|It is hard to rate a book when I enjoyed it so much yet was so irritated with it. I would say that my enjoyment-to-irritation ratio was 85:15, putting To Catch A Cheat solidly in the three heart range. This book has heat and humor and two characters who know how to spar with sexual innuendo and how to have fun with their own insecurities. However, they are stuck in a plot that is less than stellar, making their relationship artificial and thus not as realistic as one would have hoped. In addition, the conclusion is foregone with more than 100 pages to go. Stretching is the kindest word one could use for the ending.
Marissa Kincaid and her two friends Amy and Candi are the brains behind an e-zine called AtlantaTellsAll.com. They give news, advice and generally provide a fun place for women to go to get the scoop. One night they come up with a spinoff site called TheGuyCheats.com – this is inspired when Marissa’s latest boyfriend is discovered to have a thing with another guy. The idea is to have a database for women to investigate whether their man has ever cheated thus allowing them to steer clear. Melissa is able to provide the names of 15 men. The first one (besides her father) is Trent Jackson, who went to the movies with someone else on the night he was supposed to take her to their middle school Sadie Hawkins dance. She added him as a joke, even using his picture from their 7th grade yearbook.
Little did Marissa know that Trent Jackson is a member of THE Jackson family, of Jackson Enterprises fame. Trent is the fourth generation to lead the family business. Each patriarch added a new section to the business and Trent is trying to do the same. His idea is both an e-zine and a print version of same. His website is DieHardAtlanta.com – a male oriented site. His financial advisor and friend Keith Parker informs him he has to quadruple his subscriptions to the e-zine before he can even consider going to print. When he googles his name and sees TheGuyCheats web page he has an idea. He creates TheGirlLies.com to counteract Marissa’s story. They enter into a kind of on web war. Enter radio station DJ’s Speedy and Coleman who offer them a multimillion dollar advertising package if they can stay in a corporate suite for a week and still hate each other. In addition, they have to keep away from each other for a year to prove that they really don’t have a relationship.
Here’s the irritating part – they accept. Then Trent decides that he doesn’t need or want the advertising package, he wants Marissa. At first just in his bed, but after spending a few days with her, he realizes he wants her, period. Marissa is instantly attracted to Trent and remembers their friendship from those many years ago and suddenly is fighting an uphill battle. Even her little dog, Petie, seems taken with Trent.
They spend the first part of the week alternating between lusting and hating, arguing and sparring with sexual innuendo thrown in for kicks. It is heated and hot as well as rather humorous. It just gets old fast. By the time they hit the sheets, it is not a surprise. Then there is a plot twist involving her parents that makes Marissa have second thoughts, thus elongating the story by many pages. Cute only goes so far and this one exceeded its use.
The saving grace was the characters of Marissa and Trent. They are good together and if you overlook the artificial circumstances and just enjoy their sexual dance, it is a fun reading experience. But when I have to force myself to finish a book, it is clear that there was just a tad too little to make a book a recommended read. To Catch a Cheat, while having its moments, ends up being merely acceptable.