Nicholas Rider may have survived the virus, but he's a changed man, ruled by his desires. But his need for Sutton is different. Rider craves an end to his overwhelming needs, and Sutton could be the man to do it.
Secure in his belief that he's invulnerable, Sutton can't understand or resist his intense attraction to his prisoner. Will Rider be his downfallor his savior?
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November, 2050, Tower Hamlets Compound
The White Tower
Sutton stood behind his prisoner in the narrow interrogation cell. He thinned his mouth. The disinfectant sprayed over the man's body cut the air with the sharp odour of lemon. Sutton hated that stink. It brought with it the memories of too many deaths by his own hand.
The med-techs had stripped the man naked, secured him to the ceiling with thick chains and scanned him for active apian devices. They'd found nothing. So what was he doing with the twisting silver scar of a hive-mark running down his spine?
"Enjoying the view?" The prisoner's voice was little more than a growl. He stretched his hands, and the chains clanked. "If you're going to fuck me, get in line."
"You've been marked by apian tech."
Sutton followed the path of scar tissue as it cut into the man's muscled back, ending in a fork above his tailbone. His fingertips tingled as he skirted the heat of the man's skin, close but not touching. The hive-mark followed the patterning from the Karayan-Haig colony, formed in Greenwich in 2037. He gritted his teeth. That pair had combined to produce a fierce and highly infectious nano-virus. The country had lost too many to them. The grey smoke of the dead had burned the air for months.
Yet this man had been infected and not been absorbed into the hive.
"You have the colony scarring. How are you still an individual?"
The prisoner snorted and rolled his neck. Muscles shifted in his back, the hive-mark catching the stark light from the overhead bulb of the small metal-lined cell. "My charming personality?"
Sutton ran a hand over his short hair and scratched his scalp. He'd read the reports from the med-techs but hadn't fully believed them. No one was immune to the nano-viruses. No one. The man's...sarcasm proved that the nano-forms hadn't overtaken his brain. "Who are you?"
His answer had been quick and cooperative, the low growl gone. How many times had he been interrogated in this way? "What did you do before Conformity?"
Rider let out a long, slow breath. "Why are there never any new questions?"
Sutton didn't reply and Rider straightened his shoulders.
"Fine." He paused and his voice dropped into an almost bored, rote tone. "Before Conformity, I'd just become a teacher." A short laugh broke from him. "Your people have my union card."
"That's not proof."
"What is these days?" Rider yanked his body around, the turning wheel grating in the lowered ceiling, and twisted to face him. The overhead light cast a thick shadow down the man's face, disguising the tired lines and day-old bristles. Still, there was a bitter defiance in him.
Sutton lifted his chin, refusing to take a step back.
Rider was in his thirties, so he'd been newly qualified at the end of 2036 when Conformity engulfed the world. Sutton had asked the next question more times than he could remember. "When did you become infected?"
"2038. July. Southwark. An infiltrator brought the nano-virus into our enclave." Rider looked to the floor and a deep line cut down above his nose. His lips pressed together. For a moment, he simply breathed. "She wiped us out in hours. She fucked me and I woke up in the Greenwich nest, hive-marked and packed out with the drones." He paused. "I was one...at first."
