Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars Series #7)
  • Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars Series #7)
  • Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars Series #7)

Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars Series #7)

4.5 173
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of…  See more details below


Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.

Blue Bailey is on a mission to murder her ex. Or at least inflict serious damage. As for the beaver suit she's wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curveballs? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.

Blue's career as a portrait painter is the perfect job for someone who refuses to stay in one place for very long. She needs a ride, and America's most famous football player has an imposing set of wheels. Now, all she has to do is keep him entertained, off guard, and fully clothed before he figures out exactly how desperate she is.

But Dean isn't the brainless jock she imagines, and Blue -- despite her petite stature -- is just about the toughest woman Dean has ever met. They're soon heading for his summer home where their already complicated lives and inconvenient attraction to each other will become entangled with a charismatic but aging rock star; a beautiful fifty-two-year-old woman trying to make peace with her rock and roll past; an eleven-year-old who desperately needs a family; and a bitter old woman who hates them all.

As the summer progresses, the wandering portrait artist and the charming football star play a high-stakes game, fighting themselves and each other for a chance to have it all.

Natural Born Charmer is for everyone who's ever thought about leaving their old life in the dust and never looking back. Susan Elizabeth Phillips takes us home again . . . and shows us where love truly lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this latest installment in Phillips's romance series starring the Chicago Stars football players (This Heart of Mine; Nobody's Baby but Mine), the bestselling novelist delivers a love story wrought with delicious sexual tension and charged banter. When debonair starting quarterback Dean Robillard, on a soul-searching road trip after a serious shoulder injury, happens across Blue Bailey, walking alongside the road wearing a beaver costume, he stops to help her. Blue is far from a Barbie-esque football groupie, but broke and stranded, she needs both a ride and a job, and the football all-star (driving a sexy Aston Martin) poses an interesting opportunity. As the two travel from Colorado to Dean's new farmhouse in east Tennessee, Blue resists his advances, and both athlete and vagabond struggle with deeply rooted trust and familial issues that are soon exacerbated by the unexpected presence of Dean's mother at the farm. While the verbal sparring in this textbook case of opposites attracting feels stagy at first, the rough edges come together in an alluring way. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal

Brimming with audacious humor, delicious sensuality, and beautifully developed characters, this touching, multilayered story also has an emotional depth that readers will savor. Fans (and libraries) who missed out on the hardcover edition of Phillips's 2007 award-winning best seller and Quill nominee will want to add this paperback version to their collections. One of the author's "Chicago Stars" titles. (LJ2/15/07)

—Kristin Ramsdell

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Chicago Stars Series, #7
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Natural Born Charmer LP

By Susan Phillips

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Susan Phillips
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061233050

Chapter One

It wasn't every day a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of a road, not even in Dean Robillard's larger-than-life world. "Son of a . . ." Dean slammed on the brakes of his brand-new Aston Martin Vanquish and pulled over in front of her.

The beaver marched right past, her big flat tail bouncing in the gravel, and her small, sharp nose stuck up in the air. Way up. The beaver looked highly pissed. She was definitely a girl beaver because her beaver head was missing, revealing sweaty, dark hair pulled into a short, scraggly ponytail. He'd been praying for a little distraction from his own depressing company, so he threw open the door and stepped out onto the shoulder of the Colorado road. His newest pair of Dolce & Gabbana boots emerged first, followed by the rest of him, all six feet three inches of steely muscle, razor-sharp reflexes, and unsurpassed gorgeousness . . . or at least that's what his press agent liked to say. Still, it was pretty much true, although Dean didn't have nearly as much personal vanity as he let people believe. But emphasizing the superficial was a good way to keep people from getting any closer than he wanted them to be.

"Uh, ma'am . . . You need some help?"

Her paws didn't break rhythm. "You got a gun?"

"Not with me."

"Then I've got no use for you."

On she marched.

Hegrinned and set off after her. With his extra-long legs and her shorter, furry ones, it took just a few steps to catch up. "Nice day," he said. "A little warmer than I'm used to for May, but I'm not complaining."

She hit him with a pair of grape lollipop eyes, one of the few curvy things about her. Most of the rest of her came to sharp angles and delicate points, from a set of fragile bladed cheekbones, to a petite, arrow-tipped nose, to a chin keen enough to cut glass. But after that, things got dicey. A razor-edged bow marked the center of a wide and startlingly plump top lip. Her bottom lip was even fuller, giving him the disconcerting feeling that she'd somehow escaped from an X-rated nursery rhyme.

"An actor," she said with the trace of a sneer. "Just my luck."

"What makes you think I'm an actor?"

"You're prettier than my girlfriends."

"It's a curse."

"You're not even embarrassed?"

"Some things you have to accept about yourself."

"Brother . . ." She gave a grunt of disgust.

"Name's Heath," he said, as she picked up the pace. "Heath Champion."

