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Chicago Stars #7

Natural Born Charmer

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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

400 pages, Hardcover

First published February 6, 2007

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About the author

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

48 books14.4k followers
SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the creator of the sports romance, beginning with her 1989 bestseller, FANCY PANTS. An internationally acclaimed author, her books have been published in over 30 languages. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award, and a recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award.

Susan's newest book, WHEN STARS COLLIDE, was published in hardcover, ebook and audiobook in June 2021 She is also the highly acclaimed author of both the CHICAGO STARS football series and the Wynette, Texas books.

In addition to being a New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and USA Today bestseller, she is a hiker, lazy gardener, horrible singer, passable cook, passionate reader, wife, mother of two grown sons, and grandmother.

You can visit Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or on her website.

https://www.facebook.com/SusanElizabe...

https://twitter.com/sepauthor

https://www.instagram.com/SEPauthor/

http://susanelizabethphillips.com/

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,798 reviews
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
949 reviews143 followers
June 13, 2019
I listened to this one this time and I have to say the narrator was pretty fantastic. Some how she made me love Dean and Blue’s story just a little bit more. I think what made this story so special was the additional love story we get with April and Jack.

I’ve been missing SEP’s writing and this one did the trick. 💕

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Wow, what a ride that was. I started the Chicago Star’s Series just a little over a month ago and I LOVED every single one of them. But I do have a favorite. Dream a Little Dream, which is book #4, fills that spot.

I think what is so fantastic about this series is that with each story you get the expected and the unexpected. SEP always gives you dreamy and sexy leading men and strong and beautiful leading women. She surrounds them with creative side characters and the storyline is always something new.

In Natural Born Charmer we take a bit of a journey with Dean Robillard who is the current quarterback for the Chicago Stars. He is in the off season nursing an injury and escaping to one of his second (or was it his third) home. Dean was gorgeous, charming and rich. He thought he had it all but if he was to be honest with himself, there was so much more he really wanted. It wasn’t until he picked up Blue Bailey on the side of the road did he slowly realize this.

Blue Bailey ~ what a little firecracker she was. I loved her. She was beautiful in her own way, sexy without knowing it and she was always true to herself.

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Dean Robillard ~ he was that perfectly packaged male. He had the looks, the body and the charming personality. He was a little cocky too but that was just the cherry on the Dean Robillard sundae.

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Blue never stayed in one place too long, though it was not of her own doing. She didn’t grow up with the feeling of belonging to a family or having a home she could call her own. In some ways Dean shared these feelings. They both learned to protect themselves from the expected disappointments.

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Dean and Blue loved to rile each other. I loved the banter that went on between them. And the sexual tension was crazy. When they found their own little haven in the Gypsy wagon, things got heated.❤

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In true SEP form we get an amazing secondary story too. This one was one of my favorites. It revolves around….

April ~ talk about a beauty!

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& Jack ~ I’ll quote Mo “he was smoking hot!”

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& Riley ~ what a sweet girl.

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And I cannot forget about Nita. She certainly made a lasting impression! She lacked that social filter we all need. She said and did whatever she wanted. Made very few friends but I have to give it to her, Nita knew what she was doing. :)

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Welp…I think I got carried away with this review. I just loved this series and loved this book. I can’t recommend this author or this series enough.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,348 reviews2 followers
February 2, 2020
I checked my kindle account to see when I first read this series. It was back in 2011. Devoured them at the time. It was probably prior to joining Goodreads so never did a review. I recently re-read the series. Well, I skipped Heaven, Texas - not sure why. But all the others have been solid 5 stars for me. I was a bit hesitant to re-read this one. I had originally five-starred it. But Dean appears in Match Me If You Can and I really wasn't a fan. He was a jock, wore diamond earrings, was cocky. Then again, he was a few years younger in that one. He definitely has matured in this one.


BLUE BAILEY

I think Blue is one of my favourite ever heroines. She was strong, feisty, independent, quirky, had her own dress sense. She was not intimidated by Dean or by anyone ... well, except Jack. I think I would be the same if a certain rock-star that I adore suddenly turned up at my doorstep.


“Make-up? What happened? You look almost female."
"Thanks. You look almost straight.”


I loved the banter between these two.

DEAN ROBILLARD


“She gave Pretty Boy a surreptitious glance. Did he honestly expect her to believe he was gay? True, there were the gay boots and those stunning good looks. But, even so, he blasted enough heterosexual mega-wattage to light up the entire female population. Which he’d undoubtedly been doing since he shot out of the birth canal, glimpsed his reflection in the obstetrician’s eyeglasses, and gave the world a high five.”


This is one of those books that I feel I could waffle on and on and on about ...

The Boss is mentioned ... of course I am going to love it!


