by Megan Hart
Paperback: 384 pages
Available: August 1, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Source: Net Galley
I didn’t think he wanted me. And I wasn’t about to get involved with him, not after what I’d heard. Alex Kennedy was tall, dark and unbearably hot, but I’ve been burned before. Maybe it was stupid of me to offer but he needed a place to crash and I needed to pay the rent, but now he’s my tenant…with benefits. And now that we’ve crossed that line, I can’t seem to find my way back.
But I can’t give my heart to a man who’s so…unconventional. His last sexual relationship was with a married couple. It’s enough that my ex-fiancé preferred men, I won’t take that chance again no matter how much my body thrives on Alex’s touch. I can’t risk it, but I can’t resist it, either.
Alex can be very convincing when he wants something.
And he wants me.
Reviewed by: Sophia (FV)
I’ve made no secret at all of my love affair with Megan Hart’s novels. I love them and I won’t apologize for my fan girl gushing for even a second. Her stories move me each and every time I read them and so I fully expected to love Naked. I’m pleased to say, Ms. Hart’s record still holds, Naked did not disappoint. Although Naked might be read as stand alone, I highly recommend you read Tempted first for insight into Alex’s character and background. I don’t think you’ll get the full Alex Kennedy experience if you started with Naked.
Alex Kenney was first introduced in Tempted. Tempted left me very concerned for James and Anne and the future of their marriage. I hurt for Alex, not knowing where life would take him after such an emotional relationship and wondered if his lifelong friendship with James would survive. Tempted is the first Megan Hart novel that left me fairly sure that the characters I came to love may not achieve their happily ever after. While I was eager for Alex to find happiness, I felt a bit of uneasiness as I began to read his story in Naked.
Olivia attends a party thrown by her ex-fiancé Patrick. She is still in love with him, and still maintains a close friendship, however their relationship ended when she found out he was gay. While at the party, Olivia notices the very sexy Alex Kennedy. Patrick quickly warns her off of Alex, telling her Alex is gay and is nothing but trouble. When Olivia stumbles upon Alex and another gentleman engaged in an intimate moment she watches from the shadows. Now, she can’t get him out of her mind. She knows she should stay away, once bitten twice shy. And besides, Alex is gay and wouldn’t be interested anyway.
Alex is in town for work for a few months and is looking for an apartment to rent. It just so happens that Olivia has a vacant apartment in the building she owns. After meeting the morning after the party and getting to know each other a little, Olivia offers the apartment to Alex and he accepts. Although Olivia was told that Alex doesn’t like girls, she soon finds out that Alex likes both boys and girls. And he clearly likes her.
Alex and Olivia at first glance seem like such an unlikely pair. Olivia having been jilted by her gay ex-fiancé should want to avoid falling for another gay man. Alex, supposedly gay, should not be interested in Olivia romantically at all. However, perhaps because they should not, they are drawn together into a emotional love affair that is unlike anything either of them have ever experienced.
Olivia, who is black, was adopted by white parents who are now divorced. Her father is Catholic and her mother is Jewish and both are deeply religious. Both parents want Olivia to commit to their religion. Olivia feels torn between racial and religious worlds and doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere. Although Alex is a successful business man who travels the world, his background is nothing like the life he lives today. His father is an abusive recovering alcoholic who hates anyone of color and gays. Alex has been a self proclaimed ass-hole most of his life, however it’s fairly clear he’s used his behavior as a means to deflect and avoid the fact that he’s always felt like an outsider.
Although the story was told from Olivia’s point of view, I had hoped to get into Alex’s head a little more since he was the character that carried over from Tempted. I wanted to fully understand what makes him tick and I wanted to know why he wanted Olivia. He was clearly attracted to her but I feel like we never got into the reasons why Olivia made him want to commit to her and change his lifestyle. After reading Naked I feel like there are still so many more layers of Alex Kennedy that have yet to be revealed. Olivia makes headway in the struggle with her duality however all is not wrapped up in a tidy little bow. Adding Alex to the mix by no means completes her and she still has a long way to go.
I so badly wanted Alex to find love and happiness with Olivia. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced he and Olivia will have a smooth ride from here on out. They both have so many issues to deal with so many of their loose ends remained frayed at the end of their story. I was left yet again, concerned for the future of the characters I’ve come to know. Perhaps we’ll see them again in future books but truthfully I think there is more to tell in Olivia and Alex’s story and would love it if Ms. Hart decided to write them a follow up novella.
Megan Hart has delivered a sensual, and thought provoking story that deals with topics such as sexuality, religion, and racial identity. Alex and Olivia’s story is a bit off the beaten path for the average contemporary romance but I’ve come to expect that from Ms. Hart and look forward to more stories from her that push my emotional buttons and encourage me to think beyond the romance. Naked has earned it’s place on my keeper shelf alongside several other of Ms. Hart’s novels.
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