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Authors: Erin McCauley

The Truth

BOOK: The Truth
9.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
The Truth
Erin McCauley

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

Text copyright © 2012 by Erin K. Charles

Previously published by F+W Media

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.

Published by AmazonEncore, Seattle

Amazon, the Amazon logo, and AmazonEncore are trademarks of
, Inc., or its affiliates.

eISBN: 9781503968431

This title was previously published by F+W Media; this version has been reproduced from F+W Media archive files.


I am so grateful for all of the love and support I’m constantly surrounded by. Thanks to Tammy Smith, for cracking the whip, holding my hand, and for continuously being by my side whenever I need you. Thanks to Diane Shaver, for all your input, words of wisdom, and hours of reading the same things again and again. Thanks to Diana Ballew, for being the perfect writing companion, and for your constant guidance. I love you all.

I am surrounded by the best friends a girl could ask for. To them, and they know who they are, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything. I know each of you will find a part of yourself in Lexie, Marissa, Aimee or Emily. It is because of you I am able to write about true friendship.

As always, a special thank you to my family, for their support, love, and continued understanding of this crazy new, but wonderful, schedule. Your mother loves you very much.


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

About the Author

The Confession

Chapter 1

Lexie Wayne looked down at the tombstone and fought back the tears as Ryan bent down to place the bouquet of daisies on his mother’s grave. The rain fell as if the sky wept for them. She adjusted the umbrella to shield them from the pelting drops.

“Do you think she sees us?” Ryan looked into her eyes as only an inquisitive four-year-old can.

“I think so, yes.” She laid her arm across his shoulders in comfort.

“How come she left?” he asked, not for the first time.

“It wasn’t her choice, Ryan. If she could have stayed with you forever, she would have.” Looking into his innocent face, her eyes pooled with tears.

“But why?”

“God needed her with him, and He knew you and I would be okay, just the two of us,” she answered, unable to contain the tears now rolling down her cheeks.

“How come he needed her?”

She searched for the words to explain the unexplainable. “Your mother was so special that God needed her to be a big angel and watch over a lot of people, instead of a mommy to look over only a few.”

“So why are you only a mommy and not an angel? You’re special, right?”

She ruffled his dark curls. “I’m not quite ready for that big of a responsibility. Besides, I believe you and I were meant to be together. Everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand why.”

“What’s res-respons-?”

Lexie smiled, crouched down, and pulled him onto her lap. “Responsibility? Well, it means taking care of something big, something important.”

Ryan narrowed his eyes, his lips pursed in thought. “So, God didn’t need you to be an angel, but he needed you to be my mommy?”

“Exactly.” Her heart swelled and she pulled him closer to her.

“I’m glad.” He snuggled into her. “I’m glad you’re my mommy.”

She held onto him for a minute, closed her eyes, and basked in the feeling of his warm breath against her chest, and the comfort of his small arms wrapped around her. Placing a kiss on his temple, she stared at the tombstone of her friend. “Me, too, baby. Me, too.”

Lexie had met his mother, Maggie, when she’d come to work for her at the coffee shop. They became fast friends and Lexie was the one to check her into Nathan’s Hope Hospice House when her cancer had become untreatable. She had succumbed to the disease three years ago. Maggie would have been twenty-eight years old today, the same age Lexie turned just last month. She felt a tear slide down her cheek at the unfairness of it all. Lexie still missed her, but the life she’d discovered since moving Ryan into her home had become all-encompassing.

They stood in silence for a moment as the rain continued to fall, then Lexie took Ryan’s hand and they began to walk across the grass. Lured by another gravesite beneath a large palm tree, she felt compelled to stop. Pulled forward by a force she hadn’t felt in years, she knelt and gently ran her hand over the top of the smooth granite, now glistening with water.

“Your favorite kind of day,” she smiled wistfully as she spoke to the stone. “Wet, but warm, with a strong chance of a rainbow.”

“Who are you talking to?” Ryan knelt alongside her.

She straightened and pulled him to his feet. “An old friend,” she managed to say, forcing the words through her constricted throat.

“Is your friend an angel like my mommy?”

Squeezing his hand, Lexie nodded her head as the tears ran down her cheeks. “One of the most important angels of all. He always was.” She took a deep breath and blew it out slowly through pursed lips, and wiped the tears from her cheeks.

Turning to her son, she felt her love for him surge through her. “You want to go to work with me today?”