“If you 're serious about getting it on again, be sure to give me some advance notice, so I can grab my appointment calendar and block out three minutes.”


We have the secondary story going on too - Jack and April, Riley, the townspeople. Nita.
“Who the hell is that?!
Some call her Satan. Others, Beelzebub. She goes by many names.”



JACK

I really wish more books were written about older characters. Jack was 54 and he was smoking hot.


APRIL


Jack and April ... sigh.

He used to smell like sex and cigarettes. Now he smelled of oak, bergamot and night.




Ok, I better shut up now or I could be all day on Pinterest checking out pictures.


Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,270 reviews24.7k followers
October 22, 2021
Natural Born Charmer is book seven in the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This is my third book by SEP. All three were of this series but were not in any sequence. So, yes, you can definitely read this as a complete stand alone.



Before I started typing this review, I re-read the blurb and really, that says about all there is to say about this book. If I had to choose just one word to describe this, I would say, magical. This book is purely magical. I was engaged on the very first page and the words never let me go until the very end. Even then, I wasn’t ready for it to be over yet.



Dean Robillard is thirty one years old and is the starting quarterback for the Chicago Stars. He is still recuperating from shoulder surgery and his life feels kind of upside down. So he decides a road trip might help him make things feel right again. He recently purchased a fixer upper one hundred acre farm in Tennessee and has decided it’s time to check up on the progress of the rehab. He never in a million years, though, could have prepared himself for the woman he encountered while on his way, walking along the side of the highway in a beaver suit. And how this woman would change his life forever.



Blue Bailey is thirty years old. Life isn’t going very well for her at the moment. Hence, the beaver suit. She’s not sure if it’s good luck or not when the famous football star stops in his fancy car and offers to help her. But at this point, she has to take help where she can get it.

Both Dean and Blue are quick witted, sarcastic, and both have serious trust issues. Their pasts might seem completely opposite but in reality, they couldn’t be more similar. Blue tries to keep Dean off balance with her banter but he’s a lot smarter than she thinks. Neither, though, could have prepared themselves for what waited for them at Dean’s farm.



This isn’t just a story about Dean and Blue. There are so many other important characters here and all are connected. This is a book of finding love, yes. But it’s also a story of healing. Of family. Of forgiveness. I laughed out loud so many times. SO MANY TIMES! But I also swooned, a lot! I sighed. I fell in love with every single one of these characters. Dean and Blue weren’t looking for love. Honestly, they didn’t even realize they had found it for a long time. But in finding each other, they were both given the chance to finally figure out what their lives were missing. They were able to figure out what they needed to do to be able to move forward.



I feel like at this point, I’m blabbering now. I just can’t seem to find the right words to say how incredible this book is. So I’ll just say, read it. I hope you feel that same magic I did. And that you fall in love too.

For more about this book and so many others, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Carol...

Profile Image for Mo.
1,348 reviews2 followers
September 4, 2022
My 2020 re-read/listen ...

Just as good as previous reads/listens!


I know every time I read (or re-read) these books, I keep saying the character from that book is my favourite and I chop and change everytime I switch books but I honestly think Blue is one of my favourite characters from SEP. And Dean ain't half bad either ...


And as for Jack and April ...




And good luck to your team tonight, whoever you are shouting for! I will read about footballers but I know nothing about the game ... well I do know when there is a "touchdown" ... I think!!

--------------------------------------------------------
PREVIOUS REVIEW ...

Just as good the second time around! Loved it. Note to authors ... please write more books with older characters, even secondary characters in books. Swoon. Jack. Sexy as fuck. And a singer, to boot! Move over Bruce .... well, not really but you have some competition.



Profile Image for It's just me Shelly B.
251 reviews282 followers
July 22, 2018
"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."



That's where Dean Robillard meets Blue Bailey. In a headless beaver costume walking down a deserted highway and his life was forever changed when he offered her a ride....for better or for worse he's still not quite sure.

You see Dean's a pretty boy, he's a NFL star quarterback, gorgeous, has impeccible style and is obviously rich...he's also used to getting everything he wants.....or so we think. However, just because you have money doesn't mean your life is perfect.

"True, there were the gay boots and those stunning good looks. But, even so, he blasted enough heterosexual mega-wattage to light up the entire female population. Which he’d undoubtedly been doing since he shot out of the birth canal, glimpsed his reflection in the obstetrician’s eyeglasses, and gave the world a high five."

Now Blue is his complete opposite in every way. She's an artist with a sarcastic attitude, she's broke, has no taste in clothes because she could care less about fashion. She wears her combat boots with everything and half the time she looks like a rag tag hobo......which drives him crazy.

"But he’d lost interest in food. “Don’t you own anything pink?” She looked down at her bike shorts and camouflage T-shirt. “What’s wrong with this?” “Nothing, if you’re planning to invade Cuba.” She shrugged. “I’m not into clothes.” “Now there’s a surprise.” She pretended to think it over. “If you really want to see me in pink, I guess I could borrow something from you.”



