa’s father in order to be close to his target, Kisa’s fiancée Alik Durov. Even if both of them know they should stay away from each other for different reasons, they are drawn to the other immediately. Something starts between them, something that could destroy them.


I enjoyed this one more than I expected. It wasn’t my first Mafia romance and certainly it won’t be my last, but I have to say this book surprised me in a very good way. Tillie Cole did a fantastic job portraying The Bratva World. The story not only was gripping, but was gritty and intense as well. The first half of the story was fast paced which I loved and kept me at the edge of my seat multiple times. The second half was more sweet and emotional and at times maybe a little OTT and cheesy, but I enjoyed it as well. Like I mentioned before, the story was predictable, but the execution was pretty good. There were also a few times when everything was a little too convenient for my taste.

I liked the hero, Raze. He was for sure an intriguing man and IMO his character was better developed than Kisa’s. I really felt for this broken man and I fell for him from the start. Kisa was just an ok character for me. She felt a little flat and there were times when she really annoyed me. Raze and Kisa’s connection was fantastically done and their sexy times were sweet and/or sexy and intimate.

Overall, this one was an entertaining read and I’m looking forward to read the next installments in the series.

Profile Image for Flo.
286 reviews593 followers
January 7, 2016
5 **star-crossed** STARS

“You're a part of me, remember? God put a piece of you within me so when we were born, everyone would know we matched.”

All I have to say is...what took me so long? I’m way late to the party and there are no excuses. This book was fantastic from start to finish. Just my kind of book. A revenge and mob story, about two soul mates and the cruelty they had to endure until they could find each other . Beautiful, heartbreaking, gripping and spellbinding. Perfect. Like it was written with my taste in mind.

“I’m closing my eyes so I can feel being inside you.” He placed his hand over his heart and rasped out, “I’ve seen too many bad things with these eyes. This, I will feel in my heart.”

818, also called Raze has escaped hell, the gulag where he had been prisoner since he was a boy. Trained to be a fighter, tortured, abused and brainwashed. A monster with only one directive...kill. He knows nothing of who he was before he got there, only one name, address and the word revenge carved into his cell. So this is what he sets out to do, find the man and get revenge. Because it is the only thing he has left.

Raze is such a Tillie Cole character. If you have read the Hades Hangmen series you probably know what I'm talking about. He is a one man army, brutal and damaged. Broken beyond recognition, but in no way a bad person. Ms. Cole has a way of writing these complex and vulnerable heroes who have a rough exterior, pain in their hearts and yet turn out to be the most genuine and gentle souls. Someone you have to feel deeply for and eventually fall in love with.

Kisa Volkova is the daughter of Kirill Volkov, the boss of New York's Russian Bratva. She is sheltered and protected, but her life is more like being trapped in a deathly golden cage than anything else. Her fiancé being one of the most dangerous things in her life, and all that takes a turn for the worst and the best at the same time, the night she meets Raze. Once their paths cross nothing will ever be the same again.

Kisa is the epitome of strength. You can tell she is russian and groomed to be a mafia wife. There is very little that faces her on the outside. She has coping mechanisms most people would kill for. But really the most interesting thing happens when Kisa and Raze connect. It's beautiful and tragic and raw. Really a once in a lifetime love story.

“You can have me, solnyshko. You can have all of me. You always have, and you always will.”

What else can I say? I love Tillie Cole and her dark and gritty books never cease to capture me. Her writing sucks you in, makes you feel all the feels, sends your emotions on a rollercoaster ride, makes you hide in fear and in the end ments your heart with beautiful love. Can you tell I loved this book?

Well here is the thing. This is the kind of genre and set up that gets my blood flowing. Revenge, copious amounts of violence, raw chemistry that quite literally jumps off the page, wonderfully damaged characters, with a little mystery and danger sprinkled on top. My kind of book. No two ways about it.

And FYI, since I'm so hooked and obsessed with this right now, I already started Reap, book 2 in the Scarred Souls series...good news, Kisa and Raze's story gets some page time next to the main couple.

That's all. Thank you for your time. ;)

Profile Image for Patrycja.
639 reviews3,806 followers
December 28, 2014

Title: Raze
Series: Standalone
Author: Tillie Cole
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Rating: 4.5 stars
Cliffhanger:. No

Every new book Tillie Cole releases is a thrilling ride. I am never sure what exactly will I get; Tillie can so wonderfully mix sweet with dark and you just never know if it will be sweet and charming swoony story or gritty and heartbreaking ride. With Raze the situation seemed simple, I excepted dark, I knew it would be dark and controversial. And boy did I get it.

Kisa and Raze’s story is no fairytale. It’s more of a twisted nightmare. I If you cannot handle freaky stuff it may give you a serious heart attack. This book is full of revenge, lust, hate and love.

Kisa is mafia princess. She’s stuck in a gruesome world of blood and power play. Being the daughter of Russian mafia’s king is brutal. She has to act in certain way and do things that she doesn’t want to do. Which includes being engaged to Alik. And Alik is horrible human being… Kisa’s strong character and I loved her. I was impressed with her ability to carry so much weight on her shoulders. Her life was rough.

Then there is Raze. He’s mostly known as a 818. A fighter. He was a slave. As just a boy he started fighting for his life and learning how to kill only to survive….

