WELCOME TO MY NEW SITE… AND A RAZE BONUS CHAPTER (ON REAP’S RELEASE DAY)!!!!
Well, here it is, my new site! and if I do say so myself… MY STUNNING NEW SITE!!!! Lysa, my designer, has done an incredible job in making it all sleek and pretty and absolutely fabulous to use. I’m sure you’ll all agree! Please sign up to my newsletter and my blog posts to stay updated on everything that is going on!
***Please Note: All purchases of “My Maddie” posters and Signed Paperbacks will not be accepted until End of November (Date TBA) due to my moving countries and need to replenish stock.***
Now, before you get to the AMAZING RAZE Bonus Chapter I’m posting here as a ‘Release Day SCARRED SOULS’ treat, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to you all in following me in my career. Today (Nov 10th), REAP (Scarred Souls #2), comes out under St Martin’s Press and Piatikus (Little, Brown Books). It’s the most surreal of days for me–a dream come true–and it is all down to you guys! That means more than I can ever say.
Sooooo…… to celebrate this EPIC day, I have the RAZE Bonus Chapter here for you to read (Up until now it has only been available in the new ebook of RAZE). Today, you read it for free!!!! I’ll also have ‘deleted scenes’ coming soon from REAP!!! So much funness!!!
Without anymore delay, please enjoy “Luka and Kisa’s Wedding: RAZE Bonus Scene”.
Luka and Kisa’s Wedding
It wasn’t like I’d always dreamed it would be. It wasn’t the picturesque fairytale wedding I’d pictured as a child… but that didn’t make it any less perfect.
My wedding. The day I’d been waiting for all my life. The day I showed devotion to my soul mate… the man I was destined to love for eternity, in front of God and our families.
My heart fluttered, and butterflies danced in my stomach with the surreal acknowledgement that today I become Mrs. Tolstaia.
Mrs. Luka Tolstaia…
As I closed my eyes and savored that sound in my head, a slow smile spread on my lips. Taking my one true love’s name was my ultimate wish, a name I would forever wear with pride.…
I knew that for most, personal ambitions were filled with quests for success in their chosen fields of work, with striving to become a “someone” in this world, achieving that “something” that cemented them in the history books forever as a legend. But for me, I had only ever had one goal, one wish that I prayed would manifest into reality. That I would marry the boy who had stolen my heart from birth. The man that I’d thought I’d lost for twelve years, grieved for in every waking hour and accepted I had lost forever, only to have him thrust back into my life like a thunderstorm, his presence and fire bringing with him an awakening, rescuing me from the suffocating darkness my world had become.
He was it for me… lyubov moya… my love.
Wiping away a stray tear that had escaped my eye, I stared at my reflection, and had to take a slow and controlled deep breath. My hands were subtly shaking as they lay by my side, my blue eyes were glittering brightly under the soft swoop of brown eye shadow and the gentle dusting of black mascara.
It was happening.
It was all really happening… my wish fulfilled.
I was dressed in a white fitted lace slim-line Vera Wang gown my father had had custom-made—only the best for the only child of the New York City Russian Bratva Pakhan. My long brown hair was swept up in a low bun, a diamond-encrusted Tiffany’s hair ornament—another gift from my father—curling delicately around my up-do.
I looked every inch the perfect Bratva Princess.
A double knock rapped on my bedroom door. “Come in,” I shouted, never taking my eyes from my reflection. The door creaked open and heavy assured footsteps approached from behind. My papa came into view, looking so handsome in his black tailored tuxedo, his salt-and-pepper hair pristinely combed back from his stern Eastern European face.
“Kisa…” my papa murmured as I met his eyes in the mirror’s glass. I watched, frozen in shock, as my emotionally cold and guarded papa’s eyes filled with tears and his voice hitched in his throat. “You look… you look beautiful, Kisa… like an angel.…”
“Papa,” I whispered, emotion stealing my words and turned to face him. Reaching down, I took his rough hand within mine and lifted my other hand to wipe away the tears tumbling down his cheeks. “I love you, Papa,” I added and his head bowed.
