Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton
The Hudson Valley Series #2. Romantic Comedy. Can stand alone but I recommend you read Nuts first for the best experience.
I have loved Alice Clayton’s book since she released the Redhead Series a few years ago. She knows how to mix a smart, fun, totally relatable heroine with a sexy guy for just the right mix of humor, heat and heart. Alice is also outspoken about being a curvy woman, so when she made Cream of the Crop have a size 18 heroine, I thought that was awesome.
Side note: I was on a little Brittany Gibbons panel with Alice as well as Jasinda Wilder discussing curvy women in the bedroom a few years ago. Check it out here <–YouTube.
We were first introduced to Natalie and Oscar in Nuts. While Cream of the Crop does stand alone, I would advise reading Nuts first to get a feel for the town and it’s inhabitants first. Because Bailey Falls is almost like another character in the book, it’s so integral to the series. As a huge fan of It’s A Wonderful Life, I always think of this town like Bedford Falls, and I was thrilled when Alice finally brought that up.
I freaking LOVED Natalie. It is such a pleasure reading about a woman who isn’t a virgin!!! Natalie reminded me of a size 18 version of Samantha from Sex in the City. She was so full of sex appeal and confidence, she knew just how to work it so she can have any guy tied around her finger.
Size-eighteen women were supposed to be timid. Size-eighteen women were supposed to be shy. Size eighteen women were supposed to be grateful for any male attention, and to feel especially honored if a good-looking main paid attention to them.
Fuck all that noise. I took the best looking guy home with me whenever and however I pleased.
I spoke with an old friend (a guy) about women and weight recently. He told me that it didn’t matter what size a woman was, it was how confident they are in their skin. He told me confidence was the sexiest thing in a woman. That was a great point Alice made in Cream of the Crop.
Natalie was a total New Yorker. She loved everything about it. She rocked her curves. She wore sky-high designer shoes. She owned her sexuality. She was a top advertising account executive, and she loved cheese. She strutted around her city like she owned it and made no apologies. Any other dreams she may have were kept locked up in a secret cupboard.
Every Saturday, she strutted around the farmer’s market. But when she got the the Bailey Falls Creamery booth to pick up some cheese, Oscar, the gorgeous tattooed dairy farmer threw her off her game like nobody ever did. She couldn’t look at him, let alone talk to him. So week after week, she pined away, while all they exchanged was this:
Natalie’s best friend, Roxie, lived up in Bailey Falls with her own hot farmer, on the farm right next to Oscar’s. So when Natalie gets an opportunity to do an ad campaign for Bailey Falls, she jumps on it. And she finally hops on a train to spend the weekend in the country, petticoat and all.
Seeing this city girl in the country is funny as hell. But even funnier is what happens when she comes face to face with Oscar the first time. I was snort-laughing and woke up Mr. Ana! But what happened a few minutes later with Oscar and Natalie in the barn made me want to wake up Mr. Ana for other reasons 😉
Oscar is a man of very few words. He is the opposite of everything Natalie. As sexy as he was, I had a bit of a hard time with the amount of effort he put into the relationship. Even his compliments weren’t all that glowing!
“I love watching your great big ass.”
“Hold up,” I said, placing one hand on his chest and slowing his roll. “Are you saying great big ass? Or great comma big ass?
He looked at me quizzically. “Great comma big ass?”
This was going to be harder than I thought. “Okay, I’m confused. So you’re not saying I have a great big…ass, you’re saying that I have a great…big ass. Meaning–”
“Your ass is big. And it’s great.” He dipped down to bring his face to within inches of mine. “How is that confusing?”
It took some time to get to know Oscar, but I loved when he opened up to Natalie, and calling her ‘Pinup’ was awesome. I never fully fell head over heels with him, but I loved Natalie enough to make up for it.
Oscar reminded me of Mr. Ana a little. Really not a big talker, really manly, and obsessed with big butt 🙂 No complaints.
- I loved Natalie! A plus-sized confident woman in a regular story marketed to everyone was awesome.
- I loved that she was sexually experienced, a rare find in books.
- I fell even more in love with the town in upstate NY, and loved the It’s a Wonderful Life mention.
- Visiting with Roxie, Leo and Polly from Nuts, as well as Chad and Logan.
- Natalie’s family reminded me of mine.
- Despite her outward confidence and strength, there was a very vulnerable center we got to see.
- Oscar is a big, sexy, manly farmer of few words, but he is big enough to manhandle Natalie!
- Oscar was just a bit too laid back. I like the alpha male who takes his woman no matter what, and he didn’t grab her. In fact, she forgave him for some behavior that was really uncalled for.
- Missy. I thought she would be the big conflict in the story, but I almost felt like she wasn’t used enough.
- I never fully felt the full connection between them. I mean there was lots of sex, but there wasn’t quite enough of the falling in love.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.5 stars, 4 Heat
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