Covert Alliance by Linda O. Johnston

51jmKKDMLrLIf there is no proof a crime has been committed yet a person feels threatened, then a special section of the US Marshals called the ID Division may be able to help. The individual is protected by being given a new identity, while an operative covertly looks for concrete facts. This fascinating concept makes the latest release from Linda O. Johnston interesting, especially when a woman is determined to find clues about her missing sister on her own, but the undercover agent working the case is a man who always follows the rules. COVERT ALLIANCE intrigues as the mystery builds.

When her sister disappeared and was presumed dead, the woman now known as Kelly Ladd changed everything about herself in order to stay safe. Since the person she feels certain is the killer was never charged because there was no evidence, her life was at risk because of her accusations. So she contacted the Identity Division organization where they altered her features plus gave her a new life. But when she realized her nephew is also in possible danger, Kelly returned to Blue Haven, California and became a waitress in the hope of keeping the boy from any harm.

While Kelly has come back for personal reasons to the place where her sister was last seen, there is also a man in the town who is secretly working for the ID Division. Alan Correy is looking for anything that will prove what was stated about one particular resident is true. But when he figures out the woman who should not be in the area is a café employee, he worries she will be spotted by others. When Alan confronts Kelly, they decide to let her stay for a time though he is not happy, yet perhaps getting what they need will go faster with two people looking.

Since threats for most of the book are only alleged and not actually backed up by any physical actions, there is a feeling of anticipation throughout the story of what might happen. As I waited for clues to be revealed, the mystery of what happened in the past just kept getting bigger. Linda O. Johnston gives a few indications here and there of the truth, making me appreciate each clever hint.

Though Kelly knows she should not have come back to the town, concern for her nephew overrode her own well-being. I think her unease is a big reason Alan went along with her plan instead of making her go back into hiding, and she is not a huge risk-taker which could have led to her actual identity being discovered. As they try to uncover any information about her sister and nephew, these two become more than a working team. There was something between them from the moment they spied each other, and the emotional pull only becomes stronger as they get to know one another. Although Alan is someone who never disobeys orders, his feelings for Kelly play a big part in making him go against what he perceives as a wrong. Personal feelings are definitely a powerful motivator for both of them. Though not a lot of action-packed suspense, the mystery of what previously took place in Blue Haven kept me reading. Numerous uncertainties in COVERT ALLIANCE add to the enjoyment.

Received copy from author

Series:  ID Division

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  August 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gut4t9u

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.lindaojohnston.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood

51gnSAWul5LImaginative developments and colorful characters make the first book in the Camelot Reborn miniseries constantly enthralling. The legend of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table gets a creative twist when Sharon Ashwood gives them the chance to prove their bravery in the modern world. One of the most well-known knights, Gawain, comes back to life, ready to fight for what he believes is right. I have always been fascinated with this fable, wondering about any truths connected to it. After reading Ms. Ashwood’s ideas of what this individual might have been like long ago and the traits that he still possesses, I am even more in love with this fascinating myth. ENCHANTED WARRIOR is an unforgettable romantic story filled with riveting adventures.

When Tamsin Greene is confronted by a man inside a church located at Medievaland Theme Park where she works, he wants answers to several questions. As a historian, she does know much about the authentic structure which has been brought from England to the United States, but the strange actions of Gawain frighten her at first. His inquiry about tombs connected to the church does intrigue Tamsin, making her wish to uncover what happened to everything that is now missing. Though the man says he will be back to learn what she comes across, anything found out will be for her benefit, not his.

Gawain was a Knight of the Round Table and lived many years ago, but a spell by Merlin made him sleep until his services are needed once more. And they are currently necessary, as a long-lasting disagreement with the faery is about to cause much trouble to humans. Since time is short before these beings start causing even more chaos, Gawain must find the other knights who also served with King Arthur as they are the only ones who might be able to defeat this powerful enemy. But when he realizes Tamsin is a witch, he wonders whose side she will be on.

After reading ENCHANTED WARRIOR, I am very eager to learn what Sharon Ashwood will have happening in future Camelot Reborn stories. Her ingenious blending of incidents in the past with events in the twenty-first century results in a story which is believable with frightening possibilities. Supernatural beings with evil intentions are harming humans, and it is up to a group of knights who previously fought to protect the innocent to once again take up their swords and be prepared to die for a cause. Ms. Ashwood had me convinced that every scene could have occurred just as depicted, regardless of what type of creature appears or the abilities it had. When any individuals who might have lived long ago show up, I was excited to see how the author would portray them.

