Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars Series #7)

Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars Series #7)

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 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. New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips takes us home again . . . and shows us where love truly lives

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060734589
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/29/2008
Series: Chicago Stars Series , #7
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 474,318
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

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.


Chicago, Illinois

Place of Birth:

Cincinnati, Ohio


B.F.A., Ohio University

Read an Excerpt

Natural Born Charmer

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.

He grinned 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 lollipopeyes, 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."

Natural Born Charmer. Copyright © by Susan Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Natural Born Charmer 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 186 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
ladydymondz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Main Character Dean from "Match me if you can" has matured and lost his sense of humor from when we last saw him. Blue is a free spirit that complements Deans new attitude.
swl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is SEP doing all the things she does best, key among them making me believe that her fully-realized and unique characters really do belong together.I don't care for sports, celebrity, or show business, but these are all mainstays of SEP's books and over time I've actually come to look forward to the way she uses them. As a bag of tricks, they give her a lot of room to play with character issues like confidence, self-image, strength, identity both as an individual and part of a team, and the maturing of a personal ethic.SEP's characters are always perfectly motivated. That's plenty tough to pull off, and doing it over and over again has really got to tax a writer's creativity, but once again I closed the book and thought yeah, everyone behaved exactly as I would expect them to given the lives they led up to the opening of the story.And yet there are surprises on every page, and there's the genius. SEP (like Elizabeth George, in a very different genre) has a perfect "ear" for human motivation, but she is especially generous in letting her characters surprise the reader. We all might know that in the successful rock star beats a heart damaged by early rejection. What that person does when challenged, however, is SEP's territory - and since this *is* a romance they always rise above - but in ways that are not obvious to a person trying to work out how the story will play out.
hoot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have never been a big fan of romance novels per say. I generally like my romance novels to be laced with a mystery or have a bit of an edge to them. This book however was recommended to me by the librarian on duty based on my other selections. I ended up liking it quite a bit. The story opens on a totally bizarre note. I found myself wonder what in the heck was going on. I stuck with it and things became clear rather quickly. Stick with it, it gets better.Susan Elizabeth Phillips manages to weave some complex layers into this novel. I haven't read any of her other books, so I am not sure if it is exclusive to this book or if she always writes this way. I love her insights on the complexities of family relationships. It was a joy to read and I feel that she was able to give the reader good insight into the characters motivations. Blue is the leading lady in this novel. She is always on the move, afraid to settle down. When she meets Dean, a QB out of Chicago, she ends up traveling to his cottage with him for lack of anywhere else to go. The two characters spar comically throughout the novel which helps make the novel light and entertaining.Will Blue be able to open herself to a relationship? Will Dean be able to open himself to his family? Find out in this Natural Born Charmer of a book!
mschweer432 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the final book in SEP's Chicago Stars series. I enjoyed this book and read it easily in a weekend. It wasn't my favorite of SEP's books, however. I'm not even really sure why. I liked Blue and Dean. They were funny and their story was plenty hot enough for me. I also liked the side characters. I especially loved Nita Garrison, the crotchety old woman who Blue befriends. I guess maybe for me the story was just a little bit too far fetched. Dean is an extremely good looking professional quarterback. His dad is a famous rock and roll artist. His mother is a groupie turned teetotaler. Blue's mother is a famous activist. Don't get me wrong, I like reading stories that take me out of my every day life into a dream world but only up to a point. Everybody was too rich, too good looking, and all of the reconciliations were too easy. It made the book a bit too predictable and kind of spoiled some of the fun. I still enjoyed it, however. I am a fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips and her witty/sarcastic characters and in that regard, this book did not let me down.
TriciaDM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was actually a very good book.The storyline was fairly typical for a romance novel.The characters were all very well developed with surprising twists.I am not a romance reader but I am glad I read this one!
emigre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
SEP never disappoints, a funny and poignant read. Not only is there great chemistry between the hero and heroine, the secondary romance is a charmer too.
dfullmer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this audiobook - some of the lines made me laugh and cringe, but overall I thought it was a fun chic lit story - sexy love scenes and some language.
schmapp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Listened to the audiobook during my commute. Not quite as good as some of her other books but I still laughed out loud at more than one point. It kept the lighthearted attitude with witty personalities.
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A return to form after a few disappointing novels, this has all the SEP trademark quirks - too gorgeous athlete with troubled childhood, quirky defensive heroine, small lost children, and a fluffy dogs. It has the older (but not too old!) couple reconciling and some snappy dialogue too. I really enjoyed it.