Buns

Buns

by Alice Clayton

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Overview

Buns by Alice Clayton

The third in the hilarious yet sizzling hot Hudson Valley series from New York Time and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton.

Clara Morgan is living the dream, if you can call rebranding hotels that are desperate for a new life and running any kind of marathon a dream. Which she does. But the career she loves and the endurance races that keep her adrenaline pumping have kept her too busy to put down any roots. Growing up in foster care, she’s never been able to establish traditions of her own, which may be why she’s fascinated by the rituals that generations-old family resorts are known for. She’s especially interested in the Bryant Mountain House, and not just for their secret recipe for the yummy, gooey, can’t-get-enough-of Hot Cross Buns….

Archie Bryant, the man with the Buns, is fifth generation and one-day-owner of the charming yet run-down Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls, New York. He’s determined to save his family’s legacy from the wrecking ball the old-fashioned way—by gritting his teeth and doing what needs to be done. There’s no way Archie will be influenced by the new hotel branding expert his father brought in to turn one hundred and fifty years of tradition on its head just to attract a faster, younger, slicker crowd. But when some of Clara’s ideas start bringing in new, paying customers, Archie can’t deny that she may have just given him a shot at keeping his resort open.

It’s sticky, it’s messy, it’s sweet, it’s Buns.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501118173
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 05/23/2017
Series: Hudson Valley Series , #3
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 460,121
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alice Clayton worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. And she finally got her Bernese Mountain Dog.

Read an Excerpt

Buns

Chapter 1


“Partner?”

“Partner.”

“Partner?”

“Partner.”

“Partner?”

“Not if you continue to have this newly developed comprehension problem, but yes, Clara. Partner.”

Whoa.

I sat across three feet of mahogany desk from inarguably my favorite adult in the entire world, who happened to also be my boss, and she just told me that if I was able to knock this next job out of the park, I’d be promoted to partner.

I breathed in, then out. In, then out. This was one of those moments—the kind you read about, the kind you remember later on in life when you reminisce about the good old days and you point to it as though it were a blue ribbon, plucking this day out of all the others and festooning it with colors and sparkles and maybe a unicorn. One day I’d look back and say that was the day my life changed. That all the hard work and hours and weekends spent in the office and missed dates and skipped parties and blood and sweat and tears became worth it because I’d arrived here, in this space and time, and I’d finally carved out a place in this world that was mine.

Barbara smiled, watching me take it all in, likely being able to see my wheels turning. She hired me five and a half years ago, took me under her wing and mentored me every step of the way. And now she was handing me the keys to the kingdom. Partner in one of the most well-known and well-respected branding agencies in the country. If . . .

“So Bryant Mountain House leaps into the twenty-first century, and I get to see my name on the letterhead?”

She nodded. “That’s the deal, kiddo.”

I breathed in, then out. In, then out.

I smiled. “I’ll head down there tomorrow.”



I didn’t own a car. Not that uncommon when you consider I’m on the road nearly 80 percent of the year, and when I was home in Boston I pretty much walked everywhere I needed to go. The nightmare traffic in Boston was enough to make me change the channel the few times I’d actually paused to watch a car commercial, wondering if I should part with some of my hard-earned dollars and finally bite the bullet.

I did love to drive, though, and took any excuse to head out onto the open road whenever a long-term job opened up. And let’s face it, long-term jobs basically described my entire life.

But now I was about to be, maybe, possibly, made partner in this career I loved so much. Was this real? Was this happening? Was this—

“Just make sure she’s full of gas, okay?”

I snapped back into the present at the Hertz rental car lot on the edge of town. I’d been daydreaming while this kid had been lecturing me on my full-tank options.

“Sure, sure, gas. Full of it. You got it.” I patted the roof of my rental, a beige four-door Corolla. Solid. Safe. Dependable. Utterly boring. “Am I good to go?” I was anxious to get on the road. It was only four hours to Bryant Mountain House, but I wanted to make sure I had time to scope things out before dinner.

“Yep, where ya headed?”

“Catskills, upstate New York . . .” I trailed off as a car inched forward out of the car wash, catching my eye. Early spring in the Northeast, when everything was sullen and gray, muddy and cold, was one of the earth’s uglier moments. But when this beautiful convertible, shiny and red and all kinds of pretty, rolled out and reminded the world what summer looked like, I couldn’t stop staring. It was bold, brash, braggy, and wholly unnecessary.

And eight kinds of fun.

The kid followed my gaze, raising an eyebrow in appreciation.

I pointed. “How much is that one?”

“Niiiiice,” he replied, his estimation of me going up a few notches. Born seven weeks premature, I’ve always been on the teeny side. Dressed in black leggings, black wellies that practically swallowed me whole even though they were the smallest size in stock, and a black rain slicker to keep the intermittent drizzle off me, I looked like I belonged in a beige four-door Corolla.

But underneath that rain slicker was a cherry-red clingy T-shirt. And underneath the leggings were cherry-red silk panties. And as I took off my ball cap and ran my hands through my hair, turning my pixie cut into short little blond spikes, I spoke through cherry-red painted lips.

“Yeah, I’m gonna need that one.”

Twenty minutes later I blazed out of Boston in my wholly unnecessary, determined to knock this job so far out of the park I might just buy one of these for my cherry-red collection, sweet-ass ride.

