by Karen Randau
Hi, I’m Kelsey White, the co-protagonist in Karen Randau’s newest book, From Chaos. The seed for me got planted in Karen’s brain when she was thinking about the first novel in her Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense Series, Into the Fog. I was the victim in that story, and Karen didn’t say much about me then, so she gave me an entire book to peel back the layers of my persona.
I didn’t start out life as Kelsey White. That name popped into my brain when I was on a bus running from my ex-husband’s family in Boston. Thad was an awful man, and it took me a long time to allow myself to trust anyone after what he put me through. You can learn about that in From Chaos. And you can learn about my abduction in Into the Fog, which is a finalist in the 2023 Selah Awards.
What I want to talk about is Gregorio.
I met him at a birthday party at the end of Into the Fog, when Gregorio, who everyone calls Greg for short, brought me a piece of cake. He has dark hair and eyes, a swoon-worthy smile, and muscles from extreme sports and heavy lifting at the plant nursery he runs with his parents. My friend MJ, the co-protagonist in Into the Fog, warned me that Gregorio had a reputation for shallow relationships, saying he tended to move on after certain victories.
His reputation caused me to only see him in groups of friends. He was such a gentleman, and his smile melted my heart every time he flashed it at me, which was often. His kindness toward his parents was something I’d never seen before. Not only that, he was always there for me whenever I woke up from a nightmare after I was abducted and left for dead. No matter what time of the day or night, he’d talk me through it, and we’d always end our calls with each of us repeating a portion of this quote from Winnie the Pooh: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you see, smarter than you think, and more loved than you’ll ever know.”
One Sunday, he invited me to a fish dinner in Tulsa, which was over an hour away from our small town of Peach Blossom. Being a transplant in Oklahoma from Boston, I really missed fish, so I accepted. But I was always on high alert because I knew my ex’s family could hunt me down any day, despite the safety net I brought with me from Boston. After dinner that Sunday night, I asked Greg to take me to a secluded place away from other people so we could talk. Wouldn’t you know it? We witnessed an execution-style murder, the murderers saw us, and then we were on the run.
What an action-packed adventure that was!
There was this James Bond style lake house, along with a prepper’s doomsday bunker, a mansion in the countryside, and a cave where I was sure I’d be attacked by bats. I did get attacked by wild hogs!
Gregorio used his survival skills to take us through the Oklahoma wilderness, and I used the skills MJ taught me to fight off our attackers. I even accidentally used them on Greg. That’s kind of a funny story. Sort of.
Anyway, I hope to see you between the pages of From Chaos, where our survival is dependent upon us working through our fears, faults, secrets, and the lies we told ourselves.
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