Welcome to Swoon Sunday where you get to meet some of our swoon-worthy heroes. Today we have a visit from Arik Baine from Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1) by Brenda Drake
Arik, why don’t you describe yourself to us?
Blimey. I’m not one for talking about myself. So just the statistics, then? I was born in a small market town, Framlingham in Suffolk, England. I’ve never met my birth parents. I’m a bit over six feet tall. My hair is brown. Gia says my eyes are so dark you can hardly tell the difference between the irises and pupils.
What’s your profession?
I’m a Sentinel. Actually, I’m the leader of my band of Sentinels. We’re magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books. We aren’t paid for our services. All our needs are provided by our assigned wizard havens. We merely have to ask for what we want, within reason, and it’s provided.
Where do you call home?
My home is an adequate size room in a castle in the wizard haven of Asile. I don’t know a real home. I was taken away from my birth parents when I was born and raised by my parent faery. Asile isn’t a horrible place to live. The meals are prepared by the best chefs in the Mystik world. There’s a game room, snack bar, and coffee barista in the basement. A small village is up the hill from the castle, where I enjoy stopping in the bakery for a chocolate croissant now and then. I must say it’s quite an idyllic existence.
What kind of music do you listen to? (What song are you listing to on his iPod right now?)
I listen to music from the Mystik world. It’s sort of like your classical music. The artists are from the many wizard havens and Mystik villages. Gia has been introducing me to the human world’s music. I’m enjoying some older songs by a few chaps from England called the Beatles.
Do you have a special skill?
All my skills are special. I earned my leadership role because of my fierce fighting and battle globe skills. I can manipulate my fire globe into a fiery whip. Not many have that sort of skill.
What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?
For both the human and Mystik worlds to know peace and live in harmony. To spend as much time as possible getting to know Gia better. And perhaps, have some more romantic times with her.
What’s your biggest regret?
The death of my parent faery, Oren, when I was fourteen. A hound attacked our group in the library and sunk its teeth into Oren’s leg. The beast pulled him through the gateway book. I froze. By the time the older Sentinels reached Oren, he was dead. I shouldn’t have paused. I should have stabbed the beast through the throat instead.
What’s your darkest secret?
I sort of dabbled in a clandestine relationship with another Sentinel, which is against the laws and could have sent me to a prison in a desolate place. I stopped it before it got too serious.
What’s your favourite dessert/food?
Nothing is better for getting the blood pumping in the morning than a fireball coffee. It’s java with chocolate and some extremely hot spices.
Who is your idol?
There are many people I admire. Gia for her bravery and strength. The Sentinels for their skills. Carrig for his leadership. But my idol has always been Asile’s High Wizard, Merl. When I lost Oren, it was Merl who filled the father role for me. Not only is he a powerful wizard, but he’s also a compassionate leader.
Thank you so much for joining us, Arik! Now, here’s a swoony excerpt from Thief of Lies for our readers between Arik and Gia…
“Shall we take a break, then?” He snatched up the bag and pulled out a chocolate covered pastry.
I shoved it in my mouth as though starved. Which I was. I hadn’t eaten since lunch.
Amusement danced in his eyes as he watched me gobble it down like a troll. He took one out for himself, ripping off a piece and popping it in his mouth.
“Holy crap, this is delicious,” I said with a full mouth. The sprinkling of rain turned into fat drops.
“I’ve not found any better.” He removed bottled water from the sack, unscrewed it, and handed it to me. Something on the side of my face caught his attention. “You have a bit of something right there.” He pointed it out.
“Oh.” I rubbed at my cheek.
“You missed it.” He rubbed the corner of my mouth with his thumb.
Surprised at his touch, I dropped the bottle and slipped back on my heels, grabbing his hand and pulling him down with me. I landed on my back in the mud. He fell on top of me, bracing himself with his arms so as not to smash me with his body. Cold mud crawled under my shirt and up my back.
I shivered. Rain dumped on us.
Our faces were mere inches apart, his chocolate-laced breath brushing my lips—every bit of my body sharply aware of his nearness. The rain slapped the bag beside us and clapped the ground.
A serious expression pulled on his face as his head lowered closer to mine. He swiped my lower lip with his finger this time, causing an eruption of tingles to spread across my skin. “Those pastries are messy. I should have grabbed some napkins.”
“No, I’m just a slob.” I licked my lips, and his breath hitched.
What just happened? And why is he looking at me like that? I thought he was still mad at me.
He straightened his arms, his face moving away from mine. “Are you injured?”
“I don’t think so.” Only heart palpitations.
He scrambled to his feet and grabbed both my hands, yanking me up. “We best find cover before we drown.”
We made a mad dash for the wall, rain drenching us. My feet kept slipping as I climbed up the vines beside him. The village roads were practically vacant of people. Our feet smacked the puddles as we sprinted to the door into the castle.
Dripping water and mud on the tunnel’s floor, we tried to catch our breaths. I was freezing, but too lost in the moment to care. Arik’s laughter had me completely entranced. His eyes danced and dimples deepened with each chuckle.
“You need to get dry,” he said, a hint of amusement lingering in his voice. “Moreover, your entire backside is caked in mud.”
About Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers, #1):
Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.
Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.