on April 1, 2004
Phoebe Somerville, a voluptuous blonde with a pin-up girl body, has just inherited the Chicago Stars professional football team from her cold and callous father. A sports team is the last thing this New York lady wants, plus she sees it as manipulation from the grave, by her father, to coerce her into doing as he wishes. His age-old demand for her to do something meaningful with her life, and quit hanging out with homosexual men. In order to remain owner of the team, the Stars have to win the Super Bowl, a long shot at best. So she decides to do nothing, until the team's sexy and aggressive head coach, Dan Calebow, pays her a visit. Nothing is getting done because Phoebe isn't showing up to work. The last thing Dan wants is some blonde bimbo to own and run the team, but he has no choice at present. But Phoebe is not what she seems. Her oversexed demeanor is a cover for the trauma of her past. And Dan begins to realize there's a brain with that body, and he can't help desiring both.
This is the book that started it all - the first installment in the Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers series. We are introduced here to Phoebe's sister, Molly Somerville, a troubled teen at this point, who is the subject of the last book, "This Heart of Mine". Also we are introduced to my favorite hero ever, Bobby Tom Denton, whose story is the next (and best) in the series, "Heaven, Texas".
Once again, Ms. Phillips builds multi-layered characters that are real people with real problems. She is a master at doing this. I especially found the character of Phoebe vastly interesting. It is a sexy, fast-paced story laced with humor. Even though I loved Phoebe's character, her history of trauma bothered me. The screening of details written was handled well, and obviously that occurrence helped form her character, but I just don't like reading about this kind of thing. Plus the slimeball ultimately got away with it. The climatic ending was also a little over the top for me, and seemed a mite far-fetched. I'll refrain from further explanation, since it would ruin it for those who haven't read the book yet. I haven't been reading these in order, so I believe I read this book third. I have yet to read, "Dream a Little Dream", but out of the rest, this is probably my least favorite. Don't get me wrong, this book is still very good and definitely worth reading!
For those who would like to know the order of the series, it is as follows: It Had to be You, Heaven Texas, Nobody's Baby But Mine, Dream a Little Dream and This Heart of Mine. Enjoy!
on October 21, 2003
Phoebe can't stand the sport football and hasn't seen her father, who is now deceased, in years. But Phoebe Sommerville has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team through the death of her father. She has one year to bring the team to the Super Bowl and receive her full monotary inheritance or it falls back permanently to her cousin who she despises. But along with the team she has to contend with Coach Dan Celebow. Dan is an ex-quarterback himself and has the talent to be a great coach if the team will just follow his plays- he has a tough job to do and now having to put up with a flakey but gorgeous team owner who likes to give her own instructions like "when you look at the other team think naked" has just added to his headaches. Needless to say Phoebe and Dan don't hit it off and are constantly butting heads. But there is a sexual attraction that is stronger than either one of them. Can they work things out personally and work together for the team's sake?
This is SEP's the prequel to THIS HEART OF MINE. Though I read them in the wrong order they are both good. They are fun, heartwarming and sexy- a recommended read!
on February 26, 2003
Pheobe Sommerville has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team and she is thrilled that her father apparently believed in her enough to leave her his beloved Stars. There was a catch though, she has one year to win the Superbowl, or ownership of the team reverts to her cousin. Needless to say, Pheobe knows absolutley nothing about football and winning a championship with a losing team is beyond her comprehension. So, she decides that she will not get involved with the Stars, owner or not. She doesn't count on Dan Cabelow though, or her explosive attraction to him.
Dan Cabelow is the head coach of the Chicago Stars. When he meets his new 'boss', he can't believe that her father left his daughter, the bimbo, the team. Then, as the season passes, he learns that she really has a brain beneath all the makeup and hooker clothing. What he can't figure out is why she would want people to think she's a bimbo. Regardless of his attraction to Pheobe, he knows that she's not the woman for him. When he thinks of marriage, he thinks of children and peace, something he definitley can't see Miz Sommerville wanting.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips brings the reader a story of love and courage, heartbreak and loss. She does it in a way that is so extrodinary, the reader feels like they're actually a part of the book. I didn't want this book to end, but I was so satisfied with the ending that I cried. Dan and Pheobe's story is so heartwrenching, you'll want to keep a box of tissues by your side. You'll not only cry, but you'll laugh until you cry. Don't miss this book!
on September 30, 2002
Phoebe Somerville had them all fooled. The blonde bombshell, va-va-voom vixen shielded a hurt innocence and sharp intelligence within. As an overweight, graceless child unloved and unwanted by her father, she had it out with him and ran off from home to lead a life of which he couldn't approve. In turn, the old man stuck it to her in his will by forcing her to inherit his football team (and her teenaged half-sister) for a few short months, to prove that she could really make something of herself. A mixed blessing at best, since Phoebe loves her little sister, but can't stand football. And she can't stand the team's hunky coach, either!
Stars Coach Dan Calebow is hard, driven, and cold. How could he be anything but, with a nickname like "Ice"? Though dedicated to his sport, he was more inclined to living fast and loose when it came to women. Dan used to love them hot and wild but a bad marriage and empty, brief physical encounters have left him craving a baby-loving kinda gal who can warm his frozen heart. But right now his top priority is getting hoochie-mama-turned-temporary-team-owner Phoebe's luscious backside outta the big boss's chair so he can get his team, and his life, back on track.
Can these two damaged souls discover how much they truly have in common with each other before it's too late?
What worked for me:
I must say this is the first time I've ever seen football mixed with romance in a story. That certainly made it unique and did allow for several funny quips from the heroine.
I also liked underlying theme of healing and bonding, especially where the two sisters were concerned. (Molly has her own story covered in "This Heart of Mine", for those folks who enjoy family series.)
Size-wise Phoebe was built a bit curvier than is currently en vogue, a la Jayne Mansfield. (Actually the descriptions in the book had me picturing the hero and heroine as Tom Berenger and Jennifer Tilly.)
What didn't work for me:
I've always been a bit uncomfortable with rape scenarios in my romance novels, though in this case the heroine is trying to recover from an assault that occurred years earlier.
I felt that the contrived conflicts made the characters seem juvenile.
A solid read, especially if you like truly despicable villains and prefer your hero and heroine to be firmly at odds with each other. A few good comic as well as dramatic moments shine in this story, but it may not be humorous enough for some readers nor suspense-filled enough for others.
Warning: This book has some steamy sex scenes and coarse language in its pages.
If you liked "It Had to be You" you might also enjoy: "This Heart of Mine", "Plum Girl", "Lola Carlyle Reveals All", "Fast Women", "His Seductive Revenge", "Dear Cupid", "Looking for Laura", "Too Much Temptation", "Say You're Mine", "Carried Away", or "Walking After Midnight".
on September 17, 2002
I cannot believe that the heroine Phoebe is only prentending to be a "bimbo"? She really is one, honest. SEP would like for readers to believe that Phoebe is a very intelligent woman hiding behind the "bimbo" mask. This book is even reprinted?? Isn't one print of this book worst enough? The heroine loves to dress in sluttish clothes to prance around in front of her fellow football employees, coaches, sister, reporters, basically in front of an audience. And SEP even uses words like "sturt" to show that Phoebe is doing it on purpose. The book starts out with Phoebe wearing something highly inapporiate for her father's funeral showing that she doesn't care. She had pose nude for a man's magazine, slept with the photographer and supposedly many men, although I believe that is also another of her ploys. Then she and the coach for the football team Dan does not get along. Somehow Dan always comes out the loser and Phoebe just wiggles her butt and breast and all men comes to her aid. How is that for women liberators? If that is not a woman going back to caveman tactics I don't know what is. Phoebe's little sister Molly (who will get her own book, which is just as bad as this one) hates Phoebe and makes up many lies about her. Eventually there is some sort of scandal and Phoebe risks losing her football team, everyone gets together and stands by her including Dan, and The End. At the end there is a mention that Phoebe can no longer act the "bimbo" because everyone including the press and media "knows" how "intelligent" Phoebe is and she could no longer get away with the brainless sex kitten act. Save your money for something better. I'm certainly glad I did. I borrowed this book from someone else. The sequel "This Heart of Mine" lacks romance, and tries to bring together two characters who are not suited for one another.
on September 17, 2002
I cannot believe that the heroine Phoebe is only prentending to be a "bimbo"? She really is one, honest. SEP would like for readers to believe that Phoebe is a very intelligent woman hiding behind the "bimbo" mask. This book is even reprinted?? Isn't one print of this book worst enough? The heroine loves to dress in sluttish clothes to prance around in front of her fellow football employees, coaches, sister, reporters, basically in front of an audience. And SEP even uses words like "sturt" to show that Phoebe is doing it on purpose. The book starts out with Phoebe wearing something highly inapporiate for her father's funeral showing that she doesn't care. She had pose nude for a man's magazine, slept with the photographer and supposedly many men, although I believe that is also another of her ploys. Then she and the coach for the football team Dan does not get along. Somehow Dan always comes out the loser and Phoebe just wiggles her butt and breast and all men comes to her aid. How is that for women liberators? If that is not a woman going back to caveman tactics I don't know what is. Phoebe's little sister Molly (who will get her own book, which is just as bad as this one) hates Phoebe and makes up many lies about her. Eventually there is some sort of scandal and Phoebe risks losing her football team,... there is a mention that Phoebe can no longer act the "bimbo" because everyone including the press and media "knows" how "intelligent" Phoebe is and she could no longer get away with the brainless sex kitten act. Save your money for something better. I'm certainly glad I did. I borrowed this book from someone else. The sequel "This Heart of Mine" lacks romance, and tries to bring together two characters who are not suited for one another.
on December 9, 2001
OK - so I tried a whole stack of modern romantic fiction on the recommendation of a friend of mine and while I liked some of it, most of it I just couldn't enjoy. Perhaps the best of the them (for me anyway) was "Welcome to Temptation" by Cruise - but this one I just couldn't enjoy at all.
Right from the initial set up where Phoebe Somerville comes back pretending to be something she isn't - sporting small rat-like dog and dressing up at a funeral to mislead everyone (so they would think the worst of her) I just felt this was one cliche after another with little respite.
