Maybe it’s because I’m already an Alice Clayton fan, and have been anticipating this new series for a while. Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie, heart and soul, fascinated by everything related to culinary arts and the farm-to-table sustainable food movement. Maybe it’s because I live in a small town where farmer’s markets thrive, but I’ve also spent time in the Hudson Valley, where this story takes place. I suspect it’s a little of each. Regardless, this dish of Nuts satisfied me like gourmet tapas – an appetizing storyline, deeply satisfying morsels of humor, spicy sex, sassy banter and hometown sentiment, mixed properly and served with a heaping helping of happy-ever-after. And a drop-dead-gorgeous, super-sexy, somewhat secretive billionaire-turned-farmer that I could lick ’til the cows come home. I believe it’s Alice’s best book yet.
Roxie is a fairly straightforward, highly relatable character, torn between the lure of her new life as a private chef in LA and her memories of a somewhat awkward and unstable upbringing in rural Bailey Falls, New York. This conflict comes into play when her mother asks her to come home and run the family diner while she takes off on an adventure of her own, leaving Roxie no choice but to reluctantly – very reluctantly – agree to fill in. In the mood for a sexy diversion, she soon finds a willing partner in the enigmatic Leo Maxwell, a former Manhattan banker from a powerful family who has left city life to establish a successful farming operation on their old estate in Bailey Falls. Their immediate connection is both hilarious and incredibly hot, as told from Roxie’s POV – you go from giggling to gasping as their sexual tension builds to the boiling point and beyond.
It’s almost too perfect to be true – creating a different kind of tension that builds subtly in the background. It’s a nagging feeling that won’t go away until some important questions are answered. Why did Leo abandon his legacy in New York for a somewhat reclusive life as a Hudson Valley farmer? Why doesn’t he talk about his past, yet live so joyously and fully in the present? Is this really just a summer fling, no strings attached, or is it something more than either of them wanted or expected? Could Roxie ever be truly happy settling down in the small town she abandoned years ago in pursuit of a better life, or is that better life standing right in front of her? (Or, just maybe bending her over a barrel on the Fourth of July…?) What will be the inevitable ‘turning point’ in their relationship – the obstacle you know is coming but can’t predict? Can there be a happy ending when the truth about Leo finally comes to light?
Relax, readers. There is no deep mystery or riveting suspense here – at its core, Nuts is a simple, sweet and relatable love story that connects with readers through the hearts of its characters. It will carry you away on a late summer journey that will leave you completely satisfied and ready to settle down with the next book in this wonderful new series. It’s Alice Clayton at her very best – so don’t hesitate to pick up these Nuts.