A partner deserved something a little special, right?



A partner should also know better than to take a sports car on twisty, windy roads still crusted with salt and ice and potholes. This is why I rarely if ever made spur-of-the-moment decisions, rarely if ever flew by the seat of my pants. I preferred to Keep It Simple, Stupid, and leave the crazytown to my best friend Natalie Grayson, and even to some extent my other best friend Roxie Callahan, who could serve up her own brand of crazy when needed.

Natalie and Roxie. The three of us had met years ago when we all wound up at a culinary school in California, all eighteen and ready for big-time changes. Roxie was the only one who actually had any real culinary skills, and while I’d enjoyed the year I spent in California, I realized early on cooking was never going to be more than a hobby, and hightailed it back to New England. Natalie was similarly disillusioned with cooking as a career, and she also headed back to her home, the island of Manhattan, which she was pretty sure belonged only to her.

Roxie stayed, made her mark in California as a private chef to the stars, and only found herself back in her tiny hometown of Bailey Falls, New York, when her career imploded over an ill-timed whipped cream turning into butter. This very butter is what changed the course of her life and made her truly appreciate her hometown, a hometown that had welcomed Leo Maxwell in the time she’d been gone, the man who was currently rocking her world.

The town’s next victim into its black hole of charm and sweet was Natalie, a city girl if there ever was one. Officially she lived in Manhattan. Unofficially she was fooling no one as she’d recently begun spending weeknights ninety miles north of her island in the company of one Oscar Mendoza, owner of Bailey Falls Creamery and the only man who could make her set one toe north of the Bronx.

And here I was, heading toward that same town, which was also home to Bryant Mountain House, the old hotel I’d been hired to rebrand, reshape, and get back in the black.

Roxie and Natalie were thrilled, convinced that once I spent some time in the quaint town, I’d fall just as in love with it as they did and decide to stay.

I never stayed. Anywhere. I loved being on the road, meeting new people, hanging my hat somewhere just long enough to sink my teeth into something that used to be incredible and needed to be brought back to life. And once that was done, it was off to the next project.

I had an apartment. I had things in it. I had my name on the mail slot.

I did not have a home.

“Keep your bags packed, kid, you’re not gonna be here long . . .”

I blinked up at her, the sunlight behind her turning her head into an eclipse of sorts, unable to make out individual features of her face but knowing somehow that her expression would be one of tired resignation. I was just one more kid in a houseful of others. With their own never-truly-unpacked bags . . .

I shook my head to clear it, squeezing the steering wheel. Partners in shiny convertibles didn’t think about the past, they thought about the future. I pulled over to grab a coffee for the road, thumbed through my travel playlist, and cued up some Fleetwood Mac.

“You can go your own way . . .”

That’s for damn sure.



Three hours later I turned off the interstate and onto the state highway that would take me into Bailey Falls and up to Bryant Mountain House. Turning off the tunes, I began to put my game face on.

This was where I needed to think, to ruminate, to imagine what it must be like to have your entire family’s history potentially subjected to a wrecking ball. When I took on a job, that is what I took on. It wasn’t just a few months of work, it was a way of life. And not just for the family but for all of the employees whose lives were typically just as tied into the history as those whose names were on the letterhead. The Bryant family was small in actual name but large by proxy. And I’d be working to save jobs for more than just the family.

The Bryants had owned this property for almost one hundred and fifty years. And like so many other family-run hotels, they’d relied too much on “but this is how it’s always been done,” which simply doesn’t work anymore in this modern age. With Yelp and TripAdvisor helping everyone make their vacation plans, reviews could make or break a place. And they’d had their share of bad reviews in the last few years. Couple that with the recent economic crisis and belt-tightening across the board for vacationers, and they were in danger of losing their beautiful hotel.

Unless . . .

* CUE TRUMPETS *

. . . they had me. Which they did. I rolled my neck, cracked my shoulders a bit, and settled in for the final leg.

I had a hotel to save.

* CUE A SECOND BUT EQUALLY IMPRESSIVE ROUND OF TRUMPETS *



“Melanie Bixby, arriving guest,” I said, leaning out of the driver’s-side window at the guard shack at the edge of the property. I didn’t even blink anymore when I used my pseudonym, it was second nature at this point. When I checked in under my real name, I never got the true sense of what was going on at a hotel. Clara Morgan was given the red-carpet treatment, Clara Morgan was upgraded, complimentary champagne was sent up almost without fail, and literally every single parking attendant/busboy/junior housekeeper went out of their way to bid good morning/afternoon/evening to Clara Morgan.

Melanie Bixby, however, was just your average guest, and always got the real story.

“Bixby, Bixby, oh sure, there you are, Ms. Bixby. Let me just grab your parking slip.” After a moment inside, he returned with a pass that he set just inside on the dashboard for me. “Now you keep that there while you’re with us, that’s how we tell the overnight guests from the ones who are just here on a day pass.”

“Day pass?” I played dumb.

“Yes, ma’am, Bryant Mountain House has some of the best hiking and biking trails around. For thirty-five dollars folks can come spend the entire day in the woods. No access to the main house, but there’s a nice enough snack shack on the edge of the property for refreshments.”

“Do you get many day-passers up here? I mean, in the off-season?”