Very reluctantly and after a lot of cursing and griping Blue agrees to go with him to his farm and check on the progress of the renovations. As the weeks wear on these two grow closer and closer but I hope you don't think it's going to be that easy?

Because it's not!!!! I forgot to say Blue is VERY stubborn and she doesn't take handouts from no one, She is so proud even though she's flat broke...she's absolutely one of my most favorite female characters....mouthy and proud!! Dean's no push over either, so watching the two of them maneuver each other is fascinating.



This book is so much more than just a love story. There are family issues and trying to rebuild parental relationships that were destroyed in the past. Overcoming the emotional damage that it has caused to everyone involved.......just beautiful is all I can say!!

I could ramble on about this book FOREVER but I'm not going to bore you to death. This is the second time I've read this book and I will say I LOVED it even more this time around!!!!

This is one of my most favorite books EVER written!!!!!!!!!

It could be read as a stand alone but I think you would benefit from reading the entire series. The rest of the series is good too but this is my fav:))))
Profile Image for peachygirl.
266 reviews630 followers
August 6, 2021
Honest to God, I went in expecting to be charmed by Dean and Dean only, but I fell head over heels for Blue, beaver suit and all. Her wise assery has no match. SEP has written one hell of a heroine!
Every time Dean and Blue got into an argument, I was laughing my heart out. Dean and Blue's first meeting, the charming town run by nobody's bitch Ms. Nita, Dean's backstory, his adorable half sister Riley and his parents' budding romance, pretty much everything about this book was so freaking entertaining.
Light hearted and super fun, this was my second most favorite in this series!
Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,087 followers
November 11, 2013

5 Charming Stars! Wasn't so sure if I would like Dean...and I didn't...I LOVED HIM!!

A Gypsy Caravan...
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A Flashlight...
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and Dean Robillard...SWOON!
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Equals sexy good times...wow that was HOT!

I got more than I bargained for with this book, it was way more than just a contemporary romance. This book was about family, mending relationships, and building new ones. The witty banter had me snickering, especially the verbal smack-downs between Blue and Nita...hysterical.

Finally, however, Blue was behind the wheel of a sporty, three-year-old red Corvette Roadster.
“You were expecting a Town Car, weren’t you?” Nita sniffed from the passenger seat. “Or a Crown Victoria. An old lady’s car.”
“I was expecting a broomstick,” Blue muttered, taking in the dusty dashboard. “How long since this thing’s been out of the garage?”
“I can’t drive anymore with my hip, but I let it run once a week so the battery doesn’t die.”
“It’s best to keep the garage door down while you’re doing that. A good thirty minutes should take care of it.”


Then the beautiful relationship that Riley forms with Nita, a friendship that defies their ages, it was lovely. Lots going on, but at the core are Dean and Blue, two people who never imagined that they could work as a couple, but they do in a big way. As they learn to trust and lean on each other, find what they've been looking for all of their lives, it read like a modern day fairytale! Instead a of prince and a princess, it's a cocky football player that rescues a headless miserable beaver trudging down the road...okay so maybe not a fairytale, but it was really good. That ending, oh my, the mural, I can picture it in my mind, the writing on the wall so to speak, the story of their lives!

Chalk up another favorite in the series for me! SEP never fails to dazzle me!

Thanks for pushing me to read this Kellie girl!!
Profile Image for Karen.
793 reviews1,004 followers
April 26, 2015
5 STARS



Here we are at book 7 of the Chicago Stars and we’re still flying high! These books are just so good. They’re like sex on the beach or oodles of chocolate, or champagne and strawberries. I don’t care how many she writes… I’m sure I’ll read and love them all! But my reviews unfortunately are starting to sound like a broken record. So I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.



This one features the Stars’ latest Quarterback superstar, Dean Robillard, the NFL’s current golden boy. And honestly… a guy this hot, who could ever measure up? This California golden boy seems to have it all. I’m seeing shades of Bobby Tom again…

“You have some serious self-esteem issues.”
“Me? Try again. Nobody’s going to believe a brainiac like Blue Bailey would fall for a mental lightweight like you.”


Although, Dean’s had a recent injury to his shoulder, and the perfect image he’s had of himself and his career is finally starting to crack. And for the first time since his career began, he’s feeling restless. Like something is missing from his life. But he can’t image what… he’s got fame, fortune, tons of friends, and all the women he could ever want… But nobody knows who he really is. He’s made sure of that.

So, thinking a drive across country might clear his head, Dean takes off in his hot little sports car hoping to cure his restless heart.

Then along comes a headless beaver..



