This Heart of Mine (Chicago Stars Series #5)

( 145 )

Overview

Molly Somerville loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children's book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. She has a reputation for trouble that started even before she gave away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance. Then there's her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns?that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember Molly's name!

One night Kevin barges into Molly's ...

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Overview

Molly Somerville loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children's book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. She has a reputation for trouble that started even before she gave away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance. Then there's her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns—that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember Molly's name!

One night Kevin barges into Molly's not-quite-perfect life and turns it upside down. Unfortunately, the Ferrari-driving riving, poodle-hating jock isn't as shallow as she wishes he were, and she soon finds herself at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages, including a charming old bed-and-breakfast, Molly and Kevin battle their attraction and each other as they face one of life's most important lessons. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes—if you're lucky—it can heal in a most unexpected way.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Susan Elizabeth Phillips proves that not only can opposites attract, they can spark great flames of passion. In This Heart of Mine, Phillips pits the heart of a professional football jock against that of a free-spirited writer of children's books. The result is an electrified battle of wits and wiles that is, at turns, both affecting and amusing. These two star-crossed lovebirds couldn't have less in common, and their initial coming together is marked by conflict, rancor, and even tragedy. Yet over the long haul, they discover that love can not only bloom in these seemingly infertile soils, it can thrive.

Molly Somerville has long had a secret crush on the Chicago Stars' key player, quarterback Kevin Tucker. Kevin's career is hard for Molly to escape, given that Molly's older sister, Phoebe, is the owner of the team. Consequently, Molly also knows about Kevin's penchant for dating gorgeous bimbos and his puzzling need to partake of risky, life-endangering hobbies, a trait that drives Phoebe crazy. Molly, however, can relate to this part of Kevin, as she has shown a tendency toward some pretty reckless behavior herself.

When fate places Molly and Kevin alone together for a weekend in Phoebe's isolated cabin, sparks fly and passions flare when both refuse to leave. In the end, Molly makes her most reckless decision yet by climbing into bed while Kevin is sleeping and seducing him before he knows what's happened. When she ends up pregnant, Kevin insists on marrying her for propriety's sake. And when Molly then has a miscarriage, it leaves both of them wounded and wary. Forced to spend their summer at the beleaguered and rundown wilderness resort that Kevin has inherited from a relative, the twosome spruce the place up and get it to turn a profit. In the process they discover the healing power of love, but not before learning some hard truths about themselves, their pasts, and their feelings for each other.

Phillips includes several intriguing subplots in This Heart of Mine and tackles some issues that are emotionally and ethically touchy. Although she wisely avoids offering easy solutions and neatly tied packages, she does provide plenty of resolution. And despite all the pathos, there's plenty of humor to be found. In fact, in the end, shared laughter proves to be every bit as powerful as shared love.

Contributing editor Beth Amos is the author of three novels, including Cold White Fury and Second Sight.

Jill M. Smith
No one can tell a story quite like Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Her unique brand of characters and humor are in a category all their own.
Romantic Times
Oakland Press
Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes a story that wraps around your heart and doesn't let go.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran romance writer Phillips (First Lady; Lady Be Good, etc.) makes her hardcover debut with this consuming story of a star-crossed children's-book author and a football player. At 27, Molly Somerville is a struggling writer who eschews the inheritance left by her father, founder of the Chicago Stars NFL team, now owned by Molly's sister, Phoebe Calebow, and her husband, Dan, who act as Molly's surrogate parents. Creator of a series of Daphne the Bunny books, writer for a teen magazine and the perfect playmate for her nieces and nephew, Molly is still growing up -- she even has a crush on Kevin Tucker, the handsome, reckless Stars quarterback.....Don't be fooled by the dusty title, however; this one is pure up-to-the-minute entertainment.
From The Critics
In her late twenties, Molly Somerville, children's author of Daphne the Bunny, chides her self for her teen-like crush on football player Kevin Tucker. Molly's sister and brother-in-law own the National Football League's Chicago Stars where Kevin is the superstar quarterback. Kevin sleeps and dreams football, but his behavior has changed this year as he does daring stunts almost like he suffers a mid-life crisis.One night by chance, Molly and Kevin end up together at her sister's vacation home. They share a wonderful night of lovemaking, but the morning light brings acrimonious feelings. When Molly informs Kevin that she is pregnant, they reluctantly marry. That ends when she miscarries. However, Kevin knows he loves Molly and will do what it takes, including a Hail Mary as time runs out, to gain her love. This Heart Of Mine is an entertaining fun to read contemporary romance. The story line will blitz the reader due to the cast. The lead characters are an enjoyable duet and the snippets from Bunny add to the understanding of Molly. The support cast also provides the readers an opportunity to further understand the essences of Molly and Kevin. Award winning Susan Elizabeth Phillips scores a touchdown with her hardcover debut novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380808083
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2002
  • Series: Chicago Stars Series , #5
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 361,455
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.08 (d)

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

Daphne the Bunny was admiring her sparkly violet nail polish when Benny the Badger zoomed past on his red mountain bike and knocked her off her paws.

