LAST CHANCE KNIT & STITCH by Hope Ramsay (November 19, 2013; Forever Mass Market; 9781455522279; $8.00)
Molly Canaday wishes she could repair her life as easily as she fixes cars. She was all set to open her own body shop in Last Chance when her mother ran off and left her to manage the family yarn shop instead. Now guided by the unsolicited-though well-intended-advice of the weekly knitting club, Molly works to untangle this mess. But her plan unravels when the new landlord turns out to be difficult-as well as tall, dark, and handsome.
Simon Wolfe returns to quickly settle his father’s estate and then leave Last Chance for good. Still wounded by a broken heart, Simon is surprised when the town’s charming streets and gentle spirit bring back good memories. Soon the beautiful, strong-willed Molly sparks a powerful attraction that tempts him to break his iron-clad no-commitment rule. Can Simon and Molly find a way to share work space-and build a future together in Last Chance?
About the author:
Hope Ramsay grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you’ll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. She’s a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart and is married to a good ol’ Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.
She peeked at his sketch. “Oh, my God. Please tell me my butt is not that big.”
It amused him to think that Molly, who seemed not to care at all about how she dressed, was still woman enough to worry about the size of her butt. “It’s not big. It’s perfect.” His heart stalled the moment the words left his mouth.
“Perfect? Get real. I swear, Simon, if you paint a picture of me from the rear I will never forgive you.”
“I’m sure it’s just your baggy pants,” he muttered, putting his pencils away.
“You think my pants are baggy?”
He ground his teeth together, his mood suddenly sinking. There was no way to make her happy. He’d watched his father have the same ridiculous conversations with Mother. And over the years, he’d had his own impossible conversations with the women in his life. They never liked the way he told the truth.
He turned the conversation. “I’m getting hungry. You said something about the Pig Place and a beer?” He had become a master at the pivot.
“You’re changing the subject, aren’t you?”
“Yup,” he said, as he started putting his sketchbook and pencils into his field backpack.
“Okay, you’re right. My pants are kind of baggy,” she said in a little voice. “But that makes them really comfortable.”
“It’s okay, Molly. I didn’t mean to—”
“But in any case, I don’t want anyone recording me or my butt for posterity, or posterior as the case might be. It kind of creeps me out.”
Her shoulders slumped, and she gave him a woeful look that he might have mistaken for a female pout. But on Molly, that sad- adorable look touched something deep inside him. “Why does it creep you out?”
“Because I’m not pretty. I don’t have a great body. And I’m not particularly photogenic. Or in this case, sketch-o-genic. The idea of people looking at some image of me and making fun is just creepy.”
This admission stunned him. “But you’re beautiful. One day I’d love to paint you without—” He stopped speaking. This was the kind of talk Coach would frown upon. He’d been thinking with his heart again.
She gave him her squinty- eyed look. “You’d like to paint me without . . . what?” She stared at him for a long moment as the truth settled in. “Without my clothes? Oh, my God. You want to paint me naked?” She got up and stalked away toward her fishing gear. She was visibly upset.
And he wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it. If he told her he was only joking, it would underscore her own self- doubts. If he told her the truth, he’d be breaking his word to Coach. But someone needed to tell Molly that she was stunning.
So he prayed that Coach would forgive him for telling Molly the God’s honest truth. “You’d be lovely. Backside and all,” he said.