The attendant looked skyward, scratching at his beard as though divining the answer. “Not really, ma’am, no. Summertime sure, but it’s getting harder and harder to get people up here when it’s cold and rainy. Like today. We had a storm a few weeks ago that would—now would you look at that? Me running my mouth off, when you’ve got places to get to! You just stay to the right, this road will take you right on up to the resort.” He smiled companionably, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he waved me on.

“Thank you!” I called out as I rolled my window up against the chilly spring rain that had begun to fall. Heavy and sloppy, it’d be slushy ice by nightfall if it kept up.

I stayed to the right as directed and began to wind my way up up up. The road twisted and turned to the top of the mountain underneath the late-afternoon sky, which was thickening with storm clouds and an ever-increasing gloom. On my left the hillside was covered in trees and thick brambles that’d be bursting with green in a month or so. On the other side the road fell off sharply, the trees giving way every so often to showcase fallen boulders, craggy and rough. I spied a trailhead, clearly marked for guests of Bryant Mountain House, winding into the forest.

The hiking must be incredible up here.

Making a mental note to investigate the off-season trails, I continued up the hill, which at this point was quickly becoming the Mountain in Bryant Mountain House. Turning my wipers up another notch against the now-steady rainfall, I turned around the final bend and there, finally, was the resort.

At least, there was part of it. The enormity of this single structure was too great to be captured in just the windshield of my tiny, impractical, and wholly unsuited for mountain terrain sports car. But what I could see was impressive as hell.

I drove under a stand of weeping willows planted along the road like soldiers, arching across and creating a tunnel effect that in summertime must be stunning. At the ass-end of winter and the equally-as-ugly beginning of spring, the bare limbs feathered together, slick with slush and almost gnarled. Not entirely welcoming.

Shivering slightly, I continued through the archway, getting my next peek at the resort. Rising high into the air, the east wing loomed up suddenly—the real money shot being either the mountain view to the west or the lake view to the east. Six, no, seven stories climbed against the wintry sky. I slowed to a stop to appreciate the architecture—fieldstone mixed with deeply burnished redwood, green shutters, soaring high gray stone chimneys. I whistled as I hit the gas again, once more twisting into the dark woods that surrounded the property. I passed several barns, the stables, the summer garden, and glimpsed just the edge of the championship golf course.

And then the road swung me back around to the front of the resort and the edge of the parking lot. One look at how fast the rain was falling and I immediately opted for valet and gunned it for the covered entryway.

Gunning it in a rain that’s bordering on icy sleet isn’t wise in a boring beige Corolla, and it is for damn sure not recommended in a shiny red sports car with rear-wheel drive. I spun out on the last turn, my back end slipping wildly as I clutched the wheel and tried to straighten out. I overcorrected, swung wide, and out of the corner of my eye I caught a man dressed in a green slicker and matching hat gesturing, holding out his hands and yelling.

“Look out!” I cried.

“Stop!” he cried.

I thumped the curb and by mere inches missed hitting the rain-slicker guy, who threw himself to the side at the last second, tumbling into a large shrub.

“Oh my God,” I whispered to myself, everything suddenly quiet. I looked through the wipers and saw galoshes kicking in the air, the shrub branches thrashing wildly as the man I’d nearly hit fought to climb back out. “Oh my God!”

I jumped out of the car, ran over to the shrub just as he was pulling himself loose. “I’m so sorry, oh no, are you okay? I’m so sorry!”

His raincoat, emblazoned with the words BRYANT MOUNTAIN HOUSE, was caught on a limb, his hat was hanging off the back of his head by the string, and one of his galoshes had come loose.

“Oh, for pity’s sake!” he exclaimed, tugging at the branch.

“Can I help you?” I asked, reaching for the tangled limb.

“No no, I think you’ve done enough,” he snapped.

“Well, let me at least see if I can—”

“It’s fine, don’t do that—”

“I think I found where it’s stuck, just—”

“Don’t do that, it’s going to tear, it’s really fine, it’s—watch out!”

The branch tore free, taking with it half of the raincoat, thwapping him upside the head as it rustled and resettled back into the bush.

“Wow, I can’t believe that just . . . I’m so sorry.”

“It’s. Fine.” He spoke through gritted teeth.

The two of us stared at each other. I felt terrible. He looked frustrated.

I clasped my hands behind my back, looked around, then tried to smile. “So, where do I check in?”

