XOXpert ARC Review & Giveaway: Nuts: Alice Clayton

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Expected October 20, 2015

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?

(Also can be viewed on Alice's site HERE)
The boys were jumping and shouting as he held what looked like patches over them, doling them out and calling the kids by name. As I got closer, I could hear him laughing along with the kids.

“I hear you, Owen; you’ll get your activity patch too—don’t worry. Who else? Here you go, Jeffrey, you earned it when you picked the biggest eggplant we’ve had yet this year! Who else? Let’s see . . . oh boy, we can’t forget Matthew—here you go, buddy. You guys are the best Webelos around.”

His smile really was contagious, and I found myself grinning as I crossed the gravel, admiring his high cheekbones, the curve of his lower lip as he laughed, and the green eyes that, when fixed on mine, turned my belly all butterflies.

And that beard. What constituted a hipster beard? Is it the length? The shape? The proximity to flannel and Mumford? We were within twenty yards of an heirloom tomato; does that count as hipster cred?

I hadn’t been a fan of facial hair beyond two-day sexy scruff, yet Leo was sporting an actual beard and I liked it. I more than liked it, I wanted to touch it. Was it scratchy? Soft? Coarse? Touch it, hell—I’d like to look down and see it, and his face, between my thighs. With significantly less clothing than in our previous encounters.

As my breathing speeded up, another image popped into my brain: sweaty, naked parts and grasping, clutching hands. Whew, it seemed hot out! Christ, the farmer was now affecting me physically. Which was good— I wanted physical. I needed physical. So when I saw him pick up a bottleneck squash that mimicked something very specific in my mind, I covered my moan with a cough.

“You okay?” he asked as I reached him.

“Yeah. Why?” I said, tugging at my T-shirt. Air, please—just a little air.

“Sounded like you were—”

“Just clearing my throat,” I said, and quickly changed the topic. “I made the black walnut cake, with cream cheese butter- cream frosting.” I thrust the white box into his hands.

“Wow, you really made me cake?” he asked, looking quite pleased.

“Well, I made it for the diner; the rest got sold today.”

“Is it good?” he asked.

I grinned. “It’s fucking great.”

Leo closed his eyes and shook his headand I realized I’d just F-bombed a Boy Scout troop.
I had a strong hate/love relationship with Nuts and everything between its pages. I, honestly, wasn’t sure if this would end up on my DNF list. 90% of my issues were in the wordiness and over detailing. I love the Farmer’s Market as much as the next person, but if I never hear about farming, animal poo, or endless varieties of food again it won’t be too soon. For the first 45% or so, Nuts was bogged down with vivid and exhausting descriptions of farming, farm land, and cooking, as well as the scenery. In all honesty, by the time I reached the second half of book, the only scenery I wanted animated description on was Leo. 

Which, luckily, came none too soon. Once everything moved past all the farming and food talk, the book picked up its pace, delivering what I have come to love from Ms. Clayton. Leo and Roxie’s relationship finally began to demand front and center control over the whole show. And let’s just say, it's delicious and dominates the rest of the book. That second half was exactly what I look for when I sit down with one of Alice’s books. 

If I had had this Roxie and Leo straight from the beginning, intermingled with the farming and cooking, this would have been a definite five star read. I really enjoyed the connection and chemistry between our protagonists. Ms. Clayton provided the perfect balance of the flirting, sexual tension, and tongue in cheek humor that left me wildly entertained. I even found Roxie’s awkwardness endearing. Plus, Nuts had that it factor I have been looking for in my books lately—low angst and minimal complications. I love me a good light-hearted and charming read. 

Around 45%, the book became quite engaging and sexy as hell. I began to devour the pages, eating up everything Roxie and Leo (well mostly Leo... *fans self*). However, I don't know if I will carry on with series. Although, I did thoroughly enjoy all the characters. Chad and Logan were so much fun. Roxie's besties were intriguing. And my interest is definitely piqued when it comes to a certain tatted and broody farmer, Oliver. Its just that I don’t think I can take anymore technical talk, no matter how HOT the heroes are. 

"I have received a complimentary copy of Nuts as a member of the XOXperts, XOXO After Dark’s official street team, in exchange for an honest review.”

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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This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Age 18 and over please. Ecopy giveaways are international. Signed/Unsigned paperback or swag giveaways are US only unless otherwise specified. Giveaway will run 10/18/15 to 10/28/15 closing at 12:00 a.m. Winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize; otherwise, a new winner will be chosen. Please allow time (up to two weeks, unless stated otherwise) for the delivery of your book. If you have not received your book within the started time please notify us. In addition, In addition, if the book has yet to release please keep in mind that the book will be distributed within two weeks of it's release date.


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