I killed because I had to. I had no other choice. I was already dead, no more than a number; stripped of morals, stripped of freedom and stripped of life. I was an animal conditioned to inflict pain without remorse. And you cannot kill someone who has no soul.

Sometimes I read books that make me silent; I just have no idea how to put in words how intense and moving the experience was. I don’t want to slip and write something that will destroy the book for others. So it’s mostly best of I keep my mouth shut; there are books that just have to be read without any additional knowledge and Raze is one of them. So I won’t be telling you more about the plot.

This book is just so…. Gruesome and heart shattering and nothing like the rest I’ve ever read. It’s unique. Shocking. Painful. This story captivated me, shocked me, made me bite my nails, scream and cry. So yes you can say that once again I am mind blown by Tillie Cole’s ability to create.

ARC kindly provided by Tillie Cole in exchange for an honest review.


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Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,358 reviews4,607 followers
January 6, 2015

"What the hell had happened to him? And where the hell had he come from?"


Tillie Cole brings fans a story about a Russian mafia princess and the two guys who claim her and her heart. The story has a lot of to the rape scenes and death cage fighting scenes in it so be warned. Kind of reminded me of this old show...


The story was fast paced, at times predictable but overall a good read as number 818/Raze escapes his prison with no memories of his life prior with just a name and place to seek his revenge on the person who destroyed his life.

There were times I was confused as to why the heroine never just told her father the true abuse she lived because he would have had her back one hundred percent. I felt she had this martyr thing going for her when it concerned him. There were also times when Raze’s memories came back right on cue and the eye color connection was mention way too much for my tastes. The couple’s sex scenes were very intimate and realistic.

”I’m closing my eyes so I can feel being inside you.” He placed his hand over his heart and rasped out. “I’ve seen too many bad things with these eyes. This, I will feel with my heart.”

I was very choked up at what happened to poor 362. So overall this was an entertaining read about souls finding their mates after being separated and wronged with just the right amount of revenge death match style.

”You’re a part of me, remember? God put a piece of you within me so when we were born, everyone would know we matched.”
Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,947 followers
January 2, 2015
4 Home Stars

Raze was a boy, turned into prisoner and then turned into a human killing machine.
Kisa is the daughter of a Russian mob king stuck into an engagement she never wanted.
Their lives weren’t supposed to cross… but when they do, their worlds clash and suddenly they feel things for each other they shouldn’t feel. Neither of them can stop it.
But when you live in a world of gangster and killers, love has no place in it. And the more you fight for it, the more you stand to lose. Not only the person you love, but also your own life.


This book is not a walk on the park. It will make you feel, will make you cry, and will take on an emotional journey that you’ll not easily forget… but is sometimes so gruesome that will actually feel your gut wrenching. I’m not usually a frequent reader of this type of unconventional love stories, but I figured that if I will enter the mind-f*ck train, at least is good to have Tillie Cole as my driver. She is an amazing writer and believe me, she pulled this off. So if you’re not afraid of a little reading torture and heart aching romances, give this book a try. You will not regret.


Rating: 4 Stars.
Characters Development: Raze and Kisa are amazing together. Both broken and both stuck to a life they didn’t ask for, it’s amazing to see them falling for each other, even knowing that they shouldn’t. A complex couple that we can’t help but falling for and hoping for their happily ever after.
Steam: Hot.
Sensible Subjects:
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Pam.
1,093 reviews1,009 followers
January 13, 2015
4.25 beautifully raw stars

Raze. 818.
818 became unrivaled. 818 became death.

A. Fucking. Stone. Cold. Killer.

Raze has been bidding his time; his time for revenge... he may not remember the reason for the revenge but he knows it is as much as a part of him as is the need to kill. When he was taken into hell for the first time, he had to learn quick how to survive, and that was to fight, to win and to kill. No regret, no remorse, not when the alternative is your own death. Pumped up full of drugs, pushed to forget, he has one goal; Alik Durov. Brooklyn, New York. Revenge. Kill.

“My Kisa-Anna… my solnyshko… God put a piece of your blue eyes in mine so we would always know we matched…”

Kisa-Anna was settled into her fate, a future that has been planned for her, a future that she has to dutifully follow. With nothing else to do but follow, she lives each day as if it were a punishment, not knowing it could be any different. After all being the daughter of one of the three "Red" Bratva Kings of New York, there is no place she can escape to, except the church. At church she finds a few moments of freedom and peace, and at church does she meet the man who would be her savior and the answer to her prayers.
“They were always meant to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds. Years would pass, they would both be hurt, they would both be sad, but one day, when they least expected it, they would stumble into each other’s paths. The question is: would they recognize each other’s soul? Would they find their way back to love…?”

Raze was a heartbreakingly gritty story about how truly fucked up the world can be, proving that no matter how much money you have, you can't buy happiness. This was one story I bought on impulse, the description intrigued me, the cover sold me, so suffice to say I had no clue what I was getting into. It was painful to read some parts because you just wanted to reach out do something but you are just a bystander watching and waiting. I can see how this wouldn't be a book for everyone, it's not a sugar coated, it's not pretty but it is sweet, beautifully raw and satisfying in all ways.