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Buns 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
AudioBook Review: Stars: Overall: 4 Narration 5 Story 3 I’ve not listened to any of the titles in Clayton’s Hudson Valley series, but with the title, cover art and narrative team of Elizabeth Louise and Jason Carpenter, I couldn’t resist. Easily read on its own, the story is focused on the Bryant Mountain House, a run-down family-owned resort known for 150 years of tradition and the to-die-for, gooey, sweet hot cross buns. Clara is a rebranding expert in the industry, hired by the Bryant family to bring the resort into a more modern feel and bring in new clients. She’s good at her job and has plenty of ideas, if not many traditions from her rather difficult upbringing. Archie Bryant is stuck in the past – he’s not wanting things to change too much, and he’s certain that Clara can’t keep the feel that he knows of the old place and still make things work well enough to stay open. The resort is his touchstone and sole focus after losing the love of his life, and anyone who wants to change that and alter his memories will be in for a fight. Clever and fun, if a bit familiar from the trope standpoint, Clara and Archie have instant chemistry which both are fighting tooth and nail. Neither is particularly open to a relationship: Archie is still in love with his wife and sees no reason to change that. Clara, having been raised in foster care with an unstable and drug-addicted mother never really set down roots and built relationships, moving from place to place and always looking for that next moment. The life on the road with few commitments to stick around suits her well, and she’s using her past to keep her future at bay. But chemistry cannot be denied – and Archie’s honest approach to life, love and the comfort that comes with having a place in the world that is wrapped up in family, memories, friendships and traditions are all wishes that Clara holds, even if she can’t bring herself to voice them, or even acknowledge those dreams. A bit on the predictable side in terms of progression, the characters are engaging and there isn’t a ton of angst mixed in, allowing the electric chemistry to sparkle and keep the story moving. The duo of Elizabeth Louise and Jason Carpenter present the narration for this story, and their pairing is wonderfully evocative of the moments in the relationship between Archie and Clara. From the moments where Clara knows what she can do to improve things against Archie’s rather grudging approach to allowing them, through the changes he experiences as he sees the increase in traffic and happy guests, they move the story forward and present each character with appropriate emotional overlays, stridency or hesitancy, and make the story easy to listen to. Dual narrations can get tricky, and these two navigate both the voices and patois of each main characters, but present voices distinct enough in tone and delivery for secondary characters: each was clearly identifiable by voice, and voice that came with an emotion appropriate to their moment. A solid performance of a good story, familiar to frequent romance readers but enjoyable nonetheless. I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Simon and Schuster Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this!
MaimeosAngelsEL More than 1 year ago
What's not to love about this series? I really enjoyed Buns, it was as fun and quirky as the previous two books in the series. This is the story of Archie Bryant, an uptight widower who is about to take over the running of Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls and the bossy, yet determined Clara Morgan who is assigned the job to bring the hotel back to it's glory and move it into the current century whilst retaining it's charm and history. From the first moment these two meet there is a push and pull situation happening, both equally opinionated and determined as to the vision of the hotel and how it should move forward. Having been brought up in the foster care system, Clara shies away from holidays and anything “family” orientated. Archie, on the other hand is all about the history of his family. These two should not connect and yet they do.; this is a case of opposites attracting and after spending a great deal of time flirting, Archie and Clara finally give in to their feelings. The banter and camaraderie between Archie and Clara as well as their friends is amazing. It really is like coming home when I picked up this book. I love these characters and the mischief they get up too. I always finish an Alice Clayton with a smile on my face. This was possibly my favourite of the trilogy as I absolutely loved Archie and Clara, separately and together. The vulnerability that both had as they slowly opened their hearts and minds to the possibility of love was heart warming.
TDB005 More than 1 year ago
Buns is the third book in the Hudson Valley series by Alice Clayton, and I just simply adore the entire cast of characters in this series so I'm always excited when I get to visit again! Clayton is fast becoming one of my favorite authors for quirky and emotional romances, and Buns is a perfect example of why I enjoy her writing so much. I seriously couldn't put this one down, guys, and read the entire book in one sitting. So if you haven't read her before, you are totally missing out and I highly suggest you fix that immediately! Now Clara Morgan is a character we've seen mentioned in the previous two books in this series, but we finally get to have her story in Buns. (Don't worry though, because you'll still get to catch all of your favorite characters from the previous books in this one too!) Clara is the epitome of efficiency and bossiness all wrapped up in one tough and snarky package... so in other words she's pretty darn awesome! She works as a re-branding expert and is sent to Bryant Mountain House to give it a new feel without breaking too much tradition. She just didn't expect the wall of delectable muscle that is Archie Bryant to get in her way. Have you ever imagined what it would be like to stay in a resort like the one in Dirty Dancing? That's the way I picture Bryant Mountain House, but on a much larger scale. The hotel resort is a character all of its own in Buns, and I would love to spending an amazing weekend there, you know...if it weren't fictional and all. Now Dirty Dancing may have had the super hot Johnny, but I'm thinking that Bryant Mountain House's Archie is vastly more appealing. Archie is the son and future owner of Bryant Mountain House who has been groomed since birth to run this grand hotel. He isn't all that pleased with Clara's presence and sparks definitely fly when these two are in the same room for a multitude of reasons. It was pretty entertaining, if I do say so myself, and these two are so perfectly matched! Buns is one of those books I could read again and again. The chemistry is off the charts, the plot is engaging, and it's just overall so well-written that you just can't help but enjoy every moment. So take a leap off of a balcony (read the book and you'll know what I mean) and give Buns a try. I promise you'll love it!