"Sounds phony."

It was, but not in the way she meant.

"What do you need a gun for?" Dean asked.

"Murder an old lover."

"Is he the one who picked out your wardrobe?"

Her big ol' paddle tail smacked him in the leg as she spun on him. "Beat it, okay?"

"And miss all the fun?"

She gazed back at his sports car, a lethal, midnight black Aston Martin Vanquish S with a V-12 engine. The machine had set him back a couple of hundred thousand, but even that hadn't made much of a dent in his net worth. Being the starting quarterback for the Chicago Stars was pretty much like owning a bank.

She nearly poked out her eye as she pushed a sweaty spike of hair away from her cheek with her paw, which didn't seem to be detachable. "I could use a ride."

"Are you going to gnaw my upholstery?"

"Do not mess with me."

"Apologies." For the first time all day, he was glad he'd decided to get off the interstate. He tilted his head toward the car. "Hop in."

Even though this was her idea, she hesitated. Finally, she shuffled after him. He should have helped her in--he did open the door for her--but he just stood back to watch the fun.

Mainly it was the tail. The sucker was basically spring-loaded, and as she attempted to wedge herself into the leather passenger seat, it kept smacking her in the head. She got so frustrated she tried to rip it off, and when that didn't work, she stomped on it.

He scratched his chin. "Aren't you being a little tough on the ol' beaver?"

"That's it!" She started to take off again down the road.

He grinned and called out after her. "I apologize. Comments like that are exactly why women have lost respect for men. I'm ashamed of myself. Here, let me help you."

He watched her struggle between pride and necessity and wasn't surprised to see necessity win. When she returned to his side, she let him help fold over her tail. As she clutched it to her chest, he guided her inside. She had to sit on one cheek and peer around the tail to see through the windshield. He climbed behind the wheel. The beaver suit emitted a musky odor that reminded him of a high school locker room. He cracked the window a couple of inches as he pulled back out onto the road. "So where are we off to?"

"About a mile straight ahead. Take a right at the Eternal Life Bible Church."

She was sweating like a linebacker underneath all that malodorous fur, and he turned the AC to full blast. "Are there a lot of career opportunities in beaver work?"

Her derisive look told him she knew exactly how much entertainment he was having at her expense. "I was doing some promotion for Ben's Big Beaver Lumberyard, okay?"

"When you say promotion . . ."

"Ben's business has been down lately . . . or so I was told. I just got to town nine days ago." She nodded straight ahead. "This road leads to Rawlins Creek and Ben's lumberyard. That four-lane highway back there leads to Home Depot."

"I'm starting to get the picture."

"Right. Every weekend, Ben tries to hire somebody to stand out by the highway with a sign to draw some of the shoppers his way. I was his latest patsy."


Excerpted from Natural Born Charmer LP by Susan Phillips Copyright © 2007 by Susan Phillips. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Natural Born Charmer 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 173 reviews.
MiaAdorable More than 1 year ago
Natural Born Charmer is a wonderful and quirky and sometimes erotic novel. Susan Phillips is a wonderful writer. This is the first book I read from her. She brings you in the story and makes you feel for all the characters. She gives everyone live and really reels you with her wit. It is a comedic and sometimes dramatic love story. Romance and family. It really is one great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Susan Elizabeth Phillips' stories, and this one is no exception. Natural Born Charmer has great characters in Dean and Blue, the dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny (when you get to the interactions between Blue and Nita, you'll see what I mean), and I love how her stories don't just deal with the two protagonists, but also has stories-within- the-story, detailing the lives and feelings of other characters close to the main couple. There are other, more prolific writers who are beginning to bore me with the same old formula - woman has heartbreak or tragedy, moves to another town, someone wants to kill her, she finds some rugged hot guy, gratuitous intimate encounters ensue, they escape near death, and usually get married. While I sometimes enjoy these, I know that with a SEP novel, I am going to get fast-paced, fantastically witty dialogue, characters I care about, and they don't involve damsels with killers after them. Most of her books focus on families, and she does it so well that you wish you could jump into the book and be a part of all the fun. You cannot go wrong buying this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
In addition to the well-written and interesting plots and storyline exhibited in this romantic comedy, an interesting trait is common to all the main characters. They all have developed a talent through hard work and refinement of natural skill sets. I think the emphasis of that character trait is the predominant reason for the believability of the novel. That is also why it works on a personal level.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
Looking for a wonderful weekend or beach read? "Natural Born Charmer" may be right for you. There is a lot of laughter and poignancy to this story. Imagine a football player driving down the road spotting a "headless" beaver walking down the side. Once Dean stops and gives Blue a lift, his life changes forever. Come meet these lovable characters and join them as mysteries and family members are revealed. This book was a great departure from some of the heavy stuff I was reading, and provided many needed laughs. Come on, join the fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips' novels. Well written, great characters and subplots. This book was pure fun and I'm glad I own it so I can re-read it.
NikkiSimone More than 1 year ago
This book was HILARIOUS - LOL FUNNY! Don't hesitate to buy it you won't regret it.
EllenCT More than 1 year ago
Funny, charming, sweet, even a little heartbreaking.
RochellyakaFictionLover More than 1 year ago
Loved this love story, The characters are great, the plot is great even the sexy scenes were lovely. This is my favorite book out of the Chicago Stars series followed by Match Me If You Can. I recommend this to everyone that likes romance and couples that are nothing alike. It was funny, touching, loving!!!!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
I'm a longtime SEP fan, and have always enjoyed her special blend of romance and humor. That said, though, NATURAL BORN CHARMER is not, in my opinion, nearly as good as some of her former work.