He inhaled a long breath and his hand squeezed mine tighter. “Your mama… she would have loved to have seen you today… like this… marrying your Luka… finally… after everything you’ve both been through.…”
My stomach clenched. “Papa…” I cried and wrapped my arms around his waist, pressing my cheek to his broad chest. Papa’s hand cupped the back of my head, being careful not to mess up my hair.
“You’re a good daughter, Kisa,” he rasped out and I cast a watery smile against his black jacket, “A good girl who’s only ever done her duty. Everything I’ve ever asked of you. I… I love you, my girl.” My papa wasn’t good with affection, and I knew it had taken him a great deal to express that sentiment. He was a formidable Pakhan—tough, fair, always intimidating. But I knew I was his weakness, his one area of vulnerability. Even if he never expressed this to me, I knew it to be true.
“I love you too, Papa… so much…”
The sound of a throat clearing came from the doorway, breaking this rare and sentimental moment. Pulling back from my father, I looked over his shoulder to see my one bridesmaid, Talia, my best friend and Luka’s only sister, standing in her lilac floor-length bridesmaid dress. Her long blond hair flowed down and cascading over her shoulder. She was smiling as she witnessed me in my father’s embrace and, catching my eye, held up my bridal bouquet.
My papa, glancing back to see Talia in the doorway, released a soft sigh, leaned down, and pressed a soft kiss to my forehead. “I’ll be waiting outside to ride with you to church.” He hesitated long enough to squeeze me tighter one last time, then, adorning his Pakhan mask once more, swiftly exited my bedroom.
On hearing my bedroom door close, Talia’s lips spread into a wide smile. Carefully placing the bouquets on my bed, she ran at me, crushing me in her arms. “Kisa!” she squealed and pushed me back, her deep brown eyes scanning my body, “You look incredible! So perfect!”
“Thank you,” I said on a laugh, “you look beautiful, too. Then again, you always do.”
Talia shook her head, dismissing my comment, and stepped backward. “I can’t believe this day is finally here. You, my best friend, marrying my big brother.…” A soft expression flitted across her face. “You’ll officially become my sister in just over an hour. I’m just so happy I could burst!”
Smiling wide, my gaze dropped to the soft carpet beneath my feet. But my smile quickly faded as I pictured Luka on his own this morning… without me by his side.
“How is he? I left this morning before he awoke. I didn’t want him to see me on the morning of our wedding. I wanted to keep some semblance of traditionalism… for my papa’s sake.”
Talia was silent until I looked up. Her round brown eyes were sympathetic and tense. She shrugged. “He’s holding up. Once we calmed him down after he woke alone without you, he… he’s trying his damnedest to hold it all together until we reach the church and he can be with you again, Kisa.”
My stomach flipped at her response and my heart began to race. Luka didn’t do well without me by his side, not even for a few hours. He was still confused, tormented and riddled with flashes of fragmented memories from his past… only being with me gave him any rest from the guilt of his many kills. Only I could pacify the ever-present monster inside his head.
Lifting the hem of my dress, I set to walk toward the door. “Maybe I should go and—”
Talia stepped forward and gripped my hands, cutting off my sentence. “No.”
I closed my eyes and sighed. All I could see in my mind’s eye was a frantic Luka, pacing the floor of his childhood bedroom, his fingers gripping his hair, fighting his demons alone… his beautiful face riddled with the pain of his past and his breathing becoming erratic. I couldn’t stand it. “But—”
“But nothing. Mama and Papa are with him. You’re about to leave for church. He’s safe. You’ll be together again soon.”
I nodded in defeat and Talia’s tense shoulders relaxed. A gentle hand rubbed at my arm. “This is your special day, Kisa. After today you and Luka are together forever. My brother can cope for another hour before he sees you. He has to learn to bear his past without you being there to soothe him. He has to find his own way eventually. He begins his Pakhan training soon, and you won’t be with him for that. This time apart is a good thing.”
