I've been looking forward this this book for a while. I fell in love with Alex Kennedy, when he first appeared in Megan Hart's book Tempted. Even though NAKED can be read as a stand alone book, I would really recommend first reading Tempted.
From the beginning, I felt very emotionally attached to the main character, Olivia. She saw the world through the lens of her camera, and I saw her world through her eyes. A world filled with conflicts of religion, sexual orientation, and her own personal demons. All she wants is to make do, is to make a life for herself.
In college, Olivia dated and became in engaged to Patrick, only to find out the secret he was hiding was the fact he was gay. Olivia was left devastated, and made mistakes of her own. She got pregnant after a hook up and gave the child up for adoption. After sometime, Olivia and Patrick decided to give friendship a try.
From the first time Olivia laid eyes on Alex Kennedy, at one of Patrick's parties, she knew she was in trouble, with his nice clothes, pretty boy looks, and hair that looked like he just rolled out of bed. Patrick, being Olivia's best friend, felt that it's his place to tell her to stay away from Alex, because he didn't like girls. A fact that was soon clear, when she accidentally saw Alex in a compromising position with another guy from the party.
When Olivia finds out that Alex is staying in town for a consulting job, she sees no harm in offering Alex her down stairs apartment to rent. Their proximity helped build their relationship with friendly dinners and movie nights on her couch. It didn't take long, before one thing lead to another, and Olivia is smack dab in the middle of a relationship with a man she loves, but doesn't really know. She questioned who she was and what she wanted out of life. She questioned who Alex was and what secrets he was hiding. She questioned whether or not she's going would end up hurt all over again, just like she did with Patrick.
I really enjoyed this book. I've been waiting along time for this. I loved getting another glimpse into the life of Alex Kennedy. In TEMPTED, when James describes Alex he says, "He's like the lake...he's deep. But he's shallow in places, too, when you don't expect it." This is the Alex that Megan Hart gave to the world in TEMPTED, but in NAKED we were able to peel away some of the layers. The reader gets to see why Alex is the way he is, and why he did some of the things he did. I also really liked Olivia's character and the world that she has built for herself. She is really a strong, amazing, giving female character. She has endured a so much in her short life, but seems to have came out the other side a better person. I liked the fact that the book, at least from my stand point, had a very original storyline. It's like nothing I've ever read. Similar to several of Megan Hart's other books, I was sucked into these characters lives, and couldn't wait to see how it turned out. I found myself staying up way into the night reading this book, telling myself, "Just one more chapter then I can go to sleep." I also loved seeing old favorite characters like: Elle and Dan, Sarah and Jack, and most of all Anne and James.
My only issue with this book, had to be the ending. I just felt rushed, or maybe that my ebook was missing key pages or an epilogue. I think it started from the point where Alex and Olivia were visiting James and Anne, through the final confrontation between Olivia and Alex. The fight lasted as long as a fight over who forgot to empty the dishwasher. Then all was forgotten and forgiven. The End. I also felt that there were several plot points left hanging. I'm hoping this was done on purpose, as a set up to other future story lines.
If you also enjoyed this peek into the world of Alex Kennedy, you should check out Megan Hart's Spice Brief, Everything Changes, available July 1, 2010. It is Alex's view on what happened in TEMPTED. If you love Alex Kennedy just like I do, pick it up for sure.