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
Buns (Hudson Valley, #3) by Alice Clayton Having read Alice Clayton’s Red Headed series i knew i was in for it when i began the story Buns. The puns and innuendos intended, in the book and throughout the story. Alice Clayton likes strong independant women, she is not letting her readers down with Clara Morgan. She has a career she loves, and she depends on no one for all she is. Clara has her sordid history, a history that has made her not only what she was but inhibited her in her life. Until she meets the straitlaced, hotel owner of Bryant Mountain House. She learns that she was not ready for love and opening up is a panicking prospect. This love story of ill proportions, and personal risk makes the reader connect to their own fantasy loves, and the idea that there is someone who could and would be willing to accept everything for love. This is a beautiful love story with a great back history and characters.
voraciousreaderKB More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the Hudson Valley series and each one is a standalone. I love Alice Clayton’s writing style and enjoy reading everything she writes. Her stories are well written, funny and witty. BUNS is another fun romance, with lots of banter between the characters. In this story we have two people who are total opposites and they start out disliking each other and end up falling in love. Bryant Mountain house has been in Archie’s family for generations. The beautiful old hotel sits on a breathtakingly beautiful piece of land with cliffs, lakes and hiking trails in the Catskills in upstate New York. Archie Bryant loves everything about Bryant Mountain House and enjoys upholding all the traditions that have been going on for generations. It's all he has ever known and he is upset when his father hires an outsider to come in and suggest changes. Clara grew up in foster care and she doesn't have any traditions. She is a workaholic and is constantly traveling with her job. She and Archie have lived very different lives and have little in common. She works for a branding agency. It is Clara’s job to make suggestions to improve the sales and image of a hotel. Archie and Clara argue and fight over everything. Until they meet, they are both just existing and when they are together, they both finally come alive. They know they shouldn't pursue a relationship but they can't seem to resist each other. I was pulling for them and wanted everything to work out between them. They have a passionate, fun relationship with plenty of chemistry. Archie is reserved and set in his ways and Clara is mouthy, rude and tells it like it is. It shouldn't work between them, but somehow, it does. There are some fun secondary characters that add even more hilarity to the story. Clara’s two best friends also live in the small town where she is currently working and they were each featured in the first two Hudson Valley books. I was given an advanced copy of this book to write an honest review for Netgalley and Cocktails and Books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I (usually) enjoy Alice Clayton's works. Love her sense of humor. This book however drug on. Maybe I am tired of the series? I will read more of her work - just not a fan of this one.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
After not really loving the previous book in this series {and my first Alice book}, I decided to give this one a try. I liked Clara and Archie. I really enjoyed their banter and their chemistry was fantastic. There were some fun hotel employees and of course the MCs from the other books. The dialogue is some of the best and if it were more character driven in that sense, I would no doubt be devouring all of Alice's books. I guess my hang up is the inner monologue. It's rambling and I struggled to settle into it. There are several full descriptions of her outfits {complete with labels/designers.} I found myself skimming entire passages because I didn't care about a full paragraph on a particular shade of wallpaper or what the creaky floor sounded like. Overall, I did enjoy this one a bit more, but I doubt I'll read any of her other titles. **Huge thanks to Gallery Books for providing the arc free of charge**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LightningCityBookReview More than 1 year ago
Alice Clayton ends her Hudson Valley series on a high note with the sexy, entertaining, romantic, and tender "Buns". Clara Morgan, joins Roxie and Natalie in Bailey Falls but just for business. She rebrands hotels for a living, taking family-owned hotels updating them so they can not only stay alive but thrive. Her career's time-consuming keeping her on the road for months at a time. All her life she's lived out of a suitcase, now it's on her terms. Clara's in Bailey Falls to work on Bryant Mountain House, owned by the Bryant Family since the 1700s. Technically she works for Jonathan Bryant but his son, Archie'll be taking over the reins; and he resents her presence. Archie grew up with Bryant Mountain House experiencing all the resort's traditions and amenities. He wants to keep everything the ways it's been done for generations. Clara's never known family or traditions, the closest she's come is her friendship with Roxie and Natalie. Archie's only ever known tradition, there's a daily tour on it at the Bryant Mountain House. Clara's past of revolving foster homes is a secret she doesn't share except with her two best-friends. Her lack of traditions makes her job easier she can see beyond the sentimentality and cut off money hemorrhages. The Bryant Mountain House's a difficult case. Good: because she can hang out with friends and their boyfriends in an idyllic small town. Bad: because the camaraderie that her friends and their townie friends have feels like Family. That kind of comfort gives Clara "panic attacks" especially during holidays. Difficult: because the freckled and bespeckled Archie Bryant aggravates her so much she wants to assault him. With her hands and lips. Disconcertingly he feels the same way. Once again Alice Clayton creates lovable and sexy main characters and puts them into a setting covering every resort fantasy. Fireplace in every room - Posh. Stuck in time , "The Shining" - Creepy-ish. Upstate New York resort, "Dirty Dancing", - Fantastic. "Buns" is filled with previous Hudson Valley series main characters, don't forget the unforgettable Chad Bowman and his boyfriend Logan. There're appearances by other Alice Clayton Heroines and Heroes; Grace Sheridan and Jack Hamilton and Caroline Reynolds-Parker minus her Wallbanger. The Hero and Heroine have Baggage and Weaknesses but when brought together they lighten the loads and fill the gaps. Archie and Clara have explosive chemistry, incendiary sex, big vulnerabilities, and are massively amusing. Clara and Archie both undergo a lot of character growth and the storyline's entertaining and intriguing. Alice Clayton definitely delivers and "Buns" is a firm foundation on which to end the Hudson Valley series. To read the entire review please visit: http://wp.me/p4XqxF-1Us This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story! Clara is a hoot, and it's fun to watch her fall in love with Archie despite her own misgivings. The best part is the chance to catch up with the rest of the characters in Bailey Falls. If you like Alice Clayton's books, you'll have a good time with this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as cute as I was let to believe. Dragged on and on with no real plot between the characters.
