Review: Cream of the Crop (Hudson Valley #2) by Alice Clayton

Title: Cream of the Crop
Author: Alice Clayton
Publisher/Year: Gallery Books 7/12/16
Length:   336 Pages
Series:  Hudson Valley #2


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?

My Thoughts

I’m really enjoying this series – it’s sweet with just the right amount of sexy and the story is just so genuine that it’s exactly what i needed right now.  Not major angst – no fear of someone dying – just sweet love and the development of a relationship.

So we met Oscar briefly in the first book about Roxy and Leo – he’s the owner of the dairy farm next door and clearly there’s something in the milk that he’s got since he’s the second sexy man in the town that we get to meet.  Then there’s Natalie who we also met in the first story – best friend of Roxy and a girl that we learn is just as confident if not more than Roxy.

So Natalie’s back story is one that we kind of expect when reading about Manhattanites.  She’s from a wealthy family and had all the privilege that come with that – great apartment, great schools, amazing clothes etc.  She also has a job that she loves and is thriving at and it makes us see that she’s got the world eating out of the palm of her hand.  Granted the confidence that she has now is because she was teased and tormented growing up for being a bit larger than most girls, but it’s something that she owns now and uses to her best ability.  She’s able to get any man that she wants.  That is until Oscar.

Oscar is so mysterious that we really don’t know anything about him.  He’s a man of few words and that’s something that makes it even more intriguing.  What’s his back story, how did he come to Bailey Falls etc.

When these two are finally forced together through a campaign that Natalie’s taken on to help bring tourism to Bailey Falls, we see that they have so much chemistry that it’s on fire, and there’s no stopping them.  If you though Leo and Roxy had it bad, these two are giving them a run for their money.

The story here becomes quite sweet.  Because of Natalie’s past experience, she’s not willing to allow herself to get involved with a man past a night.  Sh’es the one who needs to be in control and when Oscar seems to be more than that, it makes her scared.  She’s also not willing to compromise who she is and what she does and that becomes a complication since she’s a city girl and he’s not. With Oscar too, we see that he’s got a past.  He’s got an ex-wife who seems like she wants to not be an ex, and we finally get out of him what his back story is and that becomes a problem down the line.

What we get when it all runs it’s course is a sweet romance.  The question becomes who will have to give up some of what they are and who they are in order to make it work, and can they?  we see that it’s too big of a question at one point and they go their separate ways but who will be the bigger person to make it stick?  I enjoy this, and i continue to enjoy what Ms Clayton brings to us so i can’t wait to get into Buns – the third installment.  Enjoy!