Blue Bailey, said beaver, is a thirty year old struggling artist who Dean picks up on the highway outside of Denver, wearing a headless beaver costume and cursing like a sailor. And from the moment he meets her… somehow he knew his life would never be the same.



“If you’re serious about getting it on again, be sure to give me some advance notice, so I can grab my appointment calendar and block out three minutes.”

I really LOVED Blue. This girl was strong willed, hot-headed, and funny as hell. Considering herself so far out of Dean’s league, that she never let him intimidate her. And he couldn’t stand the idea that he wasn’t affecting her.

“Make-up? What happened? You look almost female."
"Thanks. You look almost straight.”




If I could have read this book in one sitting I would have. I didn’t want to put it down. Loved it. Loved the supporting characters…

“Who the hell is that?!
Some call her Satan. Others, Beelzebub. She goes by many names.”




Nita Garrison was a hoot! Jack Patriot and his daughter Riley. And as usual, there was the side romance for Dean’s mother, April which was another added bonus.



“Life sure is easier when you're rich."
"And a natural born charmer. Don't forget that part."
"How could I?" she retorted. "It's the only thing we have in common.”




So since this book was published in 2004, I guess the series is done. I guess I just have to put them on my TRR (To Re-Read Pile!)
Profile Image for Anzû.
550 reviews1,106 followers
August 8, 2011
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.

It’s been a while since I laughed so much from reading a book. My mum was giving me awkward faces because of the stupid grin I had. Sooooo many funny moments! If I’d have to pick my favorite quotes from this book I’d just copy paste every word from it. This is why I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips so much. She feeds my quote addiction… Feeds it sooo well…. Mmmmmm…



The characters have depth. Even though they are funny and joke all the time, deep inside they have dramas that shape their personalities into what they are. If you think this book is just for laughs, you’re wrong. Susan Elizabeth Phillips always writes a good emotional story.

Loved the endless verbal sparring between Dean and Blue. The way she was teasing him was priceless. They make such a cute couple. I’d bring them together, sit on the couch and just watch them beat each other’s ass for an entire day. Or two.

It’s cruel of Dean to use the poor girl (Blue) only for getting some distance between women who harass him, fans and nosy people. But thinking about Blue’s reasons why she’s sticking with him I guess they’re even. She needs a place to stay and some money, he needs a leper who scares people away. *boos sound from the crowd* What? The leper thing was too much? Never mind then...



The way Blue acts with Mrs. Garrison amazes me. I respect this chick with all my heart. She’s the female character I love the most from the Chicago Stars series. I can’t give you the reasons why I like her the most. I probably dunno them myself. But I respect strong and funny people and she fits the requirements perfectly. Plus a fellow artist and all that. Wish I had the talent to come up with all these mean replies... Could I find a book about this? How to get meaner in 50 simple steps. Amazon here I come!

Why is it so damn hard for me to picture Dean dancing? I see they have this as a therapy thing for, you know, dramatic things. So they dance and dance. The chicks are easy to imagine. Jack also, but a bit blurry. But Dean... I keep getting the image of a chicken flapping its wings in a retarded way on a stupid farm song. It’s just wrong!!!



Jack and April also have a nice story. I used to think being a rockstar would be awesome. Living an excited life, singing or playing an instrument, rocking on stage. But eventually it ends your private life, messes with your head and transforms you into a different person. This different person turns out to be bad in most cases.

Jack is a really complicated guy so I can’t really see how April could have had a normal life with him in the past. Not to mention her whoring around which made me disrespect her. I was trying so hard not to judge April. Leaving your child just so you could waste time with rockers and get nailed by them is a little too much. Now she’s trying to make things right but it sure won’t be easy. I tried to like her but I failed. Especially in the beginning. Same goes with Jack, which I hated till the end. I mean yeah he tried to justify himself and all but he f*cked up too much in my opinion. I wouldn’t have been able to forgive him if he was my father.

Riley was an interesting kid. Yes I know you’re thinking I lost my mind for saying this but the kid is actually mature and intelligent. I mean she’s eleven and thinking about suicide. Gotta respect that uhm... maturity... I guess? And when that jerk kid left her alone in the night on a deserted road I actually felt bad for her... I have to go check on my medication.

There was a bit too much focus on her so I thought the story will get ruined because of this. She was good in the end, I didn’t even mind her. I like the amount of drama that revolved around her; if it was more than this I wouldn’t feel content with the story.

Nita is a strange woman. She made me hate her at times because of how annoying she is and laugh in other times when she was... well... annoying as well. So an annoying character that shifts your mood according to Blue’s cooking.

I’m talking too much aren’t I? Too serious and stuff huh? Well then you leave me no choice! Behold my secret weapon!!!



Yep! Keep on staring at that while I finish my review!

