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After the Kiss (Avon Romantic Treasures) Mass Market Paperback – 25 Jan 2001

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books (25 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380812983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380812981
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.4 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,612,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A desperate, poverty-stricken widow, Margaret Esterly attends a masked ball, determined to sell the host a volume of scandalous memoirs, until a moment of passion with a handsome stranger brings her to the attention of Michael Hawthorne, Earl of Montraine. Original.

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Naked, he sat cross legged upon a brilliantly hued carpet, a voluptuous woman on his lap. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ambersaxon696 on 1 Mar 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"After the Kiss" is an unusual love story set in Regency England. Margaret Esterly is a young widow who lost her husband and all their belongings in a tragic fire. She tries to build herself a new life in a quiet little village far away from London and her past.When poverty threatens she decides to sell the only valuable object she has, one of the scandalous journals of an ancient traveller. She arrives in London to the elegant townhouse of the buyer who is hosting a masked ball for the ton. Margaret cannot resist the temptation to quietly move up the terrace steps and have a glimpse at the colourful gathering through the windows.Michael Hawthorne, the Earl of Montraine is taking the air on the terrace and he notices the young woman in the shadows. They exchange a few witty comments and he mistakes her for one of the guests.The air is sizzling around them and suddenly they share a passionate moment. Margaret flees and Michael finds himself alone in the dark fascinated by a mysterious stranger.Margaret cannot recognise her own immoral behaviour. She is a virtuous widow who needs to concentrate on her future livelyhood. Unfortunately she needs to sell another volume of the journal and she travels to London again.Michael is a practical man full of logic and he doesn't understand why are his dreams and days full of the mysterious woman. He forces himself to forget and concentrates on the young society debutantes.But his feelings and his curiosity are stronger than his will and he surprises Margaret by his intentions. Both leading protagonists are strong individuals clearly acknowledging their situation and standing in society. Margaret boldly decides to collect some memories for her meager future and Michael wants to find a logical explanation for his infatuation.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Yas on 5 Dec 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a classic love story that intimately exlores the characters and their evolving love story. Set in the early 19th century, Margaret, a poor widow, is pursued by an earl. Michael is your typical aristocrat who will eventually marry for money to save the family home etc. But he glimpses Margaret and is filled with lust and so embarks on an affair with Margaret. This is a sensual and passionate love story between the two characters. Both are strong and independant individuals whom you like and admire. It is a joy to read their romance. However,there is also a mystery to solve which adds to the drama and mystery. This is truly a sensitive and satisfying romance which I would highly recommend. Ranney is a deep and passionate writer whose characters have strength and individuality, so that each of her stories have a twist as well as a sensual and erotic feel. I would also recommend My Beloved.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 14 Jan 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Some love stories are good, some are very good but this story leaves you stunned at the depth of emotion it is boundless. Well done Karen Ranney now I have another book to add to my small pile of KEEP books.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tina Drew on 19 April 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book after searching for Regency romances, but it's not what I expected. It lacks the amount of historical detail and the humour that Regency romances usually provide. The biggest surprise was the explicit sex scenes. They were well written, but almost pornographic. That's fine if it's what you're looking for, but it's not what I expected from a Regency romance, and I wanted to warn other prospective readers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 41 reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
A nobleman hero & commoner heroine & they don't even care! 7 Aug 2003
By V - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After the Kiss was such a splendid book! It is my second Karen Ranney book and much better than the previous one. This is a great romance story between two very likable characters. Both the hero and heroine are unique for romance writing and realistically portrayed.
Michael Hawthorne, Earl of Montraine, is your typical, very attractive, self-confident and sexy historical English hero. He hates attending events of the Season or any such formal party or ball. His similarities to the typical hero end there. He is actually looking for a wife. It's not that he likes the idea of marriage so much - rather - he accepts it as fate and knows his future bride will have to be a rich heiress. His family is in need of funds after his father's poor handling of their estates and his mother's tremendous overspending.
Margaret Esterly had been widowed several years earlier when a fire killed her husband and destroyed their home and bookstore. She has few funds to provide for her existence and lives the life of a poor woman. She has no ties to nobility and has no desire to even know anyone of that class. Margaret has in her possession three books that her husband had stored in their strong box prior to the devastating fire. Margaret had only been able to take the strong box with her as she barely escaped death. Now most of the money is gone and she must sell one of these valuable books.
These three books are a set of highly sensual journals and she locates a list of possible buyers her husband had left in one of the journals. She arranges the sale of the first journal and travels to London to deliver it. When Margaret arrives at the home of the buyer, she sees that he is hosting a masquerade ball. After she completes the sale, she creeps into a garden to get a glimpse of the ball. While catching that peek of a masquerade ball in all its grandeur, the hero, Michael, spots Margaret and the two share an interesting interlude while dancing in the garden. Within a few moments of their meeting, Margaret flees to her hired hack and proceeds home. Behind her, Michael is left desiring her company and cannot forget her. He is determined to find her and claim that kiss she had almost given him prior to the interruption that had made her run away.
Michael is basically a genius at mathematics and breaking codes. Although he is an earl, rank is of little importance to him. Most of his friends are not even members of the ton. He doesn't even require a wife that is a part of London society. However, he is viewed as a very serious man that is not overly friendly. In fact, his persistent look of brooding scares the ladies a little although they remain very attracted to him. His near obsession of Margaret really rankles him. He is used to a very structured life and is very self disciplined. His logical pursuit of a wife has become a necessity. But Margaret has a way of making him illogical. Margaret, in turn, is very drawn to Michael but does not believe they will ever have a relationship. Although Michael wants her for his mistress, she flatly refuses and will not consider any of his arguments.
The tale of Michael and Margaret is a fascinating one. Michael does tend to be dominating and Margaret leans to sugariness but both are very balanced characters and mature. This is a book about their romance. Although there is the usual villain in the background, the author spends little time on the suspense or secondary characters. We are treated with page after page of great interaction between the two. That is definitely the way I most love romance writing. We are allowed time to see their relationship grow and there are no silly misunderstandings. The leads communicate truthfully with one another and genuinely like each other's company. There are some good sensual scenes that rate a solid 4.0 out of 5.0 (see More About Me for rating guidelines).