KatsNook More than 1 year ago
Buns is another romantic comedy from the amazing Alice Clayton. I love the Hudson Valley gang! Buns is the third book in the Hudson Valley series but it can be read as a stand-alone. The series centers around 3 girlfriends and their happily-ever-after. Clara Morgan is the final friend to get drawn in to the magic of Hudson Valley. She is career driven and always on the road. Clara is guided by her passion for her work and a heartbreaking childhood that has her avoiding relationships. Archie Bryant is the soon-to-be owner of his family’s resort, the Bryant Mountain House. The resort is his home and the staff and guests are his family. The Bryant Mountain House has been struggling and needs an uplift, which brings Clara to the rescue. Clara and Archie don’t see eye-to-eye on the changes for the resort which leads to heated arguments and a spark of something more. Can Clara and Archie put their differences a side to save Bryant Mountain House? Will their hot tempers lead to hot and sexy nights? You have to read Buns to find out! What did I like? • Clara and Archie’s enemies to lovers’ relationship had some tense moments with witty banter. As much as they argued you still felt the sizzling chemistry building up between them. • Clara is independent and feisty. She loves her work and it shows in her caring nature. Clara has helped other hotels so she anticipates Archie’s reluctance for change. She fires back with her great ideas and makes compromises to ease Archie’s doubts. • I couldn’t help but love Archie. He’s not your typical guy. With his tortoise shell glasses and suit he has no idea of how charming and sexy he is. He treats his staff and guests like family, so it is understandable why he is reluctant to change. As soon as he sheds the stuffy businessman act he will have you swooning. • I loved seeing Clara, Roxie and Natalie together. These ladies have been though a lot together and there is heartfelt moments and craziness when they are around. What didn’t I like? • Clara’s insecurities lead to poor choices and the story dragging in some parts. I understood her fears but it became repetitive and frustrating when she didn’t want to take a chance on love. Overall I enjoyed Buns and I love Alice Clayton. The sweet romance, sexy flirtation and hilarious banter is always present in her writing and I know I’ll have a great time reading her book. I recommend this book to fans of sexy, romantic comedies.
BookWorm221 More than 1 year ago
Alice Clayton has slowly become one of my just read authors, her books are always funny, sexy and they always pack a punch to the heart. In Buns we are once again in the Hudson Valley, this time with Clara who has been hired to bring new life to the luxurious hotel in town, the owner of that hotel happens to be Archie, who is certain that the hotel that belongs to his family needs no help and Clara shouldn’t be there to help them. These two are fighting each other from the get go, each stubborn in their own way and it was fantastic! The give and take, the slow burning romance, the funny and tender moments and more importantly the fabulous writing make this book a complete gem.
Dalitza More than 1 year ago
Alice Clayton adds another delightful read to her collection. Wildly witty and fun, full of heat and heart. The extremely independent, career oriented Clara Morgan has worked hard to earn her success as a hotel consultant specializing in revitalizing old hotels. That’s not to say she comes in tearing down the old to bring in the new. On the contrary, being a foster kid without roots and customs of her own, she’s loves knowing about a hotel’s history and traditions in order to bring them into this century. She just needs to prove this to the very traditional and difficult future owner of Bryant Mountain House. Archie Bryant cannot fathom how a rebranding expert will preserve his family’s one hundred and fifty year old traditions and he’s prepared to fight her on everything, until those fights explode into delicious fireworks and Clara’s ideas start showing results. Now that she’s convinced him there is a way to bring the old back to life, can he introduce her to his traditions and convince her to set roots with him? Clayton delivers a funny, smexy story with heart that demands to be read. Not only does she provide rich imagery of the beautiful Hudson Valley with its imposing mountains, beautiful hiking paths, a majestic lake and a grandiose resort built for royalty, she also brings back the funny and adorable characters from previous books and adds two very opposites but perfect for each other to the lineup. I loved both Clara and Archie. They both have sad pasts that have shaped their lives. She’s self-confident and bossy, it goes with the territory she works in. When we meet Archie, he seems arrogant and unbending, but as they butt heads, challenge one another and give literal chase, we get to see his funny, caring and very sexy side. But after so much time of drowning in their work to avoid pain and loneliness it’s difficult for them to face their growing feelings for each other, especially Clara who knows she’s there for a limited time. Everyone can see they’re perfect for each other but can Archie move on from his past? Can Clara give up her nomadic lifestyle? I loved the pace, the storyline and the characters. I can’t wait to see what Clayton writes next. Buns is book #3 in the Hudson Valley series by Alice Clayton. It is a standalone contemporary romance. Told from the heroine’s point of view except for the epilogue which is told from Archie’s POV. It has a happy ending.
LexyH More than 1 year ago
