Naked takes place three years after Alex leaves behind his relationship with Ann and James at the conclusion of Tempted. Olivia Mackey is the heroine of this book and she has baggage the size of a a steamer trunk when it comes to men and pretty much all of her personal relationships. After finding out the man that she was head over heels in love with and about to marry is actually gay she somehow finds it in herself to continue to love him and keeps him in her life even years later as her best friend. Now I have no problem with Olivia forgiving Patrick and keeping him in her life, but she has not been able to heal and move on with him so tightly entrenched in her life. After all that Olivia had been through with Patrick he still proves to be manipulative and untrustworthy and this manifests clearly in his interference in the very beginning before Olivia and Alex even have a chance to meet.
Despite Patrick's interference,Olivia meets Alex Kennedy at the holiday party thrown by Patrick and she offers Alex the chance to rent the apartment in the building that she owns. Olivia does this even after she witnesses a very private encounter between Alex and another person and despite her instant attraction to Alex. To be able to enjoy this story the reader needs to have an open mind when it comes to sexual fluidity because the story is definitely based on it. Alex does not tow any line when it comes to his sexuality and Olivia remarkably finds herself able to accept that. Maybe it's the cynic in me,but I didn't really like that despite the fact that Olivia has some qualms about Alex she is able to quickly move forward with a physical relationship with him. The physical relationship between the two definitely moves quicker than I would have liked. Yes, physical attraction is a strong pull for most people, but there should have been a stronger sense of "once bitten" for Olivia.
The full arc of the story was enjoyable, but I was a little disappointed in the ending as it felt rushed; as though Hart realized that maybe it was time to wrap this story up and wanted to make sure that the book didn't end in a cliff hanger. I don't want to give the impression that I didn't enjoy this book because I really did, but there were little disappointments with the story as a whole. However, Olivia is very thoroughly fleshed out and has a complicated back story. She's an African American woman adopted and loved by a white couple who are themselves very different. Her mother is Jewish who after divorcing Olivia's adopted father became Orthodox. Olivia's father is Catholic who also embraced his faith wholeheartedly after the divorce. So Olivia has all kinds of conflict to deal with in her life and feels pulled by both parents to embrace the faith that they each have returned to. I loved the fact that race was really the least of the problems between Alex and Olivia. There are stories where the differences in race would and should be the center of the story, but this wasn't the case for this story and I appreciate the fact that Hart didn't beat that horse to death!
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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.