Last Chance Summer

A Short Story


By Hope Ramsay

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It wouldn’t be summer without the Watermelon Festival, and single mom Amanda Wright is looking forward to a carefree day eating funnel cakes and sipping sweet tea. But with her inquisitive son and elderly grandmother in tow, she’s not in the mood for carnival rides or the kissing booth, until she hears a charming, funny voice over the loudspeaker.

Grant Trumbull is the new DJ at the local radio station, and his deep, booming cadence has all the ladies of the church auxillary atwitter. Even without seeing his face, Amanda can’t help but wonder if he’s the one for her. When she finally comes face to face with the man behind the mic, summer is about to get a whole lot hotter in little Last Chance, South Carolina.


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Table of Contents

A Preview of Last Chance Knit & Stitch

Also by Hope Ramsay


Copyright Page

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Chapter One

"Let's listen to WLST," Granny said, as she leaned forward in the passenger's seat and started fiddling with Amanda Wright's car radio. "I wonder who Russell will interview this morning? I sure hope it's not Jenny Carpenter. He always interviews her, and she's so shy and awkward. But then I guess he's required to interview her, since she always wins the pie-baking contest."

Amanda vaguely nodded her agreement. It wouldn't do to encourage Granny too much. Russell Howe, Amanda's granddaddy, had died six months ago. But Granny didn't let that stop her from believing that Granddaddy was still broadcasting on WLST—the low-powered FM station serving Allenberg County, South Carolina, with country music, agricultural extension talk, fishing advice, and twenty-four-seven coverage of annual events like the Watermelon Festival. Which was Amanda's destination on this hot August morning.

Granny found WLST with surprising speed for someone with poor eyesight. The velvet tones of the announcer filled the small interior of Amanda's car. "It's Trumbull in the morning, broadcasting live today from the Allenberg County Watermelon Festival. My guest is Miss Myrtle Smith from Last Chance. Miss Myrtle, as you may know, is one of about a hundred crafters who—"

"Oh poop," Granny said, turning down the sound, "who wants to hear about Myrtle and her ugly jewelry boxes? She's been selling those things for years." Granny stared at the radio for several moments. "I wonder why Russell isn't broadcasting. He would never interview Myrtle. He thinks her boxes are trash."

Amanda gripped the steering wheel of her over-the-hill Honda Accord and said not a word. She didn't want to set Granny off by reminding her that Granddaddy had passed on. And she wasn't saying one word about Grant Trumbull, the new morning voice of WLST.

Amanda had never met Trumbull. But he had saved the radio station from going under. He was an experienced announcer who'd blown into town three months ago and bought up WLST for the proverbial song.

He was changing things at the radio station, which was always a challenge in Last Chance, where inertia was a way of life. The Saturday morning gospel hour had been moved to Sunday morning, and he'd started a great new Saturday show featuring Clay Rhodes, a local musician and songwriter who introduced listeners to country and folk music recorded by local, Carolina musicians.

But it was Trumbull's show that Amanda liked best. She listened to him spin country music every weekday morning as she drove to work. Those deep, resonant, slightly Midwestern tones made him sound like Sam Elliott on steroids.

"I really don't like this new radio man," Granny said with a grumpy sigh as she punched the off button.

Ethan, Amanda's almost five-year-old son, piped up from the back seat. "Why not, Granny? I like the man inside the radio."

"Honey," Amanda said, "I told you, the man isn't inside the radio. The sound is broadcast by—"

"Oh poop, the boy's got a miracle, and you have to go and explain it to him," Granny interrupted. She half-turned in her seat and flashed her dentures at Ethan. "Honey, you take it from me, radio is magic. Now you just be patient and sooner or later your great granddaddy will come on. Won't that be fun? I think he'll be broadcasting the watermelon eating contest this afternoon."

"Uh huh." Ethan accepted Granny's explanation of the world with complete trust and equanimity. Which was increasingly disturbing. The innocence of youth was all fine and good, but Ethan was old enough to know how radio broadcasting worked.

And Amanda was a science teacher, so having her child believe in magic was something of a problem. Just yesterday, Amanda had taken apart an old transistor radio and showed Ethan how it worked. But her science lesson had backfired.

Badly. Ethan had cried big crocodile tears and wanted to know when Granddaddy was going to be coming back.

Granddaddy had been the only man in Ethan's young life so it was normal that he should be taking the old man's death hard. Ethan's father had died when he was just an infant. Tom Wright, Amanda's husband, had been killed by a sniper while serving in Afghanistan.

So Amanda knew what Granny was going through. It was hard to lose a husband. Really hard.

Amanda glanced in her grandmother's direction. The old lady had decked herself out today. A crocheted scarf that looked like one long, continuous watermelon was wrapped around her neck, boa style. She'd donned a pink-and-green tie-dye tank top that exposed her bony arms. The color of her pedal pushers was closer to neon than watermelon rind. But nothing could top her Vans lace-ups with their watermelon-print uppers and bright green rubber soles.

Granny's outfit made Amanda grateful that she'd dressed in a pair of beige shorts and a white T-shirt. There was a high probability she'd run into students who attended Stuart Middle School, where she taught general science. Her students all carried cell phones with cameras, and she had no wish to be embarrassed on Facebook or Pinterest.

A huge lineup of cars had backed up at the fairgrounds entrance. She took her place at the end of the line and followed the directions waved by half a dozen Boy Scouts who were doing a pretty good job of managing the parking in a huge grassy field.

"Mama, can I ride the Ferris wheel first?" Ethan asked as Amanda unbuckled him from his booster seat.

"We'll see."

It was a big cop-out answer. In truth, Amanda was terrified of heights. No one, not even her precious son, was getting her to ride some dinky, temporary Ferris wheel set up on a fairgrounds midway. She was determined to avoid it at all costs, even though Ethan was probably going to throw a tantrum about it before the day was out.


  • "4 1/2 stars! Get ready for a story to remember...with characters that define eccentric, off the wall and bonkers, but most of all they're enchantingly funny and heartwarmingly charming."—RT Book Reviews
  • "Hope Ramsay has penned an irresistible tale in LAST CHANCE BEAUTY QUEEN with its unforgettable characters and laugh out loud scenes. Watch how an opposites-attract couple find their way to each other...and a possible future. Grab this today and get ready for a rollicking read."—
  • "[A] little Bridget Jones meets Sweet Home Alabama.—

On Sale
Aug 6, 2013
Page Count
60 pages
Forever Yours

Hope Ramsay

About the Author

Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances set below the Mason-Dixon Line. Her children are grown, but she has a couple of fur babies who keep her entertained. Pete the cat, named after the cat in the children’s books, thinks he’s a dog, and Daisy the dog thinks Pete is her best friend except when he decides her wagging tail is a cat toy. Hope lives in the medium-sized town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and when she’s not writing or walking the dog, she spends her time knitting and noodling around on her collection of guitars.

You can learn more at:
Twitter @HopeRamsay

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