I'm sure many of you can relate to having that special friend(s) who is closer to you than your own blood relations. This is the case in Heart of Steele. When Kara's husband passes away and she loses their home, she is forced to move to the big city with her teenage daughter, Joni and start fresh.
I can so relate to this having moved to the big city myself 5 years ago with my two teen daughters. It's terrifying, having lived in small, country towns most of my life. As in all trials in our lives, we adjust, and if we're real lucky, someone reaches out and offers a hand.
Kara finds just this when she applies for a job in a small family owned bakery. The owners, Ada and Fred take Kara under their wing and treat her and her daughter like family. Thank God for people with hearts like this couple has.
Here's a short excerpt to show you what I mean.
“Do you think Fred will be well enough to come to my graduation?” Joni asked Ada as she put a batch of bread in the ovens.
“I don’t know, dear. You know how much he wants to be there, don’t you?”
Joni kissed her flushed cheek. “Of course I do. I thought I’d have a friend videotape it for him. Do you think he’d like that?”
Kara watched her boss struggle to maintain her composure. She pulled Joni into her warm embrace and kissed the top of her head. “He’d love that,” she replied, her voice thick with emotion.
“Is that the last batch?” Kara butted in, hoping to save her friend from the emotional exchange. Over the past few days, she’d often wondered how much more Ada could take without breaking down.
Ada pulled away from Joni and set the timer. “Yes, how about a cup of coffee before we start filling today’s orders?”
Kara wiped her hands on the front of her apron. “That sounds lovely.”
“You two go ahead. I’ll keep an eye on things.” Joni balanced a tray of lemon squares as she replenished the front showcase.
“You’re a godsend.”
Joni beamed under her mother’s praise and disappeared through the swinging doors.
Kara ushered her frazzled friend to the front door. “Go out to the bench. I’ll bring the coffee.”
Without argument, she slipped outside. From the window she watched Ada plop down and close her eyes. Kara’s heart ached for her friend. There must be something more she could do to take some of the burden from her shoulders. Ada wasn’t a young woman anymore and wouldn’t be able to keep this pace up for much longer. They needed to hire extra help; it was that simple.
She filled their mugs and brought them outside where they sat in amiable silence before Kara spoke up. “Ada, do you trust me?”
Ada furrowed her brow. “Of course I do. Why do you ask?”
“I want to help, but I need you to trust me.”
“What do you have in mind?”
Kara took a deep breath. “I think you need to be home with Fred.”
She sighed wearily and dabbed at her eyes. “That’s simply not an option. There’s far too much to do here.”
“Why don’t you let me run the place until Fred’s feeling better?”
“You can’t do all of this on your own.”
“I wouldn’t be doing it on my own. I have Joni, and I know she has a couple of friends who need summer jobs.”
“I don’t know.” She shook her head.
“Let me ask the twins to come in tomorrow so you can meet them.” She squeezed Ada’s hand. “At least give it a try. If you make yourself sick, you won’t be any good to Fred, never mind running a bakery.”
Resignation filled Ada’s tired eyes. The corners of her mouth lifted in the first semblance of a smile in days. “Yes, I’ll give it a try.” She put an arm across Kara’s back and pulled her against her side. “I love you, Kara. You’re the daughter I always prayed for.”
“And you’re the mother that actually wanted me.”