The relationship of Gawain and Tamsin is certainly complicated. Luckily, the spell put upon the knight let him be familiar with his new surroundings when he awakened, so this was not a problem for them to overcome. But her being a witch is a major obstacle for him, as he has a reason to mistrust the powers of someone like her. A knight is an all-time favorite hero for me, and Gawain definitely has all the qualities that make a man a true champion. Tamsin is also a wonderful heroine, as she can be gutsy yet is also compassionate when a situation calls for it. Passionate people, these two know what they want and are not afraid to go after their heart’s desire. The second book is highly anticipated. Originality makes ENCHANTED WARRIOR memorable.

Received copy from author

Series:  Camelot Reborn

Publisher:  Harlequin Nocturne

Releases:  February 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jodvw6m

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://www.sharonashwood.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

516QfylailL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_When a business trip goes terribly wrong in the newest Half-Moon Hollow story, an obsessively phobic human along with a vampire with questionable intentions find themselves in a fight to survive. Any time I hear the words Half-Moon Hollow, lots of original characters are brought to mind. I cannot help but smile when I recall some of the individuals created for the paranormal books by Molly Harper, as they always have distinctive personalities and often unusual traits. For the latest compelling story in the series, the author gives us a couple who seem to have nothing in common except the will to not die permanently. With much of the book concentrating on the main two characters, it easily stands alone. But never fear, many of those beings who live in Half-Moon Hollow do show up and offer plenty of laughs the moment they start talking. Get ready to be highly amused when reading the hilarious WHERE THE WILD THINGS BITE.

A package being delivered to Half-Moon Hollow was too important to trust with just anyone, so Anna Whitfield had to get on the very small plane with its unpleasant pilot. But since the bibliographer wants to quickly get the book she has authenticated back to the bookstore belonging to Jane Jameson, there is no other alternative. When the pilot suddenly tries to take the valuable item from Anna, she knows her fears about flying are about to become even worse. Fortunately for her, there is one other person on the flight, and he keeps her package from being stolen. But things do go downhill when their disabled aircraft crashes.

Now Anna and Finn Palmeroy are somewhere in the Kentucky hills, with not much going in their favor. One big problem causing much anxiety is the fact her savior is a vampire with no available nourishment source except for her. As Anna and Finn wander through the wilderness with no clue of what will happen next, they grudgingly work together in order to hopefully be rescued.

If Molly Harper writes a paranormal story, then countless laugh inducing situations are assured. Poor Anna and all the things she feared had me occasionally feeling her pain because I am not the most adventurous person, yet several of the concerns are such outrageous possibilities that I just had to chuckle. I did like how she managed to overcome several worries when an incident turned threatening, as it showed her intelligence for remembering what had been read. Since the book is from her viewpoint, I came to know Anna very well. Finn is more of a mystery, as he was not as open about sharing his way of thinking, but he does gradually reveal a snippet here and there. Some information is quite surprising.

There are a large number of emotional issues between Anna and Finn. At first, her phobias are the main cause. Then his being a vampire adds to her doubts. And with the way her mind works, she comes up with a huge group of matters that need concrete answers to vanquish what theories have popped into her thoughts. While most of the book is written to cause giggles, a few serious events gave the story some touching episodes. More books are scheduled in the series, and I am overjoyed because I can never get enough of the Half-Moon Hollow characters. Comedy never ceases in WHERE THE WILD THINGS BITE.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Half-Moon Hollow – Book 8

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  July 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gvljf85

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://mollyharper.com/

Rating: 4 Stars

To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne

418njPNHDZL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_As soon as the enchanting Wedding Belles prequel was read, I was eager to see what happened to another wedding planner at the exclusive New York City shop. In the first full length story of the series, I was treated to lots of amusing conversations plus some very lifelike emotional troubles, where numerous characters drew me into their fascinating lives. From professional colleagues to good friends to lovers, I wanted to discover much about these individuals as their lives became intertwined. Some moments are exceedingly happy while others are totally heartbreaking, where each instance is portrayed with realism. The Wedding Belles series is off to a compelling start, as Lauren Layne has created delightful characters with whom to connect. TO HAVE AND TO HOLD keeps the entertainment flowing with laughs and sighs.

After Seth Tyler became the CEO of Tyler Hotel Group when his father suddenly died, he has made certain that all dealings run smoothly. But when his sister, Maya, unexpectedly announces she is getting married and is over-the-top excited, he has suspicions about the future groom yet tries to appear thrilled for her. When his sibling manages to get Wedding Belles to coordinate all aspects of her upcoming marriage, she knows it will be a very special event. The newest wedding planner, Brooke Baldwin, will be working to make sure every step is completely enjoyable.