Moving on…

In the end, a perfect turn of events. As usual I was trying to guess how it’s going to end, to try to see what problems they’ll have, to predict the typical big fight and who will be the one crawling back and apologizing. As usual, Susan Elizabeth Phillips bitchslapped me. God I can’t predict this woman at all!!!! This is one of the main reasons why she’s between my top favorite authors. Loved the story, the characters were as usual messed up in the head and just plain awesome. Blue was such a great heroine and Dean was simply perfect. A touchy side-story and lots of good romance. My favorite book in the series.

I couldn’t make the review funnier. It’s not a bad thing right? Being boring from time to time is good for you!

P.S. Choosing the damn quotes was so hard for me!!! Just five out of so many that I selected. A tough job indeed!


Top 5 quotes

#5 “I’m not a drug dealer!” he retorted hotly.
“You’re not a movie star.”
���Don’t rub it in. The truth is, I’m a semifamous male model with ambitions of being a movie star.”
“You’re gay.”


#4 “I’ll take your best suite,” he said. “And a small room by the elevator for my insane companion. If that’s a problem, put her next to any old ice machine.”

#3 “The first time I saw her was at a street carnival.” He walked over to inspect the countertops. “She had her face stuck through one of those wooden cutouts, so naturally she caught my attention. You’ve got to admit that face is something. By the time I saw the rest of her, it was too late.”
“I’m sitting right here,” Blue reminded them.


#2 “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.”


#1 “Acht, this Dean Roam-a-lot, he is very famous man in America, yes? My poor husband”—she curled her fingers around Dean’s arm—“his Eeenglish is veddy, veddy bad, and he does not understand this. But my Eeenglish is veddy, veddy good, yes? And everywhere we go, these pipples—pipples like you—they come up to him and say they think he is this man, this Dean Roam-a-lot. But I say, no, my husband is not famous in America, but veddy famous in our country. He is a veddy famous—how you say?—por-nog-ra-pher.”

Read the review on ZombieHazard.
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews504 followers
August 17, 2012
Tennessee Farm


★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Man-oh-man! I love this book. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It is on my “re-read-for-comfort” shelf, which I desperately needed now. My life is currently too crazy to sit and read, so I popped in my ear buds and tried the audiobook this time, narrated by the wonderful Anna Fields.

I have heard nothing but great things about this reader, so I don’t know why I waited so long to listen to a story she narrates. If a character speaks softly, she delivers the line softly. If they turn sarcastic, she complies. If they gasp, she gasps. Their voice breaks, so does hers. Astonishing as it sounds, not all readers do this! Some dialogue doesn’t have adjective queues; nevertheless, this talented raconteur intuitively knows how to delivery Ms. Phillips’ clever quips or tender moments in context. She definitely kicks this story up a notch. I highly recommend her as narrator.

As far as the storyline, what can I say? I love these characters in the seventh book of the Chicago Stars series and I adore their love story. Ms. Phillips sure knows how to set up a “meet cute,” and this one, taking place on a highway outside of Denver with Blue Bailey walking down a hot dusty road in a beaver costume – plus a killing rage – is perfect. When Dean Robillard, rich superstar quarterback, crosses her path, he is taken by surprise in one humorous situation after another on their road trip to Tennessee. Nevertheless, each scene carries a Real Life believability that lets us get drawn into the deepening depths of their relationship.

Ms. Phillips also knows how to write amazing secondary characters and these are some of her best. There is one scene between an aging rocker and his neglected, vulnerable young daughter that still has the ability to make my throat swell, my eyes tear.

This story can be read as a “standalone”; however, you would probably enjoy it better if you read this series in order. A younger Dean is deviously charming in Match Me If You Can; while in this one he is still deliciously witty, but confronted with those demons in life that make one run or stand and mature.

Dean’s Gypsy Caravan


It Had to Be You (Chicago Stars, #1) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars, #2) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Nobody's Baby But Mine (Chicago Stars, #3) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Dream a Little Dream (Chicago Stars, #4) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips This Heart of Mine (Chicago Stars, #5) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars, #7) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Profile Image for Coffcat.
113 reviews6 followers
August 11, 2008
I'll be honest. I didn't finish this book. I got about 3/4 of the way through and had to quit. I thought the story premise was terrific but the author seemed to suffer quite a bit from the "lets see how many crazy/quirky characters we can stuff in one book" syndrome. There were too many extreme characters, too many plot lines happening and the heroine was just plain odd. Not a normal person in the bunch. Reading it was like playing a game of what if. What if you took a famous football player, give him a rock star dad, a groupie mom, a fat low self esteemed little sister, a plain looking badly dressed heroine with no job and no money, her guerrilla hippy mother and slovenly super rich widow who hates everyone-throw them all together in a little farm town and lets see what happens. It's a bit much! I thought it was too bad too cause I really thought the beginning storyline was great and I loved the banter between the hero and the heroine. I just felt that these things got lost in the huge mass of crap that embodied the rest of the story.
Profile Image for Christina ~ Brunette Reader.
187 reviews300 followers
February 26, 2016

3,5 "Charm Me" Stars

Dean Robillard and Blue Bailey couldn't be more different, but destiny has devised a Colorado road and a beaver costume to have their path cross. NFL hunky golden boy meets quirky bohemian girl and from there on it's all a fun romantic romp taking them eastward to a Tennessee farm where a bit of family drama and a lot of sizzling chemistry will bring them together, while Dean's glamorous lifestyle and Blue's restlessness will try to keep them apart.

