Prince Colin was the younger twin who lived. His Da nearly died giving birth, something which would have permanently scarred his doting father, Prince Sebastian of Sendorra, a tiny principality in the mountains between France and Spain. Colin mourns his lost brother, Andrew, and wishes he’d lived, and not only because it would allow Colin to make a love match for himself instead of needing to sire an heir. Colin inherited more than a birthright; he has the magic gene from his grandmother, the Dowager Princess Alexandra, who swore off magic almost entirely in order to appease her late husband and left her at odds with her family. Colin’s magic enables him to talk with Andrew and allows him to have a (ghostly) companion in his darkest hours.
When Colin’s best childhood friend, Princess Charlotte, breaks off their years-long engagement, the first thing Colin does is go trolling for a man. Being on summer holidays in Biarritz makes it easier for Colin to slip past his security detail and head for a gay club. There he meets Alain de Gris and would have happily followed him home for some sexy-fun, but he is intercepted by palace folk who recognize him and “rescue” him from drunken folly.
Alain, a Nobel-winning scientist who also happens to be an accomplished gray witch, is entranced by the young, sexy man who briefly entertained him in the club. So much so that the confirmed bachelor leaves his business card on Colin’s car, in the event Colin is eager to renew their acquaintance. Colin calls with alacrity, and they begin a sultry little dance into love. Big problems exist though. Colin knows he must sire an heir in order to maintain the principality; if no heir exists, Sendorra is returned to Spain. Colin doesn’t want to take an intersex consort as he abhors male pregnancy, having heard the horrors of his own birth all his 20 years. And yet, the draw to Alain is too much to bear. It doesn’t even matter that Alain isn’t intersex, the more time they spend together the more Colin is sure: Alain is his love match.
For Alain, life is also complicated. His mother is high priestess of a witch coven that is at odds with the Dowager Princess’s estranged family. Alexandra recognizes the implications and she fears that Alain has bewitched her son for vengeance. She enlists her sister’s grandson, Drake, to come and school Colin in magic, and wow does this ever go wrong. Colin, recognizing his cousin’s magical skill (if not his avarice), asks Drake to be a stand in so Colin can escape with Alain for some much-coveted privacy. And Drake? Well, he’s a fox in the henhouse; he’s about to lay waste to everything Colin holds dear.
A Tangled Legacy is the first book in a series that, while having a contemporary setting and mannerisms, is far from our reality. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this complex story wasn’t it. Colin and Alain are forging a deep love that incorporates their gravitas and their magical abilities. Colin’s Da and Father are good men who want what’s best for their son; they are willing to indulge him in everything but not fathering an heir. They are nervous about the age and maturity difference, as is Alain’s mother, but all are willing to go along for their child’s happiness. Alexandra reaps the reward of her prejudice, even as she believes to act in her grandson’s best interest. I was sad how things turned out for her, to be sure.
This is a tender love story coupled with palace intrigue and a dark plot that isn’t fully resolved by the end. Colin needs to bring Drake to justice for his grave misdeeds, but that isn’t within his power to the limits of this book. I expect we’ll see that driving a lot of the action in a sequel. Likewise, the development of the love story between Alain and Colin will need further fleshing out, especially now that they are making serious commitments to one another. Don’t expect too much steam, however. Some of this sexy happens behinds a closed door.
I was tentative regarding this one due to the rather vague blurb, but now I can’t wait to read on. Magic, and mayhem, and murder, oh my!