Cole by Emilia Hartley

He guards a secret. She means to discover it.

Cole Barton is a sentry, living alone at the edge of a lake, keeping away all who would run afoul of the monster that lurks beneath its depths. At least, he keeps all away until Jude Drake arrives and refuses to be run off. The sexy, powerful, gold dragon shifter is more than a match for his own giant beast, and she seems intent on uncovering the secrets he wants to keep hidden. Even more unsettling, the lake monster is calling her, wanting to use her to break free from the sorcery that imprisons him. Cole would never allow his old leader to do that to any woman, but he’s particularly insistent that Jude not fall prey to the monster’s trap. Something about the gold dragon calls to Cole’s soul. The lake monster can’t have her. Cole will see to it, even if he has to deny his own heart and push Jude away.

Never again will he lose anyone he cares about to the monster.

Jude Drake knows why her cousin keeps sending her off to settle trouble around the country. Two gold dragons are too many for a single territory. Jude wants to settle down, though. She’s tired of her nomadic life, tired of cleaning up problems she had no part in making. She needs her own ground to rule, and with this lake territory she’s come to, she thinks she might have found it. The ground speaks to her, and she can see herself putting this broken clan back together. This is where she belongs, she’s sure of it—on this lakeshore, with this surly cabin rental manager.

Now if only she could convince the man and the land to give up their secrets and let her make her place here, she’s sure she could be happy.

Titles in the Keepers of the Lake series include – Cole – Heath – Alec – Asher (April 2021) – Link (April 2021) – Zane (May 2021)

This is an adult 18+ story that contains language, possible violence, and sexual situations geared to an adult audience.

Title:  Cole
Series:  Keepers of the Lake #1
Author:  Emilia Hartley
Published:  February 17, 2021
My Rating:  4.5 stars

Cole begins the Keepers of the Lake series with an intense, gripping story of pain, endurance, determination, and hope.  It’s a story that will have your emotions hopping all over the place between intense sorrow, longing for something more, and stubbornness like you’ve rarely experienced before.  (Both Cole and Jude give new meaning to the word “stubborn”)

Cole has taken on the role of guardian, not for the lake but for anyone who should be so unlucky as to come face to face with the monster that lives in that lake.  His clan has scattered to the far winds now and Cole remains constantly on guard, ever watching, waiting for the moment he knows will come one day when the monster tries to leave the trap it’s destined to endure.

What he never took into consideration was that one day a woman would come to the lake, a fearless shifter who along with her gold dragon will not let sleeping monsters lie as she stirs up emotions within him that he never thought to feel.

Jude comes from a family who often creates a gold dragon shifter among their offspring, not something that she asked for, and she’s certainly paid the price for it by living a life somewhat outside of the rest of her family due to old lore and rumors (some that might have some truth to them).  Now her cousin, also a gold dragon, is the leader of one of the largest clans of dragons in existence – and she has been sent to this particular lake for a purpose… discovering what happened to this lost clan.  While Jude might not have expected a red carpet to be rolled out for her arrival, she also didn’t expect the definite keep away vibes coming from her neighbor at the lake – a man, a dragon shifter who seems to spend his time staring at the lake as if it is about to attack him.  And, perhaps it is.

And… I think that is as much as I really want to say about Cole and Jude right now.  This is such a good book.  It has everything that made me fall in love with Shifter Romance years ago.  It would also be very easy for me to slip into talking about spoilers at this point – and you do not want this story ruined for you.  It deserves to be experienced first hand, shocks, discoveries, and passion included.

I did not see the ending chapters of Cole coming, at all.  Even if the story itself weren’t as captivating, sizzling, and involved as it is – that ending alone would have me returning to this series as quickly as possible.  If you love Shifter Romance, then you need this series in your reading life.

I read this title through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Available for the Kindle

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