I didn’t agree with her. Luka and I shared something deeper than anyone could ever understand, but I knew, right now, I didn’t really have a choice. And what our families failed to realize was that it wasn’t just Luka who struggled alone. After thinking I had lost him for over a decade, and being subject to Alik Durov’s severe brutality since I was a teen, being beside my Luka, touching him, joined with him, was the only time I felt truly safe… like I was complete.
Talia released my hands and walked to my closet, taking the long lace veil that delicately draped over the closet door in her arms. After carefully placing it over my head, Talia stepped back, her bottom lip quivering as she regarded me. “Luka will be floored when you arrive at his side. You’re beyond beautiful.”
A rush of elation soared through me. “You think so? You think he’ll like how I look?”
Talia laughed at my question, rolled her eyes and picked up the bouquets. “I know so. You could be wearing a hessian sack and that brother of mine would think you were a heaven-sent vision!” Her eyes glossed over. “The way he looks at you… like nothing else matters to him but you.…” She shook her head and snapped herself around.
I watched as my best friend, looking so stunning in her fitted gown, got my things together. She was so beautiful, so ready for love…
Talia, feeling my stare, glanced my way and frowned. “What?”
“I want for you what I have with Luka,” I looked up at her through my lashes and added, “I don’t want you to be lonely anymore. I want you to be as happy as I am.”
A flash of pain seemed to cross Talia’s face and she batted her hand in the air. “I’m fine, girl. Plus, I’d have to get out from under the Bratva’s iron fist first. You were lucky you had my brother since birth and he was already a huge part of this life. Where me? How the hell do you find a date in this city when your papa and brother are two of the most feared men in the state and the byki follow you everywhere you go?”
“He’s out there, you know,” I said, believing my every word. “Your true love, your forever, he’s out there just waiting to be sent to you. God is simply waiting for the right time to push him your way.”
Talia’s brown eyes glistened at my words, her throat swallowing hard to mask her reaction. Lifting the bridal bouquet of lavender roses and ivory lilies, Talia walked toward me, handing me the delicate spray of flowers. “It’s time to go, Kisa. It’s time for your dream to at long last come true.”
Unable to speak, I nodded my head followed my best friend, my future sister, out to the awaiting town car. The day was bright and the cold air caressed my hot face…
It was the most perfect of days.
I closed my eyes, breathing through the fucking anxiety pulsing through my body. This church was too big. Too many echoes and noises creaking through the old stone building. Everything was too strange without Kisa-Anna by my side. She anchored me. Made me feel somehow rooted to this strange outside world. A world I still didn’t understand… a world I wasn’t sure I ever would.
When I woke this morning to find her gone, I couldn’t move from my bed. She’d told me last night she would be leaving early to get ready, but waking on my own had me frozen in fear… transporting me back to the endless cold mornings in the Gulag, to the fucked-up days of my childhood… not knowing if that day would be my last.
Kisa kept me calm as she slept in my arms, threading her fingers through my hair, kissing along my neck. She kept the demons of the Gulag from getting inside my head. I needed her… I needed her to breathe, to live… to fucking be “Luka,” not 818… not the death-match fighter… not Raze… but Luka Tolstoi… the heir to the Volkov Bratva… and the other half of Kisa’s soul.
My parents had tried to keep me from pacing the floor, from breaking into cold sweats… tried to make me sit still, but they couldn’t help.
I needed Kisa… I fucking needed her beside me.…
A gentle hand suddenly landed on my shoulder. Ripping away from the surprise touch, my arms flew up, bracing to fight, and I snapped my eyes open. My mama stood behind me, a blank expression on her face and an understanding look in her eyes. “It’s just me, my son,” she said softly. Sucking in a long deep breath, I let the tension leave my shoulders.
She isn’t a threat… she’s your mama… I told myself over and over again. My eyes darted around the small back room of the church for anyone else, but we were alone.