He grinned and nodded his head so fast it caused him to lose his balance. “Can I wear an apron, too?”

“Absolutely,” she said. Locking away her sorrow, she forced a smile to her lips. “You must be in uniform if you’re going to be serving the customers.”

Tugging her hand, he dragged her across the grass toward the car.

Ryan bounced in his seat, unable to contain his excitement as they pulled into the parking lot outside of Lexie’s coffee shop, Ocean Breeze Java. The car was barely in park when Ryan spotted his uncle through the window and tugged off his seatbelt before wrestling with the door handle. Ryan landed with a splash in a large puddle in his haste to get out of the car, chanting “Uncle Jordan, Uncle Jordan!” as he ran toward the shop.

Lexie rushed around the car and caught Ryan’s hand, pulling him onto the sidewalk before another car whipped into the open parking spot beside them. Escaping her grasp, he scampered ahead of her.

“Ryan, slow down, wait for me!” She fumbled with the key, struggling to lock the car before she rushed after him. “Ryan, come here.”

Ignoring her call, Ryan raced around the man who held open the coffee shop’s glass door. Thrown off balance by the boy zipping past him, the man twisted, struggling to maintain his footing.

Foreseeing the disaster about to happen, Lexie grabbed for the door in an attempt to stop it from slamming into the man. The strap of her purse slipped from her shoulder and spilled its contents on the cement.

Like a slow-motion scene in a bad comedy, Lexie’s left foot came down hard on a tube of lip gloss and shot out from under her. She pin-wheeled her arms and struggled to regain her footing, resembling an amateur log roller. Unable to catch her balance, she latched onto the only thing close enough to grab — the already off-balance man in the doorway.

Pulling him down with her, the weight of his body slammed her to the sidewalk causing cartoon stars to whirl about her head and all the air to explode from her lungs in a large whoosh. She blinked her eyes and tried to get them to focus. She was currently seeing three and four identical things, all in different distortions.

She regained focus and looked up into intense green eyes, with the longest black eyelashes she’d ever seen. Skimming down, her eyes followed the path of a small bump on an otherwise straight nose splattered with a light trace of freckles. Strong cheekbones supported a shadow of dark whiskers. She felt the heat rise on her cheeks as her eyes fixated on his mouth and the smirk on his perfectly sculpted face.

Attempting to rise on her elbows, she realized he was lying across the entire length of her body, supporting his weight on one elbow like a lover basking in the afterglow.

Humiliated, she frowned and cocked her head. “Do you mind?”

“Not at all,” he said, as the dimples in his cheeks deepened.

He placed his hands on the ground on either side of her head and lowered his face directly above hers. Her heart pounded in anticipation, her mind lost all thought, and she ran her tongue across her lips. But in one quick motion, he pushed off his arms and landed on his feet. With a mischievous grin, he held his hand out to her. “Here, let me help you.”

Lexie felt her cheeks flush in embarrassment as she pictured how foolish she must look. She glared up at him and, ignoring his outstretched hand, sat up and picked up the contents of her purse. Determined to save what was left of her dignity, she stood, straightened her shirt, brushed off her knees like she was wearing Gucci instead of old jeans, and ran her hand through her hair. She pulled her shoulders back and stuck her chin out in defiance.

Stepping around the insolent man, Lexie came face to face with her brother, Jordan, who stood watching the scene with uncontained amusement. Beside him, Ryan stood in silence with his head hung low, gripping his uncle’s hand.

“Sorry, Mommy,” he whispered to the floor.

“This wasn’t exactly the introduction I had in mind when I brought him over here,” Jordan said, biting back a laugh, “but Lexie, I’d like you to meet my new partner, Deputy Grayson Hunter.”

Lexie turned around and locked eyes with the man, who was still wearing a self-satisfied grin, and groaned. “Perfect,” she mumbled, “just perfect.”

“Grayson, I see you’ve met my sister, Lexie. And this little speed demon is my nephew, Ryan.”

Lexie clenched her teeth together. She wanted nothing more than to wipe the smirk from Grayson Hunter’s handsome, chiseled face. Her body still hummed from the anticipation of his almost-kiss. Her hands itched to trace the lines of his face, to bury them in his thick black hair. She didn’t like it. What she liked less was that her response had been noticed. Grayson’s eyes shone with the spark of challenge.

BOOK: The Truth
9.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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