by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

September 2001
ISBN: 0-380-97572-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books

Molly Somerville has just dyed her hair red! Cardinals stop chirping and faint with envy when she passes by - it's that kind of red! Other than the hair, things are OK for Molly; her series of children's books featuring Daphne the Bunny are beginning to sell very well, she loves her condo and her family, sister Phoebe, brother-in-law Dan Calebow, and all her nieces and nephews are fine! So why the hair? That's what Phoebe asks with a certain amount of dread - significant hair changes usually mean a major life disaster is about to strike Molly. In truth, Molly can't put her finger on what's bugging her, other than the fact that she has a major thing (twenty-seven is far too old for a crush) for gorgeous quarterback Kevin Tucker, and she's come to terms with that situation quite nicely, or so she thinks!

Molly firmly believes that Kevin is as shallow as a rain puddle, only dates women with IQ's lower than their bra size, and wouldn't know her name even though they've been introduced three times. So not having any kind of a relationship with him is a good thing... isn't it?

Kevin Tucker has been the leading quarterback for the Chicago Stars for several years. He likes his coach, Dan Calebow, respects the Coach's wife Phoebe (who is also the Stars' manager), and can't remember the name of her little sister at all. Which is why it comes as an awful shock to both Molly and Kevin when they find themselves sharing Phoebe's weekend country house by mistake! To say that sparks fly is inaccurate; but there are serious consequences resulting from this short encounter and the love story between Molly and Kevin really begins here!

I have to offer a round of applause to Susan Elizabeth Phillips for daring to write this book. It's not bogged down with any run-of-the-mill My Life May Be In Danger stuff, and Kevin doesn't need to beat up on any nasty bad guys to save Molly's cute rear end! This is a wonderful, old-fashioned love story, taking us from the start of Kevin and Molly's relationship, through its ups and downs to a happy ending. The characters very rapidly stop being words on a page and come vibrantly to life for the reader. We laugh along with Kevin at Molly's wild stunts; we sigh with Molly at Kevin's gorgeous body and to-die-for green eyes. We eagerly travel with them to a summer camp that Kevin has recently inherited, and watch with fascination as the football player and the writer become Bed and Breakfast proprietors! We watch with glee as propriety goes rapidly out the window!

The secondary characters in this book steal some scenes away from Molly and Kevin - especially lovely aging TV star Lilly Sherman and world-renowned painter Liam Jenner, not to mention the oversexed newlyweds Troy and Amy. Of course the old adage about dogs and animals also applies here, with a heavy helping of terrifyingly bright kids and a wonderful poodle who occasionally thinks he's a rottweiler. But over and above everything else are Kevin and Molly, two fairly normal people, doing their best to cope with what life has handed them and falling in love with each other in the process. It has been a long time since I closed the last page of a book with such regret - if only all romances could be this delightful!

For Susan Elizabeth Phillips fans, I note that Molly made her first appearance as a moody teenager in It Had To Be You, the story of Phoebe and Dan Calebow. While a pleasant read, that novel doesn't come anywhere near the warmth and passion generated by Kevin and Molly, but I would recommend it if you'd like some background on Molly and, of course, the Chicago Stars football team.

Reviewed in September 2001 by Celia.

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