Author: Alice Clayton
Series: The Hudson Valley, #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 23rd May, 2017
The third in the hilarious yet sizzling hot Hudson Valley series from New York Time and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton is LIVE!
Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….
Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.
It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.
BUNS is LIVE! One-click now!
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★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Rachel & Sharon Thérèse
We both adored the previous books in this series and couldn’t wait to get our hands on Ms Clayton’s latest offering. Her works are a sure one-click for us as she always delivers a solid storyline, her character development is par excellent and laugh out loud moments are guaranteed. Let’s talk about the cover first ‘cause if you know us gals at KFF a little bit, you’ll have a good idea how much we appreciate those ones which stand out! BUNS definitely falls into this category. Not only did we love the one-worded title; we’ll never forget it, but also the intended meaning. The definition fits those blue jeans just as well as it fits the story, and those gorgeous sun tanned arms look even more delectable than the scrumptious Easter treats!
“Sorry about the buns thing, I—”
“Buns thing, Ms. Morgan? What buns thing is that exactly?”
Out of the three full-length novels, this is definitely the one! Alice has given us a gift in the name of Archie Bryant and sorry gals, he’s ours for keeps! Okay, he might be as grumpy as a bear with a sore head, he might even be a tad sharp and tight-lipped, albeit his positive traits will eventually outweigh his negative ones. So why then does he need someone to help save the family business when as far as he’s concerned, it’s not in dire straits? Ahh, you see, it wasn’t actually him that sent out the SOS, but somebody with years of experience. In what we could only imagine to be one of the most beautiful areas in the state of New York is Bryant Mountain Hotel. Everything about it we loved. The protective staff, the charming village of Bailey Falls nearby and its folk are lovely. And traditions going back generations gave the story that true authentic feel, but who stole our hearts was Clara Morgan.
“To be fair, the Kardashians would bring a tremendous amount of coverage to the resort, one tweet from Kim alone could—”
“Ms. Morgan, I think I speak for everyone when I say not on your life.”
The name of a well-known British restaurateur who used to revamp hotels came to mind seeing as Clara’s in the same profession. Needless to say, we wasted no time ruminating since this is the only thing they have in common. It made for really interesting reading learning how she goes about tackling the job and how she would convince the most sceptical yet gorgeous owner to be that she knows what she’s doing. That she’s the best. There’s certainly no love lost between Archie and Clara. Them snapping and crackling at each other felt like real-life banter; their constant toing and froing comprehensible. Concerned for the success of the hotel for different reasons, they’ll have to meet halfway if their working relationship has any chance of moving forward. We can’t begin to tell you how these two captivated us when the heat was turned up and cleverly thought out innuendos started to fly right, left and centre thawing the ice.
“Talk to me? You want to talk to me, you ask me. You request a meeting, you send me an email, hell, you pass me a note while I’m sitting next to you at a meeting for Pete’s sake, you don’t chase me up a mountain!”
Unlike other female characters in the Hudson Valley Series’ books, Ms Clayton has developed a really strong, independent and confident female protagonist to compliment a staid, set in his ways male protagonist. Although all the characters have a uniqueness about them, for us Clara was truly special. By no means is she your typical heroine. From her backstory, we learnt why she’s so driven and why she has no inclination to settle down. Forthcoming about her past, she is not; however, in moments of weakness, we discovered more than she’d have liked to reveal.
“Eventually, Clara, you’re going to have to tell me what you’re thinking.”
Even though this isn’t Archie’s story to tell, he humored us to such a degree we smiled until it hurt, swooned and fell hard for him. We thought it would take a strong woman to make him see what he’d been missing. Ah, but who really needs a push in the right direction in this enchanting love story is for you to find out! Maybe both of them, eh? We’re not going to say a dicky bird regarding his past, but what we will say is what a marvellous person he is. The author’s descriptive writing is as such that it’s not in the least bit difficult imagining him dressed in his made to measure suit greeting his guests and controlling everything going on around him.
“The people who work here, they’re my family. They know the story, they know everything, so they never mention it. Why would they? So you see, it’s a very safe place for me. And then someone comes in, someone I never wanted here in the first place.”
How could we not mention Clara’s besties! Unless you’ve read Nuts and Cream of the Crop, you won’t have had the pleasure of meeting Roxie and Natalie respectively. We couldn’t have been happier to see the gals and their men together, how they were getting on in their lives and what they’d planned for the future.
“I’m not blushing. I’m not crushing. I’m trying to eat dinner with my two lunatic friends who came up here to visit me in my new place of work, mind you, and instead all we’re talking about is Archie Bryant’s buns!”
Ahem! Did we say steaminess abounds in this read? Ms Clayton gave us a taste of Archie and Clara’s palpable chemistry a third into the book and left us gasping for more. From then on in, the hottest passion builds up at a stealthy pace. Also, disquieting scenes sensitively conveyed in just the right places literally made us catch our breath.
“I want you, I ****ing want you more than I ever thought possible, but I’m . . . well . . . a little out of my depth here.”
What an absolutely brilliant finale! Although each book can be read as a standalone, some names, places and details are interconnected. Therefore we suggest reading them in sequence to get the whole Hudson Valley experience. To cut a long story short, (excuse the pun!), this is romance at its very best. Ms Clayton, BRAVO!
The Hudson Valley Series Amazon Links
CREAM OF THE CROP
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.