by J.A. Templeton
(Otherworld Series #1)
Publication date: May 1st 2014
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had strange dreams that always came true, and experienced terrifying powers that set me apart from everyone else.
It’s not until my eighteenth birthday do I begin to understand what those dreams mean. When my grandfather is attacked and left for dead, I am thrust into the Otherworld—a medieval-like land of beautiful immortals with amazing gifts. One of these immortals has stolen the key between the realms, and it is up to me, Brynne Davies, the next gatekeeper, to reach the key before the power struggle that exists in the Otherworld occurs on earth.
Complicating my task are the members of the Royal House of Parthas, especially the king’s brother, the handsome Murdoc, Warlord of the king’s army, and then there’s the charming Fae prince who seems to always be one step ahead of me.
Time is running out for me to find the key and close the door. If I don’t, the world I left will never be the same…because of me.
The Gatekeeper (Otherworld series, #1) is a New Adult Fantasy/Paranormal Romance.
The smithy was stifling hot. Gareth had thick and curly reddish-brown hair. Wet with perspiration, he was busy pounding out horseshoes as if his life depended on it. He abruptly looked up and his eyes widened. “My lord, I fear I do not yet have the sword ready.”
Murdoc smiled reassuringly. “I am not here for the sword, but rather to make a bracelet for Parthas’s newest arrival.” He motioned to me. “Gareth, this is Brynne. Brynne, may I introduce Gareth.”
Gareth appeared relieved as he glanced at me, and quickly hid a smile. “His lordship is quite skilled with iron and fire, Miss Brynne.”
“Aye, I believe you,” I nearly shouted, feeling ridiculous the second the words were out because Gareth’s brow furrowed. It didn’t help when he and Murdoc shared an amused smile.
To Gareth’s credit, he didn’t let his gaze move past my chin. I wished I could have changed into another gown because I looked a mess. Aside from my appearance, I was glad to be in Murdoc’s company.
“Do not boast of my skills too much, my friend,” Murdoc said, taking a leather apron from a spike on the wall. He tied it around his waist and then reached for my hand, sliding his fingers and thumb around my wrist.
His touch was electric and it stunned me. I felt that casual touch all the way to my toes.
“I need to measure for an accurate fit,” he said, and I looked up at him, at the way his long lashes cast shadows on those model-like cheekbones. I swallowed a sigh.
“Very delicate,” he said, catching me staring at him. He didn’t move, just watched me for a moment before letting his hand fall away.
I had to remind myself to breathe as he took a step away from me.
He immediately set into motion by grasping a set of tongs, then heating a rod of iron over the fire.
I stood watching for a few minutes, then feeling ridiculous, I decided to take a seat on a nearby bench. I had to admit—Murdoc intrigued me. He was a walking contradiction. Everything about him screamed intimidation, and yet here he was—Parthas’s ominous warlord—taking time out of his day to make a bracelet for a girl he had just met. Which made me wonder—did he have a woman? He wore no ring. Then again, I did not know Parthas customs.
Murdoc glanced up at Gareth, who kept his gaze averted, but the blacksmith’s lips quirked nonetheless. Gareth then turned away and made himself busy cleaning up the metal shavings in the work area, humming all the while.
A light breeze rushed through the smithy, and I watched as the wind ruffled Murdoc’s hair. The shirt he’d slid on hung loosely at his waist and over his butt.
And he had a nice butt. Once again, I forced my gaze away from his smoking-hot body.
I couldn’t afford to start crushing on anyone in Parthas. Time was ticking, and I had to get in and get out, and back to Pops.
But that didn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy the eye candy while I was here.
Murdoc kept reaching for different tools off of a wooden rack to twist and bend the metal. It was amazing to watch him at work. After ten or so minutes of meticulous detail, the bracelet was finished and Murdoc set it to cool on a rack.
Putting the tools away, he brushed a hand through his hair just as another strong breeze blew through the shop window, and a stray lock fell over his right eye.
I don’t know what possessed me, but I stepped close, reached up, and brushed the strand away. Murdoc’s hand flew up and caught my wrist in a firm grip.
I gasped, surprised by his reaction. “I only wanted to get the hair—”
He immediately loosened his grip. “I apologize, Brynne. I am not accustomed to being touched.”
Not accustomed to being touched? Was he serious? Something in his eyes made me believe he was completely serious…and why did I find that so sad? Maybe because my grandfather had never let me go to bed without tucking me in with a kiss on the cheek and telling me that he loved me.
Murdoc stared at my lips—almost as if he was going to kiss me.
“My lord,” a guard yelled from the door.
Murdoc blinked and took a step away from me. “Aye, Cameron. What is it?”
“There is a caravan coming, and they are flying the colors of the House of Zaphyr.” Cameron flashed a grin. “Your betrothed will be at the castle gate within the hour!”
Your betrothed? As in fiancée?
Murdoc was engaged.
I wrote my first young adult novel over ten years ago, and took a slight detour from writing YA to publish nineteen adult romances. Now, I'm following my heart and writing in the genre I've been passionate about for so long, and about characters who don't exactly fit into any specific box.
Aside from writing and reading, I'm obsessed with history, love research, traveling, and riding motorcycles with my hubby, my first and only love, who stole my heart when I was fourteen and he was eighteen (yes, he robbed the cradle). I am also a medium, which gives me a unique perspective when writing about the paranormal and characters like Riley, who can see, hear, and feel spirits.
I'm passionate about books, and I'll never tire of writing love stories.