My mama stepped forward again, her palms held in front of her chest. “It’s time, Luka,” she said, her lips pulling into a timid smile. “Your Kisa will be arriving shortly. You’ll have her by your side in a matter of minutes.”
As her words sank into my mind, my heart began to slow in its rapid beat and the feeling of unease began to drain from my body.
She would be here soon… by my side… silencing the demons.…
“We need to wait at the altar. Father Kruschev is waiting.”
Rolling my neck from side to side, I met my mama’s eyes and nodded. I walked forward toward the door, when Mama abruptly stopped in front of me, blocking my way.
My eyebrows furrowed as I looked down at her aging face and I saw her eyes shine with unshed tears.
I had no idea why she was crying.
Reaching up, Mama began to fix the tie of my tuxedo. “It’s all crooked,” she said through a tight voice. “You could never keep yourself all straightened out. I was forever fixing your untucked shirts, polishing your scuffed dress shoes, or”—Mama looked up and smiled a weak smile, smoothing back my hair— “your unruly, messy hair.”
Seeing a tear fall down her cheek, I tilted my head to the side, lifted my hand to grip hers and brought it to my chest. “Mama…?” I asked and Mama shook her head.
“I’m being a silly woman. Getting too emotional… I’m just so sorry… I’m… I’m—”
“Mama?” I questioned again and, with my free hand, lifted her head up with my finger under her chin. “Why do you cry? I don’t understand? Are you not happy that I’m getting married?”
A sob slipped from Mama’s throat and she squeezed my hand, shaking her head. “Of course I am.… It’s just… seeing you like this. So broken by life,” she sniffed, “no calm in the storm… no reprise from your bad thoughts.… I don’t know how to make it better.…”
I frowned deeper because I knew the answer to that question. “I have my Kisa. She makes me better,” I said bluntly, and my mama held her breath for what felt like hours, her eyes gradually losing their sadness.
Her top lip curled into a small smile. “You do, my son. I thank God every day that you have found your soul mate. Kisa brought you back to us… she keeps you going.…”
Mama dropped her hands and stepped back, forfeiting her obvious pain to smile proudly. “You look so handsome, my son. The perfect Russian boy,” she reached up to smooth back the front of my hair again, “even if this hair of yours can never be tamed.” She stepped back again and wiped away a tear. “So, so handsome.”
I glanced down at myself, unsure what to say in response. I felt strange being in this suit. None of this shit made any sense to me… not one single bit. This whole wedding felt strange. I had had Kisa from the minute I’d seen her all those months ago. I was never leaving her again… but her papa had insisted that we get married in this church. He wanted things to be done right. As the Pakhan, no one questioned his wants.
Mama suddenly threaded her arm through mine and began leading me out into the main body of the church.
As we entered the altar, my papa and Father Kruschev smiled at my mama and me. Mama released me and walked toward my papa, but I stopped and looked around the huge church, the bright pictures of the holy saints all staring down at me with their serene faces.
My heart began to race again as I next snapped my attention at the empty pews. The church was so big, so empty and bare… I knew it should have been filled with hundreds of people. The Pakhan had wanted it that way, to honor his people with witnessing this day… but I couldn’t have our wedding any other way than empty. I couldn’t be around too many people. Word had spread of me returning to Brooklyn, bringing too many questions as to where I’d been, and that had brought me too much attention. Everyone in our society had been trying to see me for the last six months as I tried to be normal… tried to heal. They all wanted to see the fucking freak show. They wanted to see the monster I’d become… that was why they wouldn’t be here today.
Kisa had insisted on it.
There would only be me, Kisa, Talia, Mama, Papa and the Pakhan attending this wedding. I knew nobody here on the outside world anyhow. Nobody mattered to me but my Kisa and our families.
And after today, Kisa’d be mine… completely mine.
A hand clamped on my shoulder. Turning my head, I saw my papa, and he nodded his head. “She’s here, son.”
Releasing a pent-up breath, I followed my father to the altar and stared at the wooden doors, willing them to open.
