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I won't read a book that doesn't contain a romance plot of one kind or another...

After the Kiss - Joan Johnston What impressed me in this book is that it managed to engage all sorts of feelings: it started as light and humorous, it turned into sober and sweet in the middle only to end up in anguish. I haven't read another book like that till now.

The hero and heroine meet under humorous circumstances, when the heroine stambles upon the hero and his twin nieces as she tries to escape her guardian's advances and visit her cousin with whom she's in love in London. She is extremely tall and odd looking while he is considered the best looking man in the ton, aptly named 'The Beau'. He decides to escort her during her visit in London and of course they get to know each other better. However, when they arrive in London and meet her cousin the mood shifts; it turns sober as the feelings get more serious. She is attracted to the Beau as he in her, but neither of them is ready to accept that attraction or act on it. And the heroine still believes her future lies with her cousin until a passionate kiss changes the future of everyone involved.

The second part is dark and deeply emotional with the hero coming back from Waterloo scarred and turned into a Beast rather than Beau. A beast, who now lives isolated from anyone in regret and sorrow. However, he has his nieces to think about and after they got rid of the last 7 or 8 governesses, he has to come up with a more permanent solution: a wife for him who'll act as close as a stepmother to them. After all, they did seem to get along famously with Miss Eliza Sheringham more than a year ago, not to mention how well he got along with her. But knowing she would never agree to marry him after the way he treated her, he resorts to blackmail. And so, their marriage begins. But Eliza is not a woman to leave open wounds festering. She tries to drive her husband out of his misery and solitude but it seems to be a loosing battle as the situation between them deteriorates day by day.

This book was a rollercoaster of emotions: from lighthearted banter to sweet, tender encounters until the angsty, emotional scenes in the end, I couldn't put it down; I read it in almost a day. Highly recommended.