Please welcome my fellow Pelican Book Group author Kathleen Friesen! She’s here today to celebrate the release of her new novel, Nila’s Hope.
Just when her career as a carpenter and a relationship with handsome co-worker Will Jamison are within reach, Nila Black’s abusive ex-boyfriend is released from prison. He’s out of jail, out for revenge, and making promises she knows he’ll keep. Nila will do whatever it takes to save her friends from the evil that will come their way if she doesn’t put distance between them-even if it means abandoning her new-found faith. It will take a miracle and an angelic messenger to show Nila that God is her greatest protector. He has never left her side, and He wants only the best for her and for the man she loves.
Too soon dinner was finished and Jason introduced her toast to the bride. Nila pushed herself upright onto shaking legs and tried not to wobble or spill the juice in her fluted glass.
She clung to the podium for support and smoothed out the torn paper. She tried to read her notes, but her handwriting seemed to have morphed into another language. Her hands shook the podium, so she folded them together on top of the useless paper. The silence in the room felt heavy. Nila glanced up. So many people.
She opened her mouth, but no words came. Then she spotted Faith sitting at a table near the back. Faith smiled, patted her heart, and put one thumb up.
Speak from your heart. Easier said than done. Nila breathed a silent prayer. “Jesus, help me do this, for Melody’s sake.”
She glanced over at the head table, hearing only the pounding of her heart. Will nodded and mouthed, “You can do it.”
Nila took a deep breath and cleared her throat.
“As most of you know, Melody’s daughter Faith was supposed to be her matron of honor, but she caught a bad cold last week. When Melody and Faith asked me to take her place, I was honored–and terrified. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
She glanced at the nearest tables. No one snickered. Everyone seemed to be listening, most with smiles on their faces. She looked down at her paper.
“Melody is a very special lady. The first time we met was when she came to visit me in the hospital. Even though Melody didn’t know me and had to fight through her own fear, she came to tell me that God loves me. She didn’t just visit me once and then leave me alone, either. She kept telling me over and over how much I was worth to God and to her. No one had ever talked to me like that. She showed me what real love is.”
She glanced up. Every gaze was locked on her. Her hands shook again. She quickly looked at Melody, and her warm smile gave her the courage to continue.
“God used Melody to save me–not only my soul, but my life. If it weren’t for Melody…” Her vision blurred. Nila blinked several times and dabbed at the tears that spilled onto her cheeks. She took a deep breath and released it slowly.
“When Melody and Daniel realized they were meant to be together, I was thrilled for her. I’ve enjoyed watching their love grow and bloom as beautifully as the flowers Melody nurtures in her garden. She deserves a life full of love and happiness, and I trust that today is the beginning of many years of joy with Daniel.”
She paused, looked out at the crowd, and with a steady hand raised her glass.
“Would you please stand and join me in toasting the bride? To Melody!”
A movement caught her eye. A door at the back of the hall opened without a sound. A head appeared. Glittering eyes stared at her. Hatred sliced across the room and raked her with an icy touch. The figure raised a finger to his lips and shook his head. The message was all too familiar.
Nila froze. Black spots filled her vision, and the room disappeared.
When she came to, she was back in her seat at the table, and Melody’s hand patted
“Nila, honey, are you okay?”
She shuddered and looked toward the door. No one was there.
About the Author
Once upon a time, there was a shy girl who loved to read. She found friends, adventure, and reasons to trust God in the pages of her favorite books. When she grew up, she carried a dream in her heart that someday she would join those authors long admired in the adventure of writing stories. Today Kathleen Friesen is writing and loving it. Her stories invite readers to risk faith, dare to love, and trust God with the consequences.
After thirty years on the Canadian prairies, Kathleen and her husband Ron now live in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada. They enjoy travelling, long walks in nature, and time spent with family and friends. And wherever they go, Kathleen’s on the prowl for ideas for her next book.
Connect with Kathleen Online