Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ashwin by Kit Rocha Is Now Available & Reviewed

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.

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Book 1
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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…”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I am so happy to continue reading about the life in the Sectors!

Ashwin and Kora were introduced in the Beyond series (Sector 4), both are from Eden, and they have their own jobs/objectives in Eden.
Ashwin is a Makhai soldier whose main objective is Efficiency. He is an elite soldier who has been trained to not feel. Emotions do not cloud his judgement, neither do friends or relationships. If he does start to feel an attachment to anyone, he will quickly be "recalibrated" on the Base. Throughout his life, people have come and gone, but Kora has been a constant.

Kora has been relocated to Sector 1 and has been able to use her skill as a doctor in the aftermath of the Sector Revolution. Gideon has taken her under his wing and has declared that she's his sister – providing the family she's always craved.
Kora's previous life revolved around the Base and administering healthcare to the soldiers. She's never really had the relationships she's craved and has been a loner most of her life.
She's a bit overemotional and the total opposite to Ashwin's stoicism, but together they make it work.

The story was slow-building – there's just so much to explore in this sector and characters to discover. We see the dynamic between Sector 1 leader, Gideon, and his Riders. We see how they live in Sector 1, and how they play.
The budding relationship between Ashwin and Kora was drawn out at times, but super hot at others. He was hard to like, but she was easy to love.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and am excited to read more in this series!

3.5 stars

I absolutely loved the Beyond series. Rocha wrote such an awesome world that, every time I picked up a new book I was instantly immersed in the O'Kanes and their fight with Eden. When the series ended, I was very sad but fulfilled. I had high hopes for the spin-off as we were assured we'd get glimpses into the O'Kane gang and all our beloved characters with a fresh new view point from Gideon's Riders. Unfortunately, I felt Ashwin fell short of my expectations. I found the story just a bit dry and Ashwin hard to identify with. Kora was a nice balance of empathy to Ashwin's clinical elite, Makhai soldier, but still something lacked for me. Things did get much better two-thirds into the story as Ashwin came into his emotions and he and Kora were finally able to connect physically. But just not quite enough for me to really love it. Solid first book in a new series, but maybe a bit drawn out? I'm unsure. I found myself easily distracted and not 100% vested.

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.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Ashwin (Gideon’s Riders #1) by Kit Rocha to read and review for this tour.

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