It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars Series #1) [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not ready for the Stars' head coach, former gridiron legend Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

So why is Dan drawn to the ...

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It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars Series #1)

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Overview

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not ready for the Stars' head coach, former gridiron legend Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

So why is Dan drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied . . . and ready to fight?

The sexy, heartwarming, and hilarious "prequel" to This Heart of Mine—Susan Elizabeth Phillips's New York Times bestselling blockbuster—It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.

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Editorial Reviews

LaVyrle Spencer
Watch Susan Elizabeth Phillips go places!
Linda Barlow
A dazzling voice in contemporary woman's fiction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062290687
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Series: Chicago Stars Series , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 41,841
  • File size: 1,011 KB

Meet the Author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Susan Elizabeth Phillips soared onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She's the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America's prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a hiker, gardener, reader, wife, and mother of two grown sons.

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

Phoebe Somerville outraged everyone by bringing a French poodle and a Hungarian lover to her father's funeral. She sat at the gravesite like a fifties movie queen with the small white poodle perched in her lap and a pair of rhinestone-studded cat's-eye sunglasses shielding her eyes. It was difficult for the mourners to decide who looked more out of place — the perfectly clipped poodle sporting a pair of matching peach satin ear bows, Phoebe's unbelievably handsome Hungarian with his long, beaded ponytail, or Phoebe herself.

Phoebe's ash blond hair, artfully streaked with platinum, swooped down over one eye like Marilyn Monroe's in The Seven Year Itch. Her moist, full lips, painted a delicious shade of peony pink, were slightly parted as she gazed toward the shiny black casket that held what was left of Bert Somerville. She wore an ivory suit with a silky, quilted jacket, but the outrageous gold metallic bustier beneath was more appropriate to a rock concert than a funeral. And the slim skirt, belted with loops of gold chain (one of which sported a dangling fig leaf) was slit at the side to the middle of her shapely thigh.

This was the first time Phoebe had been back in Chicago since she'd ran away when she was eighteen, so only a few of the mourners present had ever met Bert Somerville's prodigal daughter. From the stories they'd heard, however, none of them were surprised that Bert had disinherited her. What father would want to pass on his estate to a daughter who'd been the mistress of a man more than forty years her senior, even if that man had been the noted Spanish painter, Arturo Flores? And then there was theembarrassment of the paintings. To someone like Bert Somerville, naked pictures were naked pictures, and the fact that the dozens of abstract nudes Flores had executed of Phoebe now graced the walls of museums all over the world hadn't softened his judgment.

Phoebe had a slender waist and slim, shapely legs, but her breasts and hips were plump and womanly, a throwback to an almost forgotten time when women had looked like women. She had a bad girl's body, the sort of body that, even at thirty-three, could just as well have been displayed with a staple through the navel as hanging on a museum wall. It was a bimbo's body — never mind that the brain inside was highly intelligent, since Phoebe was the sort of woman who was seldom judged by anything except appearances.

Her face wasn't any more conventional than her body. There was something off-kilter about the arrangement of her features, although it was difficult to say exactly what since her nose was straight, her mouth well formed, and her jaw strong. Perhaps it was the outrageously sexy tiny black mole that sat high on her cheekbone. Or maybe it was her eyes. Those who had seen them before she'd slipped on her rhinestone sunglasses had noted the way they tilted upward at the comers, too exotic, somehow, to fit with the rest of her face. Arturo Flores had frequently exaggerated those amber eyes, sometimes painting them larger than her hips, sometimes superimposing them over her wonderful breasts.

Throughout the funeral, Phoebe seemed cool and composed, despite the fact that the July air was heavy with humidity. Even the rushing waters of the nearby DuPage River, which ran through several of Chicago's western suburbs, didn't provide any relief from the heat. A dark green canopy shaded both the gravesite and the rows of chairs set up for the dignitaries in a semicircle around the black ebony casket, but the canopy wasn't large enough to shelter everyone attending, and much of the well-dressed crowd was standing in the sun, where they'd begun to wilt, not only from the humidity but also from the overpowering scent of nearly a hundred floral arrangements. Luckily, the ceremony had been short, and since there was no reception afterward, they could soon head for their favorite watering holes to cool off and secretly rejoice in the fact that Bert Somerville's number had come up instead of their own.

The shiny black casket rested above the ground on a green carpet that had been laid directly in front of the place where Phoebe was sitting between her fifteen-year-old half sister, Molly, and her cousin Reed Chandler. The polished lid held a star-shaped floral spray of white roses embellished with sky blue and gold ribbons, the colors of the Chicago Stars, the National Football League franchise Bert had bought ten years earlier.

