Sunday, November 17, 2013

Last Chance Beauty Queen - Hope Ramsay (Forever - Feb 2012)

Series: Last Chance (Book 3)

Dear Reader,

Gracious me, my beautiful daughter Rocky sure could use my help. I always knew she wasn't much interested in the local boys - but who'd have thought she'd come home with English royalty?

Trouble is, Hugh wants to buy some of our folks' land. We don't want to sell, but Rocky's job depends on her closing the deal. And though Hugh's obviously smitten, I'm not sure he's right for my Rocky. Oh, he's classy and handsome - and you should've seen the way he judged pies and fixed stock cars at our Watermelon Festival! - but what do we know about him, really? I know I sound like a nervous mother hen, but after forty happy years with my Elbert, all I want is to see my little girl find the same.

Well, time for me to quit chattering and get back to Miss Bray's wet set. Always nice talking to you, and remember: the Cut 'n Curl's got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.

See you real soon,
Ruby Rhodes 

Another fun visit to Last Chance.  Rocky/Caroline shook the dust of Last Chance off her feet when she went to college.  She wants more than getting married to her high school sweetheart and reliving her time as Watermelon Queen.  She has remade her image into a cool businesswoman who is the administrative assistant to a senator.  He has assigned her to take Lord Woolham to Last Chance and convince her father to sell his land to Hugh for his factory.  Rocky knows very well that there is no way her dad will sell that land, but her job depends on making this work.  She doesn't expect to find Hugh so darned sexy.  She also doesn't expect to get sucked back into all the small town dramas that she has tried so hard to escape.

I really liked Rocky.  She knows what she wants from her life and is doing her best to get it.  Her assignment to get Hugh the land he needs is causing her some real problems.  She wants to succeed, thereby ensuring her advancement on the senator's staff.  But she is also very loyal to her family and she knows that there is no way that her dad will give up that land.  She sets out to convince Hugh of that fact, but he is set on his plans.  When she arrives in Last Chance she is dismayed to discover that she is going to have to participate in the town's Watermelon Festival activities - bringing back memories of the disaster of the past.  It was a lot of fun seeing the way that Rocky was battling the two sides of her personality.  The one side is her professional life, with her suits and her ambitions.  The other side is the small town girl that she has never quite been able to leave behind.  Both of those sides find Hugh immensely appealing.  The professional side sees the importance of the business he is trying to bring to her town.  The small town girl sees a kind and charming man who seems to really appreciate all the unique characters of her hometown.  She's falling for him and doesn't see any chance of a fairytale ending for herself.

Hugh was great.  He had depended on a business partner to make the land purchases and when that partner was lost in a plane crash discovered that things weren't quite what he expected.  He may be British nobility but he is poor nobility and if he can't make a go of this factory he's going to have to go home and marry for money.  He puts on quite a show of being an uppity Brit when he isn't like that at all.  However, he is desperate to get that land.  He isn't going to let Caroline talk him out of trying to get her father to sell to him.  It doesn't take long after they arrive for him to realize that it isn't going to be as easy as he thought.  The more time he spends in Last Chance, though, the more he likes the town and the people. I especially liked seeing the way that he compared Last Chance to his own (small) hometown. While he has put on a good show, he really would rather work on cars, have a beer with the guys, and spend some time getting to know Rocky.  I really loved seeing him get so involved with the town, to the point of turning down a good offer to build elsewhere, because he wants to help.  I really enjoyed the way that he started falling for Rocky and tried to find a way to make everything work.  There were some great scenes with him and various people around town as he tried to get his land.  The kiss auction was especially fun.

Things really start to get crazy around town as various factions get involved in the whole land issue.  Everyone has an opinion, but it isn't until the end that someone comes up with a viable solution.  The town meeting was absolutely hilarious.

I really loved seeing more of all the characters in town.  Rocky's brother Stone is still the uptight cop, but there might be a few cracks starting to show up.  I really enjoyed seeing all the church ladies and their ongoing efforts to save the Golfing for God miniature golf course.  They also continue to use their penchant for gossip to try to "guide" various members of the town.  There is more from Haley and her "sorrowful angel".  I have a feeling I know the identity of this angel and I'm looking forward to later books to see if I am right.  

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