Bringing in the ThievesHi y’all. My name is Frankie Lou Birmingham McMasters and I want to thank Dru Ann for inviting me to introduce myself. I admit my daily life has been pretty dull since I moved back to Ruby Springs, a small, dry and dusty community in West Texas. However the dull part changed in a big way today. A way that put me looking mighty guilty after . . . well, I’ll give you the mini-version of what happened today.

Today started as usual with coffee for me and cereal for my pre-teen daughter, Betsy, before I walked her to school, then continued a few blocks through town to my job as “assistant of whatever” in Doc Adderley’s Animal Clinic. My social life is non-existent.

After our quick mac ’n cheese dinner, I dropped Betsy off at my neighbor, Nettie Bloom’s house, and headed to Faith Community Church to meet with the deacons. I needed their permission to use the conference room for my newly-organized teen singing group, The Joyful Noise. When I entered the room, I was blind-sided by the unexpected appearance of Poppy Rose Fremont, the walkin’, talkin’ nightmare from my high school years. There she was, lips flapping a mile a minute, recycling ancient gossip about me to the astonished, wide-eyed deacons. Old hurts were suddenly, painfully recalled. She was still the same old Poppy Rose, mean-spirited as ever and determined to undermine any project of mine that might make me look good. She did jealously so well, bless her heart. That old immature part of me wanted to smack her upside the head with a two-by-four. The mature part prayed Lord, help me stay calm.

What about the gossip, you ask? Well, I’ll try to clear it up real quick, so I can tell you the rest. Growing up as a preacher’s kid (P.K.) was a painful lesson in learning the meaning between popular and not-so-popular. Looking back now, I’m not proud of trying to be like the ‘in’ crowd with my not-so-holy, rebellious actions. Needless to say, my daddy kept his shotgun propped against the pulpit the day I married sweet-talkin’ B.J. McMasters. More than a decade later, I’m back in Ruby Springs, a single mom trying to redeem my reputation and put some shine back on my badly tarnished halo. However, today’s events keep working against me.

Seeing Poppy Rose at the meeting set my blood to boiling, so I headed to the dessert table for some goodies and sweet tea to cool off. What happened after that was anything but calming. You see, I accidentally baptized Poppy Rose’s expensive outfit with my sweet tea and my plate of lemon bars slid down the front of her shirt like guided missiles. Not a pretty sight. She flounced out of that meetin’ screeching like a blue-jay sitting on a hot wire. Cryin’ out loud, I said I was sorry. Believe it or not, the deacons approved my request in spite of the mess. Hallelujah, Amen!

But a happy ending to my not-so-normal day was not to be. Instead it ended in a real disaster after I discovered Poppy’s body in the baptistery and wound up riding to police head-quarters in the back seat of a cruiser. Too bad the police didn’t appreciate my help. My behind-the-scene sleuthing would’ve proved my innocence a lot sooner. And momma would’ve stayed in Florida, bless her heart.


Bringing In The Thieves is the first book in the “Joyful Noise” mystery series, published by Bell Bridge Books, December 2014.

Minister’s daughter Frankie Lou McMasters has come back to Ruby Springs, Texas with her daughter, Betsy, eleven years after running off to marry the town bad boy. Her mild notoriety as a bad girl is prime gossip for her childhood enemy, Poppy Fremont, now choir director of Faith Community Church-where Frankie Lou’s daddy, now retired to Florida, was the preacher.

When Frankie Lou comes to the deacons with a request to add a youth choir of at-risk teens she’s been coaching, Poppy throws a fit. A few hours later, Frankie Lou finds her dead in the baptistery pool. And Poppy’s not playing possum.

Frankie Lou sets out to clear her name as the main suspect, and tries to locate the real killer. Could he be sexy Joe Camps, the father of one of her teen singers? In the mean-time, her momma shows up from Florida to take charge of Frankie Lou’s life. Bless her heart.

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All comments are welcomed.

Meet the author
Lora Lee lives in West Michigan near her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When she’s not writing or spending time with her large, fun-loving family, she enjoys traveling.

Visit Lora at lora-lee.com, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Google+ and Goodreads.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Bringing In The Thieves. The giveaway will end March 4, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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