When the ceremony ended, Phoebe cradled the white poodle in her arms and rose to her feet, stepping into a shaft of sunlight that sparked the gold metallic threads of her bustier and set the rhinestone frames of her cat's-eye sunglasses afire. The effect was unnecessarily dramatic for a woman who was already quite dramatic enough.

Reed Chandler, Bert's thirty-five-year-old nephew, got up from his chair next to her and walked over to place a flower on the casket. Phoebe's half sister Molly followed self-consciously. Reed gave every appearance of being grief-stricken, although it was an open secret that he would inherit his uncle's football team. Phoebe dutifully placed her own flower on her father's coffin and refused to let the old bitterness return. What was the use? She hadn't been able to win her father's love while he was alive, and now she could finally give up the effort...

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 195 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(95)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 196 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    The was one of the better books I have read. A well written sto

    The was one of the better books I have read. A well written story. Captured many emotions.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    My Favorite

    I love almost all of SEP's books. This is my favorite, followed closely by Natural Born Charmer. I come back to these books time and time again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 5, 2012

    All time favorite

    This series is an excellent blend of humor and romance with captivating character and a great story. From the first book to the last. One of my favorite authors over all.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Star struck

    I really love this series! So if looking for a chic-lit book, read this series. In this book, I was disguisted with several actions Dan did...role playing with his ex wife as a 16 year old yesh! I cried with Phoebe as she dealt with her eotions about being raped. To me, having that much feelings towards fictional characters is the result of a captivating, well rounded author.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Contains incest and rape

    While the rape was not current, it was a strong presence in the book. It made it difficult for me to read the book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2000

    still thinking about it!

    I havent stopped thinking about the people in this book since I finished it 2 weeks ago! I just bought 4 more by her! I loved it and have passed it on!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    Best

    The best book. Captured so many emotions in this book, as well as all her others. Susan is a top rate author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Super read

    Best story ever

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    At Times Funny, But the Characters Never Grew On Me

    This author and novel is on several romance rec lists, so I had tried this one before the last time I looked to see what the genre had to offer and reread it because I'm working through a romance recommendation list. The heroine is supposedly someone smart who only pretends to be a bimbo--but I'm afraid she comes across as the real thing. Oh, and the hero, head coach at the football team she inherits, is another one of those obnoxious "alpha" males. Right after they have sex, since the heroine has a "reputation" he asks her if she has been tested for STDS. Smoooth... The book had some funny moments, was interesting in it's look at pro football, and kept me to the end, but the characters never really grew on me or convinced they had anything going for them beyond mutual lust. Part of the Chicago Stars series.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    Addicting

    Truly, you start to read and you can't stop. Completely addicting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2014

    Love, love

    I hadn't read this book in a few years, so I revisited it. I loved it just as much this time as before, and still could not put it down!!! When I had read it before, I quickly ordered every other book she has written. Susan Elizabeth Phillips still stands as one of my very favorite authors (and I read a lot of books). She is honestly the very first author that has made me laugh out loud! This story is especially near and dear to me because I too played the bimbo in high school because I found I had gotten no where by being known as the nerd. Phoebe was certainly a star! You will simply adore being enraptured in Phoebe and Dan's love story, each time you read it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    Why must you use the "N" word

    I started to enjoy the book and the "N" word appeared. It did not add anything to the story, it was just insensitive and insulting to "good" writers.
    A former fan...
    P.S. A refund isnt necessary

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 22, 2013

    I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips as an author. Her books always d

    I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips as an author. Her books always draw me in completely because the characters are so rich. Phoebe & Dan are no exception. I liked the minor characters & how they interacted with the dynamic duo. The book had me laughing at parts, making me want to cry in others. In other words, a great read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    Good book!

    Good book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2013

    this author hit on many diffent emotions!!

    wasn't quite sure what i bought when i was reading the role playing w/ex wife...but i kept on reading and i'm glad i did. laughed out loud in many parts and my heart broke in others. I would recommend this book. will read more from this author. about 320 pages

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    *****

    Excellent. Everything a romance should be

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Love her books

    Awesome book, great series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    It had to be You

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my favorite author. I have read all of her books. I have copies in paperback and collecting all of them in my nook. 'It had to be You" is the first book that I read from SEP. If you have not read this book I promise that you will not reget buying it. You will laugh until you cry.

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  • Posted November 26, 2012

    This is one of those easy reads that is great if you have nothin

    This is one of those easy reads that is great if you have nothing else to do. It was not my most favorite book but it was a fun read. I would recommend this book for someone who just wants a light read. If you are looking for something deep, you may want to look elsewhere.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 10, 2012

    Among SEP's Best

    The first of her "Stars" books about the fictional Chicago Stars football team (and the women who love them), this is a really fun read. Phillips has such a wonderful comic voice. The book has some dark elements and there's plenty of drama. You will not only love this book, but want desperately to move on to the others. Love 'em all!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 196 Customer Reviews

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