After the Kiss is the first of a series of books about 'The Notorious Gentlemen.' The hero of this book, Sullivan Waring, isn't exactly notorious - he's overlooked. A renowned horse breeder and trainer, despite the rumors that he has an aristocratic natural father he is ignored, except for his expertise with horses. Lady Isabel Chalsey can't overlook him, though - not when she catches him red-handed burgling her family's house. But Isabel doesn't want to see him hung or transported, not when he gave her a kiss.
She decides to keep an eye on him by employing him to teach her to ride. It's the only reason she can think to spend time with him and find out more about him, but unfortunately Isabel is almost phobic about horses.
Sullivan Waring is on a mission to revenge himself against his father, who sold all his mother's possessions when Sullivan was fighting the Peninsular war. Each time he steals one of his mother's paintings, he knows that it irritates his father. But now there is someone else involved, someone who knows that he is the secret thief known as the Mayfair Marauder, and someone who is getting closer to him.
But there's absolutely no future to be had between the daughter of a marquis and a horse breeder, especially when Sullivan's legitimate half-brother is after Isabel as well. Can they find happiness? Can Sullivan get away with his thefts without being caught? Can he ever find a place in society?
It took me a while to get into this book, despite an exciting first chapter during the Peninsular War. I didn't find myself warming to Isabel Chalsey
or her dictatorial and bossy manner and was too perturbed by yet another random man's name in an American-authored Regency (although there
is an explanation as to why he is called Sullivan). There are lots of errors in dialogue
- for example, using the American word 'burglarize' rather than the English 'burgle' and other similar mistakes. However, the underlying story
is actually quite good, even if I wasn't convinced of the probable reality of the events that led to the happy ending. It
ends up a reasonable read with an enigmatic hero, a varied cast of supporting characters, and some interesting vignettes involving horse training.