Dream a Little Dream (Chicago Stars Series #4)

( 112 )

Overview

A Desperate Young Mother

Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .

A man With No Heart

Gabe Bonner wants to be left ...

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Overview

A Desperate Young Mother

Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .

A man With No Heart

Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.

Dare To Dream

Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who's forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart. . .to a place where dreams just might come true.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Setting her story in Salvation, N.C., Phillips adeptly develops the theme of love's healing power. Broke and desperate to provide a better life for her son, gutsy Rachel Stone ends up in Salvation when her car breaks down. She knows the placeeven worse, they know her as the widow of G. Dwayne Snopes, a televangelist who fled stealing millions. Luckily, Gabe Bonner, who owns a drive-in theater where Rachel asks for work, seems to be the only person who doesn't recognize her right off. Rachel's proud mettle distracts Gabe from the grief of his own tragic loss, but enemies strike out at Rachel, while Gabe's brothers mount a family defense against the gold-digging widow. Phillips (Heaven, Texas) digs deep to expose weaknesses and strengths in the psyche and faith of her characters. The result is a book that is touching, funny, sexy and humane.(Feb.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380794478
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1998
  • Series: Chicago Stars Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 169,733
  • Product dimensions: 6.74 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has found fans all over the world with her warm and wonderful contemporary love stories that manage to touch both hearts and funny bones. She's the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Favorite Book of the Year and was also honored with their Lifetime Achievement Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is a wife, the mother of two grown sons, an avid hiker, and—unlike some of her characters—notoriously inept at any sport requiring a ball.

Biography

Susan Elizabeth Phillips believes if Jane Austen were writing today, novels like Pride and Prejudice would be sitting on the bookshelf alongside the love stories that she and her fellow romance novelists pen. "Oh, and one more thing," she said, wagging her finger at a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1999, "Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy should have kissed at the end of that story, and if I'd have written it, they would have -- and it would have been a good kiss, too."

Such sass is Phillips' calling card, and since her 1994 football romance It Had to Be You, she’s been stitching threads of humor into her romance novels.

"I'm not a particularly funny person in person. I can't tell jokes, but it just seems like it happened when I started to write," she told The Romance Reader in 1997. "It wasn't anything that was planned. I'm a very intuitive writer; I just sort of let the characters talk to me, and they started saying funny things, so I wrote them down."

A schoolteacher until her first son was born, Phillips began writing in the early 1980s with her best friend and neighbor. The two were both regular readers and decided to try their hand at a book of their own, plotting their story during nightly bike rides with their toddlers in tow. They got the name of a publisher at Dell who liked the book and published it under the pen name Justine Cole.

Her friend moved into a legal career, but Phillips continued writing and publishing, this time under her own name. She released what she calls her "big books," titles like Fancy Pants and Honey Moon featuring Hollywood starlets and jet-setting London socialites.

Her stories, she has said, moved outside of the mainstream after that. She gives her romantic characters emotional wounds and personal difficulties that often impede their inevitable happy endings. But without such obstacles, there would be no story.

"I've grown increasingly interested in writing about family dynamics and much less interested in sticking a psychopath with a gun in any of my books," she said in an interview with the web site iVillage. "Technically, I've simply learned how to capitalize on my own distinctive voice and how to be a better storyteller."

The healing process that the characters go through is what makes the novels work. "Creative plotting adds sparkle, and entertaining, well-drawn secondary characters round out the novel, but it is the growing, healing relationship between the protagonists and how they finally form a family that touches the heartstrings and makes this contemporary romance an unforgettable read," the Library Journal wrote in a review of Phillips' 2000 book First Lady.

The dialogue, she has said, is also important. The exchanges in romance novels are satisfying to women who love to communicate, she told USA Today. "Women really like to talk. That's one of our processes. We talk to gather information. Women love the connection that comes from conversation," she said. "My husband says we broadcast. He thinks through things before he talks, but he says women just kind of broadcast until they zero in on what they want to say."

Phillips has also disputed the notion that romance novels are nothing more than books about "throbbing thighs." They aren't about sex, she told the Chicago Tribune in 1992, but are instead complicated fictions about women taking charge of their lives and being the stories' heroes.

"The woman always wins the man," she said, "and he always gets tamed in the end."

Good To Know

Phillips wanted to publish her first novel under the pseudonym Chastity Savage, but her best friend and co-author nixed the idea.

Though two of her books -- It Had to Be You and This Heart of Mine -- have football plots, Phillips doesn't consider herself much of a sports fan. "In my mind, if you don't have to wear mascara to do it, it doesn't count as recreation," she told Book Page.

