When Laurel first runs into Tamani in the book, she's struck by how hot he is:
His face looked like a classic painting—cheekbones clearly defined under smooth, tanned skin that looked like it would fit in better on an L.A. beach than in a chilly, moss-covered forest. His hair was thick and black, matching the eyebrows and lashes framing his concerned eyes. It was rather long and damp—as though he hadn't gone inside when it started raining—and somehow he'd managed to dye just the roots the same brilliant green as his eyes. (8.27)
In Laurel's defense, he sounds like quite the hunk. And in addition to good looks, he's got charisma in spades. It totally overwhelms Laurel, in fact: "His face was so confident, his smile so contagious, she couldn't step away" (8.45). It helps, of course, that he's able to use magic to entice Laurel the first time they meet. More on that in a minute, though.
After they meet, Tamani stays on Laurel's mind. When she mentions meeting him to David, this is what happens:
As soon as she said his name she wished she hadn't. The name seemed somehow magical and saying it aloud brought back that out-of-control feeling that made her feel strangely impulsive. His fade invaded her mind, blocking her view of anything else. His intense eyes, that half-grin, the way she'd been overwhelmed by a sense of comfort and familiarity when he touched her hand. (9.43)
This guy must have some serious mojo in order to be able to affect Laurel so strongly, especially considering that she's never been boy-crazy, unlike other girls her age.
Of course, it helps once we find out that Laurel and Tamani share a previous connection from the land of faerie, back before Laurel had her memory erased to come to the human world. He explains:
I knew you, Laurel, and you knew me. We were just friends. But we were such good friends […] You said you'd try to remember me, but they made you forget. I thought I would die the first time you looked at me and didn't recognize me. (25.73)
Whoa, this makes us feel bad for Tamani (okay, we also feel badly for him when Barnes shoots him, too). But before this convo he appears all charismatic and confident; it really didn't even occur to us that he had this deep emotional connection with Laurel. Worse, it's a one-sided connection, since she doesn't have any memory of their time together in faerie land. Bummer for Tamani.
Tamani does have a glimmer of hope by the end of the book, though, when Laurel says that she doesn't precisely remember him, but some part of her feels connected to him and cares about him. He smiles at her and says, "'Thank you for that glimmer of hope, however fleeting'" (25.103). So we'll give Tamani some credit for being a hopeful guy, in addition to being confident and cute.
So what exactly is Tamani doing hanging out in the woods by Laurel's parents' home? He's a sentry, duh. As he explains to Laurel:
Spring faeries are the least powerful of all the faeries. That's why I'm a sentry. Manual labor. I don't need much magic for that. (13.130)
So because Tamani is a Spring faerie, he gets stuck with a less-desirable job. What he's guarding—the gateway from the mortal world to Avalon, the land of the faeries—is pretty significant, though.
Plus, Tamani does have some magical ability: the ability to entice. He uses it on Laurel once, to get her to talk to him instead of freak out, and she's totally resentful. When he explains it, though, it makes a lot of sense. He tells her:
Think about it. I can chase an intruder away with my spear, but what good does that do? He'll just run and tell his friends what happened, and they'll come back looking for us […] Instead, I entice him away, give him a memory elixir, and then send him off. Ever heard of a will-o'-the-wisp? (14.14)
Tamani seems pretty good at his job; he's also pretty decent at killing trolls (he gets three of them before Barnes manages to grab him). And while Barnes is torturing him, Tamani doesn't reveal any information about Laurel, so we know he's brave and loyal to boot.
Laurel is a big part of the reason he became a sentry, too. Tamani tells her:
I never gave up on you, Laurel. I swore I would find a way back into your life. I became a sentry as early as they would allow and called in every favor I could to get assigned to this gate. (25.77)
Wow, talk about dedication. Maybe a slightly stalker-ish dedication, but still, dedication nonetheless.
Apparently Tamani is a pretty patient dude, since not only has he waited for Laurel so far, but he'll keep waiting for her. As he says:
And I'll wait longer. Someday you'll come to Avalon, and when that time comes, I'll show you what I have to offer you in my world, our world. You'll choose me. You'll come home with me. (25.80)
But who knows how long that might take?
In his own way, Tamani is just as loyal and dedicated as David, even though Laurel can't make him any promises. And while Laurel starts out feeling this overwhelming attraction to Tamani, in the end, Tamani confesses about how crazy he is about her. How will the love triangle resolve? We're guessing we'll have to read the next books in the series to find out.