Our friend Sarah is back with another great guest review. Sarah is a library science student and a part-time librarian. She runs the blog Sarah’s Bookshelf and you can also find her on Goodreads.
Layne sets up her Sex, Love, & Stiletto series in a Women's fashion magazine office. Columnist Julie Greene has been tasked by her editor to write outside of her usual fling-related comfort zone and see what moving a relationship to the next level entails. Julie, always one for a challenge, reluctantly agrees to take on this project. With the help of her besties, Grace and Riley (also columnists at Stiletto) Julie ends up meeting Mitchell Forbes, a Wall Street workaholic. Julie, the queen of flirting and superficial relationships, gets thrown in the deep end of the pool with Mitchell, a serial monogamist. Little does she know that Mitchell is also trying to date outside his comfort zone. He's trying to do the casual fling thing and has set his sights on Julie as an easy target. However, neither of them is prepared for the truth of their relationship, or the consequences of the choices that lead them to one another.
I love, love, love a good romance. There really isn't much I don't like about romance, but when you read as much as I do you get to know authors and what to expect from some of their characters. Layne is a new author, at least to me, and her voice is fresh and fun. What struck me about this story was that she didn't make the characters crazy about each other at first. In fact, they absolutely drove the other nuts, either rushing into "relationship" status or keeping things too superficial. But what I loved best about Mitchell and Julie was their absolute honesty with each other. Often in romance, this type of honesty solves the dilemma, but in After the Kiss it led to other problems down the road (which I won't go into because I don't want to spill the beans). I laughed, cried, and cringed during this book because it felt like I truly was a fly on the wall to a real budding relationship--warts and all. Layne also did something that I love with contemporary heroines--she made her an equal in both her professional and personal life. Sometimes this is tricky to accomplish without making the other character look bad, but Layne made inexperience in relationships (or flings) the focus of the story, not sexual experience.
I'm definitely looking forward to other books by Layne in the future. This is definitely an author to check out, especially if you like non-traditional or more independent heroes/heroines, or are just looking for a fun twist on a contemporary romance. This story very easily segues into her next book in the series, Love the One You're With.
Review by Sarah
Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.After the Kiss: Sex, Love & Stiletto Series by Lauren Layne
Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.
Loveswept. August 26, 2013