Sunday, September 23, 2007

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Another installment to the Chicago Stars series. We met Dean Robillard in Match me if You Can and at that time he charmed the socks off of us. Now he returns with his own story which unfortunately was a bit of a miss with me.

Dean is recovering from shoulder surgery but feels himself slipping into a bit of a rut since he always felt invincible, and with the injury to his shoulder he now has to face a vulnerability he has worked hard to avoid. On his way to his new farmhouse in Tennessee he encounters a woman dressed in a Beaver outfit and his life turns upside down.

Blue Bailey has had a horrible few weeks when she gets into Dean's car. She left her life in Seattle to come assist her distraught boyfriend, Monty, only to find that he has run off with a 19 year old just days before she arrives. Her mother, who is a humanitarian, has emptied her bank account to help some girls in a third world country and after Monty steals her last dollar, she gets kicked out of her new apartment. With no place to go, hanging on to Dean sounds better every minute.

As with all SEP books there is a secondary romance which is between Dean's parents April and Jack. There is alot of baggage that needs to be cleared between Dean and his parents and that needs to be done before he can bring himself to fully give his heart to Blue.

Blue is also a bit damaged, and has her own abandonment issues. She has learned to stay away from caring for anyone since they always leave. Now, Dean asks for a commitment that she cannot give, or can she?

Honestly, I really enjoyed the story until the very end when you would have expected some growth from these characters but the truth is that they had stayed static until the last few pages.
the banter between them was priceless, though!

I loved April, Dean's mother, but Jack, his father, did nothing for me. The scenes where Dean finally made peace with his parents were well done and were very believable, as well as poignant, but when it can for the same reconciliation with the woman he had fallen in love with... I felt there could have been more. The secondary characters in the town of Garrison as well as Riley, Dean's half sister gave this book the push that it needed for me to keep it a B.

Grade: B-


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