When Brooke left Los Angeles and moved to New York City, she wanted to leave any feelings related to the man whom she almost married back on the west coast, as he was a skillful liar. Just hired at Wedding Belles, she is ready to prove her abilities by making her first client’s ideas come true. Though the bride and groom seem agreeable, the older brother of Maya is more than a little tense, but Brooke guesses the wealthy tycoon wants to know where his money will be going. But the real reason Seth keeps showing up during every occasion where decisions are made is to uncover the true motives of the groom. If he could just get the tempting Brooke on his side, it would make determining the truth easier while letting them get closer.

Lauren Layne is known for writing humorous scenes, and her talent can be seen all throughout TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. Whether it is a chat between Seth and his best friend Grant, or a discussion where Brooke and the controlling brother of the bride have some sharp words, the dialogue is often cleverly funny. The two men are especially hilarious, as some of their talks are just as I would imagine occurring when males are together. There are also some incidents where emotional turmoil takes place, as Seth and Brooke do have some serious conflicts from time to time. Occasionally, the issues deal with how they react to a problem connected to his sister, while other battles are concerned with more personal matters. I definitely felt for each one of them when a predicament seemed hopeless, as I could sense how deeply they were affected. Sexual tension is high, causing encounters to be particularly heated.

There is also some drama associated with the wedding of Maya, and I found this secondary plot to be interesting as I did not know how everything would end. The other employees at Wedding Belles are very intriguing, and I am glad the next book comes out soon. A wonderful start to a captivating series.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  The Wedding Belles – Book 1

Publisher:  Pocket

Releases:  July 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jldf59y

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://laurenlayne.com/

Rating:  4 Stars

Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin

51Yqay5eZFL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_There is always an abundance of sentiments in a story by Amelia Autin, and KILLER COUNTDOWN has heartfelt emotions from the opening scene until the very last event. The author makes certain any reactions are genuine, as I never stopped to wonder why a character would behave in a certain way. This commitment to accuracy has the latest Man on a Mission installment being not only riveting but also deeply affecting. I could easily sense what a character was feeling, and a wide range of emotions are definitely expressed in the story. There is plenty of dangerous peril from almost the beginning, and the jeopardy to Shane Jones and Carly Edwards only escalates as each hour passes. Though the reader is privy to some possible risks, I certainly did not know how episodes would turn out when plots were put into motion. As the threats increased, so did my unease of any incidents to come.

After suffering an unusual health problem, Senator Shane Jones receives a shocking verdict for his symptoms and cannot help but feel distraught. When he was no longer a US Marine and then became a senator from Colorado, he made it his goal to make good decisions at all times. Now he fears this career may be over, and for at least the present, Shane is going to keep his ailment a secret. Buy a clever TV reporter manages to learn what he is hiding.

When it comes to getting the news and letting the public know the facts, Carly Edwards is one of best. Yet what Shane reveals has her making a deal with him, one benefiting them both. But it is soon apparent there is even more pressing matters linked to the senator when several situations could have had deadly outcomes, and Carly becomes caught up in the circumstances. Not knowing the reason for the attacks, Shane can only speculate about the motive. Until facts are uncovered, he wants to keep Carly close, especially when it becomes evident both are being targeted.

From the start, KILLER COUNTDOWN drew me into every single aspect of the story. From an unexpected illness and all its potential consequences to the danger resulting from growing threats, I was eager to discover what would be the end result. Details about Shane’s physical troubles are realistic, and his responses are very candid. How Carly reacts to his condition is also convincing, as her feelings can often not be completely concealed. While this couple may not let their every inner thought become known to the other, they are refreshingly honest about many important occurrences that happen after they meet. Since I respected Shane and Carly so much, my concern for them was sincere. The one part of their relationship in which they are exceedingly upfront is how they connected sexually, where they put their whole hearts into any intimacy because of how much they cared.

Amelia Autin skillfully lets the reader know what peril might be in store for Shane and Carly, but nothing is ever assured until all plays out. The information given about those who want to cause harm to these two was just enough to let me get an idea of their aims, yet still did not divulge all the specifics. This had me constantly fearful for these likable individuals. Sometimes I love everything about the romantic couple, and this is certainly true for Shane and Carly. KILLER COUNTDOWN is intriguingly believable and emotional.

