Nobodys Baby But Mine

By: Susan Elizabeth Phillips

(Chicago Stars 3)





Avon books 1997





Dear Reader,





The night before our youngest son went off to college, I sat at the bottom of the stairs looking at his pile of belongings, and I cried my eyes out. I wasn’t ready for this part of my life to be over. The years slipped away, and I remembered how I’d yearned to have a baby. In that moment, the seeds for NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE were planted.



Find a cozy corner, a comfortable chair, and come with me on a very special journey filled with love and passion. You’ll meet an endearing woman who’s smart about some things and confused about others, along with a strong, sexy heartthrob of a man who’ll take your breath away. You’ll also meet a married couple who’ve lost sight of what they mean to each other.



NOBODY’S BABY BUT MINE delivers lots of sizzle, but you’ll find tenderness too, along with laughter, and maybe even a tear here and there. Curl up in your favorite chair and lose yourself in the adventures of these maddening, mismatched, but ultimately endearing lovers.



Happy reading,





To my mother





Chapter One








“Let me get this straight,” Jodie Pulanski said. “You want to give Call Bonner a woman for a birthday present.”



The three offensive linemen, who were spending the November evening sitting in the back booth at Zebras, the DuPage County sports bar favored by the Chicago Stars football players, all nodded at once.



Junior Duncan gestured toward the waitress for another round. “He’s going to be thirty-six, so we wanted to make this extra special.”



“Bull,” Jodie said. Everybody who knew anything about football knew that Call Bonner, the Stars’

brilliant quarterback, had been demanding, temperamental, and generally impossible to get along with ever since the season started. Bonner, popularly known as the “Bomber” because of his fondness for throwing explosive passes, was the top-ranked quarterback in the AFC and a legend.



Jodie crossed her arms over the form-fitting white tank top that was part of her hostess uniform. It didn’t occur to either her or any of the three men at the table to consider the moral dimensions of their discussion, let alone notions of political correctness. This was, after all, the NFL. “You think if you get him a woman, he’ll ease up on all of you,” she said.



Willie Jarrell gazed down into his beer through a pair of thickly-lashed dark brown eyes. “Sonofabitch been kickin’ so much ass lately, nobody can stand being around him.” Junior shook his head. “Yesterday, he Call led Germaine Clark a debutante . Germaine!” Jodie lifted one eyebrow, which was penciled several shades darker than her brassy blond hair.

Germaine Clark was All-Pro and one of the meanest defensive tackles in the NFL. “From what I’ve seen, the Bomber already has more women than he knows what to do with.”



Junior nodded. “Yeah, but, the thing of it is, he doesn’t seem to be sleepin’ with any of them?”



“What?”



“It’s true.” Chris Plummer, the Stars’ left guard spoke up. “We just found it out. His girlfriends have been talking to some of the wives, and it seems Call ’s not using them for anything more than window dressing.”



Willie Jarrell spoke up. “Maybe if he waited until they were out of diapers, he could get turned on.” Junior chose to take his remark seriously. “Don’t say things like that, Willie. You know Call won’t date

’em till they’re twenty.”



Call Bonner might be getting older, but the females in his life weren’t. No one could remember him dating anyone over the age of twenty-two.



“Far as anybody knows,” Willie said, “the Bomber hasn’t slept with anybody since he broke up with Kelly, and that was last February. It’s not natural.” Kelly Berkley had been Call ’s beautiful twenty-one-year-old companion until she’d gotten tired of waiting for a wedding ring that wasn’t ever going to come and run off with a twenty-three-year-old guitarist for a heavy metal band. Since then, Call Bonner had been concentrating on winning football games, dating a new woman every week, and kicking his teammates’ asses.

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