I think I've officially become a Susan E Phillips fanatic! Another great read by her.
This is the second book in her Chicago Stars series. Here we have Texas-born ex-football player Bobby Tom Denton going back home to Telerosa, Texas to start filming a movie. He meets up with Gracie Snow, the quiet reserved polite woman who worked at a Nursing Home and became an assistant to a movie producer in Hollywood. The story pretty much picks up where Gracie is assigned the task of bringing Bobby Tom home to Texas to start filming a movie. They go on a crazy wild adventure and end up falling in love with more than a few bumps in the road along the way.
I loved the characters. Once again Phillips really knows how to flesh out a story and create believable, real characters with depth who are flawed all around yet lovable or at the very least understandable. I love Bobby Tom. Loved him since his introduction in the previous book, his easy charm and cheesy one-liners and gentleman tongue (most of the time) but he did test my patience at times. I felt the 'charity case' and 'mercy fucking'comments was a bit much and taken too far and made him come off more chauvinistic and a complete ass instead of endearingly oblivious and hard headed on his feelings toward Gracie. I'm sure that was Phillips intent to make him come off arrogant and shallow at times but I think she may have pushed it too far simply cause of the number of times it was brought up. With Bobby Tom constantly comparing Gracie to those blond bimbos, mentioning how she's 'not his type' constantly and referring to her as a desperate woman who needed his guidance. It started to agitate me. I felt it was trying overly hard to convince me of something that I didn't need any convincing on. I understood it in the beginning of the book but having him still think that way and bring it up 2/3 into the book was a bit unsettling and frustrating. There were moments that made me think 'oh you clueless idiot!'. That's one of the reasons why it's a 4 star instead of 5 for me. I felt the growth in his character and change in his perspective towards Gracie and other things in general, came a bit late and took a while and made the story lag out. And the fact that he was pushed to his absolute limit and pretty much bodily forced to admit his feelings for her at the very end (even though it was a beautiful/heartbreaking scene) it was a tad disappointing.
But boy was it a real treat to see him reach that epiphany moment where he realized how completely off he was. I was seriously starting to worry there cause the man just did not seem to get it and it took him quite a while to catch on and realize how he really felt. But I found myself loving him regardless. :P
Gracie was a fun heroine. Loved to see her grow and become more comfortable in her own skin. Yes this has the cliche recipe of the girl getting a makeover for the guy to really notice her BUT it plays out not necessarily as you expect it to play out. For me at least. The banters and arguments between her and B.T were really fun and endearing.
I have to say the ending and the build up to it in the last few chapters made up for parts I felt where lagging. Plus I really loved the side story of Bobby Tom's mom Suzy finding love again in the most unexpected place. Her and Wayland seriously made me melt. That whole 'seduction' scene was really intense and so angsty. I fell in love with them as well.
And it was a real treat and great surprise to see the Calebows in this. I love me some Phoebe and Dan so I was super excited when they made a small appearance in this book. They are so adorable.