Naked (Alex Kennedy #2) by Megan Hart
Erotic romance*Paperback/eBook, 384 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Harlequin Spice (first published January 1st 2010)
No strings. No regrets. And no going back.
I didn't think he wanted me. And I wasn't about to get involved with him, not after what I'd heard. Sure, Alex Kennedy was tall, dark and unbearably hot, but I've been burned before. When I solicited him to model for my erotic photography book, I didn't expect such a heated, passionate photo session. And now that we've crossed that line, our bodies aren't the only things that have been exposed.
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 can'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.
Megan Hart is exemplary at creating imperfect people. Regular people. Normal people. And striping them down, placing them in sexy situations while they draw upon specific conflicts in their life or relationships. Alex is one of my favorite Hart men. He is the epitome of the "bad boy"--gorgeous, cocky, ambivalent, goes for what he wants, and is deliciously imperfect. We first met him in Tempted (Alex Kennedy Book One) and then in Everything Changes (a novella,Alex Kennedy, o.5). Naked is a love story between Alex and Olivia in only the way Megan Hart can write steamy romance.
Olivia is the main character. We meet her as she attends her ex-fiancee Patrick's holiday party at his house. They were engaged but Patrick finally came clean and she found out he was gay. They have remained friends, both using the other as crutches for their own problems. Olivia is adopted (she's a black girl raised by white parents) and is still working on identity/religious/trust issues. I thought she was a unique character and liked her. Alex is at the party, dealing with an irate and emotional ex-boyfriend. Olivia immediately notices how hot Alex is but is warned by Patrick to keep away from him. Staying over, she meets Alex at breakfast the next morning and they converse. Olivia is intrigued and winds up offering her top floor apartment for him to rent. She recently purchased a home she is renovating while working as a graphic designer and studio photographer as her career gets in gear. She is soon asking him to pose for the erotic book she is compiling. In the hottest scene of the entire book, a painting session turns into a sizzling photo shoot as Olivia grabs her camera and Alex makes love to it and ultimately to her through the viewfinder.
Their ensuing relationship is deeply sexual but each carries baggage from their past, whether it be scarred relationships or family problems. As they try to make something out of the chemistry between them, they begin to fall. In lust. In love. Both are dangerous. Both are heady. I really tried to love this story, especially since I've been an Alex fan for so long. Both characters never seemed as in-depth as I wanted them to be. There was something missing. With all of his gorgeous self, Alex still came across as underdeveloped. Olivia had flashes of being real, of being truly dimensional--especially in the scenes where she worked in her home studio (the shoot with Alex was one such moving scene). She is afraid to really give in after being hurt by Patrick. Alex's bisexuality unsettles her. Can she give her heart again?
"Alex didn't have an open face, one I could read easily. He needed a translation I didn't know him well enough to make. When I looked at him, I saw a story. I saw a picture I wanted to take and capture and keep."
Those are Olivia's words and I feel her frustration. That's how I felt reading. Part of the problem I had with Naked was the narration. This was Olivia's story. I wanted Alex. I still don't know the real guy under the designer suits and sexy smile. There was insight into his past, his family (his dad in particular), his best friend, but there wasn't that connection to either him or Olivia. As a reader, I felt like a voyeur gazing through the camera at images, never realizing the full picture. I'm still a Megan Hart fan and wish she would give us fans a true Alex book from his perspective.
Sexy. I imagined Olivia to look like that but Alex is wrong. He has longer, darker and curlier hair.
Originally Netgalley then purchased.