Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ARC Review and Exclusive Excerpt from Beyond Innocence by Kit Rocha

Ask anyone. I am a huge Kit Rocha fan, and it always feels like Christmas when a new Beyond book drops, whether it is a full length novel or a juicy novella. In Beyond Innocence, we finally get to read Jared and Lili's story and it is every bit as awesome as we are accustomed to reading from the duo that make up Kit Rocha.
Sparks flew in this one! Check out their chemistry in this exclusive excerpt:

He didn’t say anything, just watched her for so long that the intensity would have terrified her if being the focus of his attention wasn’t thrilling in a different way. Finally, he sighed. “I don’t know what to do with you, Lili Fleming.” 
Her heart lurched, and the words that spilled out were reckless—the most unguarded of her life. “What do you want to do with me?” 
Again, the hesitation. “There are ways I could help you,” he admitted, rubbing his thumb over the bowl of his glass. “Ordinarily, I would have already offered. But somehow it seems complicated now.” 
She watched his thumb make another slow sweep and couldn’t not imagine it smoothing over her skin. That was what he was talking about—he had to be. Touching her. Showing her the things her body wanted, even as her mind shrank away. 
“That’s not why—” Her voice cracked, and she took a long sip of wine and wished it was whiskey. “I’m not asking you for that. I don’t know if I—if I could…” God, she couldn’t even say it, her tongue tangling around the mildest of euphemisms. 
“I know you’re not asking.” He shrugged. “I guess that’s what makes it complicated.”
Because trades were simple. They never left you vulnerable. And he hadn’t really answered her question—he was so deft that she hadn’t noticed. “What do you want to do?” she repeated softly. 
Jared held her riveted, so completely that she barely noticed when he moved. She couldn’t look away, even when he took the glass from her hand. Even when he laid his hands on her face, his fingers curled around her neck to hold her, and lowered his mouth to hers.
She’d imagined kissing. Mouths touching, lips brushing. 
She’d imagined wrong, because Jared’s tongue was the first thing she felt, hot and shocking, as if he knew it would make her gasp. Because when she did, he went deeper, his tongue finding hers. 
It was too much. Too fast, too intoxicating. Her entire body throbbed along with her racing pulse, and her knees felt unsteady. She clutched for the only steady thing she could find, grasping his upper arms to keep from melting through the floor. 
Then his hands tightened, tilting her head back, urging her mouth open. His tongue swept over hers again, rough and rasping, and every tiny shiver of sensation built into an ache that settled between her legs. Not just an ache, a need, and she whimpered into his mouth. 
Jared broke the kiss with a shudder and smoothed his thumb over her tingling lower lip. “See?” he whispered. “Complicated.” 
She closed her eyes and tried to catch her breath. “Not sure that helped,” she said, an attempt to turn it into a joke. It had to be, or fear and longing would crash together and vaporize her. “I’m feeling all sorts of things now.” 
“It doesn’t have to stop.” His hands trembled on her face. “But that’s your choice to make.”
An impossible choice—need or fear, pleasure or peace. And all of it shrouded in mystery, because she couldn’t reconcile the O’Kanes’ wild glee with her mother’s whispered warnings to lie still so it would be over faster. 
“I don’t know.” She forced herself to look at him, to meet his patient, waiting eyes. “I don’t know anything. How can I make a choice when I don’t understand what you’re offering?”
“You’re right.” He smiled again and brushed her hair back from her forehead with a careful, gentle touch. “It’s not exactly fair, is it?” 
She was still clinging to him. Slowly, shyly, she eased her grip until she was touching, instead. His arms were solid, muscle flexing as she rubbed her thumb against his sleeve and wondered if he felt the same spark of sensation. “When I was on the drugs, everything seemed so clear. I thought they were all pretending. I didn’t believe in pleasure.” 
“And now?” 
Now it would be like not believing in water while she was standing outside in the rain. This wasn’t some gentle mist, either. She was caught up in a storm, and she’d seen what heavy rain could do to the desert. The clay couldn’t absorb the water, and the riverbeds couldn’t contain it. 
She wasn’t made for pleasure. Too much would sweep her away. “Now I’m scared.”

Jared has been breaking our hearts for a while as the quintessential hooker with a heart of gold, suffering from unrequited love. Lili is the broken princess of Sector Five who saved herself when her abusive father and husband finally went down. Jared's polished clothes and mannerisms reminded her of the Eden style of living that her husband Mac Fleming wanted to emulate, and it was actually a comfort to Lili to find someone in the O'Kane run Sector Four that displayed a semblance of what she knew. She didn't know whether the women in Four were as free as they seemed to be; Jared was an easy ally to test the waters and check out her new home. Jared was instantly attracted to Lili and could see the sensuality hiding underneath, but since he had just agreed to be a spy for Dallas O'Kane, the time for falling for a sweet thing like Lili was shitty indeed.

Lili can't believe her eyes whenever she attends an O'Kane party, and it's not the first time a heroine has been skeptical of the free lifestyle in Sector Four. Dallas O'Kane knows the key to loyalty, and that is free will. The O'Kane's are not simply a gang; they are a family. Jared and Lili must both figure out their own paths. Jared is playing a dangerous game with Eden officials, especially as a spy for Dallas. The closer he gets to Lili, the more he risks to become part of the O'Kanes as his attention is being split in half.

Sexy, leanly muscled, and ridiculously agile, Jared is a force to be reckoned with on the streets, in a parlor room, or in the bedroom. Lili connects with him in a visceral way; their chemistry is like a magnetic pull that won't let them leave each other alone, even when they are both afraid of what these feelings may mean. Jared is damn swoonworthy, and Lili is a heroine with a spine of steel and balls to match.

So damn good! The plot thickens overall as well with new players, new games, and new loves. Can't wait for the next one!

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