Friday, August 12, 2011

Doublecrossed by Susan X. Meagher

Publisher:           Brisk Press

Callie Emerson and Regan Manning meet in an unusual manner.  Their partners are having an affair and Callie volunteers to call Regan and explain why she shouldn't be upset.  That improbable beginning leads to a friendship when both women realize the smartest thing they can do is to dump their girlfriends and they turn to each other for support.  After all, who understands how each one feels better than they do?  Friendship is what they agree on, but they find more and more about each other that is attractive.  Misunderstandings and their own histories keep them dancing around each other and resisting a deeper relationship because neither one intends to be doublecrossed again.

This story is full of about as many unbelievable situations as is probably possible.  One partnership is based on a so-called "open" relationship where Callie practically gives her lover permission to sleep with any women she wants to as long as she tells Callie and then gets mad when she does.  Callie uproots her life after a few days visit and moves to New England because she decides that's where her life is meant to be.  She shares beds with women and feels nothing for them, but throws herself at women in bars.  She gets quite up close and personal with women she's just met, then skips away as if they're nothing, but she's disturbed when people think she might be shallow.  Regan, who insists on a strict moral code of behavior, finds all of this attractive one minute, then repulsive the next.  Situation after situation has these women are all over the map and it's difficult to follow where they're going to end up next in the story.

The major problem with the story is that neither main character is terribly appealing, though Regan is perhaps more understandable than Callie.  Sometimes the feeling is that someone needs to grab one or both of these women and give them a good shaking to force some sense into their heads.  The story also drags on for too long.  A number of scenes could have been eliminated because they don't move the story forward or provide important information about the characters.  Add to that the misspellings and incorrect character references and the book becomes very frustrating.  More devastating for a book, the reader just may not care what happens between Regan and Callie.

Susan Meagher's books are very popular with many readers.  She's known for providing long romances that allow the reader to really immerse herself in the story.  Doublecrossed, unfortunately, doesn't come up to that standard.  The story is just OK and sometimes verges on plain irritating.

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