Received copy from author

Series:  Man on a Mission

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  August 1, 2016

Purchase:   http://tinyurl.com/hkbzg2v

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.ameliaautin.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

Unwanted by Jennifer Estep

51XS1WbM3tL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Though Finnegan Lane often comes up with a comment that expresses his opinion about a subject, his statements are more than likely to be supportive of his foster sister, Gin Blanco. But in the last Elemental Assassin book, the suave banker made a terrible error in judgment, one which cost not only lives in the city of Ashland but also his reputation. Now Finn is seen as someone who cannot be trusted. I am truly delighted to get the actual views of this much-loved character straight from him, especially since his life has undergone such recent drastic changes. Jennifer Estep does not let Finn off the hook without paying his dues for a huge past mistake, and I am just glad for the opportunity to discover how he was really feeling because he is a master at hiding his reactions. UNWANTED is an emotional journey of seeking redemption.

His competency as an investment banker has made the career of Finnegan Lane very successful, and many townsfolk in Ashland want him as their financial advisor. But everything changed one day when the truth was finally revealed and events turned tragic. Finn had believed the lies told to him by a close relative, and it resulted in the deaths of people with whom he worked. Most everyone blames him for what happened, and no one is more unforgiving about his choices than himself.

One of the most disheartening obligations Finn has to do is attend the funerals of the killed bank guards, as he can see the shattering outcome of his actions. He has vowed to himself that he will take care of the families belonging to those slain, no matter what they need. Right after the last funeral is held, a disturbing occurrence involving a greedy giant takes place. Finn knows the time has come for him to offer his assistance, whether it is desired or not.

While Finn has been a prominent character in the Elemental Assassin books, the main focus is always on Gin. So it was interesting to finally see a situation from his perspective, troubled feelings and all other notions. He may have remained a fashionable dresser, but much else about his life is certainly not the same. Jennifer Estep takes Finn through one emotional episode after another, where he can learn from his devastating miscalculation, or become someone who wallows in self-pity. The author definitely had me caught up in the circumstances that unexpectedly arise, and wanting to know how everything would turn out kept me reading the story straight through. Although not long, Finn’s story has a big impact on what to expect from this wonderful character in the next Elemental Assassin book. UNWANTED intrigues with compelling experiences.

Copy received from publisher

Series:  Elemental Assassin – Book 14.5

Publisher:  Pocket Star

Releases:  July 18, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/j3stpsf

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Author website:  http://www.jenniferestep.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

A Baby for Agent Colton by Jennifer Morey

51qiCiMjo0LLots of uncertainties can be found all throughout the sixth Coltons of Texas story. Several unknowns are linked to the ongoing murder cases connected to the Alphabet Killer, while other doubts are associated with the relationship of two FBI agents. Add in some suspenseful action plus an abundance of emotional issues, and the story is repeatedly riveting. Jennifer Morey has created a compelling installment in the continuity series where secrets abound. A BABY FOR AGENT COLTON has mysteries to solve and unpredicted feelings to explore.

FBI agent Trevor Colton does not let his cases become personal, and he will never again let himself be attracted to one of the female agents. But Jocelyn Locke has the type of personality that draws him to her, making it hard to resist the strong sexual pull. When he learns what motivated her to become an agent, their similar reasons make him feel even closer to her. After a very long day of work, Trevor and Jocelyn give in to the temptation and discover what is between them.

With no luck in locating the prime suspect in the Alphabet Killer murders, the current case Trevor and Jocelyn are working on is not moving forward. One big surprise does occur when she finds their night together resulted in her being pregnant. Trevor does talk Jocelyn into getting married, yet she wonders if they will ever be united by more than a baby. To hopefully track down the elusive killer and keep any more deaths from happening, a plan involving her is approved by the FBI. With his new wife now in possible danger, Trevor will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

Since A BABY FOR AGENT COLTON closes out the first phase of The Coltons of Texas continuity, several questions are answered before the storyline goes in a new direction. Jennifer Morey certainly added in plenty of twists to her contribution, where danger keeps escalating while emotions remain confused. The Alphabet Killer plot has been fascinating in all the previous books, and the threats from this cunning person just keep escalating. I never knew when this individual would cause trouble, and the unexpectedness of several incidents caught me off guard. When the outcome of a situation was very unpredictable, I became nervous as I waited for the episode to finally conclude. The intrigue in A BABY FOR AGENT COLTON is imaginative.