Engaging writing and sparkly humour, with the usual flair the author has penned another lovely romance. Dean and Blue's story is full of both exciting and moving memorable moments, their energy leaps off the pages and most of their banters are a hoot, especially her dry retorts sending him down a notch or two, which he definitely needs.
The dialogues really shine and also the secondary cast of characters makes for a well-drawn and colourful parade on a vividly portrayed setting with hints of small town atmosphere. And though I would have liked to see a little less of them to leave more room to the leads and though sexy Dean can showcase some badly self-centred tendencies when he wants to, very minor quibbles aside this is one of the best examples of the "opposites attract" kind I've read in a long time (together with an older SEP's title I've enjoyed recently, Heaven, Texas).

Buddy-read with Jill :)
Profile Image for Lady Gabriella of Awesomeness (SLOW).
518 reviews760 followers
April 7, 2015
♥♥♥Beautiful and emotionally fantastic family read! This book will always be one of my favorites♥♥♥


I'M JUST SO HAPPY RITE NOW !!!YEAAAA ! A FIVE STAR ! LOL feels good :D



AHmazing continuation to this fabulous and fun series !!
LOVED the whole family to pieces ! especially Dean's parents (Jack & April )and good old Mrs.granier!!!
Profile Image for Ummi Farhana.
157 reviews13 followers
November 25, 2007
Could a book makes you deliriously happy? I mean, really. But then, this book did it for me. I grin like a fool after reading this book. I feel deliriously happy it was ridiculous. After all, it is just a book. Not just any book , though. It's the latest one from the Chicago Stars series. And I love every single second of it! I really do. It makes me sigh with longing to have what Blue and Dean have with each other. Pathetic, I know. But the book done that to me. Better than fairy tale.
Profile Image for Jen.
699 reviews128 followers
October 10, 2016
This series is just getting better and better to me! I love each of the stories that I've listened to so far, but I really loved this one. It was by chance that I was able to get this audiobook right away and I listened to almost all of it in one day. After just having listened to Match Me If You Can, I was excited to get Dean's story.

Each book is about a different couple and can be read as a standalone. This is Dean and Blue's story, but what I loved it that is it wasn't just about them. This was a story about family.



Dean is the quarterback for the Chicago Stars. It's off season and he's heading to his farm in Tennessee for a much needed break. On his way he tries to be nice and picks up Blue on the side of the road. From the moment they met the banter and snarky remarks begin to fly. Blue convinced Dean to take her to Tennessee with him and it was a good thing because when they arrive, Dean is surprised to find his mother, April, at his farm. Dean and his mother don't have a very good relationship, something else he and Blue have in common, so when Blue helps divert some of the tension, he's grateful that she's there.

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.

I'm really loving this series and can't wait to get my hands on the next book. If you haven't read this series yet, I would recommend giving it a shot, either reading or listening to it on audio.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,323 reviews169 followers
September 9, 2015
Written September 19, 2014

4.1 Stars - I love this authors style and characters - guaranteed easygoing, heartwarming cute and good outside-in.

Book #7


January 2014Nika (5 stars) told me Natural Born Charmer is the best one in this Chicago Stars series. We will see!!
April 2014Kathleen recommended it as well. She does always know what I would like to read.
September 2014 — I used my free coupon and downladed this 12 hours audiobook narrated by Anna Fields (..faultlessly).
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There are already 922 reviews to read and more than 18.000 other readers here on Goodreads has already done their raitings. ...I agree with them (average: 4.13 stars).

Natural Born Charmer is another wonderful, very well written, romantic great novel in this Chicago Stars (stand-alones) series.

***********************************************************

Dean Robillard is the Chicago Stars' cocky hotshot quarterback. He is now trying to recover (both mentally and physically) from a shoulder injury by taking a road trip. Along the way, he meets Blue Bailey, a beautiful woman down on her luck, and as they spend more time together their attraction grows.
“Make-up? What happened? You look almost female."
"Thanks. You look almost straight.”

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I felt some similarities with book #2, Heaven, Texas
We have the badly dressed, funny, clumsy and saucy girl. A very ordinary girl and she steps right into this successful football player kind of complicated family life.

