Kit Rocha’s latest post-apocalyptic romance takes one glass-ceiling-shattering badass female warrior and one grumpy, hardened former assassin warrior, lights the match, and lets the sparks fly. Anna is the first and only female member of Gideon’s Riders and Deacon is the group’s longtime leader. When an unpleasant blast from the past sends Deacon into a personal crisis, taking a step back leads to things coming to a head between himself and Ana.
Many romance writers are channeling their rage and coming out with books that are feminist as f*ck this year and this is a prime example. While Anna’s struggles don’t drive the main plot of this story, they do drive the emotional core. It’s really, really damn hard to be the barrier-breaking figurehead. She can’t falter or break at all, because then it will be seen as a sign that all women are incapable of doing the job. She has to be better than her male counterparts and it’s hella exhausting and not something that’s remotely sustainable in the long run. This is a major obstacle to happiness.
Deacon’s facing his own obstacles to happiness. He left a very different life behind two decades ago and has made a place for himself in Sector One with Gideon’s Riders. When the past, in the form of a notorious band of mercenaries, threatens that which Deacon holds most dear, he has to face his history, find a way to forge a new path, and figure out how to take the enemy out without losing everything in the process.
This is another solid entry in the Gideon’s Riders series, but I can’t help feeling that the romance is just a little off. Deacon and Anna are both sexy beasts and their chemistry and sexual tension are off the charts. However, the timing does feel off and the romance feels rather shoehorned into the main plot. Is smack in the middle of a conflict with a seriously dangerous enemy with a personal vendetta really the best time for getting down? I just wasn’t entirely convinced that the answer is yes.
Sector One’s leader, Gideon, is a lot less present in this novel than in the first in the series, but when he is around, it sure is impactful. He makes it very clear in this book that he’s unsatisfied with what the culture of the riders has become and he’s purposefully manipulating things behind the scenes so that meaningful change can occur. He’s tired of his men (and women) being martyrs. He wants them to be able to have rich and fulfilling lives. I’m excited to see this shift and it gives me a lot of hope about the upcoming direction of this series. I’m also really looking forward to seeing him take some advice from Ana and making some exciting additions to his roster. Bring it on, Rocha. Bring. It. On.
Ana has trained most of her life to achieve one goal: to prove that anything men can do, she can do better. Now she’s Sector One’s first female Rider, and being the best is the only way to ensure she won’t be its last. Distractions aren’t allowed–especially not her painful attraction to the reserved but demanding leader whose stern, grumpy demeanor has already gotten into her head.
Deacon has spent the last twenty years trying to atone for his past, but the blood he spilled as a mercenary and assassin will never wash away entirely. If his riders knew the extent of his sins, he’d lose their trust and respect. It’s easier to keep them all at arm’s length, especially Ana. But his newest recruit’s stubbornness is starting to crack his defenses.
And their sparring matches are driving him wild.
The passion sparking between them can’t be denied, but neither can the vengeance barreling toward Deacon. When his old squad comes back to punish him for his betrayal, Ana and the Riders are squarely in the line of fire. The only way to save his people may be to make the ultimate sacrifice.
But first, he has to convince Ana not to follow him straight into hell.
Other books in this series: