Veteran romance writer Phillips (First Lady; Lady Be Good, etc.) makes her hardcover debut with this consuming story of a star-crossed children's-book author and a football player. At 27, Molly Somerville is a struggling writer who eschews the inheritance left by her father, founder of the Chicago Stars NFL team, now owned by Molly's sister, Phoebe Calebow, and her husband, Dan, who act as Molly's surrogate parents. Creator of a series of Daphne the Bunny books, writer for a teen magazine and the perfect playmate for her nieces and nephew, Molly is still growing upÄshe even has a crush on Kevin Tucker, the handsome, reckless Stars quarterback. By coincidence, Molly and Kevin end up at the Calebow's vacation home, where they share an intense night that produces ill feelings and a pregnancy. They reluctantly marry, but shortly thereafter Molly miscarries. After a few months' separation, Kevin asks her to accompany him to a campground he recently inherited where he spent many unhappy childhood summers. He aims to sell the land, but as he watches Molly's wit return with her health, he finds himself changing his mind about the place and her. Snippets of Molly's writings serve as playful foreshadowing of the storybook plot, some elements of which are old hatÄthe heiress who gives away her money, a long-lost mother. Don't be fooled by the dusty title, however; this one is pure up-to-the-minute entertainment. Agent, Steve Axelrod. (One-day laydown, Jan. 23) Forecast: Phillips is the only four-time recipient of Romance Writers of America's Favorite Book of the Year Award, and her most recent novel, the mass market First Lady, hit paperback bestseller lists. With a big and smart push from Morrow, including a nine-city author tour, this book stands to be that rarity: a bestseller on national hardcover lists by a first-time writer to those ranks. A Harper Audio and large-print edition will be issued simultaneously. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.