With unrealistic situations (what woman would hitchhike with a stranger in this day and age, even if you knew, technically, who he was -- and then go off with him to his vacation home) that made me dislike the main character, I had to work to get into this story. Once involved, though, I did enjoy the plot, but not nearly as much as I have in the past.

This isn't a bad book, but it's by no means SEP's BEST work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I just came upon this book and I'm glad that I decided to read it. It is outstanding not the least bit disappointing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book this week. I couldn't put it down. It was such a wonderful story. I recommend anyone to read it that likes love stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
First of her books I've read - and loved it. If you like Evanovich's sense of humor, you'll love this one. I laughed out loud every other page, it seemed. Definitely worth reading - I'm buying another!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book will make you laugh out loud. I couldnt put it down. If your looking for a romantic, funny and entertaining book, you definately need to read this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
nobody in their sane mind would ever rate a susan elizabeth philip's novel anything less than 5 stars.she's awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a awesome book. I had a hard time putting it down. This would be one of her best books written.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Actress Kate Fleming who recorded audio books as Anna Fields died recently. Audio book fans remember her for her magnificent narrations and her versatility - reading the works of authors as diverse as Joyce Carol Oates and Molly Ivins. She won an Audie Award, and was a narrator for the 9/11 Commission Report. Kate will be greatly missed but thankfully we can still enjoy her voice performances, I treasure her take on the life of Blue Bailey in this heartwarming story by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Yes, this is a love story, and a funny one, too. Who can resist smiling at the thought of a young woman walking along the side of a Colorado highway in a beaver suit? Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard did more than smile, he came to a quick stop and picked her up. This is a man who has it all - great looks, life in the fast line, adulation, and more money than he's quite sure what to do with. He's on his way to Tennessee to check on a farm he recently purchased. Blue (she in the beaver suit) is down on her luck and appreciates the ride, hoping to get somewhere where she can restart her portrait painting business. Despite a bit of bickering she's quick to ingratiate herself with Dean and convince him of how much help she can be . Help is what he needs when he reaches his farm and finds that the person hired to oversee the renovations is actually his mother, April, whom he hasn't seen in years. Motherhood wasn't exactly April's thing - drugs were, and now she's trying to make amends. It's not too long before Dean's Dad appears - ditto Dean's half-sister. Can these folks ever forget and forgive? Listen and find out whether or not love conquers all. - Gail Cooke
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PegGlover More than 1 year ago
Natural Born Charmer is a delightful contemporary fictional story, filled with funny situations and witty dialog. The characters in this book will win your heart, stir your emotions, and make you laugh. Thirty-year-old Blue Bailey learned from a very young age that people could not be trusted. Everyone she had ever loved left her. She decided that it would be easier to feel the heartache of loneliness, than to suffer the stinging pain of betrayal and rejection. So Blue Bailey hid herself behind a smart mouth, oversized tee shirts, combat boots and a badass attitude. Pro-football player Dean Robillard smiled when he spotted a woman dressed in a beaver suit stomping alongside the highway blazing with anger. Intrigued, he pulled his car over. He had no idea that his life was about to change forever.  Blue Bailey on the other hand had no idea that she was about to let in a self-centered selfish man who would crack her inner fortress, and break her heart. Blue Bailey marched along the Tennessee highway, furious and fit to be tied. Her bank account had been ransacked, her car rendered useless, and if she didn’t get out of her beaver suit soon she was going to drop from heat exhaustion. So when Pro-football star Dean Robillard stopped to offer her a ride, she took it. Dean was used to women falling all over him. So when Blue Bailey refused his charms, he was stunned.  Who was this girl? She certainly wasn’t a beauty queen dressed in men’s clothing and combat boots. She should feel lucky that he even acknowledged her presence at all. But the more time Dean spent with Blue, the more he discovered that her thick sarcastic exterior was just a cover for the insecure beautiful girl who lived beneath it. Blue couldn’t understand why she even cared about Dean. He was a conceited jerk, and treated his mother as if she were dead. Blue got it though, he had been abandoned, but so had she. Maybe her mother wasn’t a druggie like Dean’s, but at least his mother was trying to be there now for him. That was more than she could say about hers. Blue had to get away from Dean Robillard. She was playing with fire and her heart was about to be broken. So Blue took a job painting a portrait for a mean-spirited hateful woman, who would end up befriending her. Natural Born Charmer is a well written, funny and emotional read, crafted with several subplots. Susan Elizabeth Phillips does a fabulous job developing her secondary characters. She depicts for the reader the overwhelming guilt that hits a parent when they realize, that their self-indulgent lifestyle has left permanent scars upon their children. Each character in Natural Born Charmer pulled my heartstrings, except Dean Robillard. He never won me over.  