Series: Chicago Stars #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Avon on 1 January 1994
I know that my opinion of this book is vastly different from the majority but that is okay. Phoebe Somerville inherits the Chicago Stars football team from her father on the proviso that she can get the team to win. Along the way she starts to fall for the abrasive coach Dan Calebow.
Phoebe has low self esteem stemming from her father and cousin’s abuse of her and being raped as a young woman. She created a sex-pot persona to deal with this and while she flirts and shows off her assets, she hasn’t been in a relationship for years. Phoebe initially wants nothing to do with the team because they were her father’s pride and joy but eventually decides to help out even though she knows nothing about the game. I wanted to see more of the ‘real’ Phoebe behind all the artifice, lies and manipulation as the snippets we were given weren’t really enough. Phoebe is supposed to be really smart but she puts up with an awful lot of rubbish from Dan and I kept thinking that she could do better.
Dan. How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways…
– He constantly demeans Phoebe for whether it is for her clothing choices or business decisions and flat-out calls her dumb.
– When the two start to have sex and she starts to freak out he refuses to stop. Phoebe initially gave her consent but she withdrew it and even if he found it frustrating, he needed to respect that.
– If anyone criticises him, he has a temper tantrum and gets even more abusive.
– He basically auditions women for the privilege of having his children and settles on one meek and mild teacher, Sharon, not because of who she is but because she is good with small children.
– He has an unusual relationship with his ex-wife Valerie where he helps her recreate her sexual fantasies. The ex-wife wanted to be mugged so when a woman showed up at his door, he drags her off to the woods. Unfortunately the woman he grabbed was Phoebe and his actions triggered memories of her rape. To apologise for his actions, he makes her a grilled cheese sandwich. Really?
– When a particular character angers him, he disregards his position as a high profile coach and pummels the person because he needs to assert his alpha-male status.
Parts of the plot could have been left out or trimmed down as they weren’t necessary. There were multiple points of view and the changes between them were disorientating. We didn’t really need to see things from the point of view of Phoebe’s sister Molly or Sharon as they were definitely on the sidelines. Phillips really pushed the ‘women should be at home taking care of the kids’ line which got a little tiresome as it was about as subtle as a piece of 2×4. The book is a bit dated as we have OJ Simpson interviewing people and the fashion references are pure mid 90s.
As you can see, I wasn’t a fan of this book. There were so many improbable situations and an unlikeable hero that I couldn’t connect with it.