# He, Dean is rich, charming, super attractive, adorable mega-star. A tall beautiful athletic hunk all the way from his expencive shoes up to the blonde well-trimmed hairstyle (think Beckham...). The man you see in celebrity pics. The spoiled star who has an entourage of glamorous beautiful women swarming around him.

# She, Blue, on the other side, has tousled hair, bad taste and shaggy big shirts. She is short on lenght and money. She has a sort of failed artist's painter career and a terribly dull closet without any lace (Dean's comment..).

Blue had a guy who was almost a kind of friend-boyfriend-bedfriend, a poet, who betrayed. ~ There she now wanders, along the roadside; poor, angry and penniless, in a sweaty beaver costume. Mr American Dream Man enters and a fantastic sweet and funny tale starts.
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“Life sure is easier when you're rich."
"And a natural born charmer. Don't forget that part."
"How could I?" she retorted. "It's the only thing we have in common.”

Of course - this heroine doesn't care a bit about beauty, expensive things, fame or hunky sexy football stars. The famous football player is just a guy with an amazing car when she need a free ride.

Nothing new under the sun..
They tease each other and becomes good friends. Stupid friends who later jumps into bed (light but steamy smex) after a lot of ifs & buts.
“If you're serious about getting it on again, be sure to give me some advance notice, so I can grab my appointment calendar and block out three minutes.”

***********************************************************

It isn't just these two MC's, there are a bunch of lovely second characters. Riley, April, Jack and Nita. I was just as fond of them all and interested in their life, feelings and stories as much as I was in Dean and Blue's. I got at least five great (happy ending) stories in one.
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For me is Natural Born Charmer a kind of low steam, romantic contemporary fiction novel. In a way a steamy romance but in many ways something much more. ~ A book to recommend your mom, a not romance reading sister, a romance thirsty friend and the lady in the next room at work.

***********************************************************

I got exactly what I needed and wanted here.
An excellent narrator in Anna Fields and a charming and sweet American family story with a yummy nice love story. Or was it actually two?
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This was my fourth Susan Elizabeth Phillips book and it will be more books written by this "CR-champion" on these Natural Good Charmer Romances i enjoy so much.

I LIKE - a SEP novel IS well spent time for me
Profile Image for Anna.
1,070 reviews7 followers
April 20, 2022
Re-read, great as always!

Just a balm for my soul! Thank you, SEP!

October 2018
4 stars... Too much SCs stories ... I skipped a lot
Too shitty parents of both MCs, thank god they didn't grow up and became awful people... Some people don't deserve to be a parent!!!!
Profile Image for Holly.
1,391 reviews925 followers
November 17, 2017
4.5 stars!

Including this book, I have only read two books by this author (the other is Dream a Little Dream) - and I have loved both! This may be a new favorite contemporary romance author for me. This book is so full of emotions, complex characters, relationships (both family, friends, and romantic), funny/witty/sarcastic dialogue - it really has it all! I'm adding this book to my favorites shelf. Highly recommended. Also, this is a really good audiobook.
Profile Image for Kimberly Carrington-Fox.
699 reviews158 followers
June 14, 2017
Nuestra reseña en A la cama con... un libro

Ahora mismo estoy con el subidón de haberlo leído y disfrutado tanto que no puedo darle menos. Me echaría a llorar por haber terminado la serie si no fuera porque 1. en unos días sale el siguiente libro, 2. me los puedo releer y revivir siempre que quiera y 3. estoy tan sensiblona que hasta lloraría con un anuncio del Decathlon.

VIVA SEP!!
Profile Image for Eilonwy.
814 reviews201 followers
February 6, 2017
Driving along the highway to visit his new farm in Tennessee, pro quarterback Dean Robillard spots a woman in a beaver costume walking along the side of the road and offers her a ride ... and of course true love follows.
But the road to love is never smooth, and traveling over those bumps and detours was great fun with this book. Dean and Blue both have big-time family issues, plus the town where his farm is located is owned by one very cranky old lady, so the romance story also features a great supporting cast, all of whom have their own problems to iron out. I loved every word of it. There's a lot to be said for knowing there's a Happy Ever After to look forward to. This book was like a wide warm swath of sunshine across the darkness of January for me.

I think I'm going to start this series from the beginning and just read all the books in order.
Profile Image for Piper.
299 reviews76 followers
August 19, 2016
5 totally charming stars!!!