"Oh, you pesky badger!" she exclaimed. "Somebody needs to squeeze the air out of your tires."

     -- from Daphne Takes a Tumble

Chapter One

The day Kevin Tucker nearly killed her, Molly Somerville swore off unrequited love forever.

She was dodging the icy places in the Chicago Stars headquarters parking lot when Kevin came roaring out of nowhere in his brand new one hundred and forty thousand dollar fire-engine red Ferrari 355 Spider. With tires shrieking and engine snarling, the low-slung car sprang around the corner, spewing slush. As the rear end flew toward her, she flung herself backward, hit the bumper of her brother-in-law's Lexus, lost her footing, and fell in a cloud of angry exhaust.

Kevin Tucker didn't even slow.

Molly gazed at the fading taillights, gritted her teeth, and picked herself up. Dirty snow and muck clung to one leg of her excruciatingly expensive Comme des Garçon pants, her Prada tote was a mess, and her Italian boots had a scratch. "Oh, you pesky quarterback," she muttered under her breath. "Somebody needs to castrate you."

He hadn't even seen her, let alone noticed that he'd nearly killed her! Of course, that was nothing new. Kevin Tucker had spent his entire career with the Chicago Stars football team not noticing her.

Daphne dusted off her fluffy white cottontail, rubbed the dirt from her shimmery blue pumps, and decided to buy herself the fastest pair of rollerblades in the whole world. So fast she could catch up with Benny and his mountain bike…

Molly spent a few moments contemplating chasing Kevin in the chartreuse Volkswagen Beetle she'd bought used after she'd sold her Mercedes sports coupe, but even her fertile imagination couldn't conjure up a satisfactory conclusion to that scene. As she headed toward the front entrance of Stars headquarters, she shook her head in self-disgust. The man was reckless, shallow, and he only cared about football. Enough was enough. She was finished with unrequited love.

Not that it was really love. Instead, she had a pathetic crush on the jerk, which might be excusable if she were sixteen, but was ludicrous for a twenty-seven year old woman with a near genius I.Q.

Some genius.

A blast of warm air hit her as she entered the lobby through a set of glass doors emblazoned with the team logo consisting of three interlocking gold stars in a sky blue oval. She no longer spent much time at the Chicago Stars headquarters as she'd done when she was still in high school. Even then, she'd felt like a stranger. As a dyed-in-the-wool romantic, she preferred ready a really good novel or losing herself in a museum to contact sports. Of course she was a dedicated Stars fan, but her loyalty was more a product of family background than natural inclination. Sweat, blood, and the violent clashing of shoulder pads were as foreign to her nature as…well…Kevin Tucker.

"Aunt Molly!"

"We've been waiting for you!"

"You'll never ever guess what happened!"

She smiled as her beautiful eleven-year-old nieces came flying into the lobby, blond hair streaming behind them.

Tess and Julie looked like miniature versions of their mother, Molly's older sister Phoebe. The girls were identical twins, but Tess was enveloped in jeans and a baggy Stars sweatshirt, while Julie wore black capris and a pink sweater.

The twins screeched to a stop. Whatever they'd been about to tell Molly vanished as they stared at her hair.

"Oh my god, it's red."

"Really red!"

"That's so cool! Why didn't you tell us?"

"It was sort of an impulse," Molly replied.

"I'm gonna dye my hair just like it!" Julie announced.

"Not your best idea," Molly said quickly. "Now what were you going to tell me?"

"Dad is like so mad," Tess declared, eyes wide.

Julie's eyes grew even larger. "Him and Uncle Ron have been fighting with Kevin again."

Molly's ears perked up, even though she'd turned her back forever on unrequited love.

"What did he do? Other than nearly run me over."

"He did?"

"Never mind. Tell me."

Julie took a gulp of air. "He went skydiving in Denver the day before the Broncos game."

"Oh, boy…" Molly's heart sank.

"Dad just found out about it, and he fined him ten thousand dollars!"

"Wow." As far as Molly knew, this was the first time Kevin had ever been fined for his recklessness.

"Dad yells all the time, but I never heard him yell at Kevin until today," Tess reported. "And Kevin yelled back. He said he knew what he was doing and he wasn't hurt and Dad should stay out of his private business."

Molly winced. "I'll bet your dad didn't like that."

