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I read Shannon McKenna’s Return To Me last night, and I came across a plot device, that has often annoyed me in the past.

The heroine in this book is engaged to be married to the stereo-typical fine-upstanding-young-man-who-turns-out-to-be-not-so-fine-and-upstanding, when the hot-assed bad boy hero comes riding back into town, with the intentions of doing the horizontal foxtrot, with the already engaged heroine.

Simon Riley, was the town bad boy (aren’t they all?) who’d left town under testing circumstances 17 years before, and of course he’d never forgotten the only person in the world who’d ever treated him like a human being, yada yada yada. Plot sound familiar?

Anyway, this isn’t actually a review of the book, but as it happens, I enjoyed the story, and didn’t feel like I was losing the will to live whilst reading it, which as you know, is a rare thing indeed these days.

The crux of the matter, was that the heroine, even though she was engaged to be married, let the hero plough his fingers into her nether hole whilst they were sat on his BMW bike (the bike really isn’t relevant, but I thought I’d let you visualise the scene for yourselves), and I couldn’t help but think it was wrong that she would let him do that, even though the fiancé was the kinda guy, I’d have probably been tempted to give a Liverpool Kiss to, whilst dousing him with petrol.

It felt wrong, and so I ended up skimming their sexual encounters, until she eventually grew a brain and ditched the fiancé.

I come across this plot device an awful lot, and it seems to me that some authors seem to get away with having the hero or heroine being unfaithful as long as they aren’t being unfaithful to each other. Isn’t cheating bad, period?

The justifications that are often used include, the hero being a dickhead, the lack of chemistry between the heroine and the soon-to-be ex, or the soon-to-be-ex is actually the leader of a drug cartel, and the heroine with her innocent I-trust-everybody-because-I’m-a-daft-cow outlook on life, has no clue, until he eventually tries to kill her because she knows too much.

Admittedly, if it was me and I found out that my husband was trying to kill me, I’d probably go out and try to shag the Pope, just to piss him off… hmmm, maybe that’s just me…

Anyway, my question is, is there ever really a time when infidelity is acceptable in a romance book, or do you mostly just suck it up, and try to forget that it’s not actually romantic to cheat, no matter how bad the ex is. We can understand the motivation, but does that make it right?