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?
Clayton has done it again! Granted I have only read her Cocktail series, but that will soon be remedied as the brief meeting of Grace and Jack in Nuts has guaranteed that the Redhead series (which I apparently snagged on sale) will be gracing my vacation reading list this holiday season. But I am happy to report that the same level of humor that Clayton brought to the Cocktail series is as present as ever in Nuts and I for one am already salivating over the plethora of plots that Hudson Valley has to offer. Before I get to the actual story, I STRONGLY recommend you read the Acknowledgements. I rarely do, yet for some reason I found myself reading (and snorting) my way through it and it gave me a frame of reference that I think increased my enjoyment of the book.
Roxie is a blast. She’s a hoot. A one-woman comedy act, whether she means to be or not. She’s the kind of woman you want to count as one of your closest friends because you know your life will never be dull as long as she’s in it. Yes, I may very well have a girl-crush on Roxie. But it’s only fair as I was seriously crushing on Leo too … that man could farm my dell any day. What starts out as an extremely reluctant (and that’s putting it mildly folks) Roxie returning home to Hudson Valley for the summer to run the family diner while her mother runs The Amazing Race (I know!!!) quickly shapes up to be one of the best summers of Roxie’s life, all thanks to a man who really knows his nuts … and fruits and vegetables and come on, you might as well get used to it because Clayton’s writing insures that there are more opportunities for double entendres than I can possibly resist. But seriously, Leo’s passion for organic and sustainable farming was well-matched by Roxie’s passion for cooking, so their relationship made sense. Despite the built-in expiration date on their relationship – because Roxie was going back to California as soon as the summer was over – Roxie found herself falling for Leo and beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, the small-town feel of Hudson Valley was less suffocating and more comforting than it was in her youth. Yet when Roxie learns Leo’s secret, she feels as though her world is imploding once again and she’s left feeling confused, betrayed, and stung.
While there are tons of laughs throughout, it’s Roxie’s reaction to bees that had me chuckling fondly as they reminded me of a childhood friend. The chemistry between Leo and Roxie is perfect both in the bedroom and outside of it. Their first and second meetings were priceless and had me in stitches. Roxie’s reaction to Leo’s secret felt realistic and we learned far more about her in that moment than I think she was even aware of herself. Even when she decides to give Leo a chance to explain, the resolution isn’t instant as they are both hesitant as to how to move forward. Although the book is told from Roxie’s point of view, I love that Clayton tends to reserve the Epilogue for a different character’s point of view and in the case of Nuts we are treated to Leo’s. And it was perfect as was this book. I cannot wait for the next book in the Hudson Valley series. Until then, I leave you with this: ZOMBIE PICKLES!!!