I went through the e-Motions, I hated how she honored her family's wishes, I would like to think that if I was in her case, I would fight or choose a different path, but with the dynamics of how much of her life was her family, accepting to her fate no matter how much it pained me to do so. I was in shock and in disgust every time Alik was on the page, that man was a true monster. And Raze, he is an unconventional hero, even thought what he had to do to survive was wrong, you couldn't help but wish him to survive. All the lies, the deceit, and the heartache...it was so sad. I loved the concept of how God put a piece of her in him so that their souls would find one another, it was beautiful, but it was a bit over-done at the same time, encountering it all throughout the book. I would definitely recommend this read, especially if your looking for something to satisfy your darker tastes...
Profile Image for Megan✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
293 reviews467 followers
September 5, 2016

Warning: this book contains graphic and confronting themes which may disturb some readers. Recommended for 18+ only.


“They were always meant to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds."

Wow! What a story. Tillie Cole really knows how to deliver a dark and twisted romance. I am absolutely in awe of Tillie Cole’s talent. She is such a versatile author. None of the books I have read by her have been the same. She has the ability to draw her readers in with her in-depth research and knowledge, captivating story lines and beautiful writing.

Imagine you had no recollection of your childhood, imagine you were only known as a number, imagine you were someone who was trained not just to fight but to kill. Prisoner 818 was taken from his family and the life he knew and was forced to endure unspeakable acts at such a young age. All he is sure of, is his need for revenge; revenge against Alik. He’s unsure as to why he needs to seek revenge against Alik, but he knows Alik is the one responsible for taking away his freedom.

“Revenge. Kill. Revenge. Maim. Alik Durov. Brooklyn, New York. Kill.”

Kisa is living inside her own prison. As the daughter of the head of the Russian underground fighting ring known as “The Dungeon,” she has someone watching her at all times. Her whole life is planned out for her from who she’s going to marry to where she goes and to who she is allowed to talk to. Her only sanctuary, where she feels any remnant of freedom, is within her church. Little did she know that whilst volunteering to feed the homeless, she would stumble across a homeless man who would forever change her life.

“I owed my life to a mysterious homeless man on the street. A homeless man who fought like a killer.”


I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of the story as I feel it is one you need to experience yourself, but I most definitely recommend that you read it if you enjoy dark, intense, suspenseful and compelling stories. I understand this may not be everybody’s cup of tea, as it can at times be quite disturbing; hence why there is a warning. Having said that, this is such a riveting story which had me mesmerised and intrigued from page one, right through to the last page. Hats off to Tillie Cole for writing such an intriguing, twisted yet beautiful love story.

Profile Image for Eda**.
699 reviews444 followers
January 8, 2015

** 4,5-5 "Can I have you?" STARS **

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."

After seeing a Wuthering Heights quote in this book, which is my favorite book, always and forever, I knew I'd fall hopelessly in love with it. This is the story of two lost souls finding and recognizing each other in the most unlikely places and finding their way back to love. It is extraordinary, intense, raw, heartbreaking...simply BEAUTIFUL! I was still shedding bittersweet tears a few days after finishing it. I even dreamed about it one night!

You see, it's a story that grips you from the throat and doesn't let go for a while. So be prepared. Be prepared to cry. Be prepared to get choked-up. Be prepared to get obsessed. Because you won't be able put this book down once you flip the first page!

Number 818 / Raze doesn't know a life beyond the one in Gulag, his prison, his hell, the place in which he's been tortured and brainwashed, turned into a stone-cold killer, into death itself. The only thing he remembers about his past are the words carved into the wall of his cell:

Alik Durov.
Brooklyn, New York.

Now he is free, thanks to his only friend, Number 362 and he can do the thing he promised himself years ago: He can kill the man that sent him to hell and return the favor, sending HIM into the pits of the real hell this time!

Kisa Volkov is the daughter of the Pakhan, aka the boss, of the Bratva Russian Mafia and one of the 3 most dangerous Mafia bosses in NY, the Red Bratva Kings. She is engaged to be married to Alik “The Butcher” Durov , the five-time champion of the underground fight-to-death ring, The Dungeon, the sadistic, unforgiving, cruel and unhealthily obsessive death-match fighter everyone in New York is scared-to-death of. But Kisa is still haunted by a pair of dark brown eyes, the left iris smudged with a small splash of blue. Eyes of a boy she has lost 12 years ago but could never let go of... Luka Tolstoi.

“You’re a part of me, remember? God put a piece of you within me so when we were born, everyone would know we matched.”

One night while distributing care packages to homeless people for the church, a burglar attacks Kisa for her purse and she is rescued by a mysterious huge homeless man with a gray sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his face. There's something familiar about this man though... Kisa can't understand the strange feelings this man evokes in her at first, but when his hood comes off and she loses herself in the depth of those dark brown eyes, the same eyes of the boy Kisa has always been in love with, she knows with all of her heart that her soulmate has finally returned to her...

I had never felt this before. Never felt this overwhelming lust, this consuming level of instant attraction... this raw and insatiable need to be with a man. It was DANGEROUS. It was HAUNTING. It was FORBIDDEN. And although it was so WRONG, it felt so perfectly RIGHT.

Raze was a wonderful man. My heart cracked every single time he felt lost and I cried for everything that he's been through. Seriously, his story will damage you. It will make your heart ache. You will be amazed by how a man can be so strong, yet so vulnerable...

