To Catch A Cheat Part 11

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"Sure." Trent eased back to his side, while the warmth covering Marissa's body went away, too. The guy was hot, in lots of ways. Too hot to handle, in her opinion. Or at least, he was too hot for her to handle, and she didn't want to handle any more of him. In fact, she wanted this interview to be over, as quickly as possible.

"Well, Vic, what do you think?" Speedy asked. He waited, looked at the woman in the back room, and saw her shrug, then continued, "I think we lost our connection. Do we have another caller ready?"

The lady nodded, pushed a b.u.t.ton, and pointed at Coleman.

"You're live with Coleman and Speedy," he said. "Who are we talking to?"

"Penny," the lady said.



Marissa adjusted the volume on her headset. Unlike Vic, Penny was a soft talker.

"Welcome to the show, Penny," Speedy said. "Where are you calling from?"

"Atlanta."

Coleman nodded. "A hometown girl, and did you call in to talk to our guests?"

"Yes. I have a question for Ms. Kincaid. First of all, I want to say that I love your AtlantaTellAll e-zine. I started subscribing as soon as I learned about it, and I'm thrilled when a new issue arrives in my inbox."

"Glad to hear it," Marissa said, beaming. Take that, Jackson. Take that, Jackson.

"And one of my favorite parts of the magazine is the weekly poll. I've voted every time and always enjoy being a part of the decision process."

"That's exactly what we're aiming for," Marissa said, glad the conversation had moved to her e-zine, instead of her cheater database. The questions weren't nearly as difficult.

"So, that's what I want to ask about, one of the polls you had a couple of weeks ago. It was the boxers or briefs poll."

Speedy chuckled, Trent grinned, and Marissa, once again, felt a tinge of nausea.

"That was a popular poll," she said, keeping her voice steady and pleasant. Don't ruin me here, Penny. Don't ruin me here, Penny. "And we had a lot of fun with it." Was that all Penny wanted to say about it, merely mention how much fun the polls were each week and the fact that the underwear poll had been her favorite? When Penny didn't readily respond, relief washed over Marissa . . . until she heard Penny's actual question. "And we had a lot of fun with it." Was that all Penny wanted to say about it, merely mention how much fun the polls were each week and the fact that the underwear poll had been her favorite? When Penny didn't readily respond, relief washed over Marissa . . . until she heard Penny's actual question.

"So what I want to know is, with Trent Jackson right there next to you, have you determined what category you'd put him in?"

h.e.l.l. "Category?" Marissa asked, her voice hitching midword, while the hunk in the other chair sat up a little straighter, pushed his chest out with the movement, and-to Marissa's absolute dismay-glanced at his crotch.

"Go for it," he mouthed. he mouthed.

"Boxers or briefs?" Penny happily supplied.

"No, I haven't put him in a category." Actually, she had, a few categories, in fact. Egotistical, self-centered, arrogant, big-headed-he smirked, and Marissa's insides quivered-hot, s.e.xy, delicious.

Delicious?

"Well, if you had to, which one would you choose?" Penny continued, while Marissa wondered why in the world Coleman and Speedy weren't interrupting, or disconnecting, or something.

"I-don't know."

"I believe that's another one of those discussions that the two of us need to have alone, one on one," Trent said, and winked. Winked!

"Penny, I think that's as good an answer as we're going to get for you this time," Coleman said, then disconnected and turned his attention from his computer monitor to Speedy. "However, I do think that these two could use some time alone to-talk-about things."

"That won't be necessary," Marissa said, glad that the interview appeared to be ending. She smiled, moved her hands to her headset, and added, "But I've really enjoyed visiting with both of you today. And I probably need to go to work now."

"You didn't tell her?" Speedy asked Coleman.

"I thought you did," Coleman said, while Trent leaned back in his chair again, totally relaxed and grinning. He stretched his long legs out in front of him and crossed them at the ankles.

"Tell me what?" Marissa asked.

"We called Gary Cannon this morning. In fact, I believe he said he'd just hung up from talking to you, after you called to let him know that you'd be late," Coleman said.

