Original Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
Last week I read one of author Megan Hart’s latest releases and was pleasantly surprised to see Alex Kennedy make several appearances in the book. It made me nostalgic for one of my favorite books ever — Naked. A re-read was definitely in order.
I originally gave Naked 4 and not 5 stars, and I can’t at all remember why. As I said, it’s one of my favorite books in this genre. I could say so much about it, but what I want to focus on is how Megan Hart handled writing a POC heroine. Not too long ago, I wrote an opinion piece about another POC written by a white author; it wasn’t flattering. But, Megan Hart proves that it’s possible to do and do it well.
I love Olivia. I love her because she isn’t a stereotype. But her race is acknowledged and is important to her character, having been adopted by a Jewish family and living in a predominantly white neighborhood. It’s never jarring when it comes up in the narrative. When Olivia talks about her hair being in locs, it’s not just to point out that this character is black, but to highlight her being comfortable with who she is and how she got to that point.
Not once did I feel that the core conflict of Naked was only about a black woman dating a white man. The book was more about a woman dealing with insecurities any woman would deal with who falls in love with a man whose sexuality is as fluid as Alex’s, especially one whose former fiancé was living on the DL. And when the issue of race is raised with Alex’s family, it is Olivia who comes to her own defense. And Alex’s.
If there is one criticism that I have about this book, it’s a brief conversation between Olivia and her friend Sarah with a joke about Sarah being “blacker than you are.” Olivia does mention things like that not bothering her when they come from Sarah rather than someone else. I’ve had friends of other races say that to me jokingly, and it’s never comfortable because it implies that there’s only one way to be black. I’m highly sensitive to those comments for that reason. I found it odd since the rest of the book sort of defends not being boxed into one cultural or sexual identity. Or maybe that was Megan Hart’s intent in including it.
On another note, can we just love on that cover, please? Bravo Harlequin for putting a black woman with braids on the cover and making her the focus rather than the white guy. He just looks like he adores the hell out of her.