“I'm closing my eyes so I can feel being inside you.” He placed his hand over his heart and rasped out, “I've seen too many bad things with these eyes. This, I will feel in my heart.”

Alik Durov, the motherf*cker... I hated him with passion! I wished him a VERY slow and painful death throughout the book and am so relieved by his ending.

He somewhat reminded me of “Crazy Frankie” from Undeniable by Madeline Sheehan, but you see, I liked Frankie. He was a sicko too, but somehow he made me sympathize with him. Alik, on the other hand, rose no feelings of understanding in me at all. He was despicable and he should burn in f*ckin' hell!

LUKA: “You’re insane! You’re fucking sick in the head!”

ALIK: “Maybe, but she’s going to be mine. I want her. I need her. She calms me, and I’ll do anything to own her and have her all to myself and fucking away from you!”

Lastly... Goliath . You destroyed me, buddy.

My reason for the (-0,5) stars: The fact that even after all that she's endured at the hands of Alik and learning about his sins, Kisa kept referring to Raze and Alik as "her two loves", INFURIATED me! Idiot.

This was my first Tillie Cole read and now that I'm reading her Hades Hangmen series too, I gotta say this author may end up in my Top 5 Authors list! There's something special about her writing that I can't quite put a finger on but feel it down to my bones nevertheless. I'll be reading anything that comes outta her pen from now on, that's a promise! ;)


“Can I have you?”

“You can have me, Solnyshko. You can have all of me. You always have, and you always will.”


January 4, 2015

4.75 Revenge-is-oh-so-sweet Stars!

 photo 30901B0C-B5AB-479B-BCFA-CF7F5BA55C0E_zpsp9dsximh.jpg

“They were always meant to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds. Years would pass, they would both be hurt, they would both be sad, but one day, when they least expected it, they would stumble into each other’s paths. The question is: would they recognize each other’s soul? Would they find their way back to love…?”

The above fairy tale synopsis is the heart of the book. It's a long quote, I know, but I loved how the author took such a dark, gritty plot and, deep down, made it what fairy tales are made of in the end. But, rest assured, this ain't no heart and flowers Cinderella story.

Anywho, Raze was an intense story of a man, taken as a teenager, brainwashed and tortured, fed with drugs and steroids to forget everything he once was and morf him into a death-seeking cage fighter. He's no longer Luka. He's simply 818, one of the most feared, undefeated killers in the underground fighting ring. "Raze" knows nothing of his past self...nothing except a few words on his cell wall...a name, a location, revenge!

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Kisa Volkova, daughter of a Russian mafia lord, is betrothed to a monster, Alik Durov...son of the second in line mafia lord. Her life is arranged, and while not being in love with Alik (in fact, hating him), she plays the role of dutiful mafia princess and future wife.

Until one fateful night when a stranger saves her life. Delivering care packages to the homeless in New York City, she's attacked. Suddenly, from the shadows, she's saved by a hooded man. A man who bears a striking resemblance to her long lost best friend, first love, and soul mate. He hides his eyes behind the hood but there's something about him...  photo 1D494C1E-55CF-4F8A-81D7-4C22B1E6890A_zpscuekowdg.jpg
Raze didn't disappoint me in providing an intense, dark, gritty, yet angsty love story. It had all the elements of a read that I crave. My heart was racing, the build-up perfectly timed, the characters believable. It wasn't hearts and flowers but in a sense, it was to me. It was such an awesome angsty love story. A story of second chances.

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."
 photo 1D494C1E-55CF-4F8A-81D7-4C22B1E6890A_zpscuekowdg.jpg My heart broke for both Kisa and Raze (aka Luka). She's engaged to a monster yet accepts her fate because it's the mafia way. She fears Alik but takes his sadistic violent side knowing she was born into this life. Luka...where to begin. He's a shell of what he was when he was taken as a teen. Seeing Kisa being attacked stirred something from within to protect this stranger but that's all he can take from it. He doesn't recall anything except...

Alik Durov
Brooklyn, New York

The only reason I deducted a minuscule .25 star is because it all kind of wraps up a bit too easily and a couple parts were (a bit) cheesy. But that's seriously just me being picky. I love a book that captures me the way this book did. Providing me with all the elements of a story I devour. Tillie Cole is quickly turning into an auto-buy for me. Not everyone can do dark. She pulls it off superbly!! I highly recommend this book to readers that crave more than just angsty romance. Throw in the mafia, a fair amount of violence, suspense, darkness, revenge, steam and it's literary perfection!

And I thank you!

 photo 90BEAF62-BBB5-4905-9A58-C8E6B4700766_zpsquw4ikav.gif
Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
954 reviews1,231 followers
May 26, 2016

Series:Scarred Souls #1
Author:Tillie Cole
Release date: December 30, 2014
Rating:5 stars

This book is essentially about the depths of depravity and torment that one man must endure to make his way to freedom and the one woman who was born to be his. Luka Tolstoi is one of three princes of New York's Russian Mafiya. Kisa Volkova is the Mafiya princess who had his heart from the first time he set eyes on her as a child. And those eyes. *sigh* I loved the detail about his eyes holding a piece of hers inside them-it was such a romantic piece of an otherwise violent and brutal story.

Mama said God placed a piece of my eye within his so we would always know we shared one soul.

