Dali’s review & rating: 4 of 5 stars
An emotive story about self-discovery, courage and overcoming guilt and insecurities encased in a sexy love story.
“Everyone has something to offer this world. Everytone is beautiful. But if you don’t feel it, no one else will either.”
Violet Walker knows her future awaits. After a life threatening and altering accident her confidence is shaken and taking the reins of father’s construction conglomerate is too overwhelming. Her fiancée had died but she survived with inner and outer scars. So for a few short months she’s sought a reprieve in small town while ogling her next door neighbor hiding away in the confines of her house. Until he fakes injury in order to meet her. The physical attraction between them is evident when they come face to face, but can she find the courage to open up to him? Will her lack of trust and self-doubt ruin her chances at happiness?
For Noah Young his mother and sisters are everything. He loves his family and wants to find a woman to love and form one of his own. But after being lied to and having his heart broken he hasn’t been able to find the resolve to settle down. Not when it comes to his love life and not even with his job. Until his beautiful neighbor inspires him to literally fall for her. With his past, he knows it’s a risk getting involved with a woman who is clearly hiding and holding herself back, but it’s a chance he’s willing to take if he could only persuade her to trust in him. But will secrets she’s hiding be too much for them when they finally come out and she’s stripped Naked body and soul?
“This relationship, if you could call it that, was supposed to be casual. An easy way to interact with another human being instead of being alone inside his house. But his need for Violet was mounting.”
Although I’ll always be faithful to my tried and true novelists, I really like getting to know new authors and series. I love thrill of jumping into new stories, having an open mind and a blank slate. Gina Gordon and her Naked appealed to me not just for its blurb but for its newness. I really liked how this story started out with Noah’s trickery to get to know the girl. My curiosity was also picked when Violet didn’t want to reveal her last name, much less her past. I especially wanted to know why she felt so guilty for surviving her accident, but at the same time be so cavalier about her deceased fiancée.
As the heat between them ignites, it slowly starts to burn down the walls Violet has erected around herself due to her insecurities and she gradually starts to reveal bits and pieces of herself to Noah. Not enough though and certainly not before they decide to put a stop to their fling in order to continue with their real lives. However life has a way of twisting and turning which leads them back together in a precarious yet inescapable situation with Violet being Noah’s boss and their attraction and bond as undeniable.
While the chemistry between them was scorching and Noah as a wonderfully sexy, take charge, charming man who wants a family, I was undecided on whether I liked Violet for her courage and determination to take charge of her life again or was annoyed that she put so much stock on external beauty and appearances.
“With the constant change in her emotions, this girl was going to give him whiplash.”
Her parents were a source of drama that had me pulling in different directions. Her father’s condition was heartbreaking while I wanted to throttle her mother for being so superfluous. I also felt the pace to be a bit off slow going in the beginning and tad fast at the end. But the underlying story was as true as it is important.
“You are more than just what you look like on the outside…”
“But that’s who I am. All my life everyone always told me I’m beautiful.”
As the story continued I understood that the author wanted to highlight the importance of inner beauty and that getting to a point where one understands this is difficult and slow going, especially in a society where outer beauty takes center stage. With Harper’s help (a secondary character I’d love to read about) and Noah’s support and that of her friends and family, Violet found her resolve which I very much liked along with the warm and fuzzy, happy ending.
“You’re Violet.” he grinned, those dimples smiling at her… “Just Violet… My Violet.”
Naked is book #1 and a wonderful start in the Body and Soul series by Gina Gordon. This is a sexy and emotional standalone book with scorching hot romance. I hope to get a chance to read more about these characters and from Ms. Gordon as well. This story is told from alternating points of view with a happy ending.
Amazon -> http://amzn.to/1Sp9RL6
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *