Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Release Day Review & Excerpt:Ashwin (Gideon's Riders #1) by Kit Rocha

Release Date: March 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-942432-24-1

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.


Excerpt from Ashwin by Kit Rocha

Ashwin took his time sliding his hand up her back and under the wild tumble of her hair. Brushing her skin with his fingertips sent warning shocks of pain skittering up his spine. Once, during the war, he’d forced a fellow Makhai soldier to inject the torturous drugs meant for aversion therapy into his veins. It had been a last-ditch effort, a desperate attempt to dislodge her from his brain.
It hadn’t worked. Oh, he associated Kora with pain. He associated pain with Kora. But the line between pain and pleasure was dangerously thin. As he curled his fingers around the back of her neck, the heat crawling up his spine melted across that line. Obliterated it.
“Close your eyes,” he ordered softly.
Her hand clenched in his shirt.
He couldn’t tell her it would be okay, and he wouldn’t urge her to trust him. There was only one thing he had to offer her. “You need something right now, Kora, and I know how to provide it. But I won’t do anything you don’t want me to do. It’s your choice.”
She sat up straight, her brows drawn into a confused frown. But slowly, slowly, she closed her eyes.
He’d never had the luxury of simply studying her face before. He traced his gaze over the arch of her brows, down the thin bridge of her nose to the place where the tip turned up just a few millimeters. Down farther, to the full curve of her slightly parted lips, and beneath that to the delicate point of her chin.
He’d never noticed her freckles before. There were just a few scattered across her cheeks. He touched one, and she inhaled, sharp and shaky. Then she sank her teeth into her lower lip and tilted her face to his touch.
Such naked need. All the signs of arousal were there—flushed skin, tight nipples. Shortened breath. The openness of it was a soothing change from the way people hid their emotions behind false smiles and frowns.
All he had to do was touch her, and her body spilled her secrets. When he stroked her, she trembled against him. When his knuckle grazed the spot where her throat met her jaw, goose bumps rose on her arms. He took note of her reaction, factoring it in to his overall strategy.
The first time he bit her, it would be there.
Her flimsy top left her shoulders bare. He touched her there next, dragging his fingers down her smooth, unmarked skin. He noted the ticklish spot inside her elbow, and the way her breathing hitched when he brushed a thumb over the inside of her wrist.
There. That was where he’d start.
Without taking his gaze from her face, he lifted her hand and parted his lips. He knew, rationally, that her skin couldn’t taste sweet. It had to be his pleasure at the way her eyes flew open, then half-closed with heavy desire when he licked her.
He kissed her palm. The tips of her fingers. Slow, careful. Precise. Her inner arm. Her shoulder. The delicate line of her collarbone. The hollow at her throat.
He lulled her with soft touches until she was clutching at his shoulders, her breath quickening as she pulled him closer. Her hip rubbed against his cock when she squirmed, briefly diverting his attention to his own state of physical arousal.
It would be effortless to indulge himself. She’d go to his bed willingly. Eagerly. With an exhilarating lack of nerves and fear, because she wouldn’t be like his domestic handlers—bedding him at first out of duty, and then out of eagerness for the way he could make her body react.
Kora would want him.

What I thought about Ashwin

This spin-off series from Kit Rocha still takes place in the Beyond Series world, but it leaves Sector 4 and the O'Kanes behind and is now centered in Sector One where Gideon's Riders reside.

 Gideon's Riders and those followers living in Sector One live by the religion formed years ago and the family ties that bind them all together.  Similar, but here it's religion that bind them together rather than the pursuit of pleasure.  It's all good because the world is still a mess post-war.

Ashwin Malhotra was introduced in the Beyond Series, as the bio-engineered military man in love with regen expert Kora Bellamy.  After six months of reprogramming his response to Kora, he's now on a secret mission in Sector One and back in close proximity to Kora.

Kora Belamy is practically family to the highest ranking group in Sector One and her heart still burns for Ashwin.  She knows what he is, that he isn't supposed to feel any emotions, but she can look in his eyes and see them.  She makes it her business to let Ashwin know just how she feels about him. He makes an attempt at keeping his distance, but Kora draws him in and when it comes to her, he's rewritten the rules pushed upon him by the military.

Ashwin does have a secret that will tear Kora's world open and leave their tenuous relationship in shreds.  But the folks in his new group and those from his past see just what is going on between them and not only do they look out for Kora, they are looking out for Ashwin too in their own way. 

 Ashwin has a different feel to it than the books in the Beyond Series.  In Sector One, it's all about Gideon Rios and his followers.  I liked the inclusion of some of the characters from Sector Four, and I liked learning more about the Rios family and their part in the Eden-Sectors world.  There's lots of interesting characters for future books and storylines in this new series. 

You do not need to read the Beyond Series to follow along with what is going on in Ashwin.  The authors do a good job of giving enough background where it is needed. For me, it was all about Ashwin getting back to Kora and seeing if they could put their pasts behind them to find a new future.  You'll have to read this to see if they can do that!

Overall, a great start to a new series!

ARC provided for review.

 About the Authors
Kit Rocha is the pseudonym for co-writing team Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. After penning dozens of paranormal novels, novellas and stories as Moira Rogers, they branched out into gritty, sexy dystopian romance.

The series has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, has been nominated for best erotic romance in the RT Reviewer’s Choice award four times, and won in 2013.

Twitter (Announcements): http://twitter.com/kitrocha
Twitter (Bree): http://twitter.com/mostlybree
Twitter (Donna): http://twitter.com/donnajherren

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