"He really yelled then," Julie said. "Uncle Ron tried to calm them down, but Coach came in, and then he started yelling, too."

They were interrupted by the pounding of sneakers as her five year old nephew Andrew came flying around the corner, much like Kevin's Ferrari. "Aunt Molly! Guess what?" He hurled himself against her knees. "Everybody yelled and my ears hurt."

Since Andrew was blessed not only with his father's good looks, but also Dan Calebow's booming voice, Molly sincerely doubted that. Still, she stroked his head. "I'm sorry."

He looked up at her with stricken eyes. "And Kevin was soooo mad at Daddy and Uncle Ron and Coach that he said the eff word."

"He shouldn't have done that."

"Twice!"

"Oh, dear." Molly resisted a smile. Spending so much time inside the headquarters of a National Football League team office made it inevitable that the Calebow children heard more than their share of obscenities, but the family rules were clear. Inappropriate language in the Calebow household meant heavy fines, although not as heavy as Kevin's ten thousand dollars.

She couldn't understand it. One of the things she most hated about her crush'her ex-crush'on Kevin was the fact that her crush was on Kevin, the most shallow man on earth. Football was all that mattered to him. Football and an endless parade of blank-faced international models. Where did he find them? NoPersonality.com?

"Hi, Aunt Molly."

Unlike her siblings, eight year old Hannah walked toward Molly instead of running. Although Molly loved all four children equally, her heart held a special place for this vulnerable middle child who didn't share either her siblings athletic prowess nor their bottomless self-confidence. Instead, she was a dreamy romantic, a too-sensitive, overly imaginative bookworm with a talent for drawing just like her aunt.

"I like your hair."

"Thank you."

Hannah took a nibble from her bottom lip. "Did they tell you about the fight Kevin and Dad had?"

She looked upset, and Molly had a pretty good idea why. Kevin showed up at the Calebow house from time to time, and, like her foolish aunt, the eight-year-old had a crush on him. But unlike Molly, Hannah's love was pure.

This Heart of Mine. Copyright © by Susan Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 145 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(86)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(24)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 145 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2010

    Good story, but Heroine not my favorite

    This Heart of Mine is part of Susan Elizabeth Phillip's Chicago Stars series. Molly Somerville is the younger half sister to Phoebe Calebow the owner of the Chicago Stars football team. Molly has had a long time crush on the quarterback Kevin Tucker, yet he has no idea she exists. To most people Molly outwardly seems like a woman who is sensible and kind and conservative. But actually Molly has these periods when a little chaos and impulsive behavior leads her into trouble. One such period occurs when Molly finds Kevin Tucker at the Calebow's vacation home unexpectedly. Molly's behavior leads to some very dire consequences which eventually lead Molly and Kevin unning a camp for vacationers, which is where Kev and Molly learn about each other and fall in love.

    This Heart of Mine out of the books I have read by SEP has to be my least favorite. It's a testament to SEP's writing that I gave this book a B- rating as the writing is really good, but Molly was a really hard character to like. I was absolutely appalled at her behavior towards Kevin at the beginning of the book. For those of you who have already read this book know what I am referring too, for those of you who haven't I will be vague because I don't want any spoilers in this review. (You can always email me if you want details. I'll be happy to divulge those to you personally.)

    Despite Molly's despicable behavior, if you can move past it the rest of the book is actually quite entertaining and a love story finally unfolds. I liked that Kevin eventually unwraps this quirky spontaneous side to Molly and loves her that much more for it. There is also a secondary romance between Kev's Mom and a reclusive artist at the camp. SEP just makes all these quirky characters come to life and they are a treat to read about. If you can get past Molly's cringe-worthy behavior in the beginning then you'll probably be able to enjoy the book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2001

    A good read on a rainy day

    This book got really good about halfway through. Once Molly and Kevin began spending time together out at his family's campground, it started getting really interesting. I liked the relationship that grew between the two of them and I really liked the other characters as well. The ending was good...which is so important! I may recommend this book, although it's not one of my favorites.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2001

    one of my favorites

    I really enjoyed THIS HEART OF MINE, it was just a wonderful book. I liked finding out finding out what happened to Kevin and Molly after hearing about them in earlier books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    ?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2002

    THE GENIUS AND THE JOCK

    I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!!MOLLY IS A GREAT CHARACTER THAT DOESN'T RELY ON FLASH OR BEAUTY TO GET HER MAN. SHE USES BRAINS AND GUTS AND SNAGS ONE OF THE SEXIEST JOCKS AROUND. S.E.P. REALLY KNOWS HOW TO GET INSIDE A PERSON'S HEAD AND GRAB ON TO BASE EMOTIONS. I LAUGHED AND CRIED THROUGH THE WHOLE BOOK AND DID BOTH AT THEIR FINAL SHOWDOWN.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2001

    Never A Dull Moment

    I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this book. This is not your typical romance. The characters are not stereotypes as expected and nothing can be predicted. This is a first SEP book I have read, so now I look forward to the rest of her stories. If you want to laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy inside, pick up this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2001

    Couldn't put the book down!!!!