**4.5 Stars** Oh this book. I loved the other two in this series so I was completely excited for Clara's story. What I wasn't prepared for was Archie. I loved Archie. Archie was so completely swoony. When you first meet him you're kind of like woah, you're a jerk, but the more you read the more you love him. Clara and Archie didn't get along at first but holy attraction. It's there, you can feel it as you read it. The more time they spent together the stronger the chemistry and attraction is. I seriously loved how they challenged each other but what I loved even more was how they complimented each other. Watching how they interacted with each other and how they fit so well together. They healed each other and that was just what they needed. I loved all the words Alice gave us and I secretly hope this isn't the end of Hudson Valley.
NPButterfly More than 1 year ago
Alice Clayton for the win! This book…it is everything. I literally could not put this one down. It is hands down my favorite of this series. Archie is totally not what I expected and that was a brilliant move on Alice Clayton’s part. Holy Smokes was this book good. Hot, funny, the tension palpable. All these things wrapped up in a story of hate filled love. Ugh! I thought the tree farmer and the dairy farmer were it for me. Move over Leo and Oscar, Archie done stole my heart. The sexual tension between Clara and Archie is perfectly written. Their banter is witty, full of sass, and the smartassery (I pulled a Natalie and made up my own word there) was off the charts hilarious. I will never look at a Hot Cross Bun the same. I think Easter has been ruined for me, or maybe not. I really think this book is at the top of my Clayton list now. Seriously, it is so darn good (That’s the Archie talk there). He’s a naughty boy wrapped up in a put together package topped with his tortoiseshell-rimmed glasses. I want to kiss his freckles, and I will never look at freckles the same way again. Another wonderful, fun, and sexy book from Alice and I think you’re all going to love it as much as I did.
whatsbetterthanbooks More than 1 year ago
Flirty, sweet and laugh-out-loud funny! This story is set in the majestic Bailey Falls and introduces two new characters to The Hudson Valley series, Clara a young workaholic who protects herself from possible abandonment by only relying on herself and never setting down roots; and Archie a young widow whose future is firmly entrenched in the family business and whose biggest fear is loving and losing again. The writing is animated and lighthearted. The characters are intelligent, alluring and feisty. And the plot is a charming mix of spirited hijinks, blistering tension, playful banter, combustible chemistry, touching moments and swoon-worthy romance. Overall this book is entertaining, sexy and amusing and I love that some of our favourite characters from the previous books in the series made an appearance. If you haven’t read anything by Clayton before you really should, in fact Wallbanger, from her Cocktail series, is still today one of my all-time favourite rom coms.
whatsbetterthanbooks More than 1 year ago
Flirty, sweet and laugh-out-loud funny! This story is set in the majestic Bailey Falls and introduces two new characters to The Hudson Valley series, Clara a young workaholic who protects herself from possible abandonment by only relying on herself and never setting down roots; and Archie a young widow whose future is firmly entrenched in the family business and whose biggest fear is loving and losing again. The writing is animated and lighthearted. The characters are intelligent, alluring and feisty. And the plot is a charming mix of spirited hijinks, blistering tension, playful banter, combustible chemistry, touching moments and swoon-worthy romance. Overall this book is entertaining, sexy and amusing and I love that some of our favourite characters from the previous books in the series made an appearance. If you haven’t read anything by Clayton before you really should, in fact Wallbanger, from her Cocktail series, is still today one of my all-time favourite rom coms.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
I've liked all of the Hudson Valley books, but this one is probably my favorite. It's not as RomCom as the previous ones. Buns is a little more serious. Clara hasn't had the easiest life. She grew up in foster care and learned that she couldn't depend on others. She can't be tied down to any commitments because she doesn't want to be let down by anyone. Her life is pretty much her job. She's actually a sweetheart, but most don't get a chance to know her. Archie is an interesting character. He's kinda nerdy and sporty. Because of his past, he's pretty much all business also. His work ethic makes him come off as rude, but he quickly becomes one of the kindest guys ever. Clara and Archie meet when she is hired to remodel his resort. It's bumpy sometimes, but their relationship is inevitable. If you're looking for a more realistic romance that still has that happy ever after glow, definitely read this story.
DannyJeffbooks More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I have read from the Hudson Valley series and I would say that this can definitely be read as a stand alone. I loved the chemistry between Clara and Archie; their relationship starts at loggerheads but the sexual chemistry really comes through and slowly but surely they start to break each other down. This story was sweet and sexy and overall a lovely romance. I really enjoyed it would be happy to recommend it. I was provided with a copy of this book from the Publisher via NetGalley; there was no inducement or obligation.
AboutThatStory More than 1 year ago
I loved this. So much. So very much! It was a fantastic mix of everything I adore in a story: humor, heart, and heat! Just when I think this series can't get better, Alice Clayton ups her game and does it again. I thought this was fresh and fun and I loved Archie and Clara. There was this entertaining, argumentative tension between the two that just made the story inviting to read. Clara was just so tough and determined, I loved her strength and how she was so self reliant. Archie was the sweetest! So kind and carrying and I loved how dedicated he was to his hotel and how everyone seemed like family. This is told from Clara's POV and with all the wonderful descriptions I really got a great sense of who Archie was and understood him. There was excellent character development as their histories are learned and I loved the build to all their details. I thought the storyline was spectacular and enjoyed the struggles both these characters were going through. I laughed and cried for them and felt so much for them. I have to say, their first kiss was THE BEST. I was laughing and cheering and think that was one of the best scenes ever. I loved seeing Natalie and Roxie (these two are hilarious!) and catching up with them and really enjoyed how the other characters from Bailey Falls were incorporated. There was just this great attention to detail that had me hooked. The writing was excellent. It was laid out perfectly as we get to know the characters as they come together. I loved the bits of drama thrown in as well. I was excited for what was going to come next. It was light drama but I was still dying for my HEA. I honestly couldn’t get enough. I found myself sighing and thinking "oh Archie" with a big smile on my face because he was just the sweetest guy. And Clara, this girl with her strong, tough, I-can-do-it-on-my-own determination that I so admired was also her own biggest obstacle. I loved how everything worked out and finally getting to that aha moment and the spectacular ending. It was all just fantastic. For me, reading this story is like being wrapped in a warm cozy blanket.... while your hanging out next to your obnoxious best friend, having a drink, and talking and laughing! This story filled me up so much with the funny, the animosity, the emotion, and sexy times. I loved it all. Buns is seriously high in the entertainment department and is not to be missed. Complimentary copy received for honest review.
