Julie Greene has built a career out of falling in love. Literally. She’s Stiletto magazine’s resident expert on perfecting the first kiss and assessing whether or not he’ll call.
But when her latest writing assignment requires knowledge of relationships after the puppy-love phase, Julie faces a startling realization: she doesn’t know the first thing about staying in love.
To figure out what’s supposed to happen after the third date, Julie seeks out the most boring, reliable guy in all of New York. Mitchell Forbes has “long-term relationship” written all over his 401k. He’s calm, practical and utterly dull. Exactly the type of man she’s always avoided.
But Julie’s surprised to learn that Mitchell’s steady dependability is more than a little sexy; and that having someone to lean on is actually sort of…nice. Soon Julie’s feelings for Mitchell have nothing to do with her research and everything to do with her heart.
But will he forgive her when he learns that their relationship’s been based on a lie?
After the Kiss, a classic love story where romance is the risk.
Falling in love is risk for anyone, but for Julie and Mitchell it literally is, a gamble. Julie needs to meander through the dating game and write an article about how you take relationships to the next level. Mitchell has made a wager and top tickets to the next baseball season are on the line, all he needs to do is... not take a relationship to the next level.
What makes two people “click”? Sometimes it’s kismet, love at first sight. Often it’s a heated case of opposites attract. I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I say, this is obviously not a case of love at first sight. Julie is a columnist. Mitchell is Wall Street personified. Julie is pro first date, first kiss and nothing much beyond that. Mitchell wants to settle down, and get married. He’s got a plan, actually he’s got a checklist (yep - seriously) and Julie is not the kind of wife material he had in mind.
These two character’s eye each other from opposite sides of MOMA (one of my favourite places in the world). Separately they make some rather stereotypical and unflattering assumptions about the other and on the basis of that they each determine that the object of their observations is perfect for the task at hand. Said objects, are also so romantically unsuitable on a permanent level, that surely no lasting harm would come to either of them?
**Cue incorrect answer sound effect
The trick to stories like this is making the protagonists believable. The reasoning has to ring true and the character’s ability to justify their behaviour and their goals also needs to be convincing. This is where Lauren Layne the author excels. I fell in love with Julie and Mitchell as they plotted and manipulated, each trying to gain the upper hand. Essentially what they were doing was deplorable, almost unredeemable and yet I adored their antics and how they battled their own desires and then their own consciences. I was on the cheer team, routing for them all the way. I was shredding my pom poms and hurling the debris at “Kelli with a freaking i” and the trouble she caused. If ever a witch deserved to lose her prized ruby slippers, it is Kelli!!!
The writing was also fantastic. I highlighted so much of the book that I thought was quotable, apt, visual or just plain clever. Julie (our diabolical heroine) was researching for an article, she always writes from a unique personal perspective, so it was quite appropriate that little events were often commented on as potential headlines and chapters. It gave an element of truth to the novel that carried all the way through.
Many romance novels are the same, after you’ve read a few you get a bit jaded about them. It becomes harder to impress a reader, and more challenging to inspire a heart felt response. I truly enjoyed this book and I think that’s why I loved it so much. After the Kiss is a familiar tale with a fresh delivery. I would happily read more novels by Lauren Layne.
I obtained an ARC from the publisher with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.