There are not that many books that come so close to my idea of perfection in romance writing but this one does. Although After the Kiss is not one of my all time favorite books, it still has a definite place on my keeper shelf. I know I will enjoy reading this book more than once. And that is about the best thing I can say about any book.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Wow, what a fantasy 25 Feb 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Karen Ranney has created the perfect hero in Michael Hawthorne, Earl of Montraine. Margaret Esterly, a young woman widowed and poverty stricken following a fire which destroyed her bookstore, has managed to save only three volumes of rare erotica. She must sell them to survive. While bringing the first of them to a wealthy earl, she and Montraine meet accidentally. Amidst their love story lurks a mystery. The writing is intelligent and lyrical, the love scenes lushly erotic, the mystery deftly woven through the plot. A wonderful, can't put it down read.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Sweet love story and terrific sensuality 15 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Karen Ranney has carefully sculpted a gentle love story about two lonely souls who are destined for each other. I have read all of Ms. Ranney's books and this is the best by far. Margaret, a woman widowed by a violent fire, seeks to enrich her meager living by selling a rare book of erotic to a titled gentleman. In the process, she meets a stranger - a lonely man who believes he must mary an heiress to save his family's fortune.
The characters are well drawn - even the secondary ones. The main characters are both lovable and real. There is a sense of sweet sexuality that pervades the book, even while the hero and heroine are getting to know each other and overcoming the problems in their relationship.
If you are a fan of Christina Dodd, Stephanie Laurens or Julia Quinn, I highly recommend this book. It is a sweet and satisfying read.
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
After this book... 23 Oct 2000
By Julianne - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You will fall in love with Karen Ranney!
I loved "After The Kiss", just by the fact that this love story focused singularly and intensely on Margaret Esterly and Michael Hawthorne's relationship. There were no secondary romances to steal the scenes and no quirky side characters to distract you. Okay, so there is a great villain, but that just added shine to the gem that this book was. Their love story is like a diamond solitaire shining brightly and the supporting mystery plot (surround a certain memoir book) was the gold band that held the diamond up.
This is my third book by Karen Ranney and something about her writing draws me back everytime. Maybe it's her intense style, writing packed with so much emotion. Or her usage of short sentences that makes her passages lyrical if not poetic. Or it's the characters themselves. Margaret, a widow, without very much means of survival. Who's only chance to get any financial means is to sell the mysterious books that survived the deadly fire that killed her husband. And there is Michael Hawthorne, Earl of Montraine, who is drawn to this mysterious widow. Their love, as passionate as it is, is also very complicated.
I can't say that I liked the abrupt ending, but at least the lengthiness of the epilogue made up for the lack of other. "After the Kiss" is not only absorbing but also very interesting. Ms. Ranney never fails to incorporate rare historical facts in her stories. And her characters are most of the time, way ahead of their contemporaries. And this time, it's the mystic cryptography and Michael's mathematical engine. Great novel Ms. Ranney!
40 of 50 people found the following review helpful
After the Kiss is that rare ruby in a mountain of rocks 27 Nov 2000
By Caroline - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I average about four full-length novels a week. Needless to say, it's been quite a while since I've read a book this good. Thus the ruby vs. rock comparison in my title. (this book is a gem compared to the other "rocks" that I've read for the last few months) I'm stumped as to why this book is not being raved about while other less books are. I've never sighed so much over a book in quite some time.
I am so in love with the hero that it's overwhelming. Heck, HE overwhelms me with his passion and his hunger for our heroine. After he saw her, it's as if no other woman existed for him. <Sigh> He was so honest about his feelings for her. <Sigh> I've never been so jealous of a fictional heroine before! Karen Ranney did more than just tell me about it and describe it. She made me feel it. She delivered it down here in my gut. Yes, she delivers a good mystery & yada yada yada. But what really impressed me about this intelligent book is the breath-taking sexual tension that is so erotically charged and so intense at times that I was left quite breathless.
Karen Ranney is to writing what Vincent Van Gogh is to Art. She really is a rare find and I am patting myself on the back for having picked this book up. Before Ranney, I never thought I'd find another author that could come close to Judith Ivory's (aka Judy Cuevas) sensual and lush masterpieces. Now I see why Ms. Ivory wrote an introduction for this book. Both deliver the goods on sexual tension and multi-dimensional characters that I care deeply about. But for those of you who MUST have action and mystery with your romance, Ranney's After the Kiss will be a better fix for you than Ivory.
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