I loved the character of Blue Bailey though; she’s sassy, smart and funny and has a beautiful loving heart. The common thread in Natural Born Charmer is about relationships, the pain of them, and the joy of them and how some relationships are just worth fighting for, no matter what. I loved this book, it moved me emotionally, and made me laugh. It’s unrealistic, but it’s so enjoyable that it really didn’t matter. I read the book in one day. I highly recommend Natural Born Charmer. Be prepared to laugh and ride a roller coaster of emotions. Smart mouth, badass Blue Bailey is going to win you over. I guarantee it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This whole series has been fun to read. Football and romance is not always the normal background but I have enjoyed it.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Rambings What is right now the last in the Chicago Stars series that centers around a fictional football team and each book in the series centers around a different character affiliated in one or another with the team.  I have only read the last two books, but I didn't feel like I was missing too much by not reading them in order.  At some point I do hope to go back and start at the first and read them all through.   This book centers around a wanderer named Blue Bailey and the quarterback of the stars Dean Robillard.  They meet basically on page one and the book follows not only their love story, but some other characters from Dean's family and life.  Although their relationship was a complete mess, I loved it.  I loved how fiesty Blue was, the reader gets bits and pieces from her childhood that help to create the full image of why Blue is the way she is why she reacts the way she does.  There are also some reasons as to why Dean is who he is and I loved seeing them overcome their individual pasts and start a relationship.  It was easy to root for them!
crystal_fulcher More than 1 year ago
Why oh, why have I let my reading of every new book and her old ones I missed slip lately. There was a time I would read each new release, but then blogging took over. So when I was approached by Megan, the publicist at Harper Collins, I had to jump at the chance to be part of this amazing blog tour. I get to review two of Susan’s previous titles (watch for Ain’t She Sweet in two weeks) and then I get to read her new one, Heroes are my Weakness. Three SEP’s in one summer, heck yes!! And her books are just like I remember them, full of great characters, lots of humor and banter and a wonderful love story. Natural Born Charmer did not disappoint. What was even better, this was my book I enjoyed on the houseboat we rented to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday. There was no better place to enjoy this book! Is there a better place to relax with a book (note the Atlantic Ocean is just on the other side of those dunes and Cape Lookout was my other view, happiness!) So Natural Born Charmer starts off with a bang. A hot guy in a hot car picking up a literally hot headless beaver on the side of the road. I mean it seems absurd but I could see it happening. Said beaver has quite a bit of spunk, a jerk of an ex and no money so she embarks on a trip with hot hunky football player to get where she needs to go, not knowing at the time that where she needs to be is with said football-player. Dean and Blue are amazing characters. Dean is a natural born charmer which is one of the things that makes Blue hold off from him for awhile. Blue is a flighty but smart woman who has grown up in several homes so she’s a little scared of commitment. Dean is not all in from the beginning of the book either, he’s just intrigued by how different Blue is, but he is just as afraid as her that they can’t make it work because of their differences and because of his own issues in his life. As they finally make it to Nashville where he is having a house redone as a second home (his first is in Chicago where he’s a Chicago Star football player). But he wants a more permanent home and he loves the one in Nashville. He comes home to a surprise or two that make the book interesting. I like how the book focuses on several other characters. At times I almost felt Blue and Dean’s romance was secondary, but it was okay, it really worked in the framework of the book and once the storylines started coming together, I could hardly put the book down. I was even reading it on the boat ride home and I never do that, I usually just enjoy the scenery, but it was that hard to put down. Susan Elizabeth Phillips fails to disappoint as usual. You get romance, you get drama, you get laughs. I’m pretty sure I laughed and cried in this one. I loved every minute even when I was about ready to kill the main characters becasue of their usual stupidity at not facing love. But that just added to the story as well. This is number 7 in the Chicago Stars series, but reads great as a stand-alone. However it reminds me I want to go back and fill in the books I have missed and with a lighter review schedule I should be able to do that. Thank you Susan Elizabeth Phillips for providing me with a wonderful beach read and I look forward to continuing my summer of SEP soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nods and licks her cu<_>nt, sluding his tongue along her sl<_>it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago