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.
It was innocent and erotic, all at once, and the dichotomy made her head swim - a thought from Kora Bellamy at one point in Kit Rocha’s Aswhin which to me exemplifies the world of Gideon’s Riders and Ashwin Malhotra. Ashwin is the first book in a new series set in the O’Kane world after the O’Kanes “kicked the dystopia in the junk” (see @mostlybree tweet at https://twitter.com/mostlybree/status/838759784006418433). The world of Gideon’s Riders is a bit gentler, a bit kinder and a bit less orgiastic than that of the O’Kanes, mostly because the primary war with Eden is over and the sectors are trying to figure out what is next (and because nobody parties as hard as the O’Kanes).
Ashwin and Kora are characters that readers of the O’Kane books know well. I personally have been waiting most impatiently for these two to get their happily ever after for several books. Ashwin has been an fascinating character, one of Eden’s most elite soldiers, a Makhai or a genetically engineered weapon who isn’t supposed to feel. Yet. Kora has long been his weakness.
After the battle, Ashwin is still working for the military in Eden and is sent on a mission to Gideon’s sector which happens to be where Kora has made her home. But Ashwin’s true mission and loyalties are not clear. He has been reprogrammed since we last saw him; yet, he still seems to have feelings for Kora. The two get to spend time together, work together and fall in love. Their courtship is both innocent and erotic, a wonderful romance that had some twists and turns as Ashwin had to come to terms with his duty and his developing feelings. Ashwin is not a virgin, but he is not used to emotions, to having friends or to being part of a team of his choosing. He has always understood loyalty which is why I think he is able to fit in with Gideon and his family.
Ashwin and Kora’s romance was more than I expected it to be. Ashwin doesn’t really understand love or friendship. He has a great deal to learn and there is something wonderful about watching him learn - about love from Kora and about friendship from the Riders. This one perfectly marks the beginning of a new time in the sectors, one with a brighter future. There is certainly still darkness, intrigue and death, but there is hope for a world with greater cooperation and better opportunities. We also get to see a bit more of the inner workings of Eden after the walls have come down given that Ashwin still has strong ties there.
Gideon is one of the most intriguing people in Ashwin. He is a man who seems to see straight through Ashwin’s possible deception. Gideon has almost a God-like ability to know all and even plays a bit at matchmaker to give Ashwin and Kora time and space to fall in love. Gideon is also a reluctant leader, one who wears the cloak of responsibility with great care and burden. I am fascinated by him - and cannot wait until he gets a HEA (he gets one, right?). There has to be a mysterious story there.
Ashwin kept me glued to my ereader from the moment I started it. It is one of the best books that I have read in 2017. I wasn’t sure what to think when Kit Rocha announced that the Beyond Series was ending with a spin-off series to come, but I am hooked. As mentioned above, Ashwin is both innocent and erotic - a total delight.
Kit Rocha: http://www.kitrocha.com
Book Disclosure: An ebook was provided by the author.