Karie Vaughn sighed tiredly as she checked the GPS. Only about ten miles to go and she would be in Liberty Lake, South Carolina. She glanced in the rear view mirror at her two twin girls sleeping in the backseat. Skylie and Sierra were her life and they needed this fresh start as much as she did. Karie thought back two months ago when her aunt first asked her to take over her bookstore. Karie had always loved visiting her Aunt Laney and spending time in the bookstore in Liberty Lake when she was younger. She hadn't been to visit since the girls were born…and everything had fallen apart with her sister. The past four years in her hometown of Maplesville, AL had been hard…on her and the girls. Her friends and neighbors meant well…mostly, but still, Karie had jumped at the chance to start over somewhere where no one knew her family history.
As Karie reflected over her new beginnings, her steering wheel jerked suddenly to the right. Karie grabbed the wheel and fought to keep it under control as she maneuvered to the side of the road. With a glance to the backseat and a quick prayer of thanks that the girls were asleep, she opened the door to see what the problem was. Her heart sank as she saw the tire that was most definitely flat.
Camden Nolan was driving his truck headed home to Liberty Lake from a late night at work. He hummed along to a song from the local Christian station when he saw a car on the side of the road and a woman looking at one of her tires. Camden pulled over to help.
Karie was on the verge of getting upset. Her cell phone had no service and she couldn't find the tools to change her flat…as if she could remember how. The lesson learned in drivers ed was a distant memory. She looked up as a truck pulled in behind her.
A man climbed out of the truck and headed her way. "Can I help you with that flat, ma'am?"
Karie gulped. How did she get into this predicament?
Camden took in her wide eyes and pale face. She was afraid of him. He scolded himself for his stupidity. She didn't know that he was one of the good guys. He opened his mouth to introduce himself, but she beat him to it.
Karie backed up slowly to her door. "Um, thanks but I think I will wait for a policeman to come by. I don't want to trouble you."
"It's no trouble, ma'am. But I know that you have no reason to believe me. Why don't you sit in your car and you will feel safer with the doors locked." Camden said.
Karie quickly jumped into the car and locked the doors. With a sigh of relief, she cracked her window just a bit.
"You should know that there may not be a cop down this road for several hours. It's not well patrolled." Camden explained. "If you want, you can use my phone to call someone. I can slip it through the window."
Karie nodded quickly and Camden slipped his phone through the cracked window. Karie caught it and called her aunt. Thankfully Aunt Laney answered and Karie quickly explained her predicament. Her aunt promised to call a friend to come pick her and the girls up. She ended the call and as she did, she noticed a picture of children on the phone. Her heart slowed down a bit and she chanced letting the window down a bit more.
"Thanks for letting me use your phone. Aunt Laney is sending someone to pick us up." Karie said softly.
"I'm Camden and it's no problem. I'm sorry I scared you." Camden was about to put his phone back into his pocket when it rang again.
"Hello?" Camden answered. A grin started to light up his face. "It's no problem at all, Mrs. Elaine. I'll have them home soon." He ended the call and turned to Karie. "So your aunt is Elaine Knowles?"
Karie's eyes widened. "Yes, that's Aunt Laney. How did you know?"
Camden smiled. "I've known her my whole life. She just called me to see if I could pick up her niece who just got a flat on Highway 12." He could still see a bit of suspicion in her eyes. "See, it's the same number you just dialed. You can call her back and confirm, if you want."
Karie gave him a small smile in return. "That's okay. I believe you. Thank you so much for doing this." She opened the door and stepped out of her car.
Camden's heart did a small flip at her smile. Her light honey brown hair and bright blue eyes melted his heart. "You're welcome, but it's nothing. I would do anything for your aunt. You ready?"
Karie smiled again. "Let me get the girls from the back and we will be ready to go."
For the first time, Camden saw the toddlers asleep in their car seats and his heart sank with the realization that she was married.
Karie tried to move the girls without them waking, but with no luck. Karie held onto one with each hand. "Girls, this is Mr. Camden. He is taking us to Aunt Laney's. Camden, this is Skylie and Sierra. And I am Karie."
Camden expected miniatures of the attractive woman, but the girls had light blonde hair although the blue eyes were there. "Nice to meet you, Karie! Hello, Skylie and Sierra!" he said with a light voice. With a bit of prodding from Karie, they said hello in return in their adorable four year old voices. "Well, let's get you to your aunts, then!"
Camden glanced at Karie as she was getting the girls settled into their car seats in the truck. "Would you like to call your husband? You can use my phone."
Karie took her seat in the front of the truck as Camden turned the key in the ignition. "Thank you, but I'm not married." She saw the same look in Camden's eyes as everyone else's that judged her before knowing the facts. She had hoped that he would be different, but she should have known better. She sat back in her seat and counted the minutes until they reached Aunt Laney's.