If it weren't for things like this, I don't know if I would have loved the book as much, although as beautifully as it was written I know I still would have appreciated its impact on me. This book is one that will hopefully reach inside you and make you hurt for this horribly wronged and tortured hero. I know I did. But what this man becomes in order to keep his body and soul intact makes his fated love story all the more powerful and significant. What he becomes is a monster, a killer.

In these three families, there is a betrayal, a murder, and an injustice. Luka is sent away and he's lost forever, even to himself. He's sent to Hell on earth-a place where boys go and fight to the death, they're tortured, beaten, and treated as animals. Only the strongest of the strong survive for long and Luka (now Raze) becomes a stone cold killing machine with no thoughts other than training and his next kill. Until his escape. Now he has one thought, one goal:


Kisa is the dutiful Mafiya daughter. She loves her family, and though she's terrified of her fiancé, Alik Durov, she continues to do whatever is required of her and take his abuse. After Luka is sent away, she became almost numb and he was able to slip in and take control of her. Alik is an extremely dangerous and abusive person, but Kisa blindly ignores the signs that he could easily eventually kill her. One one hand, it was really frustrating how she allows his horrible treatment of her. He was really scary with her and she never speaks up and talks to her family about it. But the way she mentally checked out after losing her soul mate makes it believable, though I didn't like it.

I hardly recognized the girl before me anymore. She got lost somewhere over the years, hiding away, running for her life.

Raze returns to New York and when he and Kisa's paths intersect again, he feels that same immediate urge to protect her even though he holds no memories of his past. Everything before the underground prison is a total blank. (You're probably wondering how he remembers who to get revenge on if he has no memory, but that is explained with a rational explanation.) Tortured out of him through electric shock and drugs. But being near her starts making him feel things.

Warmth filled my chest like the sun had moved its home inside of me. I'd only ever felt cold before. The cell was cold. Killing was cold...I was always cold, but right now, I was warm...I felt alive. No longer dead inside.

Kisa is just as conflicted. This man who appears to be the love of her life, who she believed was dead isn't the same man she holds in her memories.

This couple is anything but your average sweethearts. What they both have to endure is downright gutting at times. So much pain, heartbreak, and injustice. I wanted an emotional read that would really hit hard and that's what I found in Raze. Tillie Cole leaves me breathless how she can depict each scene with such skill that every one of my senses are right there inside the world she creates. Feeling, seeing, and hearing every emotion and experience that each character experiences. This was one of those books for me that I started late at night and literally was so transported into the story that I fell asleep while holding my kindle, woke up, and immediately read the last section of the book. It's the definition of un-put-downable for me. Would I recommend this book? Hell yes, I would. I was nervous to try this one out because I thought it might be too difficult to read but that wasn't the case at all. It's well worth the pain for the beauty of Kisa and Luka.


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Profile Image for Dilek VT.
1,543 reviews1,363 followers
April 18, 2018
I am not into "dark" books but I decided that a book which begins like this is worth trying...

“They were always meant to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds. Years would pass. They would both be hurt. They would both be sad, but one day, when they least expected it, they would stumble into each other’s paths. The question is: would they recognize each other’s soul? And would they find their way back to love…?”


As you can see from the above, I thought this was going to be a book about an epic love between two soul mates but now that I have finished it, I am shell-shocked at what I have read. The romance is buried deep under the weight of all the ugliness that spreads all over the book.

What dominates the whole book is the doings of the Russian mafia, pure violence, torture, brutality, rough violent sex, abuse of children and teens, rape, murder etc.

The intended epic love story is tainted and repressed by the ugliness dominating the whole book.


There are so many reviews about this book telling about the plot, so I will not talk about the plot at all. It’s just enough if you know that there is Russian Mafia and their bloody life stories in it.

I will just tell you why I didn’t like this book.

1. The soul-mates, Luka and Kisa had their first sex when she was 13 and Luka was 14 years old.

Am I the only one who thinks it is too early??? I believe it is wrong on so many levels. I am disturbed by the fact that it is romanticized!

And when Luka is taken from Kisa, Alik takes his place immediately and he has been having sex with her since that age (Kisa 13, Alik 14). Again, so very wrong for me.

P.S. No use of protection mentioned.

2. Alik is a disturbed and sadistic man. Kisa is a heroine that takes submissive to a whole new level.

We witness their relationship when she is 25 years old. Every time Alik has sex with her, it is violent and brutal but she somehow accepts it the way it is and the more interesting thing was that she can have an orgasm during that brutal act.

Kisa knows Alik likes to kill people and torture them. She believes she needs to be with him because she is the one who calms him even a little bit. I wanted to puke every time she expressed this rationale of hers.

She accepted this obsessive man’s all rules. For example, she was forbidden to talk to other men, she was forbidden to go out with friends, she wasn’t allowed to go out of the house at all - period!

She was taken by bodyguards to the Gym the Bratva owned and where she worked. Then, she was brought home by the same bodyguard.

She had to wear clothes that covered all her body because Alik didn’t like anyone to look at her. He killed many just because they looked at her.

And he beats her if she talks to a man. It doesn't matter about what. She is forbidden to talk to men and she has to comply.

Those clothes that covered all her body also helped to hide the bruises Alik gave her every time she did something wrong.

I didn’t understand what kind of a mafia princess she was. She let Alik abuse her in every way possible. She knew he went to other whores as well. He explained to her that she wasn’t like them but she was special. She heard that some women he had sex with didn't survive Alik's violence and she thought she was lucky because he would never hurt her that much.