Music began playing from somewhere upstairs. I didn’t know what song it was; I didn’t care. I could only look at the doors, waiting for the moment my solnyshko stepped through, giving me that sense of home.
Every muscle was taut as my papa came to stand by my side. He would be Koumbaros, my best man.…
A quick flash of 362’s face flickered through my mind as I thought of my only friend, bringing with it that usual sense of devastation. He should have been my best man… he was my best friend.… I pushed the painful memory aside and focused on my future wife, who was about to stand by my side.
Nothing would ruin this day.
Glancing down, I saw that my hands were shaking. Inhaling deep, I clasped my hands together just as the music switched songs, and the wide wooden doors at the back of the church began to open.
My eyes fixed on the slice of daylight spilling between the doors, when suddenly, Talia, my sister, walked through, smiling wide as her eyes fixed on mine.
Everything stopped as I focused on movement behind Talia, and like a ray of sunshine bursting through a darkened sky, my Kisa-Anna reached the top of the aisle, holding on to her papa’s arm.
Any traces of anger, confusion and pain I felt faded away to vapor as soon as Kisa came into view. She stole my breath as she strode toward me, her slim figure looking perfect in the long white lace dress.
My hands itched to hold her and I had to do everything in my power not to run down the aisle and wrap her up in my arms… to feel her touch… to help me believe all this was real.
My papa’s hand gripped onto my arm, holding me in place. I could feel his huff of a laugh as he fought to keep me still.
As Kisa approached the altar, I watched her downcast eyes lift up through the material of the heavy veil, the bright blue of her irises immediately clashing with mine.
A wave of peace washed through me and I felt like I could breathe again… I fucking felt like I could breathe for the first time since she’d left my bed this morning. No iron fist choking my lungs, twisting my stomach… just… peace.
Father Kruschev indicated for me to move forward to take Kisa’s hand from her papa. I moved as quickly as I could, stopping as I reached Kirill Volkova, my Pakhan.
He watched me move toward his daughter with a smirk upon his face and his assessing eyes tight. With an air of unapproachable arrogance that I was becoming familiar with, Kirill turned to Kisa and slowly lifted her veil.
I sucked in a breath as her perfect face was revealed… she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
Familiar blue eyes snapped to mine, and a loving smile spread on her full pink lips. I heard the echo of sobs behind us, but I couldn’t move from my Kisa to see who was crying.
Kirill cupped Kisa’s cheeks and she broke my gaze and glanced to her papa with tearful eyes. Leaning forward, he pressed a kiss to her forehead and silently stepped back.
Kirill held out Kisa’s hand for me to take, and I didn’t hesitate in pressing her palm against mine, but not before shaking hands with her father.
As his steady, strong hand gripped mine, he said, “Take care of my baby, Luka. I’m trusting you to protect her.”
I was shocked still at the unfamiliar show of affection by the always-cold Bratva boss, but I nodded my head with nothing but certainty. “Nothing will ever happen to her, sir. She’s my everything… she’s the reason I live… breathe… exist. She’s my entire world. There’s no safer place for her than being beside me.”
The Pakhan’s face softened and he curtly nodded his head. As he moved away, I took my place by my solnyshko’s side and fought the ghost of a smile that was pulling on my lips… she was here… she was finally becoming mine.
Kisa’s arm pressed against mine and she whispered only for me, “I have never been so happy as I am right now, standing beside you. I have never been so in love as I am right now, only minutes away from becoming your wife.”
Exhaling a shuddering breath at her words, I lifted our joined hands and brushed the back of her hand across my lips.
Father Kruschev stepped forward, fighting a smile, and began the ceremony. It was a traditional Russian Orthodox service… and it was long… but I absorbed every second, thanking the Lord over and over that I got this chance… that my Kisa recognized me when I’d lost who I was… that she’d pulled me from my hell… that she’d never given up on the fucked-up man I was now, day by day striving to put me back together.
As the betrothal rings were exchanged and our candles were lit… as our hands were bound by the priest’s cloth and our crowns were placed upon our heads… and as we drank from the common cup and circled the table, I felt the constant states of pain and sadness within me melt away.
