The 21st book in the Carpathian series. I really love this series, though some books are much better than others. Especially the older ones are irritating sometimes with the caveman attitude. The first book was published in 1999.
In the previous book, Dominic Dragonseeker ingested some infested vampire blood, to be able to infiltrate the enemy camp, kill as many vampires as possible, and find out their plans to destroy the Carpathian people, especially their prince. He is ancient, one of the oldest Carpathians still alive, and living with honor, but even he is feeling the call of the darkness inside of him. He has lost all hope of finding his lifemate in this life, and has set his hopes for his next life.
So now he is wandering the amazon rainforest, getting closer and closer to his target. The parasites in his blood are slowly killing him from inside out, and he knows he has only days to live. But he will take as many vampire masters with him as possible.
Solange Sangria is a jaguar shifter, one of the few females left who can shift, and the only one with royal blood. Her father, the prince of their people, is mad and evil, methodically killing every one he deems not worthy of living. The woman who are capable of shifting are kept prisoner, used for every whim of the males, and forced to breed for them. Any offspring not capable of shifting, is killed. The woman are treated very harshly, killed for no reason. So no wonder their race is dying out. Solange is a great warrior in her own right. When she was eight, her father found her mother who run away from him, killed every man, woman and child in their camp, and tortured her to get her jaguar to appear. But Solange would rather be killed than be his prisoner for the rest of her life. So she held back, but somehow she survived the killing blow. Ever since she has been training with weapons, in shifting, in hiding. Trying to save the women, killing the most brutal of the men. Those following her fathers ways, those who enjoy using woman, hurting them, thinking they are beneath them and exist only for their pleasure.
But she is growing weary of the fight, always alone, never letting anyone close, not even her two nieces. They both found their lifemates in Carpathian men, and enjoy their lives. But that is not meant for Solange. She is solitary, very wary of men, having no idea how to be in a relationship. Only with the man she imagined in her dreams she can be her self, show her feminine side.
But one night, when she is hurt badly, and she is returning to the place where se grew up, to remember why she does what she does, to remember her family who were killed there, she is followed by a great harpy eagle. She is not afraid, even though the eagle is showing strange behaviour. In her jaguar body she is safe, one of the biggest predators of the rainforest.
But as Solange has dreamt about a man, so has Dominic been dreaming of a woman. A warrior to fight next to him, but a real woman when they are alone, a part she only shows to him. Even though he should not be dreaming, or feeling anything, he is curious about this jaguar female. She killed a jaguar man and wounded another one severely.
Later that night, when trying to rest, Solange still in her jaguar form, she is dreaming of her man. As is Dominic of his woman. And when he tells her, his days are numbered, Solange is so upset, she changes back to a woman and cries out into the night: Don’t leave me alone! Dominic hears her for the very first time, and colors explode behind his eyes. His lifemate! Finally. But why now, when it is already to late? He cannot be saved anymore. Who is she? Where is she.
Then he meets another ancient Carpathian, Zacarias De La Cruz, who is searching the forest for a missing relative, and Dominic knows immediately, she is his! His lifemate, his to protect. Together they fight a bunch of vampires, and Solange is helping them from a distance. And for the first time they meet, eye to eye.
They are both determined to kill their enemies, even if it means their own lifes are over too. So they will enjoy what little time they have together. Solange is a great asset to Dominic, she knows a lot of things he needs to know. She has been inside the laboratory more than once, freeing woman, scouting the place. Learning information, not knowing if she’ll ever need it.
It is very difficult for Solange to give her trust up to Dominic, to do as he wants, she is so very unsure about her self, her womanhood. Her body is covered in scars, how can he find her attractive? Even though they know each other so well after all their conversations while thinking they are dreaming. And Dominic keeps pushing her boundaries, to get her to give herself over in his keeping. To be fully his woman instead of warrior.
Even though I did enjoy the story in this book, I am a bit disappointed. First in Solange, who just gives in and gives in again, to anything Dominic wants. He never cuts her any slack, keeps pushing her to do as he wants. However difficult it is for her, she does it. I would want her to show some more spine. To be less shy, and be more sure about herself. Sure, she is a great warrior and in that he treats her as his equal. But when they are together, I keep having the feeling she is his to toy with. The lack of clothes he insists upon.
I would love some more story, more action, and less seduction and love scenes. I got used to learning more about previous couples, and there is too little about the others in this books.
And then the end of the story. The great battle with the vampires. What happens next? Are the ranches of the De La Crux Brothers attacted? What happens with Zacarias and the woman who was attacked? The mages who made those shadow jaguars? The jaguar men after their prince is killed? Will they stop hunting for woman to kidnap? I feel there are too much loose ends to the story. Perhaps those will be explained in the next book, but it still feels unfinished.
I know because of her special blood, Solange will play a large role in some next book or books, and I am curious about that.
So, though it is a good story, I am not satisfied with it. I hope the next one will not be long in being published.