Paramedic Jake McKenna responds to an ambulance call and finds Devlin Barre emaciated, raped, and beaten to near death. He instantly feels a connection to her and becomes a constant support during her stay at the hospital while she recovers from her trauma. However, he’s 24 and she’s only 17, so he knows they cannot have a relationship and decides to put some distance between them.
When Jake doesn’t call on her 18th birthday, Devlin realizes that she needs to get over Jake and learn to take care of herself. Although her uncle, who raped and beat her, got away, she knows she can’t live in fear forever. She has no family left, but she leaves her new friends and heads back home to go to school and find out what she really wants in life.
Four years later when Jake and Devlin reunite at a friend’s wedding, the sparks fly. They realize that the feelings they had for each other never went away, only this time there’s no reason to deny it. But Jake isn’t the only one hoping to reunite with Devlin; her uncle is still looking for revenge. Can Jake and Devlin forge a life together or will it be too late?
I would have liked to see the relationship between Devlin and Jake develop more slowly. It was love at first sight and I never got a feel for why they were so in love with each other so quickly. Although if you can get past that, the relationship between the two is so sweet and endearing that it really doesn’t matter why they got together in the first place. Plus, the sizzling hot sex scenes burn up the pages and you can definitely feel the attraction between them.
I almost didn’t read Anytime Darlin’ because of the rape of the main character, but I’m so glad I did. I thought Julia Rachel Barrett did an excellent job of touching on this sensitive subject but not making it the central focus. Devlin is a memorable main character who has a series of tragic events happen in her life that she overcomes with strength and grace. Jake is the perfect hero for this story because although he knows he could be with Devlin when he first meets her, he does the honorable thing and lets her go.
This book has it all, suspense, real life characters, and a heart-warming love story. It will make you think and will stay with you long after reading it. Definitely a recommended read!