Cream Of The Crop by Alice Clayton
Hudson Valley #2
Published by Gallery Books on July 12, 2016
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 the 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 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?
What can I say, it was a beautiful novel in its own ways; but not as much fun as Nuts has been.
Natalie is a totally different character as Roxie, and yet I had my pleasure with her and her story about Oscar and his Brie.
Natalie is crazy about Oscar, but every time she shows up at his place at the Union Square Farmer´s Market, her mouth gets dry, her brain turns into mush and her legs are trembling like hell. Her confidence is far, far away and all she can do is say “yes” and “thank you”. With any other guy in the world she can do whatever she wants when she wants it how she wants it, but Oscar is totally different number. And when at one Monday meeting the name of Bailey Falls occurs on the schedule, she jumps right in and starts to conquer a man she doesn´t know at all except for his Brie and takes her chance.
The tone is darker, more serious and it is quite clear from almost the beginning of this second book, that Natalie is quite different from Roxie. Written in the first-person perspective the reader gets not only a closer look into what life of the wealthy born can look like, but also how Natalie had to fight to get where she is now.
Alice Clayton writes with a hint of humor, her language is blunt and some scenes are very graphic. There is, no doubt about that either, a lot more sex scenes in this plot, and Natalie has a her own charm that is sure, too. Though I had my problems to get really warm with her, to love her, the way I am in love with Roxie.
People are different and in this novel the Upper Class is shown. Not in a stiff way, but still it shines through. Natalie is very cynical, can be very, very bossy and is used to get what she wants when she wants it how she wants it. Yes, I wrote that before, and it isn´t less true now.
The reader gets very soon the feeling, that her confidence and her way of living wasn´t always like it, and that she´s had some bad experience during her earlier years.
Oscar is a man of few words. Tall, dark, and very settled within himself. If he has something to say, he does. If not, he doesn´t. Fame is one thing, money another. But being himself and living his life the way he wants it – for him the most valuable thing in the world. Don´t mess with it; because if you do, he shows you exactly where the hammer hangs. And playing nice isn´t an option then.
This was, no doubt, a wonderful read. But not as much fun as Nuts has been, though I enjoyed it very much. But read and see for yourself.
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 …