Title: The Last Expedition
Author: Tyler Blackwood
Published in 2004 by eXtasy Books
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Related Books: Book Two of the ESKARIAN WARRIOR SERIES
Griffin McCallum has spent many centuries fighting evil demons and monsters that would cause normal men to quake in fear. But Griffin is no ordinary man. He is of the Eskarians. A race of people called Defenders who live in harmony with humans, and protect them from that which would see them as prey. Griffin pines for the love that he has lost so long ago. Cassandra was everything to the powerful Eskarian who has never known any true fear. Except what it is to lose the one he loved. He left behind his duties as a Defender to start a life with his mate. It is while he felt compassion for an animal held in captivity that his one weakness in life was taken advantage of. Cassandra’s life was taken by a white leopard that showed her no mercy. Griffins rage knew no bounds and in one terrifying act of despair and anger, he took the life of those he once vowed to protect. His punishment was not the death that he so openly welcomed. Instead, he was brought back into the fold and has to spend his days defending mankind and reliving the horror of what he had done.
The powerful Griffin finds himself being "licked" by a wolf. His first instinct is to take her head. But she is his Benekada. His new mate and it is his duty to protect her now and for all eternity. Griffin isn't ready to relinquish his hold on his past. And so he continuously pushes Annalissa away. He refuses to have a wolf as his true mate despite his orders to the contrary. It is when Lissa is wounded that Griffin's protective instincts rise to the surface. He finds himself wanting nothing more than to keep his little wolf safe in his strong embrace. Try as he might to fight it, he also feels his heart beginning to thaw and hunger for things which were not needed by him in a long time. As Griffin begins to listen to his heart and the needs of his race, he finally accepts his fate and starts the rites that would make Lissa one of his people. But danger comes in the form of adversaries from his past. The evil that had so callously set his life asunder is back and will stop at nothing to once again leave Griffin with tragedy and grief at his door.
Annalissa de Biassi is a wolf. She was cursed by the sorcerer named Darrin for stealing a precious artifact from him. She spends her nights howling at the moon, and her days in hopes of one day regaining her human life for good. Without the return of the evil Darrin’s band, Lissa has no choice but to heed the wild calling of the moon. She lives a lonely life and has always relied on the teachings of her mentor father Allegra. When she finds out that the gorgeous and powerful Defender Griffin is to be her mate, she is at once enthralled. His masculine beauty calls out to her and she is instantly drawn to him. Much to her confusion, he pushes her away and lets her know that he only feels revulsion for one such as her. She is a wolf that he would rather slay, than give his heart and love to. Lissa wants nothing to do with Griffin when he makes his feelings clear. Not having anywhere else to call home, she agrees to stay with him until she can find her own way in life.
Living in proximity with Griffin has Lissa experiencing new desires and dreams. But she doesn't think that she has much to offer him in the way of the life he needs. Although intellectually brilliant, her cursed state is a bane around her neck and something he can't seem to look past. As days go by and desires begin to smolder, Lissa finds herself falling in love with the stony countenanced Griffin. It is while in his company that she comes face to face with the man who cursed her 3 years ago. Darrin is back, and he wants what is his. To prompt Lissa into action he speeds up the curse and makes her into a demon wolf. Now with her change comes her need for blood. Lissa wants nothing more than for her life to end but Griffin vows to find a cure and to end her suffering. Lissa comes face to face with a powerful leopard that seems hell bent on tearing her flesh to shreds. But it is with Griffin's protection that the leopard is held at bay and Lissa with Griffins help race to find a way to beat all their odds.
As Griffin and Lissa find a sensual pleasure in each other arms, danger closes in around them in many forms. Nothing Griffin tries can seem to break the mighty hold that Darrin has placed on her. He realizes his love for her and doesn't want to lose what has made him whole again. It is with Lissa's soothing touches that griffin is able to let go of the past and to let love lead his life. As the evil grows within Lissa she finds herself possessed by a darkness which she is powerless to stop on her own. Griffin needs her trust in order to help her but her doubts prevent him from getting to close. As the 2 profess their love, their time is quickly running out and the point for no turning back is almost upon them. In one swift and brutal act of betrayal just as their desires come to a head, the lines between predator and prey are drawn. For Griffin there is no exceptions. For Lissa, her chance at love and a possible cure may be gone forever. Help comes from an unexpected ally and the search for Darrin's weakness is the key to defeating an evil whose powers seem to have no end. As Tyler Blackwood’s characters learn the lessons of love and trust, readers are in for the adventure of a lifetime.
When I first found out about the sequel to PROPHESY OF THE SEVENTH DRAGON, I knew that I would be in for a spectacular treat. I was not disappointed. THE LAST EXPEDITION was an absolute treasure of a read. Griffin was an even bigger hero to me in book one than Christopher, and in book two his prowess is even more magnificent. Griffin and Lissa's story is erotically hot and a pleasure to behold. They both have important lessons to learn and it is only then that they can hope to defeat a mysterious and ancient evil. I can't compare Tyler Blackwood to any other paranormal romance writer because she takes old legends and myths, and adds her own special touches to concoct gloriously hypnotic and thrilling reads. In short, she is in a league of her own and should stand there proudly. With every book I read, there are more hunky Eskarians that come into play and I am hoping for another sequel with either Kevin or Jason. The elusive Eskarian leader, Ian, also deserves to have his story told. THE LAST EXPEDITION is a romance that should not be missed for any reason. Lovers of paranormal romance will revel in Ms. Blackwood’s talents at creating characters that come alive and take us with them to places we can only dream of. Available in 2004 and published by eXtasy Books, THE LAST EXPEDITION will forage into your heart and stay there forever.