Survive to Thrive

by Chanda Riddick

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This story begins a few days before Part Two in Book Two of the Love After Death series, but is perhaps best appreciated after finishing Book Three. Although this is Lauren and Emma’s love story, Lauren’s friendship with Kaira is also featured.

Lauren lives on the edge of society and is resigned to doing whatever is necessary to survive except panhandling. She enjoys creature comforts like privacy and clothes that fit, even if she has to assault and mug women to obtain them. Raping and stalking merely serve as ways to pass the time. After years of living the life of a stray dog, Lauren has developed a routine that works for her and disrupts no one else’s life but her victims, who are the closest things she has to friends and lovers.

Emma is a very shy girl who is part of the church choir, but never speaks even when spoken to. She enjoys the solitude of the closing shift at the library and the walk home late at night. Even her roommate knows little about her, other than that she likes to read on the back porch and, about once a month, inexplicably returns from the porch naked from the waist down and with a different book and a strange bittersweet smile on her lips.

This is the story of two souls who feel outcast by society, but not by each other. This story explores the relationship between Lauren, who doesn’t believe love with a happily ever after really exists, and Emma, who only feels safe being herself around her mysterious stalker.