Ashwin by Kit Rocha
Kit Rocha's Beyond series is one of my favorites, so when I got an early chance to read Ashwin, the first of the Gideon's Riders series, I jumped at the opportunity.
Dr. Kora Bellamy is a gifted doctor who finds safety and belonging in Sector One among the royal Rios family after surviving the war that threatened to destroy everything. She's content there for the most part, but can't ever quite forget Ashwin Malhotra, a genetically engineered and seemingly unfeeling super-soldier she knew from her time as a military doctor. When Ashwin shows up in Sector One it's a surprise to them both, and their former relationship and its complications lead to ramifications for everyone around them. As Ashwin works to infiltrate the Riders, he comes truly face to face with the realities of acceptance, friendship, family, and love for the first time in his life. When a secret that he's been hiding about Kora must be revealed for the safety of both her and his new home, he knows it could be the one thing that finally pushes her away for good.
Kit Rocha is known for some very steamy sex scenes, and while this didn't disappoint on that front, I was surprised at how tender and sweet the main relationship was in this book. Both characters come with their own baggage, but their acceptance and desire to understand each other was very touching. The sex is much more tame, but almost more impactful since it's such a contrast to the other books. While reading the Beyond series will certainly help flesh out certain characters and events mentioned, it definitely isn't necessary to enjoy the book on its own. Overall, the book was excellent and I can't wait to read the installment.