Sunday, December 21, 2008

Review: Natural Born Charmer

Title: Natural Born Charmer
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chicago Stars/Book 7

Is that a...beaver? Yes, Dean that is a beaver. A big one too. But where's it's head?

The sight that greets Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard, while driving down a Colorado road, is nothing short of bizarre. In the beaver suit is Blue Bailey, an artist who's luck has abandoned her along with all her money and her boyfriend. Her car broke down and the only job she could find is dressing in said beaver suit. Sounds like a country western song gone wrong but things are about to change for Blue when Dean decides to give her a ride. Just to relieve the boredom he tells himself. Dean certainly gets a relief from the boring drive but Blue also gives him a heck of a lot more.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips has done it again. What an entertaining story! I was laughing quite a bit with this one. I also squeaked out a couple of tears during a few scenes. What starts out as a comedy of errors transforms into a family drama. This was a story not only of Dean and Blue and their often times very rocky road to HEA but also the opening and healing of old wounds. The making of a family by blood and by circumstances.

As Dean and Blue head to Dean's farm in Tennessee they do what people usually do on road trips ~ get to know each other better and drive each other crazy. By the time they get to Dean's farmhouse the relationship has evolved from distraction to irritation to sexual frustration.

Once they get to the farmhouse things become even more complicated with family members coming out of the woodwork. All Dean wanted was some time to relax and recover from a shoulder injury. What he got was another chance at mending the relationship of some of the most important people in his life. He also got Blue Bailey in his life and soon he realizes that he can't be without her. It isn't that simple for Blue. She's used to moving around and never really having anything or anyone permanent in her life. But now she's coming to feel too much for these people. To care too much.

Blue was such an interesting character. A genuine original. She's self sufficient because she's had to be most of her life. She is determined not to get involved in Dean's personal life but keeps getting drawn into the drama of his relationships with his estranged family. Blue's childhood was a series of constant change. Change of location, change of what passed for family. She was raised by different people with some visits from her mom who had a "need to save the world" obsession which kept her away a lot.

Dean was lovable, sexy, sweet, sexy, caring, sexy, funny. Umm...did I mention sexy? LOL Yes, he might be one of my favorite contemporary heroes so far this year. His childhood was not even close to normal. His mother was what I would call a "casual parent" meaning that she didn't concern herself with his upbringing personally, merely hiring people to care for him. Unfortunately for Dean, she was too busy fighting her own addictions to give him the security every child needs from their parent. Dean became a man who places a high value on friendship, those he considers close friends he views as his true family. While his family members are viewed more as complications in his life that he tries to avoid.

I really enjoyed Natural Born Charmer. The dialogue was pure SEP and kept me completely entertained. It is part of the Chicago Stars series but IMO can be read as a stand alone. I've only read two other books in the series and had no problem following along. There is very little interaction with other members of the team since the story primarily takes place away from Chicago.

Rating: A-


  1. I love SEP too- one of the few contemp. authors I follow anymore ...

    And I agree, this was a good read!

  2. I've really been enjoying her stories. She's definitely one of my favorite contemporary authors.