NILA’S HOPE, by Kathleen Friesen
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.
Nila pushed up the long sleeve of her burgundy silk dress and tugged a small paper from under her watchband. As Faith’s husband, Jason, began his master of ceremonies monologue, Nila unfolded the note and tried to smooth out the wrinkles. Her hands were shaking so much she ripped it in half from top to the middle.
The servers began bringing their dinner, so Nila tucked the torn paper under her plate and clasped her hands in her lap. She wished Faith hadn’t gotten sick. She wished she could be sitting out there instead of in front of everyone. She didn’t want to disappoint Melody, especially today.
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.
Nila’s life is finally on the up, when a blast from the past arrives intent to ruin everything in the new life she’s started for herself. Nila’s Hope is one of those books that I found hard to put down. Fast paced, Ms. Friesen has a perfect balance between suspence and romance to keep readers of each genre happy. Not one to be missed.
1. Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Nila Black. I grew up in foster care, nobody’s child—until I met Jesus. He saved me, claimed me, and is giving me hope. Even though sometimes I wonder how he could possibly love someone like me.
Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. That’s in Canada. I’ve always lived here and haven’t even thought about going anywhere else.
What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
I love power tools! That’s how I got hooked on carpentry.
Name two things would you hate people to know about you?
I’d never want people to know what happened in my past or how close I came to ending my own life.
Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special?
Will Jamison is my co-worker and best friend. His mother introduced me to Jesus, so we had that link even before we met. He looks a lot like the hero in Princess Bride. (Sigh)
The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?
The first time I saw him, he was shirtless. Usually that would be “enough said,” but in this case it meant more. His back was covered in raw scars, so I knew he’d suffered, too. We seemed to understand each other right away.
What would he hate people to know about her?
He probably won’t like it that I’m telling you he’s afraid of clowns.
What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
I love coffee any time of day, and fresh cinnamon rolls make my mouth water. Together? Incredible!
If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
I don’t like to fight, but if I had to, I’d choose my hammer. It would maim to protect but probably wouldn’t kill anyone. I wouldn’t aim for the head.
Pepsi or coke
Doesn’t matter. Actually, I’d rather have root beer.
tea or coffee
Coffee, of course.
elephant or tiger
To be, or to have as a pet? If I had to choose to be one, I’d like to be an elephant. I’ve always been small, and it might be fun to be jumbo-sized. For a pet? I guess a tiger. I wouldn’t want to clean up after an elephant!
roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)
Burger and fries, please.
classical music or pop
Can I choose both?
sunrise or sunset
Sunrise. I love the promise of a new day.
walk or run
Depends on the situation.
chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)
Ooh, chocolate. Definitely chocolate. Like in freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Yum!
What would you like on your epitaph?
Thanks to Jesus, she overcame.