Her family helps her keep the details straight. Husband Bill was her technical adviser on describing Dallie Beaudine's golf game in Fancy Pants, and son Zach's interest in knives, guns, and dead insects surfaced in Teddy, the son of the novel's leading lady. He also wrote and recorded a companion CD to her title This Heart of Mine, which is available from her web site.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The last of Rachel Stone's luck ran out in front of the Pride of Carolina Drive-In. There on a mountainous two-lane blacktop road shimmering from the heat of the June afternoon, her old Chevy Impala gave its final death rattle.

She barely managed to pull off onto the shoulder before a plume of dark smoke rose from beneath the hood and obscured her vision. The car died right beneath the drive-in theater's yellow and purple starburst-shaped sign.

This final disaster was overwhelming. She folded her hands on top of the steering wheel, dropped her forehead on them, and gave in to the despair that had been nipping at her heels for three long years. Here on this two-lane highway, just outside the ironically named Salvation, North Carolina, she'd finally reached the end of her personal road to hell.

"Mommy?"

She wiped her eyes on her knuckles and lifted her head. "I thought you were asleep, honey."

"I was. But that bad sound waked me up."

She turned and gazed at her son, who had recently celebrated his fifth birthday, sitting in the backseat amidst the shabby bundles and boxes that held all their worldly possessions. The Impala's trunk was empty simply because it had been smashed in years ago and couldn't be opened.

Edward's cheek was creased where he'd been lying on it, and his light-brown hair stuck up at his cowlick. He was small for his age, too thin, and still pale from the recent bout with pneumonia that had threatened his life. She loved him with all her heart.

Now his solemn brown eyes regarded her over the head of Horse, the bedraggled stuffed lop-eared rabbit that had been his constant companion since he wasa toddler. "Did something bad happen again?"

Her lips felt stiff as she formed them into a reassuring smile. "A little car trouble, that's all."

"Are we gonna die?"

"No, honey. Of course we're not. Now why don't you get out and stretch your legs a little bit while I take a look. Just stay back from the road."

He clamped Horse's threadbare rabbit's ear between his teeth and climbed over a laundry basket filled with secondhand play clothes and a few old towels. His legs were thin, pale little sticks hinged with bony knees, and he had a small port-wine mark at the nape of his neck. It was one of her favorite places to kiss. She leaned over the back of the seat and helped him with the door, which functioned only a little better than the broken trunk.

Are we gonna die? How many times had he asked her that question recently? Never an outgoing child, these last few months had made him even more fearful, guarded, and old beyond his years.

She suspected he was hungry. The last filling meal she'd given him had been four hours ago: a withered orange, a carton of milk, and a jelly sandwich eaten at a roadside picnic table near Winston-Salem. What kind of mother couldn't feed her child better than that?

One who only had nine dollars and change left in her wallet. Nine dollars and change separating her from the end of the world.

She caught a glimpse of herself in the rearview mirror and remembered that she'd once been considered pretty. Now lines of strain bracketed her mouth and fanned out from the corners of green eyes that seemed to eat up her face. The freckled skin over her cheekbones was so pale and tightly stretched it looked as if it might split. She had no money for beauty salons, and her wild mane of curly auburn hair swirled like a tattered autumn leaf around her too-thin face. The only cosmetic she had left was the stub of a mocha-colored lipstick that lay at the bottom of her purse, and she hadn't bothered to use it in weeks. What was the point? Though she was twenty-seven, she felt like an old woman.

She glanced down at the sleeveless blue chambray dress that hung from her bony shoulders. The dress was faded, much too big, and she'd had to replace one of its six red buttons with a brown button after the original cracked. She'd told Edward she was making a fashion statement.

The Impala's door squealed in protest as she opened it, and when she stepped out onto the blacktop, she felt the heat radiating through the paper-thin soles of her worn white sandals. One of the straps had broken. She'd done her best to sew it back together, but the result had left a rough place that had rubbed the side of her big toe raw. It was a small pain compared with the larger one of trying to survive.

A pickup truck whizzed by but didn't stop. Her wild hair slapped her cheeks, and she used her forearm to push away the tangled strands, as well as to shield her eyes from the billow of dust the truck kicked up. She glanced over at Edward. He was standing beside the bushes with Horse tucked under his armpit and his head bent at a sharp angle so he could stare up at the yellow and purple starburst-shaped sign that soared above him like an exploding galaxy. Outlined in lightbulbs, it contained the words Pride of Carolina.