Trevor and Jocelyn put much effort in catching the cold-blooded murderer because they are dedicated FBI agents, but their personal relationship also needs attention or it may not turn into one that lasts. Misgivings about their marriage are often on both of their minds, and when they stated how they felt, I hurt right along with them. Trevor has so many doubts because of his background, and it has kept him from being the kind of partner who believes his future will be bright. All the Colton siblings have been deeply affected by having a serial killer father, and being able to open up about their feelings is not always easy. Jocelyn quickly finds herself in a situation which will force some difficult conversations to take place. Jennifer Morey takes her couple on a bumpy ride as a difference of opinion causes challenges. The story ends in an interesting way, and I look forward to seeing what will happen to Josie in her book.

Copy received from author

Series:  Coltons of Texas

Publisher:  Harlequin Romantic Suspense

Releases:  June 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/z5fxtsk

Genre:  Suspense

Author website:  http://www.jenniferamorey.com/

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Under Her Spell by Brandy Walker

518QHS5eoSLThe Keystone Predators series begins with a paranormal story filled with interesting developments and charming characters. When a particularly intriguing heroine comes in contact with a wolf-shifter who could be her future mate, they end up facing situations where difficult choices must be made and feelings need to be confessed. Brandy Walker has imagined an enthralling storyline for her compelling couple. I enjoyed going along on their journey to finding possible happiness, as there are surprises to be revealed and passions to explore. UNDER HER SPELL has some humor, a little drama and lots of lusty sex.

Since Diego Mendoza belongs to the Keystone Predators Pack in Arizona and is their Beta, he handles many essential duties assigned to him. To help in celebrating the wedding of his Alpha, he has been fetching guests who arrive at nearby airports and bringing them to the compound where the Pack lives near the Grand Canyon. The last person to arrive is a cousin named Daphne Moore. Although Diego usually has no trouble talking to females, being with this woman leaves his wolf confused because of the way she affects it. When they get to the compound, he learns the newcomer has some problems with her family.

Though not her fault, Daphne’s life has been a constant struggle. With a wolf-shifter father and a mother who is a witch, her relatives think she needs to decide which part should control her. But that would mean abandoning one side of her makeup, something not easy for her as both are important. Even after Diego discovers more about Daphne, he still wants to see if she could be the one that will be with him forever, regardless of what abilities she possesses.

While Diego was previously met in another series, his own book is a great start to the Keystone Predators series. It catches you up on some prior happenings, and I definitely want to know more about many of the delightful members of this Pack. Whether a character has been in the Pack for years or is still very young, these shape-shifters are very appealing and have much to say. While some conversations are serious, there are an equal number that are amusing. There are also a wide range of feelings in the story, from blissful satisfaction to anger to hopeful.

Finding a mate was not anticipated by either Diego or Daphne when they first interacted, but their wolf side quickly let them know. I really had fun watching these two go through so many emotions as they learned about each other. His shock at some of her capabilities as a witch made for enjoyable scenes, and I liked how Daphne stood up for herself. Being rejected so often because of her heritage had me feeling badly for her a number of times, and I anxiously waited to see how Diego would respond during certain situations. Being wolf-shifters, the couple is very passionate, and they certainly know how to make an encounter pleasurable. Brandy Walker has created an engaging new series, and UNDER HER SPELL is cleverly entertaining.

Received copy from author

Series:  Keystone Predators – Book 1

Publisher:  TEZ Publishing

Releases:  January 26, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/gw7raad

Genre:  Paranormal

Author website:  http://brandywalker.net/

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Wedding Date with the Army Doc by Lynne Marshall

51UcOQgBveL._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)Lynne Marshall puts plenty of heart into her Harlequin Medical Romances, where personal lives and careers dealing with health matters entwine. In WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC, a number of dramatic issues make romantic relationships difficult for two people, yet both have so much to offer someone if they are willing to take a gamble. As the couple makes their way through the highs and lows of being together, their lives are filled with unexpected joy but also painful distress.

Since she is a pathologist in a California hospital, Charlotte Johnson meets all types of doctors. Though several of them are definitely good-looking and unwed, she does not want to be in any relationship at this time. When she made the choice to have elective surgery in the hope of avoiding a disease that could be deadly, Charlotte knew there would be no romantic connections taking place soon. But she does enjoy dreaming about all the what-ifs, especially if they involve surgeon, Dr. Jackson Hilstead.

When Jackson seems to want more than to just be friends with Charlotte, she would really like to explore the possibilities between them. Yet fears about his potential response keep her from pushing for anything more. But there are some things in Jackson’s life that Charlotte does not know, so it becomes a question of who will be the first to open up and what kind of impact it will have on their futures.