"You called my boss?" Marissa slumped back into the chair. This could not be good.

"Yes, and we talked him into giving you the day off, and next week, too, in fact," Speedy supplied.

"Well," Coleman interjected, "he gave you the rest of today off, but next week, he still wants you to work; however, he said you can work offsite."

"Offsite?" Marissa croaked, and yes, that's exactly what it sounded like. A panicked croak.

"See, we've got this proposition for the two of you," Speedy said, and all three people in the control room perked up and peered through the gla.s.s at Marissa and Trent to see what they would say or do.

Marissa's thoughts suddenly flew back to those chemistry cla.s.ses in high school, when you put something under the microscope, added another element, and watched what happened. From the faces on the folks in the control room, Coleman and Speedy were about to add something volatile to the already-unstable composition of Trent/Marissa. And this would be no "like water for chocolate." Oh no, this would be something different entirely.

Like water to acid.

"What kind of proposition?" Trent asked.

"As if you don't already know," Marissa hissed, before remembering they were still broadcasting.

Speedy made the sound of an angry cat, and Marissa wanted to claw him. If she hadn't chewed all her nails to the quick, she would have.

Coleman chuckled triumphantly into his microphone. "Now, now. Mr. Jackson doesn't know any more than you do, Ms. Kincaid, and this is nothing that's set in stone. We simply want to give the two of you the opportunity to have some of that alone time that you obviously need, to straighten things out."

"We don't need alone time," Marissa said, her hand moving subconsciously toward her mouth. She didn't even realize it until Trent's long fingers closed around her wrist, and she jumped as though he had burned her. "Don't touch me," she warned.

He simply eyed the reddened tips of her fingers, shook his head, and settled back in his chair. "I was trying to help you, but trust me; it won't happen again."

"Good," she said, while Speedy gave Coleman the thumbs-up sign.

"But we might as well hear the proposition," Trent continued. "It may be something we want."

"I'm sure it isn't," she said, and wondered whether Candi was waiting outside the door, or if Marissa would have to find her down the hall. She really wanted to leave, the sooner the better.

"I believe you may change your mind, once you hear what we're offering," Coleman said.

"Shoot, that many zeroes would make me stop and listen," Speedy said.

Zeroes? Marissa didn't want to know, really she didn't. But she found herself holding her breath to hear whether either of the DJs would say more. Marissa didn't want to know, really she didn't. But she found herself holding her breath to hear whether either of the DJs would say more.

Coleman didn't disappoint.

"The station has this corporate apartment," he said, "in Marietta."

Speedy nodded. "We use it for the bigwig guests, and the folks higher up than us on the station's totem pole. You know, when the big dogs come to town for a visit. But, see, next week, it's empty, and we'd like to give the two of you the chance to stay there, do your work on your sites and your day jobs, and get a chance to talk things out." Speedy finished his spiel, then nodded again as though there was nothing to think about.

But there was.

"Not interested," Marissa said. "And I'm surprised my boss agreed to it."

"He said you could work just as well from our apartment as his office. He was particularly interested when we said we'd mention his company, Web Solutions, on the radio each morning."

"I'll bet he was," Marissa said, and thought she heard Trent laugh, though she vowed she would not not look at him to confirm. look at him to confirm.

"What do we get if we do it?" Trent asked.

Marissa broke her vow and jerked her head his way, and dammit if her rogue curl didn't twist toward her eye with the movement. She blew it out of the way, and it curled back. "We're not doing it."

"I just want to know what we're giving up, Rissi."

"Ma-ris-sa," she corrected.

"Right, that's what I meant." He purposely turned toward Speedy and away from Marissa, but she saw that tiny clench of his jawline that meant he was suppressing another smile. She hated him. Completely. Totally. And she hated even more her bizarre burning desire to lick that jaw.

"What we're offering is a multimedia campaign that would consist of radio spots, television commercials, and newspaper advertising for a twelve-month period that would total over a million dollars," Coleman said.