I loved this story!! Actually I loved each installment of the Chicago Stars series and I'm anxiously awaiting the eighth book which is to be released in five short days. Or make that five long days!!! Susan Elizabeth Phillips can weave a tale and make you laugh as well as cry. She is one talented writer!!!
Profile Image for Mandy.
1,504 reviews217 followers
July 27, 2016
I really enjoyed the banter in this book - probably some of the best banter I've ever read. There was one scene in this entire book that I didn't like but overall, I really enjoyed this one and the whole series. I can't recommend this whole series enough - it's funny, sweet, emotional... it's just fantastic..
Profile Image for Geo Marcovici.
1,217 reviews291 followers
November 6, 2019
Penultimul volum al seriei Chicago Stars este poveste de dragoste dulce- amară dintre Dean și Blue. O poveste care ne învață despre încrederea de sine și unitatea familiei. O călătorie prin tainele sufletului. Frumos, foarte frumos!
Profile Image for Ian.
1,336 reviews188 followers
June 10, 2012
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.


From the very first page, Blue Bailey has been one of my favorite Susan Elizabeth Phillips heroines. She's smart, has a brutal wit, she speaks a big game but doesn't have the confidence to back herself. She will however, run into a burning building to protect her friends.

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.

Dean Robillard is not as interesting. He's basically just your every day cookie cutter hero with his cookie cutter problems. He's used to having women throw themselves at him so when this scruffy woman with bad hair and bad clothes tells him she isn't interested, he sees it as a challenge to his manhood.

Throw into the mix his estranged mother, even more estranged father and his half sister, all living together on a farm he is renovating and all the pieces are in place.

It's great fun and quite possibly my favorite book by this author.
Profile Image for Nefise.
430 reviews55 followers
May 27, 2016
It was good and a classic SEP story.

There are enjoyable secondary characters and story is based on being family, forgiveness, making peace with one past mistakes and acceptance of one's own feelings and fears. So it was good to reading it and I had a good time. Though I can't say same thing about romance part in the story. When I captured myself their building relationship and chemistry, scenes were changing and concentrated on other characters and after a while I adapted on family concept on the plot and romantic relationship with hero and heroine was like bonus.

Overall I had really good time. I loved all the characters. Yet romantisicm was short my expection. If I give a point exact romantic perspective, it would be 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Nisha.
788 reviews237 followers
October 5, 2011
My original review is waaay below, which was written after the first time I read this. But after my 2nd time, more than 2 years later, I think that it's the right time to write an updated review.

I must warn everyone that I am a die-hard Susan Elizabeth Phillips fan. But at the same time, I know how to be critical of her stories when I need to be (really, I have been...for a few of them). This book is sorta an extension of the Chicago stars series, but even Ms. Phillips says that she doesn't really consider it to be. It follows Dean Robillard, the hottest football star on the planet (seriously, he has a face/body of a movie star and a great sense of fashion to match). He happens to play for the Chicago Stars and we get sorta glimpses of Heath and Annabelle (from Match Me if You Can).

Well, Dean happens to be at the crossroads of his life, at 31 and just trying to figure out what its all about (or something to that effect). He comes across a headless beaver, more accurately, our heroine in a beaver costume missing a head. Blue Bailey is a seemingly different sort of SEP heroine. Her vagabond, artsy lifestyle (though not really of her choosing) makes it hard for us to really connect with her, at first. But knowing SEP, she's going to make us fall in love with the characters somehow. Blue is at the lowest point of her life, again. And it doesn't help that the shiny Dean Robillard is the only one around to give her a hand (and more if he can manage). These two look completely opposite to each other, have a lot in common and amazing chemistry to boot. And so continues the book, through the most sizzling, emotion-draining summer for both of them.

I know, I'm not revealing a lot, but I can say that it involves Dean's estranged parents, his half-sister, and a witchy old bat - all in a small town in Tennessee. And I actually really like this small town. Lots of regret and resolutions and good stuff.

I really liked Dean, despite all his flaws. He's a good guy, but he sorta selfish (though not as a lover, so he wins points there). He's been hurt a lot and had a basically unstable childhood, so he works hard to prevent it from happening again - not all that different from Blue. Blue isn't selfish, but she has been uprooted all through her life and has her share of instability. The problem is that she craves for stability but is so afraid to take that chance. They make a great couple, taking the worst (yet funniest) jabs at each other. Honestly, I just wish there was more book for me to read about them.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. It stays true to SEP's formula, but it adds something different into the mix.


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June 16, 2009
This was the first of her books that I've ever read. Considering how I tend to not enjoy contemporary romances (don't really know why), it was surprising that I even bothered choosing this book. It was a spur of the moment decision (or more like, it was available at my school library and needed a fix). I picked it up last Wednesday, and already, I have finished about 5 of her books.
This has to be one of the best stories ever. The relationship is built beautifully and the humor, I loved it. Dean is simply hot. Blue is a great character that is easy to identify with, despite her strange upbringing and lifestyle. Their interactions are the best. I was cracking up constantly. The secondary love story was also a plus. I'm glad that she always adds another compelling couple in her stories.
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