Secret Legacy by Anna DeStefano

by Austin Camacho

Best selling author Anna DeStefano returns this month to chill our hearts and rattle our nerves with Secret Legacy, the second installment in her contemporary psychic fantasy series.  If you’re up for a horrifying mental nightmare of psychological suspense that’s like nothing else on your shelves, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.

This gripping romantic thriller revolves around Sarah Temple, a woman born with psychic abilities.  A shadowy covert organization – The Center – was intent on experimenting with Sarah’s gifts but she managed to escape their grasp.  Events in the novel turn Sarah from a victim to a heroine facing down the mysterious group.  Sarah was introduced in the previous novel, Dark Legacy, which featured her twin Maddie.  In that book Sarah was psychotic and as Secret Legacy opens she is still a bit unhinged and seems an unlikely protagonist.

“I’m not sure “like” would be the first word that comes to mind when I think of your reaction to first meeting her,” DeStefano says.  “But she’s unfailingly loyal and is fighting to protect everyone she thinks she’s already hurt, including a child for whom she’ll have to risk her life just to prove to others that the little girl’s real. So I’d like to think you’d admire her.”

Sarah hears a psychic cry for help from this child who appears to be the next target of the Center’s government scientists trying to control the psychic realm.   The lost girl can change people’s will and control their dreams – a valuable catch for the mystery organization.  Sarah steps up and by the end of the book readers are totally sold on her as a heroine.

Of course, the bad guys are pretty impressive too.  After a while we realize that the little girl could have been co-opted by the covert Center, and her cry for help could be a tactic to lure Sarah back.

Because DeStefano is also a best-selling romance author, it comes as no surprise that Sarah finds support in a fascinating romantic interest – a psychic warrior who broke her heart in the past.  He represents the Brotherhood of Watchers that stands against the Center of Government Scientists.  These are edgy characters and the story does not tempt us to assume a happy ending.  But as the author herself says, she’s been writing outside-the-box romance for years.

“I’ve basically pushed the romance genre boundaries as far as I could over the years at Harlequin/Silhouette,” DeStefano says, “and yet I had to strip things out of my novels that I dearly wanted to keep. So when I wanted to take my romantic suspense inclinations to another level, thriller was a logical direction to go.”

Once she opened the gates of her imagination, DeStefano found that fantasy and even science fiction elements crept into her work.  This may have thrown some writers coming from such a well-defined genre as romance, but Stefano let her muse take her where it would.

“I was looking to write thrillers in my mainstream work, but all my ideas kept taking me into fantastical places,” Stefano says.  “I couldn’t shove the relationships into the background as I wrote either. So… the Legacy Series is a conscious, intentional hybrid. I’m being racked in sci-fi/fantasy with Secret Legacy, even though the thriller/suspense and romance elements are solid. Confusing to some readers for sure. But I just couldn’t seem to make myself compromise and force these very different stories into a strict genre box.”

Her life long fascination with dream theory, parapsychology and psychic phenomena informs both her characters and her plots.  In fact, she describes herself as one of those people that strange things always happen to.  Battery operated watches die almost immediately.  And when she’s stressed checkout lanes at a store shut down and her computer’s wifi fails.

“So, when I decided to spread my wings and do something different, it was a natural fit for me to put to use all the cool things I’d been reading for years about the odd things that happen to me and others,” DeStefano says, “I wanted to write books about fantastical things set in a very contemporary world where you could almost imagine these things happening to you… or someone close to you.”

Could you hear the maniacal laughter at the end of that last sentence?  You’ll feel that same chill down your spine when you read Secret Legacy.

For more information on Anna DeStefano and her books, please visit her website.

Austin Camacho

Austin S. Camacho is the author of six novels in the Hannibal Jones Mystery Series (most recent being 2015's Pyramid Deception) and four in the Stark and O’Brien adventure series (the latest being The Ice Woman Assignment) and the detective thriller Beyond Blue. He is also editorial director for Intrigue Publishing. To learn more about Austin, please visit his website or find him on Facebook.
Austin Camacho

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