And as the blessings were read and Na Zisete was called by our witnesses, my heart felt full with nothing but love for my solnysko… the woman that brought me home… the woman that brought me back to life.
Father Kruschev led us down the aisle and out of a side exit of the church—a private garden just for us. He kissed us farewell, giving us a moment without our family and finally… finally… left us alone.…
Left me alone with my wife.
The cold winter wind whipped around Kisa and me, and the world seemed to fade away until all I could see and feel was us. Tears filled Kisa’s blue eyes as she looked up at me, pressed her palm to my cheek and smiled so brightly that she almost blocked out the sun.
Then she spoke two words on a sigh that squeezed my fucking heart. “At last…”
I sucked in a stuttered breath at the overwhelming expression of happiness on her face and backed her against the wall. Kisa gasped as I caged her against the cold stone of the church. Leaning down, I moved forward and pressed my lips against hers, the immediate taste of her tongue filling my mouth.
On a breathy moan, Kisa’s hands found the skin of my stomach under my jacket and shirt. My cock grew steel-hard as her fingernails raked my abs and I broke away on a pained groan.
My hands clenched into fists as I breathed hard, fighting the urge to take her here, out in the open, right up against the side of this church. But when those blue eyes collided with mine once more, all I felt was a new truth hit home… she was all mine.…
Officially all mine…
Kisa, my solnysko, my life… was now my wife… her soul was now soldered to mine… and we never had to spend another day apart.
“Lyubov moya?” Kisa’s soft voice broke through my thoughts. “What’s going on in that head of yours? Talk to me.”
I drank in her beautiful face and lifted my hands to run my fingertips over her full lips. Kisa’s eyes fluttered closed as I journeyed my fingers across to her high cheeks and down along her slender neck, only to reach down and feel her wedding ring now forever on her finger.
“Baby?” she asked again and, this time, a disbelieving smile appeared on my face.
Kisa’s breath hitched at the rare sight of my smile and, swallowing, I said, “I have you… I finally have you as mine.…”
Tears spilled over Kisa’s eyes and ran down her cheeks. “Yes, baby. You have me… always… in this life and the next and whatever comes after that.”
My heart thundered in my chest and I whispered, “I love you, solnyshko. You’re the only reason I’m here.”
“Luka… I love you too, baby. More than anyone has ever loved anyone else before.”
“I need to take you home. I need to be inside you… as a husband is to his wife. I need to feel your naked body against mine… I need to release myself inside you… I want you full with my child.”
Kisa cried out in happiness and pressed her forehead against mine. “Then take me home, lyubov moya. To our home. Make me yours in every possible way… at long last… knowing we both now have each other for eternity.”
There you are, folks! I hope you enjoyed it! *sigh*… Luka...
And now you have REAP to melt your hearts!!!!! ARGHHHHHH!!!!! Find out who Talia’s love will be, and fall in love with this story of forbidden, but unstoppable, love!
Here’s the purchase links for both RAZE and REAP (Paperbacks in all good bookstores March 29th 2016).
RAZE (Scarred Souls #1)
Amazon US ~ http://amzn.com/B00ZON5LEI
Amazon UK ~ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00ZKFLFJU
Amazon AU ~ http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00ZKFLFJU
Amazon CA ~ http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00ZON5LEI
B&N ~ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/raze-tillie-cole/1122137978…
iBooks ~ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/raze/id1006566604?mt=11
Kobo ~ https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/raze-3
REAP (Scarred Souls #2)
Amazon US ~ http://amzn.com/B00ZON5LN4
Amazon UK ~ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01063XPYI
Amazon AU ~ http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01063XPYI
Amazon CA ~ http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00ZON5LN4
B&N ~ http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reap-tillie-cole/1122137979…
iBooks ~ https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reap/id1006559615?mt=11
Kobo ~ https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/reap-2
I can’t wait to hear what you think about REAP! 🙂