Welcome to Swoon Sunday where you get to meet some of our swoon-worthy heroes. Today we have a visit from The Phantom & Jasper from Amid Wind & Stone by Nicole Luiken!
The Phantom and Jasper, why don’t you describe yourself to us?
The Phantom: Oh, I get it. You want to know what I look like when I’m not invisible so you can turn me in. *folds arms* Nice try.
Jasper: My body is made of red jasper stone except for my eyes which are golden. I’m six feet tall and have fangs and claws—oh, wait, you probably meant my human form.
Um, okay, well, I’m still six feet tall and have golden eyes. But, you know, my skin is soft instead of made of stone… I have short dark—fur? Hair?—on my head. Oh, and I look a lot like my otherself, Piers.
The Phantom: What did you say? You just blew my cover!
What’s your profession?
The Phantom: I steal stuff. It’s wicked fun. Lots of daring escapes and sneaking around.
Jasper: I spent most of my life as a prisoner and one day as a slave.
The Phantom: Are you trying to make me look bad?
Where do you call home?
The Phantom: Donlon. That’s a city in Air World. The snobs live up at the top on Tier One and Two. I live down on Tier Five where life is real.
Jasper: I come from Stone World. I live in the caverns Below.
Do you have a special skill?
The Phantom: O’ course, I do! I couldn’t be The Phantom if not for my special talents. I can turn invisible and Call the wind to fly me around.
Jasper: As a gargoyle, I have the ability to sense ore and shape stone. Like I mentioned before, I can also turn into a boy, does that count?
Describe the craziest thing you have done.
The Phantom: Stealing the button off Admiral Harding’s uniform. Now that was tricky. He’s long-winded so he can see through my invisibility a little. But Audrey promised me a kiss so I had to do it.
Jasper: Trying to swim in gargoyle form. It wasn’t my idea.
Early bird or night owl?
Jasper: I’m not a bird.
The Phantom: She means do you like morning or evening the best. Night’s the best time. It helps with the sneaking around and stealing things, see?
Jasper: I can’t answer this question. There is no sun Below, so there’s no different between morning and night.
Chunky peanut butter or smooth?
The Phantom: I don’t know what that is, but Jasper here obviously likes chunky. Because he’s made of stone, get it?
Jasper: It’s a good thing this is the last question, because you’re starting to annoy me.
Thank you so much for joining us, Jasper & The Phantom! Now, here’s an excerpt from Amid Wind & Stone for our readers…
The phantom was too pale to make out more than a few features: a nose, mouth, colorless eyes and hair. She had the impression he wasn’t much older than herself.
He cocked his head. “Can you see me?” He sounded curious, unafraid.
“Of course, I can.” She held out her hand. “Give me back the message.”
“There’s no ‘of course’ about it. Very few people can—” He broke off sharply, suddenly intent. “What’s a girl doing wearing a courier’s uniform?”
She roughened her voice and emitted a coarse laugh. “I ain’t no skirt. You take that back.”
He crossed his arms, as nonchalant as if he stood on solid ground instead of perched three-thousand feet up in the air. “I know a girl when I see one. Boys don’t have curves like yours.”
Audrey blushed crimson, suddenly aware of how formfitting the flight suit was—designed to prevent snagging—compared to her usual dresses and petticoats.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m a girl,” she said bravely. “What matters is that you give me the message back. Now.” She extended her hand, but he casually moved the carrying case out of reach. Fiend.
She unlatched her carabiners to give herself more freedom of movement but kept tight hold of the strut with one hand. The metal edge creased her palm.
He chuckled. “Sorry. As much as I like to please the ladies, I’m going to have to decline. Someone paid a pretty penny for this message, and The Phantom always delivers.” He said The Phantom as if it were a title.
He ducked under a high strut and stepped over a lower one so that he stood on the outside of the cargo cage. One leg hung out over empty space.
For the first time, she wondered where he’d come from. The obvious answer, that he’d simply stowed away on board the Artemis and hidden since the airship’s departure from its last port, didn’t quite ring true. Perhaps he could have hidden for a few days—and subsisted on stolen sandwiches—but airship cruises usually lasted three months at a stretch. Plus, the dirigible-class Artemis was much smaller than the flagship; it would be too hard not to be trapped in a corner or bumped into in a corridor.
Had he come from Sipar? But he didn’t have a Siparese accent. That was good, surely? Not a spy then, but a hired thief.
“There’s nowhere for you to go,” she told him. “You might as well hand it over.” She crawled closer, reaching the cage wall.
He smiled at her, the movement more visible now that she was closer. It seemed as if the light and wind bent around him. “It’s jolly kind of you to worry about me, but I’ll be fine.”
He gave a cheery wave, then stepped off into nothingness.
Audrey lunged through the cage window after him and tore the carrying case off his shoulder. She felt a moment of triumph before she overbalanced, and her body somersaulted through the space between the struts outside the cargo cage. She screamed as she suddenly found herself dangling from one hand and facing outward. Her full weight hung from one awkwardly bent arm. The steel bit in like jaws.
About Amid Wind & Stone (Otherselves, #2):
There is one True World, and then there are the four Mirror Worlds: Fire, Water, Air, and Stone.
Audrey and Dorotea are “otherselves”—twin copies of each other who live on different Mirror Worlds.
On Air, Audrey has the ability to communicate with wind spirits. As war looms, she’s torn between loyalty to her country and her feelings for a roguish phantom who may be a dangerous spy.
Blackouts and earthquakes threaten the few remaining humans on Stone, who have been forced to live underground. To save her injured sister, Dorotea breaks taboo and releases an imprisoned gargoyle. Brooding, sensitive Jasper makes her wonder if gargoyles are truly traitors, as she’s always been told.
Unbeknownst to them, they both face the same enemy—an evil sorceress bent on shattering all the Mirror Worlds.
Want to Read More? Pre-order Amid Wind & Stone Today!
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Missed the first book in the Otherselves series? Learn all about it now!
About Through Fire & Sea (Otherselves, #1):
There is one True World, and then there are the four mirror worlds: fire, water, air, and stone. And each has a magic of its own…
In the Fire World, seventeen-year-old Leah is the illegitimate daughter of one of the realm’s most powerful lords. She’s hot-blooded—able to communicate with the tempestuous volcano gods. But she has another gift…the ability to Call her twin “Otherselves” on other worlds.
Holly resides in the Water World—our world. When she’s called by Leah from the Fire World, she nearly drowns. Suddenly the world Holly thought she knew is filled with secrets, magic…and deadly peril.
For a malevolent force seeks to destroy the mirror worlds. And as Leah and Holly are swept up in the tides of chaos and danger, they have only one choice to save the mirror worlds—to shatter every rule they’ve ever known…
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