After reading WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC, a Summer Brides story, I was filled with such good feelings. Though the book has some incidents where problems are at the forefront, there is always a ray of hope in the background, even if it is only very slight. Lynne Marshall has taken several real life predicaments and created a story often filled with positive optimism. The genuineness of many struggles moved me at times, particularly when the dilemmas came across as so true-to-life. Circumstances are definitely conceivable, while any reactions of Jackson and Charlotte are candidly sincere. As events played out, there were a few instances where I smiled so big because their pleasure was very obvious.

The past has not been exactly kind to either Charlotte or Jackson. Tough decisions have been made by both of them, and the results of what they chose have greatly affected their current lives. There is also an unpredicted episode in Jackson’s earlier life that could have a bearing on how he is seen by others. Since being rejected because of what has happened to each of them is always in the back of their minds, I was anxious to discover how Jackson and Charlotte would respond when secrets are finally revealed.

Any medical aspects in the story are very compelling. Whether a condition pertains to the main couple or someone else, all details are credible and let me experience anything related to the situation right along with the characters. The background of Lynne Marshall lets her write medical romances that are profoundly touching plus convincing. WEDDING DATE WITH THE ARMY DOC is upliftingly romantic.

Received copy from author

Series:  Summer Brides

Publisher:  Harlequin Medical Romance

Releases:  July 1, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/hrhzarv

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://lynnemarshall.com/

Rating:  5 Stars

 

Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

513T2hWR61LSometimes, two people are drawn to each other before they officially meet. But upon speaking with one another, the fascination might quickly vanish or make the couple want to see where the attraction goes. In the second Hudson Valley book, two individuals who are opposite in so many ways began a romantic affair, not once thinking about commitment at first. Then their lives start to become more entangled, and choices made could bring happiness or doom them on the spot. Alice Clayton never ceases to amaze with her ingeniously created storylines, as CREAM OF THE CROP has truly believable circumstances featuring characters that are particularly realistic.

If something needs to be promoted in order to be more visible or successful, then Natalie Grayson is the person with whom to work. She is an advertising executive with a Manhattan agency, and her talent for creating just the right campaign makes her highly sought after. At the end of each workweek, she has a habit of going to a store that sells all types of cheeses, and one of her new favorites comes from a dairy named Bailey Falls Creamery. She is already familiar with some products made there, as it has a booth at a nearby farmer’s market each Saturday. Although she has tried many of the cheeses made right on the farm, it is the man selling the dairy items that she actually wants to taste.

Since Oscar Mendoza is the owner of Bailey Falls Creamery, he knows bringing the freshly made products to sell straight to the public can be very profitable. There are many repeat customers every weekend, so there is no question about them liking what he brings. Natalie definitely is fond of what is sold, and she wants to know Oscar better, yet all her self-assurance with men vanishes whenever she visits his booth. So all she has is fantasies. But when a campaign takes her to the town of Bailey Falls, maybe all those lustful thoughts can become reality.

Whenever an Alice Clayton book is read, laughs are absolutely guaranteed. CREAM OF THE CROP has its share of scenes where chuckles cannot be contained, and I had to stop reading during one specific incidence because of all the tears from laughing so hard. I have no idea how she comes up with the huge number of situations filled with witty banter and comical thoughts. Natalie says what she wants, regardless of the location, and this made several of her comments even funnier. Since Oscar usually has very little to say, any humorous remarks by him are often unanticipated. Much of the story takes place in the country, and it results in some amusing moments because of Natalie’s sophisticated behavior.

The relationship of Oscar and Natalie is definitely preoccupied with sex when it begins, where encounters are explosive along with being extremely satisfying. I had to sigh at their eagerness on numerous occasions, as the descriptive details told me just how impatient Natalie and Oscar were at that time. Alice Clayton writes sex scenes which are hot yet also creative, and several in this story are cleverly inventive. CREAM OF THE CROP never skimps on steaminess. Any drama in the book shows a side of Natalie and Oscar that they do not let others normally discover, and I nervously waited to see what each would eventually decide. There are so many delightful secondary characters in the story, and their conversations with the main couple are often a hoot. I cannot wait to revisit the picturesque town of Bailey Falls in the Hudson Valley.

Received copy from publisher

Series:  Hudson Valley

Publisher:  Gallery

Releases:  July 12, 2016

Purchase:  http://tinyurl.com/jaem6vd

Genre:  Contemporary

Author website:  http://aliceclayton.com/

Rating:  4.5 Stars