Kisa says she accepted this life with Alik because she was afraid to leave him. She also thought she had only Alik but no one else since Luka died. (All other men are wiped from the face of the Earth, it seems?!)

She even felt compassion for that scumbag. She never thought of complaining to her father about the violence of Alik towards her. He seemed to love his daughter, so I didn’t understand her rationale and acceptance of that life at all.

Oh, one more thing I hated about Kisa: In the Gym The Bratva owned and where Kisa works, there are cage fights organized. And the fights are to the death. One fighter gets out of the cage alive because the fight ends only when one fighter dies. Kisa never expresses her discomfort about what is happening in that Gym. It is her normal and she is used to this life. Even Luka (Raze) cuts himself every time he kills a person and leaves a mark on his body just to remember what he has done but I don’t remember reading any sentences where Kisa expresses her sadness about the fighters that die in that Gym, (which is in fact an illegal underground place.)

3. Raze/Luka is a scarred soul. He is beyond damaged. My heart ached for him. He has been forced to kill more than 600 people in those 12 years. He has been beaten, raped, drugged and tortured. He has been taught to kill or the other option was to be killed.

That’s why, it was just unbelievable for me that he would be healed from all those terrible experiences just by reuniting with his long-lost love. He needed therapy – serious & long sessions of therapy.

The writer tries to make us believe that he can sleep without nightmares when Kisa sleeps with him… Sorry, I am not buying that! Go live in that hell for 12 years and then, go sleep with your lover and feel Ok, and then come and talk about it that easily! Pffttt!

4. Personally, I do not prefer my heroes & heroines virgin. So if they have been with each other only, their love story is not my cuppa.

In this case, Luka has only been with Kisa. And after that one time with Luka at the age of 13, Kisa has been with Alik for so many years. So, two men for Kisa.

When Luka and Kisa find each other after so many years, Luka was a man who never had any other women in his life. And after having been raped for so many years in that dungeon by the guards, Luka forgot how to make love and he didn’t know what to do with Kisa at first when they started to sleep together. He tried to do what the guards did to him. She had to teach him how to do it. Reading those parts where she tried to teach him what to do was unbearable for me. Inexperience is something I never prefer in my heroes in books!

5. And the last reason I didn’t like this book was because it was too depressing. It just sucked the life out of me. So much blood, violence, brutality and rape made me feel detached from the book and the so-called love story in it.

All in all, it seems that I am not a good reader of dark books & mafia stories and I will stay away from those in the future and I will not try any more books from this writer again. This was my first and last.

Profile Image for Alyssa.
233 reviews124 followers
July 16, 2018
First Read: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Second Read: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

this book rlly messes w your mind but omg I LOVE IT. AND I LOVE RAZE.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5 stars
Lead Male Character: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / 5 stars
Lead Female Character: ★ ★ ★ ★ and a half / 5 stars
Plotline: ★ ★ ★ ★ and a half / 5 stars
Genre: romance, russian mafia
Will I recommend this book to others?: YES
Will I reread this book?: YES I ALREADY DID
Overall story summed up in one word: OMG (in a good way LOL)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This book is definitely something completely different than what I usually read. Raze was super good even though it was quite disturbing at times. By disturbing, I mean People can be so cruel and do so many horrific things to other human beings.

Aside from that, this book was fan-freaking-tastic! Even though I had some difficultly going through certain scenes, this was definitely an enjoyable read for me and I LOVED it. Sometimes, it really is good to step out of my comfort zone and read a completely new genre. Also, the characters were amazing. They had great personalities and was really fun to read about. And the plot line was just PERFECT! Because of how the ending turned out, it was totally worth it trudging through all the disturbing scenes in this book :D
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,415 reviews7,420 followers
March 17, 2015
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

This review is brought to you by . . .

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(Now in convenient travel sizes!)


As some of you know I've been doing my local library's Winter Reading Challenge in order to score a new coffee mug. My satisfaction with the recommended selections of said challenge has been less than stellar. To top it off, on Thursday I discovered that my reward for completing the challenge this year wouldn't even be a coffee mug. Instead it would be a cocktail glass. I was already tired of waiting for my final "romance" selection to queue up, so I opted to read some porn in order to turn in my paperwork early and get the f-ing stupid glass . . . and so the drunken review of Raze was born. Bottoms up!

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Quick question before I get started. How many of you have ever referred to the lady garden as the "channel"??????

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Right. That's what I thought. We'll get back to that a bit later. Now on with the review!

Here's the problem. If I were rating the plot, this one would get a solid 3.5 Star rating. The premise is this dude has spent half his life in the Gulag - he has been drugged, brainwashed, and forced to fight to the death in an underground fighting ring in order to survive . . .

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Oh right, my apologies. Anyway, "that of which I shall not speak" was good. Super brutal and the action was intense. It might've even been good enough to score a 4 Star if the prisoner weren't known as "818." Now, I'm sure I'm in the minority with this weird knowledge, but anytime 3-digit numbers are referenced I think of zip codes, and this particular zip code is for The Valley . . .

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Random, but those are the things that stick in my pop-culture addled brain.

