Rating: 3 stars out of 5
The last of the boys abused at the Bar Five Ranch, Daniel is finishing his final year of college when he’s approached by Jack Campbell-Hayes and a young man named Corey Dryden. Corey has recently lost his parents in a plane crash and discovered information his father obtained that implicated Corey’s uncle as one of the boys’ abusers at the ranch. Thinking only to protect his young sisters from finding out about their uncle, Corey doesn’t realize how the information spins Daniel’s well-ordered world.
Months later, after working a post graduate job that didn’t pan out, Daniel finally succumbs to the lure of the Legacy Ranch—the ranch where the others who escaped the Bar Five now work and/or support in some way. Thinking only to stay for one day, Daniel discovers his place there, and when a chance visit from Corey shows Daniel that they might have a mutual spark of interest, the groundwork is laid for a future relationship.
That’s a very simplified summary of the story but there’s a lot of detail about Corey’s family and how he came to find his father’s investigation into his uncle’s behavior. There’s also a lot of background on Daniel, how he was caught, how he was abused, a bit about his rescue and a lot about his adjustment to living in today’s world.
The main story took place over the course of nearly a year and the epilogue is three years later, allowing plenty of time for relationship development. However, the two men never quite gelled for me. Corey came across as very young, immature, acting impulsively on the next thing on his emotional “to do” list, making decisions without guidance. And he never really aged or mellowed, in my opinion. I also found his life situation unrealistic, somewhat trite—older brother now stuck with responsibility for younger sisters—and the business angle was odd. Everything from Corey assuming a controlling position in a well-established financial agency to the other partners and the board’s decision to disassociate with Corey’s father’s last name to Corey selling his shares and encouraging his sisters to do so felt rushed and unrealistic. If it were to happen in a real world, I highly doubt the process would take place so quickly or so simply.
Daniel seemed to remain aloof through most of the story. Granted, he should be aloof after what happened to him, but even with Corey, I didn’t feel their togetherness, their “oneness” so I couldn’t get into rooting for them to overcome the odds. In short, I found the romance lacking.
Overall, it’s a nice story, but short on depth and detail. If you’ve read the rest of the series, you should definitely pick this up, but it’s not the caliber of the first few books in the series in my opinion and definitely shouldn’t be read as a standalone since so many previous characters are involved.
Cover art by Meredith Russell features a photo of a young man in the top pane with a background of city (or college) buildings and an overview of a quiet park scene in the lower pane. Likely both photos represent the college in which Daniel is studying as the story opens. The colors are a green-brown tint so there’s nothing outstanding about the cover to attract attention.
ebook, 1st edition
Published June 20th 2018 by Love Lane Books Limited (first published June 11th 2018)
SeriesLegacy Ranch #3