Susan Elizabeth Phillips * Natural Born Charmer

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.

I have to start with this: WTF??? Headless beaver? Seriously?? I was on the floor laughing because of this. I didn’t read the summary (as my bad–and-not-so-bad habit dictates) so the surprise was awesome! I knew I’d fall in love with this book, and I did. It was insanely good.

After her ex-boyfriend Monty insists that she is the only person he ever loved, Blue Bailey packs up everything she has (which isn’t much) and moves from Seattle to Colorado to be with him. But once Blue arrives, she discovers Monty has found love again with a younger, blonder new girlfriend. With few job options and practically no money, Blue thought she might be stuck in Colorado for a long time, until Dean Robillard drives through on his way to Tennessee. The last person Blue wants to ask for a favor is a way-too-gorgeous-for-his-own-good stranger who annoys her to no end. And who turns out to be the quarterback for the Chicago Stars.

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.

Later, Dean’s half sister, Riley shows up on his farm. Her mother has recently passed away and her father, Jack is a famous rock star who doesn’t know much about raising kids. When he shows up later to pick up Riley, it’s one big family reunion for Dean. Riley was such a sweet and innocent girl, helping to bring everyone together. And as much of a crabby old lady as Nita started out to be, I absolutely loved her by the end. I loved Blue’s no holds barred attitude with her.

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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