Charmaine Pauls introduced May-December couple Jane and Brian in Old Enough, and to my surprise and joy I fell in love with her story of an older rich woman and a younger man from the wrong side of the tracks. Somehow the first book in the duology toed the line between attraction/relationship vs boytoy extremely well, and I never felt like Brian was being used, manipulated, or otherwise faced an unequal power dynamic that kept him in Jane’s orbit. If anything she seems more vulnerable since many aspects of their meeting and Brian’s past are hidden. I loved Book 1.
I still enjoyed Book 2 immensely, and I ripped through the pages at an extreme pace. However, I have to warn new readers of several potential triggers as Young Enough takes some very dark turns: rape, accusations of sexual abuse of a minor, imprisonment, assault resulting in facial trauma, drowning, and probably a few others that didn’t jump out at me. Additionally, I found one of Brian’s actions so thoughtless that it physically hurt to read. It didn’t help at all that the action ended up having dire consequences, which really reduced my support for Jane and Brian’s relationship.
The sex scenes sizzle off the page, just like in Old Enough, so if you’re showing up mostly for the erotica this book has got you covered. Even when Jane and Brian tread on shaky emotional ground the physical connection between them vibrates with an intensity that cannot be denied.
Despite the horrific events and traumatic revelations in the first three-quarters of the book Charmaine Pauls manages to direct her protagonists to a HEA; both Jane and Brian work to find their happiness individually and with each other, so I felt that the ending had been earned. Additionally, it didn’t feel over the top like some of the events in epilogue of The Loan Shark duology (I felt that Valentina turned into some sort of magical creature that everyone adored instead of a human being), which I liked.
Overall, readers need Young Enough to close out Jane and Brian’s story, but it’s a much more traumatic episode in their love story than the first installment. It ends on a positive note for all of the important characters (or at least it ends the way it should), but there’s a lot of dark events between the first and last pages, which some readers may find a little hard to handle.
4 Stolen Moments at an Engagement Party out of 5