Long story even longer, Prisoner 818 has one goal in life - to seek revenge on a man he remembers nothing about, except for his name. Whilst seeking revenge 818 (a/k/a "Raze") finds himself joining another fighting ring (known as "The Dungeon"), but this time it's led by the Russian Bratva. As he sets his sights on revenge, Raze finds his eye also drawn to Kisa, the woman who helps run The Dungeon.

I'm sure you can figure out what happens next. You guessed it, it's time for some bow-chicka-wow-wow. Unfortunately, one of my friends just decided to leave Goodreads, but I think he said it best when he said the cover looked like a "tiger in a hoodie." Yep. And I wanted to bang that tiger. What I didn't know was that the parts of the book discussing the naughty business would make me feel a little something like this . . .

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And that I would learn everything I never wanted to know about Kisa's "channel" . . .

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Right? I mean CHANNEL?!?!?!?!?! Maybe it's just me, but doesn't your brain conjure up something wide and vast when you hear "channel"????? Something kind of like . . .

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If you want to have a lot of fun while reading this one, take a drink every time anyone talks about the "channel" . . .

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But whatever you do, don't add any other icky words to the game. Drinking during "channel" talk might result in something like this . . .

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But if you add in references to Kisa's lady bits being called . . .

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(Spock does not approve of such pussy talk!)

Sidenote: Someone asked me to work that Spock .gif into a review a long time ago. NAILED IT!

Where was I? Oh yeah, don't add any pussy speak to the drinking game or else you might find yourself in Pam Poovey territory . . .

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Speaking of Pam Poovey, I think Kisa must have taken some notes on how to have a "successful" sexytime from my pal. If references to . . . ummmmm . . . moisture squick you out, bring a barf bag . . .

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Recommended to those who have a lot more experience with dirty books than lil' ol' me.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,654 reviews985 followers
January 8, 2015
What a wonderful way to end/start the new year! OMG!! I LOVE RAZE!!! What have I been reading?? "I am in a RAZE HAZE!!!" I have seen that quote around Facebook, and that is exactly how I am feeling at the moment! This book checked off all of my boxes that make me fall in love with a hero. Raze was a tortured individual who endured far more than anyone should ever have to; but when he lays his eyes on Kisa it is like his heart starts beating for the first time. Yes, some may say this book comes across as a tad corny...but not me! For me, it was romance at its finest. It is raw,gritty, and at times brutal,gory and gruesome; but the moments that Kisa and Raze are together...my pulse was pounding and I was breathless! The intensity of this couple will be hard to be in stories to come. I should have expected this was going to be an epic read for me, as Tillie Cole is a newly discovered author for me and I love anything she writes! I would literally read the phone book if she wrote it! Her books are on the darker side; but wow, when her characters fall in love...they do it with their whole souls! To me, that is what a romance book should be about!

In "Raze" we are shown a very dark side of life where there are kids groomed to be fighters. Not just fighters though, they need to fight to the death. Basically, they become stone cold killers. Raze is no exception. He was taken from his old life and tortured and conditioned to forget who he was or where he came from. Instead, his life became about survival, countless torture, and living in a cell. Eventually, Raze lost his humanity and lived on instinct alone.

The heroine; Kisa Volkova, lives in her own kind of jail. Her father is the head of the Russian underground (the New York Russian Bratva)her life has been dictated for her and she is engaged to a horrible man by the name of Alik Durov. Alik is a pshycotic a-hole, and that is an understatement; believe me! He gives new meaning to the word controlling and possessive..and let's face it...downright nasty! There is history between Kisa and Alik going all of the way back to when they were children. Kisa feels she has no choice but to marry him, as it is what is expected of her. That is, until the day that she lays eyes on a man name Raze. Then....all bets are off, and the real story begins!!!! Take my word for it....this is a story you don't want to miss!

I could go on all day gushing about this book; but all I can say is that I highly recommend it! The writing is superb, the sex is beyond passionate, primal, and majorly intense. This will be going on my absolute favorite for 2015!! Hooray! What an awesome way to bring in the New Year! Thank you Tillie Cole for writing another masterpiece!!!!
Profile Image for K.
141 reviews173 followers
October 12, 2021
Mama used to say she caught him staring into my crib only hours after I was born. Then when she asked him what he was doing, he asked her if he could have me. My mama joked and told him it would be my choice when I was old enough to crawl, and from the minute I was old enough to crawl, my mama told me I only ever crawled to one boy…

scarred souls :

#1: raze ↠ 3.5 stars!
#2: reap ↠ on hold.

Luka Jakob Tolstoi + Kisa-Anna Volkova

it was predictable as fuck and nothing to write home about, so i won't. what i liked, however, was that for every sweet and heartfelt moment, the brutal and harsh reality of its dark nature followed as it should have. that for all its heartache and devastation, it still delivered and gave Kisa and Luka their happy ending. and, thank God, because it's needed. at least, i can say that, overall, i'm pleased with my first—by-this-author.
Profile Image for Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen.
1,683 reviews594 followers
January 3, 2015
Book – Raze
Author – Tillie Cole
Publication Date – December 30, 2014
Genre –Dark Romance
Type – Stand Alone
Cliffhanger – No
Rating – 4 out of 5 Stars

Own a copy.

My Thoughts - Story
If you had to ask me one word to describe this book, it would be:


Once I picked it up and got through the first 50 or so pages, I was hooked…(line and sinker).  Yes, there were a few things I found a bit “over the top” but shit…we are reading about fantasies here…not what is going on outside our front door. 