I suppose I like my cliches to be a bit original (Joke! Joke!) - or maybe it was the initial set up Funeral scene which turned me against the rest of the book. I have to admit I skimmed from about page 100 as 360 odd pages started to seem as daunting.
The basic story is that Phoebe Somerville (who we are breathlessly informed on page2 has lovely slender legs but nice plump hips and breasts - lucky old her eh?) inherits a football team from her distant father - however the coach Dan Calebo takes an instant dislike to her. Not to worry - in true form Phoebe takes an instant dislike to him as well - and so together they traverse the unsurprising route to bed and true love. Love's particular highways in this case I think are too well travelled. There is nothing really mysterious or hidden in her - everything is explained in short order - that Phoebe is not really a heartless, money grubbing fiend she is pretending to represent takes only a couple of pages to reveal for instance.
I guess when it comes to humour I'll still stick with Janet Evanovich and her incredibly funny/sexy Stephanie Plum series.
on November 21, 2001
"It Had To Be You" is my favorite book by S.E.P. It is also the first book in her Chicago Stars football team series. Phoebe Somerville is the sexy and outrageous (like Marilyn Monroe) daughter of Bert Somerville, owner of the Stars. After Bert's death, Phoebe learns, to her surprise, that she inherited the team with the stipulation that she can retain ownership if they win the championship. If they loose, the team ownership will be passed on to her obnoxious cousin, Reed Chandler. This is Phoebe's wake-up call. Everyone considered her to be a bimbo. Even her father thought she was a failure. But with the help of General Manager Ron McDermitt, she proves to be more than capable to run the organization.
Dan Calebo, head coach of the Stars, is everything Phoebe despises--a sexist jock with a one track mind. Dan thinks she is a meddling bimbo. Phoebe and Dan are both stubborn and sparks fly between these two from the start. Before long, there is more at stake than just winning the championship.
This was my first SEP novel and to date it is my favorite of all her work. The story will make you laugh, cry, cheer and leave you with a well-satisfied feeling. You don't have to be a fan of football to enjoy this wonderful story. SEP's website indicates that "It Had To Be You" will be reissued in March, 2002.
on November 6, 2001
Phoebe Sommerville's father has died and she has to come back to Chicago for his funeral and the reading of his will. Phoebe knows that her father probably left her younger sister Molly a trust fund that will take care of her needs. He probably also left his precious Chicago Stars football team to her cousin Reed Chandler, who Phoebe hates with a passion.
Phoebe gets the shock of her life, when she finds out that her father left the Stars to her temporarily. She has to get the Stars to win a Championship title in order to keep it. If they don't win she will get one hundred thousand dollars and the team goes to her cousin Reed. Phoebe knew her father could be a trip and even in death he gets her goat. But, she figures she can make the best of it. Then she meets the Stars coach Dan Calebow.
Dan doesn't think Phoebe is up to the job, in fact she is just a beautiful woman who knows nothing about football. How in the world will she be able to handle a team. Phoebe had a reputation as a vixen. As Dan gets to know Phoebe better, he finds her be a very lovely, sometimes frightened young woman. He finds himself attracted to her, not wanting to be. He eventually faces the facts that she is in his blood and their is no denying the attraction between them.
Phoebe decides to keep her sister with her in order for them to get to know each other. Her sister Molly was always away at school. Molly didn't like Phoebe. She felt that Phoebe was the reason she felt her father didn't love her. Phoebe was determine to develop a relationship with her.
This book has alot of relationship mending going on. Some secrets are revealed. I didn't care for the cousin Reed! This is an excellent story done by Ms. Phillips. I love her work. This book is book one in the Chicago Stars football series then theres HEAVEN TEXAS, NOBODY'S BABY BUT MINE, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM & THIS HEART OF MINE! Make sure you pick up these books, you won't miss!
on January 20, 2001
SEP is coming out in hardback shortly with her newest football book. I absolutely hate football and couldn't imagine at first liking these books. This held true until I read my first one, out of order in the series, "Nobody's Baby But Mine." I finished that one at about 3am of the morning after the day I'd bought it. Did I sleep late? Oh, no, I got up first thing to go to the bookstores to track down her other books! I read the entire series, as it then existed, in about 3 days. Essentially, every book involves a hero in football in some capacity and a heroine who is either also in football or who intersects with him for some other reason. In this book, the heroine, Phoebe, inherits the football team for Chicago from her recently deceased father. She inherits with a tricky provision though and has every chance of losing the team to her cousin. The hero, Dan, is the coach for her football team, a former player himself. Dan thinks Phoebe is a total airhead because she lived with and modeled for an artist in New York, has many gay friends and looks like a present day Marilyn Monroe. Phoebe has a way of giving people the business too who make stereotyped judgements just looking at her. She is no dim wit. Phillips combines LOL hilarity with great tenderness and heartfeltness. I'm happy to report that you really don't need to know anything about football since Phillips uses it primarily as a way of moving her plot and fully developing her characters. Even I found myself totally enmeshed in this football world.