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Release Reviews: Cream of the Crop: Alice Clayton


Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2)
Alice Clayton
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Expected July 12, 2016


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is...cheese.


Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.


Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be...love?

Graphics from author's website

Pinup meets Caveman

Natalie Grayson is a successful, sassy, glamorous Manhattan advertising executive. She can usually get any man she wants with her seductive skills, curves, and the complete confidence she exudes. But Oscar Mendoza, the dairy farmer who sells her cheese at the Farmer's Market every Saturday is the one man that makes her googly-eyed and tongue-tied to an embarassing degree.

But when her firm is enlisted to help the town of Bailey Falls become more of a tourist attraction, she heads to the country to visit the town and her best friend, Roxie and her new man, Leo. And they just happen to work closely with Oscar, the hot dairy farmer. It is not as easy to run off and hide when your best friend is playing matchmaker.

Oscar is tall, dark, tatted, quiet, no-nonsense, and mysterious. He oozes sex appeal and charisma without even saying a word. And he seems to like what he sees when he watches her. Always the quick thinker, Natalie figures out a way to connect and get her point across, and soon they are exploring his big barn together and any other surface they can find.

But she is a city girl and he is a country boy. She loves noise, parties, and the high life and he enjoys the quiet, working with his hands, and his small town life. He has some issues from his past and a really involved ex. She also has issues that have shaped her and make her wary of sacrificing her own needs for a man. They have combustible and hot sex during stolen weekends. But their lives and personalities are different. It is easy to misunderstand or get hurt feelings when trying to navigate their differences.

This was funny, quirky, steamy, and sweet. I have come to really like the town of Bailey Falls and its inhabitants especially Roxie, Leo, Polly, Chad, and Logan.  The descriptions of the quaint town, their celebrations, and the cheese making processes were very descriptive painting a picture of small town life. This was told in Natalie's point of view with the exclusion of the epilogue. I liked Natalie's fiery free spirit. And Oscar was all kinds of hot, swoony, broody manly man. I really liked him more as his personality started to come through. I enjoyed their rapport and chemistry, and was invested in them finding some way to make it work.

Two friends are now spoken for so their third best friend, Clara, is next. Her story was set up a bit and sounds interesting since she works in helping restoring hotels and there just happens to be one near Bailey Falls.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 


Natalie has everything she could want in Manhattan. A successful career, a full social calendar, confidence for days. She jumps when the opportunity to work in Bailey Falls on a new tourism campaign is brought to her office. The chance to spend more time with her best friend, Roxie (Nuts), and maybe get over her nerves around a certain dairy farmer are just too much to pass up.

Oscar is the only man she can’t carry on as her usual confident self around. At his cheese stall at the farmers’ market, she is reduced to single syllable words, a nervous wreck intimidated by the man behind the cheese. His tattooed, muscled self, plus his knowledge of cheese turns her mind to mush.

Though she changed herself drastically for love once before, Natalie has vowed to never make herself feel like less than she is because of a man. I love that Oscar sees her and loves all of her just the way she is. But between their living arrangements and baggage that both are carrying, the road is not a smooth one for this couple. His nickname for her had me melting from the moment he uttered it, and I loved what it said about how he viewed her (especially in light of her previous relationship).

Natalie’s narration was hilarious. She is such a sassy, confident person, that hearing her thoughts as she morphed into someone completely different the closer to Oscar’s table she got reminded me so clearly of those moments where we all lose our carefully crafted cool. 

Where I found some of the humor and innuendo in Nuts to be a little over the top, Cream of the Crop was a hoot. I loved the blend of fun humor and the inclusion of several running gags. This has a great blend of drama and fun, drawing me quickly back to Hudson Valley and this world that is so set in farm country but only a short trip out of the city. 
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Hudson Valley Series:


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From New York Times bestselling author Alice Clayton, the first in a brand-new romance series telling the humorously sexy tale of Roxie, a private chef who gets a taste of love—but is it to stay, or to go?

After losing almost all of her clients in one fell swoop following an accident involving whipped cream, private chef to Hollywood’s elite Roxie Callahan gets a call from her flighty mother, saying she’s needed home in upstate New York to run the family diner. Once she's back in the Hudson Valley, local organic farmer Leo delivers Roxie a lovely bunch of walnuts, and soon sparks—and clothing—begin to fly. Leo believes that everything worth doing is worth doing slowly…and how! But will Roxie stay upstate, or will the lure of West Coast redemption tempt her back to Tinseltown?


Untitled (#3)


ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog


More books by Alice Clayton

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