There are a few books that can draw me into the story where I can relate to the characters and yearn to be there right along with them. This was one of those special books to me.  I cried for Raze….I sympathized with Kisa and wanted to kill Alik.

This author is very descriptive with her writing and brings you into the story where every little detail is explained to a point where you feel like a movie is playing out in your head.

My final words on this is that I am so happy Bev talked me into reading this!!

Damn…I hate this part of the review because I am always fearful that I will give too much away and ruin the story for you. So, I’ll try to stay as general as possible…

Kisa is the Russian princess of the NY underground. She heads up the death match and is engaged to Alik (the prince and heir). One day while atoning for her family’s sins with the church, she gets attacked and a mysterious stranger saves her life.  Instantly, Kisa feels a pull with this strange giant and can’t help herself from searching him out.  He only has 1 thing on his mind though, REVENGE. Revenge against the man who put him in a Russian jail that turned him into the monster he now is.  Revenge against Alik.

I’ll leave you there…that consists of the first 50 pages and will get you started to find out what happens between Raze, Alik and Lisa.  How the past may come back to haunt all of those involved.

Reason for Reading – Recommended by Bev
Story – 5 out of 5 Stars
Steam –  4 out of 5 Stars
Angst – 4 out of 5 Stars
Writing – 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Content Flow – 4 out of 5 Stars
Told In – Dual POV
Heroine/Personality – Kisa…I loved her character and felt she was such a strong influence
Hero/Personality – Raze…I found myself loving his character and empathy for the life he missed.
HEA (Spoiler) - 
Would Read More from Author? Yes
Recommend To – Anyone who doesn’t mind a bit of darkness tied in with their romance.  

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Profile Image for Vina.
167 reviews222 followers
March 4, 2015
“God put a piece of your blue eyes in mine so we would always know we matched…”

Agh where to start. I felt so much pain for Raze in this book. So much tragedy bestowed on him by a traitor. I knew something in my heart to be true when I started this book, and it turned out I was right. It was a pretty straight forward drive to the finish line, but the short journey we got to take with the hero/heroine was a pretty redeeming one. Real, Raw and lots of grit, this is one journey of revenge and remembrance.

Okey so I know this will sounds crazy and you may hate me for it but with all honesty , I liked Alik (Please don't yell at me!).Not THAT kind of liking but he fascinates me.He's the perfect anti-hero guy and may actually be my favorite character of this book.and you know what's worst ? I LOVED that very first scene of the book.It was freaking HOT! I'm sure the purpose of the author was to make us hate the guy from the very first page , but it just made him more appealing to me .

What an amazing story. That was an action-packed heart-pounding, suspenseful page turner. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next. It was brutal, intense with a side of love and tenderness..

Profile Image for S.M. West.
Author 33 books1,053 followers
March 17, 2015
4.5 Solnyshko STARS

This is a story written with a lot of heart and soul. It’s dark, raw, gritty and dangerous but also filled with heart-crushing love. Go in with an open mind and your world will be rocked.

“They were always meant to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds.”

A boy. A girl. The beach. “Can I have you?”
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“Three boys. Three boys by the falls. On a family vacation. Two of them best friends. The third had a knife.”
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Death. A killer. No memory and one focus – revenge. Rough, raw, dark, dangerous, intimidating.
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A Russian Mafyia Princess. Abused. Prisoner. Lost and Alone.
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“Why do I feel like I’ve known you all my life?”
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“Whatever our souls are made of—"
“His and mine are the same...”

"You can have me, solnyshko. You can have all of me. You always have, and you always will."

I only recently discovered Ms. Cole with my read of It Ain't Me, Babe and I've become a Fan! So far, every book I've read from her has left a mark and brought a wide range of emotions and enjoyment. Raze is among these great reads!
Profile Image for Sandy ღCoffee Addict Booksღ.
229 reviews244 followers
June 29, 2016

“4.25 Sand. Sun and the Sea…stars”

There are plenty of adjectives I could use to describe this book, but right now all I can think about is

And yet again Tillie Cole blew me away with her consuming storyline, intense characters and passionate love story.
“They were always meant to be together, one boy and one girl, two hearts split into two, sent to far-off lands on their own. For God wanted to see if true love could be tested. He wanted to see if two halves of one soul could find each other again, even against the odds. Years would pass. They would both be hurt. They would both be sad, but one day, when they least expected it, they would stumble into each other’s paths. The question is: would they recognize each other’s soul? And would they find their way back to love…?”
Well, this very first passage from the book says it all. With Raze aka 818 being a tormented killing machine, a monster who has no memories of his past life and Kisa who lost everything good in her life, a prisoner in her own shell, this is the story of love loss despair and revenge.

“Their love story began on the day she was born…”

Did it make my heart slam against my chest??? Hell yeah!!!! It had my utmost attention throughout, kept me on the edge for most parts, there wasn’t a single scene where I thought it was boring or flat but perfect balance of darkness and innocence. Tillie Cole writes dark romance with utterly damaged characters, loads of violence making it gritty and gut wrenching yet she brings out overwhelming emotion of love making your heart all gooey!!!
“Whatever our souls are made of—”
“His and mine are the same...”
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