"That's all those zeroes I mentioned," Speedy added.

A million-dollar multimedia campaign? For one week of living in an apartment with Trent Jackson? Marissa's mind reeled at the possibilities a million-dollar campaign would offer. That kind of advertising would put her webzine on the map, along with the cheater database. She could increase the price for advertising on the site, get more subscribers, quit the day job . . . and maybe start thinking about that family she wanted one day, the one where she kissed her husband before he left for work each morning, and adored her little boy, or girl, the way Amy adored Bo.

She could have all that, if she could keep her wits around Trent Jackson for one week.

"How many bedrooms?" she asked, and saw Trent's brows. .h.i.tch up a notch.

"Two," Speedy said.

"And all we have to do is coexist for one week?" she asked, her mind still racing. She could do it, for that kind of media attention, she could. Surely. She'd just stay in her own bedroom and only come out when absolutely necessary, which would preferably be when he was behind his bedroom door. Could she exist on one meal a day? Probably.

"There's a little more to it than that," Coleman said.

Marissa's chest tightened. She should've known it sounded too easy. "Like what?"

"We'll have a list of activities that the two of you have to do, one a day, for the week. Some days you'll have to do something for Trent; some days he'll have to do something for you," Coleman answered.

Speedy added, "And this only goes on during the work week, since that's when we broadcast, so it's five days, instead of seven."

"What kind of activities?" Trent asked, but he didn't sound nearly as worried as Marissa. On the contrary, he sounded intrigued. Which worried her more.

"Why, I happen to have part of the list right here," Speedy said, and clicked a few keys on his computer. "One day you have to cook for Marissa; another day she has to cook for you."

"Can you cook?" Trent asked.

"Can you?" she challenged.

"Alrighty," Speedy continued. "Another day you've got to sit down and talk to each other, find out some answers to questions we provide. No big deal, right?"

Marissa swallowed. So far, so good. She could do all of that without losing her senses.

"Each morning, we'll call the apartment and have the two of you talk on the air, so our viewers can get a feel for how things are going," Coleman said.

"And that's all we need to do?" Marissa asked.

"That's what we're asking you to do," Coleman said, "but there's a condition to winning the ad campaign."

"What's the condition?" Trent asked.

"At the end of the week, you two still have to hate each other," Speedy said. "It's going to be an honor system kind of thing, but basically, when the week's over, we're going to ask you how you feel about each other. And if you still can't stand each other, you both get a seven-figure ad campaign."

"That's it?" Marissa asked, shocked. She thought there would be more of a catch.

Speedy chuckled. "I'll bet ya a hundred right now, Coleman, that they're together before Wednesday."

Coleman c.o.c.ked his head and appeared to size up Marissa and Trent. "I'm counting on it before the week's over, but Wednesday's a little soon. You're on."

"The two of you actually believe that the two of us will-" Marissa started, but didn't know how to finish on live radio.

"Yep," Speedy said. "Shoot, we could tell by the posts between you two on your sites that there's a spark there. And I've seen it in the flesh here today. We're merely trying to see if it'll lead to fire."

"Actually, I'd say after watching you two today, there's definitely a fire in store," Coleman said. "We're simply curious to see what kind of fire there is, and I'm sure our listeners are curious, too."

"So whaddayasay?" Speedy asked, as the theme music for the show began playing in the background. "It's about time for the Coleman and Speedy show to pack up for the weekend. Will our listeners be able to get a firsthand account of Cheaters and Liars commingling come Monday morning?"

Trent answered without hesitation. "I'm game if she is."

"And Ms. Kincaid, what do you say?" Coleman asked, while the music began to fade.

"Yeah, whaddayasay?" Speedy asked.

No way, her mind whispered, but her traitorous mouth didn't listen. "Okay."

Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your dog out of your suitcase.

-MARISSA K KINCAID

To Catch A Cheat Part 11

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To Catch A Cheat Part 11 summary

You're reading To Catch A Cheat Part 11. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Kelley St. John already has 73 views.

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