After The Kiss by Lauren Layne Book Review

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

After the Kiss

by Lauren Layne

Published by Loveswept

Book #1 in the Sex, Love and Stilletto Series

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.

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.


Steamy Rom-com Feel Good

After The Kiss is the first book in Lauren Layne's Sex, Love, and Stilletto Series. The series itself focuses on the the dating, love and sex columnists of Stiletto magazine, the top womens magazine in the country, and their own issues when it comes to love. After the Kiss centers on Julie Greene, Stilletto's dating guru, and self-admitted commitment-phobe. At 28, she has never had a serious relationship, and she is okay with that. Until, of course, Camilla, her boss, demands for her to write about how to take a relationship to the next level. In her pursuit to keep up with her writing style of personal touches, and to ensure she doesn't lose her position to her enemy, she decides to date a man for the sole purpose to get him to fall for her enough to take their relationship to the next level ... all for research purposes. Enter Mitchell Forbes, Julia's complete opposite. After a work friend bet him he couldn't have a fling without wanting to marry the woman, and betting half of his Yankee's season tickets, Mitchell decides to go for it, and goes for a sure fling: Julie Greene.

After The Kiss has a bit of a "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days" vibe. The whole idea of a successful writer for a magazine, luring a man into a relationship for research purposes has been used, but it doesn't hurt the story any. And of course, there are differences that stand apart. After The Kiss's story flows beautifully, and there isn't a time that I felt I was getting unnecessary story.

The best part of After The Kiss is the characters. Julie Greene is you typical bubbly, happy, extroverted personality, with the smarts, talent, success and looks on her side. On the inside, she hurts. She is very aware that her being left an orphan at the age of eight, after her parents and sister die in a car crash on the way to her ballet recital, that it keeps her from wanting to get close enough to someone to hurt her. Logically, she knows it isn't her mothers fault that she broke her promise about them being at her recital ... but she can't help feeling the trauma of that time in her life. Not feeling good enough for something long and lasting. Despite her really awful idea of luring a man into love for her story, she is a good person. As she gets to know Mitchell, as she starts to like him, and eventually fall for him, she feels guilty.

I like Mitchell. I like your non-typical male protagonist. He is the total opposite of Julie. He is quiet, and introverted. Smart and successful just like her, but where she likes to party and be around people, he would rather be reading or running ... solitary activities. Whereas she sticks to casual dating and flings, he doesn't see a point to dating unless you are interested in eventually marrying. We don't learn much about Mitchell, other than him in the present. No baggage other than a stupid bet with a co-worker. He was able to realize his feelings for Julie much quicker than her, because he is the type of guy who knows what he wants. He wants to settle down.

I love these two characters together. I do believe opposites attract, and in this case it does. One of my favorite things is the first time they meet, and they had no chemistry. Like, none. Both found each other attractive, but neither of them saw potential, until Mitchell touched her back to lead her into the pub, and then, sparks. The fact that they picked each other because they didn't think it would matter in