With a feeling of inevitability, she lifted the hood, then stepped back from the gust of black smoke billowing from the engine. The mechanic in Norfolk had warned her the engine was going to blow, and she knew this wasn't anything that could be fixed with duct tape or a junkyard part.

Dream a Little Dream. Copyright © by Susan Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 112 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(62)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2002

    WOW..!!!!

    I loved this book. What a great writer..!!!! I laughed, I cried, I don't think I've read anything that touched on all my emotions like this book did. This was my first book by Ms Phillips but definitely not my last..!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2007

    Funny and inspirational

    What a great book! I laughed and cried right along with the characters. I found it entertaining to read for pleasure, while at the same time it was inspiring me to be a stronger person that needs to appreciate all I do have.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2002

    Fantastic and Entertaining Reading

    I stumbled upon author Susan Elizabeth Phillips and the Calebow/Tucker/Bonner group while choosing a contempary romance read for the commute home. I was happily surprised when I learned it was a series. The characters are well-developed into their own personalities and the interaction between each character is very real...at one point, I was just crying with sadness for Rachel and her plight -- the people on the train weren't as understanding! For those of you who like contemporary romance and tales of humanity, try this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2012

    loved it!

    She is one of my favourite authors. You can identify with the characters. the book was awesome. I will read anything of her she makes you laugh, cry, sad and built pictures of happily ever after. It feels like I know the bonner family!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    Best

    This was my second book of Susan's that i read, and i must say it was amazing. Just like It had to be you. Both books captured the tourtured souls of a few people with truly good hearts. The stories are smooth and even have some humor wrapped up. A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Awesome!

    Cried,laughed, and enjoyed this story. 290+ pages. Nobody gets killed! I really liked that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

    Excellent

    I've read a couple of SEP books and this is by far one of her best. I love the characters, and the emotion you feel when reading about them. True talent. Gabe couldn't of been paired up with a better person. Love this book. Read it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Wonderful Book!!

    Great read!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    Elder den

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Love this series!

    You can always depend on SEP to give you a great story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2013

    Mosswings Bio

    Age unknowen Desception very dark gray she cat with grefn eyes. Mate/kit NEVER!!!!!! WHY WOULD SOMONE SY THAT????? Kin Stonestar dad dead Lilywave mom dead Nightstar bro missing Lilymoon sis. Mentor Whitemoth twilightclan. History mother died dueing birth. Grew up to be med cat. Fauther died later in her life. Her brother became leader. Cast her and her sister out for helping a waterclan warrior.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    A Classic  This book for me has been reread so many times it sh

    A Classic 

    This book for me has been reread so many times it should be falling apart.  I almost always cry. I think the real close examination of loss of all kinds in this book is so well done. The characters aren't really likable most of the time but they do deserve love and forgiveness. 




    The family dynamics here weave a fuller story. I love that for once the dead wife wasn't an awful person.  There humor here shines brightly because of all the darker moments. Just like life. 




    The ache is big in this book and yes the epilogue is too sweet but I am somehow okay with that.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    The best

    This was perfect! Rachel was so strong and Gabe perfectly damaged that he was set just right for Rachel to fix him and him to set her life right, too. One of the best reads I've found in a loooooong time.

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  • Posted April 27, 2012

    Once again, I totally enjoyed a Phillip's book. I found myself

    Once again, I totally enjoyed a Phillip's book. I found myself thinking about these characters during my day, as if Rachel and Gabe were my friends. The relationship sizzles between Gabe and Rachel. I even stayed up to 4am to finish the book and boy, did 6:30am come quick. It was nice to catch up with Jane and Cal.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    A must read

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book well written and good humor

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    A must read!

    This really was one of the best books from this author. So much heart, so much pain, healing and love! I felt like i knew the characters, and wanted the best for them!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    I read this straight through

    This story was amazing, it was painfully stirring and I cried through a good portion of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    I love this series

    Notmy favorite in the series, but still a fun read.

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  • Posted September 21, 2011

    Okay but...

    Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against religion, but the constant religious tones in this book were very off putting. What could have been a strong story was jaded by preaching and religous self efficacy. Glad it was a rental and didnt waste my money. Ive enjoyed her other works, so Im not sure what went wrong. Not good

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    AMAZING!!!!!

    Of all the SEP books this was the best. I don't usually cry with books but there plenty of times i teared up while reading. Gabe and Rachel's story is great!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 113 Customer Reviews

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