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

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

4.1 204
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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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 prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything

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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 prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow 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 he 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 Susan Elizabeth Phillip's This Heart of Mine -- her sensational bestsellng blockbuster -- It Had To Be You is an enchanting story of two stubborn people who believe in playing for keeps.

Editorial Reviews

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

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Chicago Stars Series, #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

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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It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 200 reviews.
laura24 More than 1 year ago
The was one of the better books I have read. A well written story. Captured many emotions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
jlm548 More than 1 year ago
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.
PeniA More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book. Captured so many emotions in this book, as well as all her others. Susan is a top rate author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best story ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm so very glad Susan Elizabeth Phillips was recommend to me. I really enjoyed this book.
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Francesca and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog This book has been on my TBR for yeeeeeears.  It is only thanks to #RollBackWeek as well as our Pick It For Me Challenge that I actually managed to finally read it.  And now I’m kicking myself in the ass for waiting this long.  This is a great example why the classics always work.  Many authors may try to reinvent the wheel but it’s great to see that these stories, written so many years ago, can still manage to steal my heart. This is a classic sports romance where the experienced coach falls for the rich new team owner.  Phoebe is in a lot of ways misunderstood.  Everyone sees her as the crazy daughter for a millionaire owner of the Stars team, who has always lived a life worried about the next party, not worried about morals, and more concerned with her looks and fashion than doing something important with her life.  But that is just what she lets people believe.  There is a lot under the surface with Phoebe, and at the core there is a broken woman who needs love, family and acceptance. Dan Calebow is a lot like Phoebe.  He’s had a track record with women where they always come to him to get a rough tumble with a wild guy.  But no one sees him as the type they can settle down with and have kids.  And he’s at a stage in his life where all he wants is to find a quiet and respectable women to have kids with. When Phoebe’s father dies and leaves her the team on a temporary arrangement and with conditions she needs to meet, she’s forced to step up and show everyone a different side of herself by making the Stars a successful team that season.  And in the process, she quickly falls for the hot coach. You know those sweet, feel good stories?  IT HAD TO BE YOU is one of those.  There’s not a lot of crazy antics, it’s just  straight forward good story about two great characters.  And a great group of side characters!  There’s a sense of friendship as always with sports teams, and then there’s also the family unity following along with Phoebe’s sister. I will be reading the rest of this series for sure, and it won’t take me this long to do it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this anchor for the Chicago Stars series
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DecGrl89 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. Everything a romance should be
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book, great series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago