Bait & Switch
by Darlene Gardner, contemporary (2002)
LoveSpell, $5.99, ISBN 0-505-52521-6


Oh goody, goody, yet another "Oops, I slept with the wrong twin!" story. Will twins ever become anything more than objects of neurotic desire in romance novels? It's tough being a twin in these books. One of the twins will end up slutty (female) or a no-good bum (male), while the other ends up frigid and neurotic (female) or proper and responsible (male). Bait & Switch is a tried and tested Cracked Twin/Responsible Twin story, and frankly, it's not even a well-developed one.

Grant "Mitch" Mitchell is a cop. His twin Cary Mitchell is on the run. Mitch takes Cary's place so that he can lure the loan shark out and catch him to save Cary's ass. Oh, and Mitch's an undercover cop, but no where in this story does he seem to have to report for work or anything. I don't think I'm even supposed to wonder. Anyway, so they switch places, and Cary goes on some luxurious holiday cruise-like thing while Mitch grumbles as he takes his brother's place bartending at a topless bar. Cary's girlfriend Peyton shows up, mad that Cary doesn't show up for the Meet the Parents session, and Mitch takes it unto himself to mend Peyton's relationship with "Cary". "Mitch" (actually Cary) woos a woman who had long had a crush on Mitch since she had yet to grow breasts. Now Lizabeth has definitely developed the breasts, and in another fifty years, she may have the brains to match. May, that is.

If Mitch and Cary are one-dimensional guys who in the end undergo the expected and inevitable "Wa-hey! I'm in love with my bro's gal, kin-kay!" realization, Peyton is the crazy Southern gal who keeps insisting that all her boyfriends meet her parents or else, and Lizabeth is one of those creepy wide-eyed gals who keep stalking about the football jocks in school that people give a wide berth to in real life.

Bait & Switch is a pretty decent romp of mistaken identities that doesn't even try to break new grounds. I have a fine time laughing at these silly, silly people. Now, if only someone will shut up that voice in my head that tells me I'm supposed to care and laugh with the characters, not laughing at the characters in a not-so-nice way.

Rating: 69


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