|Goose Pimple Junction Series by Amy Metz - Cover for book 1|
Excerpt from Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction
A sneak peak at book 4, coming soon!
Mama always said . . . When you're getting kicked from behind, that means you're in front.
Louetta could have sworn the boy realized she had seen him shoplifting. He looked right at her two seconds after he stuffed the book under his pink Ralph Lauren button-down shirt. She couldn’t believe it when, with a look of defiance, he headed for the door.
“Jimmy Dean Howe, hold it right there.” Louetta barreled across the bookstore to the teenager who’d just opened the door. “Are you leaving?” She glared at him, her hands on her ample hips that were covered in a lime green dress.
“Yes ma’am. I need to get home.” The boy looked at his feet. He was short, stocky, and had brown hair that looked like it hadn’t been combed in years. He’d opened the door and was halfway out. His expensive preppy clothes didn’t match his hairstyle at all. She supposed the look was what the youngins called the naturally tousled look. She thought it was the naturally ignorant look.
“Yeah, well there’s two things you gotta do first.”
Jimmy Dean looked blankly at her. With the door open, she could see up the sidewalk and saw Hank Beanblossom coming their way.
“First you gotta give me that book you think you’re hiding in your pants, and then you gotta explain to this officer,” she leaned her head out and called to Hank, “Officer Beanblossom, I’m in need of your assistance,” then she looked back at the boy, “why you’re shoplifting in my store.”
Hank loomed just outside the doorway. He took the stance of a bouncer: legs wide open, arms across his chest. He looked over the top of his dark sunglasses. “Can you explain that, kid?”
Instead of the fear Lou thought she would see in his face, Jimmy Dean’s look of feigned innocence also had a tinge of . . . of . . . was that glee?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” The boy’s chin raised in the air.
“What I’m talking about,” her voice got louder as she reached to pull up his shirttail, “what I’m talking about is this.” She yanked the book from under his belt.
“But, Mizz Louetta, that book’s mine.” The boy had the nerve to look amused.
“Oh it is, is it?” She looked down and was horrified to see the book was Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex but Were Afraid to Ask. She couldn’t remember the last time she blushed, but she could feel her face growing hot. She knew she didn’t carry the book in her store, but she opened the cover just the same. Written inside was, “Jimmy Dean Howe.”
She looked from Hank, who was rubbing his forehead so his eyes were hidden, to Jimmy Dean, who had a look that said, “Don’t you feel stupid now?”
Hank broke the silence. “Uh . . . Lou . . . I don’t reckon you still need me?”
She handed the book back to Jimmy Dean, and with all the dignity she could muster, said, “No, Officer Beanblossom, I don’t reckon I do.”
The kid actually had the nerve to say, “It’s all right, Mizz Louetta. I know you’re getting on in years. I won’t tell my dad about this.”
Louetta was seldom at a loss for words, but all she could do was stare at him, wide-mouthed, like the fish she felt like, since she’d obviously been reeled in by this kid. Thankfully, Hank spoke again.
“Kid, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but Mizz Louetta is sharper than anyone in this town. I’d keep that in mind next time you cross her path. Now you best be getting home.”
The kid smirked and sauntered away. Louetta turned back inside with Hank on her heels.
“Louetta, what was that all about?”
“Hank, I wish I knew. I saw him put the book in his belt and cover it up with his shirttails. And I saw him seeing me see him put the book in his pants. Lord knows he doesn’t need to steal, what with his daddy being the richest man in town. But I saw him do it. Or at least I thought he was stealing.”
“His daddy’s Louis P. Howe? The highfalutin lawyer?”
“Mmm hmm. Maybe I am losing it. Lord knows I’m as old as Moses’s toes.” She shook her head in disgust. “I thought for sure he’d taken it.”
“You’re not old, Lou — you’re a classic.” That comment elicited a small smile from her. “I meant what I said a minute ago. You could whoop anyone in town in smarts and twice on Sunday.”
“Lawzee, don’t go get carried away now. You don’t have to try to make me feel better.” She patted his arm. “But I do ‘preshade it.”
“It was an honest mistake, Lou. He set a trap. Don’t let that kid get to you. He ain't through climbing fool's hill yet.”
After Hank left, she asked Pickle Culpepper – her teenage employee – to mind the register, and she sat in her office at the back of the store. The incident had really rattled her. Why would that boy want her to think he was shoplifting? Just to humiliate her? It certainly felt premeditated with his choice of book. It just didn’t make sense. She closed her eyes and shook her head vigorously, trying to rid her head of the thoughts. Lou’s eyes fell on the calendar, and she sat up straight, then grabbed the phone and punched in some numbers. Her daughter Martha Maye picked up.
“We need to have a party.”
“For Tess. Are you in?”
“Well, sure, Mama, but why does Tess need a party?”
“Her one-year anniversary of being in Goose Pimple Junction is coming up, and we’re gonna party. We’ll have it here at the store. Get a pencil. Let’s plan the menu. We can cook all weekend. Number one on the list is lemon squares.”
“Oh, of course. They’re Tess’s favorite.”
“And pound cake. Lemon or coconut?”
“How about both? And a chocolate one and a chocolate chip one too. You never can have too much chocolate. Or cake.”
“I like the way you think.”
“Plain, frosted, and Mississippi mud.”
“Pea salad, Corn & Frito salad, and the orange Jell-O salad?”
“Check, check, and check.”
Lou could tell her daughter had put her hand over the phone because her voice was muffled when she said, “Butterbean! Step away from the cookies until after dinner.” Then she came back on. “Let’s do the squash casserole, the green beans, and the smushed potatoes, too.”
“Wonderful. Make some little corn muffins, ‘kay? I’ll get Slick to bring some of his barbecue, and it’ll be good as little finger sandwiches with the corn muffins.”
“All right, Mama. You think we’re gonna have enough food?”
“I think we’ll be in good shape. You get busy on the shopping list and going to the market. I’ll be home in a little while. Can you meet me there and we’ll get started?”
“Sure. Mama, is everything all right? You don’t sound like yourself.”
“Oh yeah, honey. I’m fine. Just fine. See you in a bit. And give that handsome husband of yours a kiss for me.”
“Okay, Mama.” She could hear the laughter in Martha Maye’s voice, and it warmed her heart to know her daughter was so happy now.
Louetta hung up, and her mind went back to Jimmy Dean. She kept picturing his smirk. What on earth was that boy up to? Just kicks to humiliate an old woman? It didn’t make sense. But one thing she was sure about: he didn’t know who he was messing with.
Book info for Goose Pimple Junction mystery series:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.
A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.
Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
Goose Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder, its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is turned upside down in the quirky little southern town with the arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic. Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress.
Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
This is not your average Southern town. With a hint of mystery and a lot of laughs, you'll catch a glimpse of everyday life in Goose Pimple Junction in this short story compilation. Short & Tall Tales occurs chronologically between Murder & Mayhem, book 1, and Heroes & Hooligans, book 2, in the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. Tales is a fun escape that will answer readers' burning questions about the residents of this quirky, small town.
How did Johnny Butterfield become police chief?
How did Tess and Jack get engaged?
How did Ima Jean come to live with Louetta?
How do you celebrate an Apple Day?
These questions and more are answered in Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction. Five short stories, one novella, and three recipes will give you more of the unique charm of Goose Pimple Junction, make you laugh, and have your mouth watering. If you want a feel-good read, you've come to the right place. Grab some sweet tea and escape to Goose Pimple Junction.
Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.