Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Natual Born Charmer
Susan Elizabeth Phillips Blog-Along

In great anticipation of the latest coming release of the new Susan Elizabeth Phillips book; Heroes Are My Weakness, I have hopped onto to the Susan Elizabeth Phillips Blog-Along.

This week I am re-visiting one of my favorite SEP books, Natural Born Charmer!

Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bone-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 sets 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 is 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.

Natural Born Charmer is for everyone who's ever thought about leaving their old life in the dust and never looking back. Susan Elizabeth Philips takes us home again... and shows us where love truly lives.

I jumped on this blog tour in anticipation of Heroes Are My Weakness, so what better thing than to get in the mood than with a re-read of one of my favorite SEP books- starring one of my favorite leading men.. none other than Dean Robillard.

The title of this book, Natural Born Charmer is certainly a fitting title for Dean Robillard's (also known as one of my top five book boyfriends, back off ladies)- book. I love SEP's Chicago Stars series and couldn't wait for Dean's story- after meeting him in Match Me If You Can, I wanted to follow him off into the sunset- and what I wouldn't give for a glimpse of him in those tight bike shorts he was referenced to be wearing in that book.. sorry- back on track. When you are dealing with a hero as sexy as Dean Robillard it is a little hard to stay focused.

Dean has everything he could ever want... right? Then why does he feel so lonely?

"It wasn't everyday a guy saw a headless beaver marching down the side of the road, not even in Dean Robillard's larger-than-life world. "Son of a..." Dean slammed on the breaks of his 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 on the shoulder of the 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 agents 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, m'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 lip. Her bottom lip was even fuller, giving him the disconcerting feeling she'd somehow escaped from  an X-rated nursery rhyme.

"An actor," she said with a 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."

"Your 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 the pace. "Heath Champion."

"Sounds phony."

It was, but not 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 old paddle tail smacked him in the leg as she spun on him. "Beat it, okay?"

"And miss all the fun?"

Dean quickly finds the distraction he was looking for, and when some people from his past start crawling out of the woodwork, this distraction becomes more of a shoulder to lean on.

Dean is vain, I know it, you know it, he knows it.. but deep down this guy has a heart of gold and once some parts of his past start to become a part of his future, he seems less vain and more like a man who just wants to be loved

This story is funny and beautiful. It starts with a girl in a beaver suit and only gets better and better. I loved every quirky character, I found myself singing along to songs that are original to one of the characters in the book, and wishing I could take a real life tour of Dean's summer home, and spend one night in his gypsy caravan (if you haven't read this book yet, you won't get this, but when you do- you will want to visit there as well!)

This like every other SEP book is a 5 STAR read. I am a SEPPIE for life and am slowly re-reading her backlist as I prepare myself for the new release. (HEROES ARE MY WEAKNESS COMING AUGUST 26th- CLICK HERE TO PREORDER!)

Buy Links for Natural Born Charmer: If you haven't read this yet- GET IT NOW! 
Barnes & Noble
iBook Store

Let's Chat: 
Do you have a favorite SEP hero? Dean Robillard is one of my favorites, but I also love the Bonner brothers, Kevin Tucker.. Heath Champion.. who am I kidding- I love them all :)

Author Links:
If you are a SEP fan, make sure you are a fan on Facebook! She is so active over there and always sharing everything from inside glimpses into her mind while writing, to great recipes! (PS> This week she shared that the inspiration for the beaver suit from Blue came while sitting on the porch with her husband. She knew she wanted Blue in a costume, but wasn't sure what.. and Mr. Bill told her, not a beaver suit.. and off she went to write her story. She is such a wonderful author and the level)

Here is a link to her website- start there and there are links there to all of her social media pages, join the message boards. It is so fabulous when an author actually keeps a regularly updated website!

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