    This was my first SEP book and I can't wait to read the rest of her books. I loved the characters and couldn't wait to get to the end of the book. This book will make you laugh and cry. Keep writing Ms. Phillips!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2001

    Touches your heart and funnybone!

    This book has it all; romance, fun, and tears. I fell in love with not only Kevin and Molly but both their families. All the characters were memorable. The romances were fun and sexy. A great book! My first book by this author but not my last. You never want to put it down or for it to end. I'm looking up her other books now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2001

    Don't Miss Out On This one!

    This was my 1st S.E.P. book, but I have to say, if all her books are as great as this one, she is on my auto-buy list from now on! Loved this book! The characters were funny, and so real! Great job Susan!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2001

    So so start for hardback debut

    Kevin is the star QB of the Chicago Stars. Molly is the sister of the owner. They are vaguely acquainted at the outset of the novel, but that rapidly changes. The novel is full of the dialogue and plot twists that SEP's books usually have, but somehow, this book didn't grab me. There was no explanation for Kevin's recent erratic behavior or for Molly's periodic outbursts of odd behavior. Ultimately, they just seem like strained mechanisms that force the plot along without any place within the story. I kept waiting for the book to become as interesting as SEP's early books, but it never happened. Not a bad book, but not the best of SEP's work. I'd wait for it in paperback or check it out at the local library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining contemporary romance

    In her late twenties, Molly Somerville, children¿s author of Daphne the Bunny, chides her self for her teen-like crush on football player Kevin Tucker. Molly¿s sister and brother-in-law own the National Football League¿s Chicago Stars where Kevin is the superstar quarterback. Kevin sleeps and dreams football, but his behavior has changed this year as he does daring stunts almost like he suffers a mid-life crisis. <P> One night by chance, Molly and Kevin end up together at her sister¿s vacation home. They share a wonderful night of lovemaking, but the morning light brings acrimonious feelings. When Molly informs Kevin that she is pregnant, they reluctantly marry. That ends when she miscarries. However, Kevin knows he loves Molly and will do what it takes, including a Hail Mary as time runs out, to gain her love. <P> THIS HEART OF MINE is an entertaining fun to read contemporary romance. The story line will blitz the reader due to the cast. The lead characters are an enjoyable duet and the snippets from Bunny add to the understanding of Molly. The support cast also provides the readers an opportunity to further understand the essences of Molly and Kevin. Award winning Susan Elizabeth Phillips scores a touchdown with her hardcover debut novel. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Enjoyable Read

    Maybe it was due to the very low expectations (that other reviews had made me) set for this book...but I really did like it. Yes, the leading lady is immature and flawed- but who isn't? In fact, the very normal-human insecurities and screw-ups of SEP's heroines are a huge draw for me. I laughed out loud, winced, felt deep sadness, and was genuinely delighted by the story. I could have done without some of the bunny stuff, and was not really into the cartoonish ending, but was still sad to finish the last page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2013

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips books are great.

    I love all her books. they are funny, touching, realistic and characters are so real. I keep all of her books to re-read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Great read for those who enjoy romances

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips has been one of my favorite authors for many years. This Heart of Mine is also a favorite. I enjoyed this novel about two people who learn to accept and love each other in spite of their seemingly obvious differences, and who willingly make personal sacrifices to protect and preserve that love. The story of these two people is both funny and touching at times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    Do not recommend.

    Not as good as book one in these series. It all came together at the end, but wasted to much time to get me interested. Lost me in between.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2012

    Loved it.

    I loved this book. It is one of my favorites. Definitely a good one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2012

    I love S.E.P. books..

    She did not disappoint....I loved this book..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2012

    Best read

    Good story and humor you sill enjoy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2012

    Might be the best

    This definitally rates in the top 3 for this series. Very sweet and funny. Loved it all, just could not help myself. Also love Bobby Tom's story and the story of Heath Champion... but all this series is amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    I loved this one

    Kevin was back as the main man this time, and so is Molly the weird geeky sister that Phobe took in back in ' It had to be you'. The characters are engaging, the story is interesting, and its a fun love story, sure to grab your attention. I really like how there was other smaller love stories developing in the back ground, it makes the story more believable. Even if you haven't read the previous Chicago Series you could still enjoy this book, but rhe prevoius books do fill in background details.

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