Buns by Alice Clayton
Narrated by Elizabeth Louise w/ a cameo by Jason Carpenter
3rd in a series of related standalone. Can easily stand alone. Romantic Comedy.
Alice Clayton has been one of my favorite authors since I read The Unidentified Redhead back in 2012. She writes smart and sassy women that I can totally relate to, makes me laugh out loud, the stories are unique, and I want to hug my kindle at the end of each one. The Hudson Valley series is no exception, and I feel like I can really see how Alice has grown as a writer in the past five years as well.
I didn’t find Buns quite as outrightly funny as Alice’s previous books, but her signature wit is ever-present, if that makes any sense. It was just a little more subdued in this installment. There was still plenty of witty banter and hotel and buns related innuendo, but I think the characters in this installment weren’t quite so over-the-top silly.
Clara Morgan is a workaholic. The third best friend of the group (the first two were the stars of the first two in the series), she grew up in foster care and has a lot of trouble letting people get close. She is married to her job, which keeps her traveling from place to place, making short-term relationships and friendships. She has a really cool job, taking high-end, family-owned resorts and modernizing them and rebranding them.
She is hired to re-vamp the Bryant Mountain House, an old Catskill resort with generations of traditions. The elder Bryant wants to retire and hires Clara, but his son Archie loves the traditions of his hotel, and he refuses to see what an outsider can do that he can’t, so things are sticky before they even meet. But when they do, the simmering attraction between them makes things even trickier.
“You really are a pain in the ass,”
he said, his breath fogging up the space—the very little space—between us.
“You’re the only person who’s ever told me that.”
“I find that incredibly hard to believe.”
Things get even worse from there!
“You’re incredibly rude, a know-it-all wrecking-ball girl who is more than a little bossy.”
I laughed in spite of myself. “What lovely things to say, coming from a pretentious, snobby, incredibly rude himself hotel boy who’d rather rattle around spooky hallways and spend time with antiques than listen to reason.”
Clara is a tiny girl who runs triathlons. She is not going to back down easily. Archie is a sad widow, still attached to his late wife, the only woman he has ever been with. He may be even more closed up than she is.
“Who chases someone up a mountain?”
“Who runs away from someone chasing them up a mountain?” I fired back.
“I just wanted to talk to you.”
“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!”
But as they worked together, things slowly changed. And I loved that it happened slowly.
“He laughed then, and it was magic. And it was into this magic that I did walk over to him, reach up toward him, not with my lips but with my hand, and gently brush back the shock of auburn hair that’s had fallen down over his forehead. He closed his eyes, then instantly leaned into my touch, almost like a cat. When was the last time someone had touched this guy?”
Getting involved with someone she works with goes against everything Clara is about, but at least she knows that it can’t go anywhere because she only has a couple of months at the hotel before she moves on to the next,
“No one in my entire life had ever told me they loved me. And I didn’t really know quite how to take it in… What the hell are you supposed to do when you hear these words for the first time and your first instinct is to vomit?”
- I love how much research Alice does into whatever she is writing about. I learn while being entertained by her books.
- I was so interested in the things she did in her job!
- Seeing the couples from the first two books, but you didn’t have to know or remember their stories to enjoy the interaction.
- I grew up going to the old Catskill resorts, so I totally pictured the place so well.
- The supporting characters were great.
- The pacing was wonderful. It never felt rushed or slow. I enjoyed the build-up.
- Alice’s signature wit.
- The fun innuendos about hotels and buns.
- I never expected Archie to be so hot in bed!
- It took me a little longer to warm up to both of them.
- What happened to Archie’s father? It’s like he disappeared.
The narration was excellent and added to the book. Only the epilogue was from a male POV, but I loved that addition.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 4 Heat, 5 Narration