MBurton More than 1 year ago
Funny & Emotional. With a name like Buns, I wasn't expecting this to be an emotional read. It was more comedy than emotional, but I really felt for both main characters. Clara grew up in foster care. To see how hard it was for her to be around a group of people when it was a family atmosphere, you could see she really struggled. Then you've got Archie who lost his wife and childhood sweet heart, well you can say this pulled on my heartstrings more than once. Really it just made me root for them even more. I just wanted to see them both be happy. I've always enjoyed a book set around a small town atmosphere because you usually get a lot of great side characters and this was no exception. The MC's from the first two books were in this book quite frequently, but since I haven't read those books and never felt lost, it's safe to say you can read each of these books as standalone story. This is a safe read. No sexual/physical abuse, no other women/men drama and you get a nice HEA with an epilogue. ARC provided by NetGalley.
tradermare More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Clara Morgan has a fabulous job bringing failing hotel operations back to life. Her boss has hinted a partnership is in the works once she gets her latest client, the Bryant Mountain House in Bailey Falls in upstate New York back on track. Clara likes the sound of that and also wants to check out Bailey Falls -- it's the little town where her friends Roxie and Natalie found love (See book 1 &2 in the series). Archie Bryant has been running his family's business with an eye for keeping up the traditions of the past. When he meets Clara, he's dug in his heels and isn't ready to embrace the changes that Clara proposes, but he is very interested in Clara. They have a bit of an enemies-to-lovers thing going on that is truly sweet and exactly what they both need (the lovers part, that is). Clara tries to resist Archie's charm, but she's really a goner from the first moment he kisses her. She knows it's not a good idea to get involved with someone who is essentially her boss on the project, but the attraction between them is very strong. Archie is a bit stuffy at first, but I loved how he gradually opens up to her. Even though they can't deny the physical attraction for each other, Clara still has some old baggage that is keeping her from letting herself love Archie like she really wants to. What I truly loved about this story is Clara. She's focused on her career and the satisfaction she gets from doing a good job and building her reputation. Her past has shaped her into a successful career woman and has also kept her from putting her heart in a vulnerable position. She must decide what she wants, what she needs, and how she can have both her career and the man she's falling for. These are questions many young career women face, and I liked that this story didn't automatically have her dumping her career in order to get her man. Although I found the story slightly predictable, it really worked for me because I loved these two main characters. Clara is a sharp business woman, and I loved that she was successful and her life wasn't about finding a man. Archie was sweet and patient with her (okay, maybe not so much at first) and I loved how he cared about the Bryant Mountain House, its traditions and employees. What made it all even sweeter was how Roxie and Leo and Natalie and Oscar had a part to play in this story too. Everything just came together nicely for me and I found myself wanting to know how Clara was going to resolve her dilemma. Buns is a sweet love story about two people having a chance for happiness,even though their past may prevent them from being open to it. It's about grasping that opportunity for love and not letting it go. It's about making the choice for happiness without giving up other aspects of life that make you happy, like a career. I loved that about this story. I love this series. The women are strong and career-minded, and their men love them for it. It doesn't get any better than that in contemporary romance!
LilyElementBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Buns is book three in the Hudson Valley series. I've really enjoyed the previous books in this series and knew I had to read this when I saw it. It's set in the same small town that the previous books are and include appearances from the previous books main characters. While I would suggest you read these in order they can be read as standalone novels if needed. Our leading lady, Clara Morgan is a hotel branding extraordinaire. She jumps at the chance to head to Bailey Falls, NY to work with the owner of the Bryant Mountain House in efforts to turn his hotel around. Clara is happy with the location because her BFFs (the leading ladies in the previous books) are both in Bailey Falls, so while she's working she can see her girls. It isn't all fun and games though, the house needs a ton of work to refresh it into this decade and Clara is the perfect girl for the job. The only thing she didn't count on was the boss's son being a hottie and pushing all her buttons. Archie Bryant doesn't want her changing a thing. The attraction between the two is there from the start and I couldn't wait to see how they'd wind up together. Both characters had their own sort of emotional baggage and it gave me a real life kind of vibe while reading. It was a nice touch. Buns is an excellent addition to a series I love. I hope there will be more books in the series since I really dig the small town feeling and how the characters intertwine. Clara's character in particular really intrigued me as I was reading. She's worked so hard to get where she is, but you can tell she's running from her past. She doesn't want to ever face it or rely on others. Archie was the perfect fit for her, he was patient and for the most part understanding when she didn't want to open up. If you're a fan of Contemporary Romance and haven't tried this series yet I highly recommend it. AClayton fits in an emotional read with electrifying chemistry all while balancing it out with humor.