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Natural Born Charmer

Cover of Natural Born Charmer

Natural Born Charmer

Chicago Stars Series, Book 7
Borrow Borrow Borrow

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.

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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Excerpts-
  • 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 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....

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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 6, 2006
    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.

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Chicago Stars Series, Book 7
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
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