Oh my Ashwin. I was curious about Ashwin Malhotra, I’ll admit it. But I never thought he’s be this awesome.
Also, who’s happy there’s a new Kit Rocha sectors series for us to read?
So things are complicated, right? Ashwin is still a Base soldier, he’s bound to them by his programming, by his sense of duty. But he’ll betray the world for Kora’s safety. And to be honest, up until this book… that didn’t make sense to me.
Now, though, so many new bits of information are revealed, all the little pieces of the puzzle fall into place beautifully.
Kora has been living in sector one for the past few months, that’s where Cruz hid her when Ashwin asked him to. And now that Ashwin’s new assignment is to infiltrate the Riders, they’re reunited.
Two problems, though:
- Ashwin is a Makhai. He’s engineered, a soldier. No emotions, nothing but his missions. And he’s been recalibrated for months after his rampage during the last war taking down the corrupted leaders in Eden.
- Kora has been grieving his for six months, and now that he’s in front of her… being all cold and calculated soldier – she doesn’t want to recognize she still has feelings for him that might materialize to something real
There’s another problem, but I can’t see it as a problem, per se, but more like the motivation for the plot. And that’s the fact that Kora is in danger.
While Kora’s determined to make Ashwin see he does have feelings and that he is in fact, human, Ashwin is doing everything in his power to keep Kora safe and hidden. That might mean him confiding with Gideon and make the final and ultimate sacrifice for her.
Everything Ashwin and Kora go through, everything they overcome and the process of them reconnecting is accompanied by new-old characters, like Deacon, Del and Maricela. Their roles basically move the story forward, support both Ashwin and Kora growing closer and more open, and generally – made me start pairing people for the next books.
Also, visits from sector four characters is never bad.
Here’s a little taste…
He moved slowly. Precisely. It was everything she’d ever known of Ashwin—his seriousness, his meticulous attention to detail—distilled into the gentle glide of his hands as they traced down her arms and over her sides.
He didn’t strip off her dress all at once. He took his time, gathering the soft blue fabric in his fists and coaxing it up inch by inch. It tickled over her skin, an unending caress that he dragged out until the breath she was holding escaped on a moan.
“I have a plan,” he murmured as the dress cleared her head, sending her tousled hair cascading around her face. Ashwin dropped the dress and smoothed the locks back from her cheeks, his fingertips lingering to caress the shell of her ear. “I formulated it when you came to me last night, but I’ve been revising and refining it all day.”
“All—” Her voice broke, and she swallowed—hard. “All day? Surely it’s not complicated enough to warrant that.”
“It’s not about being complicated.” He brushed glancing, maddening touches over her back and the line of her spine on his way to the clasp on her bra. One efficient twist of his fingers and the fabric went loose, one strap slipping from her shoulder. “It’s about being thorough. A man who wouldn’t be meticulous in devising the best way to give you pleasure is a man who doesn’t deserve to touch you.”
“Really?” Another moan built in her throat, and she released it on a shaky sigh. “I think figuring it all out should be part of the fun.” She touched his face, drawing a line from his cheekbone to the corner of his mouth, and smiled when he sucked in a breath. “See?”
Something dangerous burned in his eyes as he turned his head to nip at her fingers. It almost hurt, and the sensation zipped along her nerve endings like an electric shock.
She was trembling now, so she dropped her hand to his shoulder and pulled at the soft cotton of his shirt in silent demand.
He answered by lifting his arms.
Kora didn’t have his patience. She jerked at the fabric, and it caught on his chin and tangled around his arms. He helped her by stripping it away and letting it fall to the floor.
She’d seen him half naked more times than she could count. Most of their interactions had involved his partial nudity. It was different now that she was undressed, too, and that look in his eyes—
Kora slid her arms around him, traced the scratches she’d left on his shoulders the night before, then stepped back until her legs hit the edge of the mattress.
He followed her, looming over her for a dizzying moment before sinking to his knees. He smoothed his thumb over the edge of her simple black panties as his gaze drifted up to hers. “You’ve touched yourself before, haven’t you?”
The question surprised her—and it shouldn’t have. The fact that he wasn’t sure he could feel emotion had no bearing on his sexual experience. He’d mentioned other women, and he must have had domestic handlers.
He’d had sex before. Probably lots and lots of it. She was the inexperienced one here. “I have.”
“Show me.” He caught one of her hands and pressed it to her abdomen, her fingers spread wide beneath his. But instead of guiding her down, he slid their hands up. When she was cupping her breast, he let his touch fall away.
Her cheeks heated, but she didn’t look away as she squeezed her fingers together, pinching her nipple between them. She shivered at the sudden spike of pleasure, more intense because he was watching her so closely.
“You don’t mind it either, do you?” The sudden warmth of his breath on her abdomen kept her shivering. He soothed her with an open-mouthed kiss and the gentle brush of his tongue, so sweet she wasn’t ready for the sudden shock of his teeth closing on her skin. “A little bit of pain.”
Her voice failed her, so she shook her head.
“It’s all right.” He hooked his fingers under her panties and dragged them lower. His mouth followed, hot against her hip and so, so soft. “Sometimes pain is a warning. But like this, with someone you trust…” She anticipated the jolt this time, but she still swayed when his teeth sank into her skin. “It’s a different kind of sensation.”
Her knees would barely hold her. “Ashwin…”
And there’s more waiting for us in Gideon’s Riders. Click for a peek.
The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha’s bestselling BEYOND series…
Gideon’s Riders, Book One
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.