Last Chance Beauty Queen
By Dottie
Jul 2, 2012 - 9:07:07 PM

Sirocco Caroline Rhodes is known as Rocky in her small town of Last Chance. But after graduating summa cum laude from the University of South Carolina and then landing the job with Senator Warren immediately afterwards, she did not want the name ‘Rocky Rhoades’ to hold her back. Her brothers were named Stone, Clay and Tulane. Needing a name that sounded professional, she decided to go with her middle name, Caroline. Twelve years ago, she had been the town’s Watermelon Festival queen and the day would have been wonderful had it not been for Bubba. She had already turned down his marriage proposal, but he had believed that she would not turn him down in public. When he had made his public proposal, she had not only turned him down, she had said some things to him she wished she could take back. Since then, he has taken to drinking, still certain that they would one day be together. However, the town blames her. Because of this, she has not been back in several years, but this year she has no choice in the matter.

Hugh deBracy, Lord Woolham, holds patents on certain looming equipment and he wants to start a factory in Last Chance. He had been working through a partner, George Penn, who had purchased a piece of land to build the factory on, but George had disappeared and it was assumed that he had gone down in a plane accident. Hugh still needs the adjoining piece of land before he can build the factory. A different site will not do as the previous owner of the plot of land that he already owns is not willing to take back that land and give him his money back. With Woolham House mortgaged to the hilt, he has no choice. He either gets the adjoining land or there will be no factory and he will lose everything, including Woolham House.

Senator Warren is anxious for the factory to be built, especially with an election coming up. The addition of two hundred jobs can only gain him more votes. So he puts his employee, Caroline, in charge of obtaining the additional land for Hugh. However, the land belongs to Caroline’s father, who has built a mini golf course on it. Named Golfing for God, the eighteen holes on the course each feature a Biblical scene. In a recent storm, the course had been damaged, but a group of church women were working on obtaining the funds to rebuild it. At any rate, Caroline knew her father was adamantly against selling it. So Hugh, a gorgeous English baron, is determined to go to Last Chance and speak with her father, Elbert Rhoades as well as the town council and the church women.

Caroline is very attracted to Hugh, but she chalks that up to her secret addiction to historical romances and English lords. In Last Chance, the annual Watermelon Festival is in full swing and Hugh wants to be on the reviewing stand at the parade. But Caroline soon finds that Hugh will not be allowed on the reviewing stand unless she agrees to be on one of the floats during the parade, wearing the same pink and green dress that she wore twelve years ago. She is afraid that this is going to affect her professional life since her boss will be present at the parade. Despite her excellent education and her hard work, she knew that people tended to look at you differently when you could lay claim to once wearing a tiara in a beauty pageant. Now she also has the problem that the town’s match maker is claiming that Caroline is about to be matched with her soul mate…an average Joe. After Hugh kisses her at the festival, she finds herself attracted to him as she has never been to another man. But surely he could not be her soul mate, could he? After all, he is an English lord. Will she be able to work out the situation with the factory to everyone’s satisfaction, or will this problem cost her the job she has worked so hard for?

A quirky tale, LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN, the third book in gifted author Hope Ramsay’s LAST CHANCE series, is an absolutely delightful contemporary romance that will leave you laughing out loud. After reading this story, I could not help seeking the rest of the series, although this can be read as a standalone. You will be swept up by the peculiarities of this small town and the secondary characters add a great deal of appeal to the story. Brimming with interesting characters, angels, including a Sorrowful Angel who breaks things, an originally creative plot, humor, passion, mystery, family dynamics, small town politics, romance and love, this is a story you will not be able to put down. In fact, I read it in one sitting…in the midst of a storm, flashlight in hand. I highly recommend LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN and look forward to reading the next book in this amazing series; LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS, due out in late November.

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