The first answer that comes to mind is a big, resounding NO. People read to escape, and cheating is a part of reality nobody wants to deal with in their escape.
I understand this reasoning. A cheater is a cheater and nobody wants to read about a hero who cheats, right?
But the thing is, I like my romance heroes messed up. I like them to have made mistakes. And I love to be in their head while they grow and learn and regret and either make amends or live with regret.
[DISCLAIMER: I HATE cheating in real life. I find it cowardly and disrespectful, and I think it sells everyone involved short. It’s not about genitals touching, to me. It’s about the dishonesty involved. If your significant other isn’t as significant as you let them think they are, they should know. Then you could both find something that suits you better or renegotiate the basics of your relationship. That said, I understand people are flawed and weak.]
I like seeing rhyme and reason into things, and in an effort to understand how a cheater thinks, I wrote Passionate. It started as a one-off (and as fanfic) and evolved into a sordid, forbidden love story. But not a romance. There wasn’t much romantic between a married guy and his stepson’s (adult) girlfriend. Still I loved that story, and I think I managed my goal to a point. The cheaters suffered, even though they got their happily ever after.
In The Tenant, [SPOILER–highlight to read] Amanda cheats by mistake. She believes her relationship is over, even says so to her fiance, and then spends the weekend having crazy monkey sex with her sexy and annoying roommate. When she finds out her fiance hadn’t cheated first, she’s filled with guilt, and ultimately decides to fess up and end her engagement for real this time.[SPOILER] Should she be forgiven? I think she should. And she should get her happily-ever-after, though not with her ex-fiance.
Finally, in One Last Night, Bella is convinced her husband cheated on her shortly before their sixteenth wedding anniversary (but did he?). She gets the chance to go back to the beginning of their relationship and either do it all over again or never let it start. What should she do? What would you? Back then, Mike definitely had no intention of cheating–if he ever did.
Should she give the man he used to be another chance, even in her dreams?
She loved and loathed the weird-ass memory dreams in equal measure.
They started the way her actual nights with Mike had, but veered off from there, and she had complete control over them. It was as if she were transported to her past, knowing what she did now.
And what she knew now was that Mike was a two-timing bastard and a liar.
Only she didn’t have to hate dream-Mike, like she did her real ex. She could pretend they’d just met, and enjoy their wild time together without worrying about the future. In her dreams, she was free to give in to the animal passion they always shared.
Correction—the animal passion she always believed they shared. If he’d lied about loving her, he could’ve lied about anything.
Last night’s dream was one of her favorite memories. In reality, it was their second date. She’d given him her number, and he’d called, and she’d gone to meet him after her recording session.
Her dream had started with her outside Arbore’s, but she somehow knew Mike wasn’t expecting her. She also knew everything else would be the same. He’d be chatting with Derek’s sister, and he’d jump up when he saw Ana, and he’d run to her and splutter about who Tanya was.
In her dream, she didn’t torture him as long as she had in real life. Back then, Tanya pointed at Mike and then at herself, shaking her head behind his back. Bella realized the other woman was saying she and Mike weren’t a thing, but let Mike ramble on for a while, enjoying his floundering.
If Bella hadn’t believed him then, she wouldn’t have lived a lie for sixteen years.
Her new alarm clock chirped gleefully. She flattened her hand on top of it, and it stopped. Simple as that. Like her marriage.
Mike can’t believe his luck. The hottest girl in the world gives him the night of his life. And she isn’t even looking for a relationship; she runs off without giving him her number or asking for his.
Sixteen years later, Bella wakes up from a weird dream. Her subconscious is messing with her, but she’s determined to ignore it and rebuild the life she once sacrificed in the name of love.
Mike gets nightly visits from the woman of his dreams, and Bella keeps dreaming of the man who broke her heart. One chases a phantom, the other tries to exorcise a memory, but in the end they both ask for the same thing.
One last night.
Read the first chapter One Last Night – Chapter One