It was the only time Sutton had had a coherent answer from any of the infected. Usually they raged, spat or tried to use guile to bring him close so they could infect him. Rider's reply hit him and a fist tightened in his gut. "You're saying you developed an immunity?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Review: This was an intriguing book. It takes place in 2050 and the world has been taken over by an AI unit which has sent out an incredibly invasive nanovirus which is spread through sexual contact. Once infected the AI unit takes over and the infected person becomes part of the hive mind. Those infected are incredibly enticing to those who aren't. Lt. Sutton is stationed on one of the final outposts in England which hasn't succumbed to the virus. He actually has an unknown immunity to the sexual draw of those infected which makes him an incredible tool for interrogation of the infected. When Rider shows up at the outpost, he shows all the physical signs of being infected and in fact, he has been infected at one time, but for the last ten years, he hasn't infected anyone or tested positive for the infection and is in no way part of the hive mind any longer. Regardless, Sutton doesn't trust him especially since he's incredibly drawn to Rider. After being immune to the draw of the infected, something is off in the fact that Sutton feels this draw to Rider. The sexual chemistry in this book is through the roof and was extremely erotic to read about. Rider is cocky and snarky and a completely sensual being. He may not be infected any longer, but he oozes sexual appeal. For him, sex is as basic as breathing and he partakes in it almost as much as breathing. But there's something different about his draw to Sutton. Even he realizes that and changes his habits after he meets Sutton. As a reader, it was sometimes difficult to like Rider, but I thought Kim Knox wrote little details into his character which helped that so much. On the other hand, is Sutton. He's used to being in complete control and doesn't like that Rider has threatened that control. He's determined to resist that allure. He doesn't like Rider one little bit because he treats sex so lightly and like it's all a game. People are dying and Sutton knows this final outpost is on the brink of becoming part of the hive. He's already planned to sacrifice himself as the last line of defense for the outpost. The story line in this book is entirely sexually based and because of that it is really intense. There is lots of sexual chemistry and the overall book is really incredibly hot. I loved the dynamic between Sutton and Rider and the way they developed through this pretty short story. The sci fi aspect was completely entertaining and creative and it all came together to create a book which I really enjoyed reading.
Bitter Harvest is a great story, flirty, sexy and fun. Rider is pretty much your poster boy for Playboy. He is sexy and irresistible, and knows it. Sutton is a Lieutenant is serious and focused. When the two meet, sparks fly. This story is set in an apocalyptic world where a manmade virus is infecting people and turning them basically into human machines. Sutton lives in a human community of uninfected people that is, as far as they know, one of the last human communities around. Their goal is to protect themselves from the infected for as long as they can. The evolving relationship between Rider and Sutton was fun, and the sexual tension made the story fun to read, though at the end I was still confused by the whole 'cure' thing. I wish that would have been explained better.
Loved this m/m book. The early part which set the 2050 scene and the pervasive virus situation was a bit hard to understand. Once I figured everything out, the story moved along at a fast pace. Ryder and Sutton are two hot characters and their chemistry is erotic and intense. More than the sexual aspect of the plot, the tension surrounding the stand of this last bastion of humanity was palpable. I could not put the book down in parts as I had to find out what happened next. I didn't always guess right, so that was a credit to Knox as well. It was somewhat sad to see the story end. Definitely a solid read from an author with imagination and style.
I will try not to give away the ending as it is like revenge, a dish served cold ... while most of the GBLT romances I read are historical I love Sci-fi best which is why I love 'Spice and Solace' as it is off world Sci-fi which I feel is true Sci-fi ... I forget that there is a broad range of subjects which are considered Sci-fi, like vampires, werewolves, and ... zombies ... saying that I found this novel by Kim Knox riveting ... it is a highly charged psychological thriller set in the not too distant future here on Earth with an all too believable plot ... the altruistic attempts to 'better' mankind being twisted by someone with their own agenda ... hearing about hackers in the news so often I can believe that a brilliant teenager could create nano-techs that would change mankind as is done in 'Bitter Harvest' ... which should send chills up ones spine ... I can't believe that I almost stopped reading the novel because of it's opening lines not being descriptive enough for me ... being 'chained to the ceiling' alone doesn't give a total mental picture ... is he stretched to his limit on tip toes ? or standing freely ? or ? ... but I continued reading and was very glad that I did ... the tension that builds between the protagonist and antagonist is palpable and when that energy is released I felt drawn in and part of it ... I would highly recommend this novel to any and all readers of M/M fiction and look forward to reading more from Kim Knox in the future ... Thank you Kim Knox !