Next up in my series of character introductions for my new novel, The Spirit Of…, is Lauren Mead, best friend and fellow archaeologist of Matthew Stevens. The two met nine years ago as part of the same expedition to Egypt and have been basically inseparable (professionally, that is) ever since. My theory for this is her deference for Matthew. Lauren’s history with men hasn’t been remarkable — in fact, it’s been downright brutal — and there was a kindness in Matthew I believe Lauren became attached to, and hasn’t been able to give up since.
If I’m honest, Lauren’s relationship with Matthew is one the oddest ones I’ve ever encountered. The friendship and the bond the two of them share is undeniable, but being around them, it’s hard to tell whether they’ve ever been involved and are trying to hide it, or whether it’s simply a love of respect that somehow transcends what we’re able to understand. (No matter how much I tried, I could never crack that mystery.) Sometimes it feels as if they’re in love with each other, flirting and carrying on as if they were soul mates, or speaking with each other through some kinetic, telepathic energy. At other times, their bond feels much more like brother/sister, squabbling over the smallest things only to turn around an hour later and hug it out or support the other in some way. One thing’s for sure — Lauren will defend Matthew to the end of time.
It’s a lot (and I mean a lot) different than her relationship with Matthew’s protege, Henry Green. Lauren is a very kind person and has gotten along with everyone Matthew’s ever worked with. But when it comes to Henry, there’s a layer of animosity there that keeps her from connecting with him. And I don’t believe it has anything to do with Matthew doting on him in any way. Henry, I’ve come to learn, is the embodiment of everything Lauren believes is wrong with mankind. When she’s around him, she’s only able to see how the men in her life have wronged her, which puts a bad taste in her mouth. But she’d never seek to have him fired from the team. That’s just not who Lauren is. She’ll do all she can to find something good in Henry for as long as it takes.
There’s not much else to say about Lauren. She’s a beautiful New Yorker who’s not shy about her body, her health or her appearance, but in no way does she flaunt it. There isn’t an ounce of arrogance or egotism in her body. She is what she is, yet she uses her smile (and in some ways, Matthew) to cover a pretty dark past, one which I’m disinclined to discuss at the moment. She was reluctant to give up any information about her past when we first met, and would occasionally become extremely closed off, but as she started to warm up to me, she became much more open. It might be weird, but I want to protect her privacy on the matter, at least until the novel is released.
I hope you can respect that decision.
Pre-Order the digital copy of The Spirit Of… today. Available in all ebook formats, including Kindle, Nook and iBooks. (Unfortunately, the print edition is not currently available for pre-order.) The Spirit Of… is set for release on June 3, 2016.
Amen Dello Keli.