Legacy is a contemporary romance with some suspense thrown in. The “legacy” is an unusual will that forces the hero and heroine of the novel to live and work together for a year. The characters and plot are pleasant enough, but also a little banal. Although the plot picks up a little toward the end of the book when more of the suspense kicks in, Legacy is an average read.
Erika St. James is devastated when Carlton Lipton-Graves dies. Although they have no blood ties, Carlton was her guardian while she was a teenager, and in many ways he was like a father to her. But since Carlton often emphasized the importance of family ties, Erika is shocked when his last words are about his grandson Michael – whom he had never mentioned before. She is even more surprised by Carlton’s will, which awards his estate to Erika and Michael jointly. In order for either of them to inherit, they must live together in Carlton’s home and run Graves enterprises, his pharmaceutical company, as equal partners.
At first it is a challenge for Erika to even find Michael, who has been living alone in a cabin in the Maryland mountains. Michael is stunned to discover that Carlton was his grandfather. He is still hurting from a disastrous case he worked on as a lawyer, and he is completely unwilling to leave the mountain at first. However, the will states that if Michael doesn’t live with Erika and run the company, all of the money will go to Frank Mason, who is the source of all of Michael’s nightmares. At the last possible second, Michael joins Erika in Carlton’s former home.
You can probably guess what happens after that. Michael and Erika are both attractive, intelligent people, and before long they are in love with each other. But they each have demons they must face. Erika grew up with a mentally abusive mother, and was jilted by her fiancé. She believes that no man will ever stay with her. For his part, Michael still isn’t sure he wants to stay in the real world; he has vague plans to return to his mountain after fulfilling the terms of the will for a year. Even if Michael and Erika can overcome their difficult pasts, there is still danger they must face and conquer before they can be together.
Unusual wills are a romance staple, and though I have never heard of one in real life, they don’t bother me in fiction. After all, there is bound to be plenty of sexual tension when the hero and heroine have to live and work together. And Legacy has plenty of sexual tension and lots of chemistry between the main characters. Both Erika and Michael are likable people, and Erika’s character is particularly well drawn. There is an interesting sub-plot involving her mother which is handled very well.
However, it is pretty easy to see where the book is going to go, and initially the plot moves very slowly. The pace definitely picks up toward the end, but it’s still fairly predictable. If you’re looking for a lot of exciting twists and turns, you won’t find them here.
I also found the villain of the story a little hard to believe at times. He escaped easily from the mental institution in which he was incarcerated. While that seemed somewhat plausible, the ease with which he rented a car and found ready cash seemed a little less likely. At first the other characters’ reactions to his escape were also strange. Everyone, including the police, was surprisingly unconcerned. Since the villain was a homicidal maniac who had vowed revenge upon all his enemies, their nonchalance seemed a little out of place.
If you really enjoy stories about wounded people made whole by the healing power of love, you may find it easy to overlook the predictability of Legacy. The love scenes are a little flowery, but the sexual tension sizzles. If new and different plots are very important to you, however, you may want to pass this one up.