The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha's bestselling BEYOND series.
Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier—genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.
He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate—running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.
When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace—a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance—if she can manage to touch his heart.
When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn't realize she's playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets—and one of them could destroy her.
New readers should expect to flounder a bit with this postapocalyptic erotic thriller though it begins a series arc, it's not a true entry point, instead opening season two of an overarching story begun in Rocha's 12-part Beyond series but those who persevere will find a wealth of enjoyment. Dr. Kora Bellamy once tended genetically engineered Makhai troops before rebellion toppled the city-state of Eden. Ashwin Malhotra was Makhai a honed, emotionless killer. Neither could explain their mutual sparks of attraction, and Ashwin was so determined to smother the feeling that he abandoned Kora and volunteered for aversion therapy. Now Kora is on the rebel side, honored as family by the god-king Gideon, and Ashwin has been sent by the government-in-exile to infiltrate Gideon's organization. It's soon apparent that the aversion therapy hasn't worked. While the rebels accept Ashwin in hopes of converting him, the simple fact of his presence poses a unique risk to Kora that only Ashwin knows. His dedication to his mission and her safety may drive him to leave her again, unless they can find common ground and mutual goals. Rocha (the team of Donna Herren and Bree Bridges) has undeniable skill, setting a strong pace from the start and crafting a romance with delectable sizzle. This sometimes challenging novel is worth the learning curve. (BookLife)
And so the ride begins
**I received an ARC in exchange for my HONEST opinion for this book**
I have been waiting to hear Ashwin's story ever since he first made an appearance in the O'Kane world of Kit Rocha's previous BEYOND series, and let me tell you, this book did not disappoint!! As an introduction book to a new series, Rocha gives a great background for both new and returning readers, while delivering a spectacular story line full of steamy moments, page turning drama, and enough characters in the background to keep us coming back for the rest of the series!!
As far as Ashwin and Kora... it's about time that they get their moment in the spotlight!! And what a moment it was... an unfeeling solider and a woman who does nothing but feel... can they make it work or will they continue to do nothing but hurt each other??
I couldn't put this book down. Amazing. I can't wait to meet the rest of Sector One!!!
A New Beginning on all fronts
“Ashwin” is the first book in the new series, "Gideon’s Riders,” by Kit Rocha. This series is related to, but not dependent upon, the stories in the “Beyond" novels, previously published.
I fell in love with the Beyond novels because they were great stories about sexy, uninhibited characters doing their best in a suppressive and repressive society. The hot, sexy characters hooked me, but it was the great stories about how a community comes together to live on their own terms that kept me coming back through the entire series.
I looked forward to the Riders series, beginning with this story about Ashwin and Kora, who we’ve met previously. The Riders stories are focused on the work that happens after the disaster of war, like nation building and resettling and infrastructure. And the focus is Gideon, a leader of the victorious rebels, and his elite para-military team of Riders.
Ashwin and Kora had been circling around each other. As we find out more of their backstories, and are privy to Ashwin’s thoughts, it’s pretty clear that these two were made for each other. We are treated to many surprises and discoveries (some of which are jaw-dropping) that advance their story as they fit into this new world.
The Riders have had to kill others in order to save those they’ve sworn to protect. They do so at great personal cost to themselves and their families. What they sacrifice to be part of the team, in this life and the next, is truly a story of altruism and brotherhood. There’s still a lot that has yet to be revealed, about this brotherhood and the people who comprise it. I expect we’ll find out more in each succeeding story.
This series seems to be more thought provoking than the prior one. This story has “cameos” from some characters we’ve seen before, but it’s mostly about the uniqueness of Gideon, how he leads his community (Sector One), and the values they all live by. It’s not as steamy as the Beyond books, but story has always been the driver for me. This is a great story with interesting and complex characters and there’s so much more I hope to find out before the series is completed.
And just my two cents worth, I don’t care for the cover image. It evokes a graphic novel, and doesn’t accurately reflect the descriptions of the two lead characters, Ashwin and Kora. So, if the cover doesn’t entice you, don’t let that keep you from picking this up. It’s a great read. Up next: Deacon and Ana’s story.
Ashwin proves once addicted always addicted
This new book Ashwin exceeds expectations in every since of the word. If you've read the Beyond Series then you're familiar with efficient and stone cold Ashwin who's addicted to Kora, his doctor. But me kept his love so closed off and insular, it was like watching a steamy love affair unfold. I loved every minute of it. If you've never read the Beyond Series, it also is perfectly fine to start here. The dystopian world sets the stage for imagination and fantasy where they create new rules and lifestyle that make for an interesting setting. But this is a true love story that's layered and complicated until they face down their own trepidations.
Getting to know Kora was very intriguing. She was much different then I possibly imagined. I loved her openness and determination. Kit Rocha again, paint strong and loving women in such beautiful ways.
I read this book immediately after finishing it the first time because I was instantly addicted.