The Kit Rocha writing duo is back in the Sectors again with this first novel in a new spin-off series to their popular ertoic dystopian Beyond series. Genetically engineered Makhai super soldier Ashwin Malhotra has been sent on a mission that involves infiltrating the elite forces of Sector One leader Gideon Rios. But his intel didn’t prepare him for Kora – the one woman he’s been trying to forget for the last year. Kora affects him in ways he can’t control and he doesn’t entirely understand. Can their reunion be anything but a disaster?
Ashwin was bred and raised by the city’s military base to be a one-track-mind soldier. In the past, he became fixated on Kora, and when that fixation endangered her well-being, he voluntarily underwent grueling conditioning to get it under control. Basically, he’s crazy in love with her and he places her safety and happiness above everything. (Yes, that’s just as freaking sexy as it sounds.)
Kora is adjusting to a new life in Sector One. She fled the military just before the war broke out because she couldn’t handle treating the Makhai as if they weren’t people. A trained doctor and natural caregiver, she’s found a place with the people in the Sectors. But she always felt a special bond with Ashwin and seeing him alive and well after she thought he was dead is overwhelming. Can she deal with the hurt that loving Ashwin brings? Is the pain worth the reward?
In addition to getting to watch a super-soldier and a nurturing doctor get their romance on, readers also get to spend time exploring the lay of the land in Sector One. First books in a series are never my favorites because, though the world-building and set-up are more than necessary, I always find the whole thing a bit distracting. Luckily, Rocha does a solid job and it feels mostly organic here. It also does a good job of teasing directions for future books in the series.
Though not on the page all that much, Gideon Rios, leader of Sector One, is the hidden third main character of this book. When he is on the page, letting Kora know what she means to him or letting Ashwin know he totally has his number, Gideon’s presence is formidable. Even when he isn’t on the page, the loyalty and allegiance his men have for him is palpable. I know it will be a wait, but I am eagerly anticipating seeing where things will go for him. Overall, I’m excited to be back in the sectors. As always with Kit Rocha books, I am enjoying the ride and happily waiting to see where the future will take us.
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.