Caroline Ferraro’s life veers off-path when she inherits a house from her adoptive mother. She flies to Seattle to a small town in New Jersey to find answers about her past. Caroline enters a bookstore and finds the owner in labor. Caroline finds reasons to stay, like David Montgomery whose friendship turns into romantic interest and Megan Ottinger who becomes a friend despite their age differences. The dead ends and false leads frustrate her in search for relatives. She returns to Seattle only to be lured back by her connections to New Jersey.

Levels of Truth has many lies and half-truths. Caroline doesn’t tell anyone why she is in NJ and David has a secret in his past. Many lies were told to protect the identity of Caroline’s adoptive and natural parents. To discover the truth, she must unravel the threads of the past. The lives of Megan and David are entangled in those threads. As she uncovers the mystery, Caroline discovers what really matters to her are: family, friendship and love.

Levels of Truth is the first in a series. Each book in the series presents a contemporary issue for book clubs to discuss. A bookstore, with its quirky book club characters, is the connecting element in the series.

EXCERPT

The Reader’s Haven Book Shoppe sign stated, “Open at 10,” but the door was ajar. Hearing a low groan from inside, Caroline pushed open the door. A noticeably pregnant woman sprawled on the floor beside a bookshelf.
“Are you okay? Did you fall?”
Caroline knelt beside her. “Just awkward,” a soft voice answered. “I’m glad the agency was able to reach you, Gloria.” She stacked the books rapidly as she chattered. “I won’t be able to give you the week’s orientation.” She attempted to stand. Caroline wrapped her arm around her and helped her rise. “I’m starting labor early.”
“Did you call 911? Can I get you anyone?”
The woman nodded. “My husband is on the way. I contacted the doctor. The baby is due in three weeks. I thought I would have two weeks for orientation, but the baby is on its way. Gloria … I …” She paused mid-sentence. The woman’s hand rested on Caroline’s arm. She tilted her head. “You’re not Gloria.”
“I’m Caroline. I don’t know what you are talking about. How can I find this Gloria?”
The woman squeezed Caroline’s arm and a Cheshire catlike smile emerged. “You aren’t Gloria, but you’ll help and I need you.” Again, the woman pushed her hand on her extended belly and sucked in her breath. She inhaled deeply, then she added, “But you are the help I really need.”
“Excuse me?” She knew women in labor often acted strangely, but this woman’s ranting was bizarre.
“Ryan will be here soon. I quite obviously need to go the hospital as soon as possible. I can’t just leave. Gloria was temporary help, but you’ll be just great.” She patted the top of Caroline’s arm. “I need you to take over. Ryan will contact you tonight or tomorrow morning.”
“You want me to take over? A bookstore?”
“Do you read? Work with books?
“I’m senior medical researcher for hospitals in Seattle.” Levels of Truth 3
A knowing smile and a smug nod came first, then she said, “That’s it. I knew you were the right one.”
A young man with long brown curls held firm with a rubber band rushed through the door, talking as he did. “The car is ready I have your bag, all the phone numbers. Just talked with the doctor. If your water broke and the contractions are regular, we need to meet him at the hospital.” He nodded at Caroline. “Good thing the agency reached Gloria.”
“Not Gloria,” Caroline and the woman stated simultaneously.
He blinked, looked from one woman to the other. “But you’ll stay. I’ll call later. I’ll help any way I can from the phone and will stop after the baby i-s born.”
“I just walked in off the street. I heard your wife’s groans and came in.”
The woman held her belly and her lips became a thin line. “She needs to leave. You can’t have a perfect stranger take over your shop.”
The man took his wife’s hand. “I’ve learned never to doubt my wife’s wisdom of others. Her touch is remarkable. If she thinks it’s okay, it is.”
In between deep breaths, the woman added, “I can trust you. Will you stay?”
Caroline nodded. “You need to get to a hospital. I’ll stay until you find Gloria or someone to take over.”
“There are written notes next to the cash register.” She paused at the door. “By the way, I’m Larkin Henderson.
Serendipitous of you to stop today, Caroline. You’ll do fine.”
A car door slammed. The car sped away. Caroline leaned against the marble counter. What had she gotten herself into? In forty-eight hours, she took three days off work, flew across the country, settled in a town where she knew no one to chase a ghost of her past. Now she agreed to run a store for two people she met minutes before. Had she dropped through some rabbit hole and ended up in a make believe land?


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"Let the readers do some of the work themselves." Dostoyevsky