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Chasing a Dream

Chasing a DreamShe's running from a nightmare...

Tess Sinclair must hide. Hunted by a powerful man who wants her dead, Tess flees her Texas home in search of anonymity, safety, and a new life. While a flat tire and stormy weather slow her escape, they prove the least of her worries. Just hours after her getaway, a hired gunman tracks her down. Grabbed in a parking lot, Tess is certain she'll be killed ... until a handsome hitchhiker intervenes. But can she trust the blue-eyed cowboy who appoints himself her guardian?

Chasing a DreamHe's chasing a dream . . .

Nothing can stop Justin Boyd from his pursuit of a music career in Nashville--except a woman in peril. Haunted by his sister's murder, Justin can't walk away from Tess until he knows she's safe. Justin puts his dreams of the music spotlight on hold until he can make amends for mistakes from his past. Yet the stakes in this game of vengeance are higher than he ever imagined, and the price for freeing Tess might be his own life.

Awards and Honors

  • Finalist -- 2000 Golden Heart Contest-- Romance Writers of America

  • Finalist -- 2001 Booksellers Best Contest (Greater Detroit RWA)

  • Finalist -- 2001 Notable New Author Contest- (Ohio Valley RWA)

  • Finalist -- 2001 EPPIE - (Electronically Published Internet Connection)

  • Nominee-- Frankfurt E-Book Award for excellence in electronic publishing

"CHASING A DREAM is romantic suspense at its best. ...An action packed tale with a surprising number of twist that had me holding my breath at times. Five Stars "--Darlene Kendall, Simgen Reviews

4 STARS! "If you like sweetly erotic love scenes, poignant moments, and a bit of realistically written violence, you'll enjoy this book. The author deals sensitively with the issue of domestic violence, and its psychological effect on survivors and those who love them." -- Christine Chambers, RT Bookclub

"CHASING A DREAM is Beth Cornelison's debut novel and also a 2000 Golden Heart Finalist in Romantic Suspense. With a plot full of fast paced action and sweet tender moments, this tale is a highly entertaining read. Ms Cornelison has penned a story full of powerful emotions and pulse pounding conflict.  The dialogue was interesting throughout the story and I especially enjoyed the moments when Justin tries to convert Tess into a country music fan. CHASING A DREAM is a wonderful and heartwarming read with lots of memorable moments and definitely a cast of unforgettable characters. I recommend this book to all lovers of Romantic Suspense!" -- Leena Hyat, The Best Reviews

"Beth Cornelison has written a suspenseful winner in Chasing A Dream. Action-packed and overflowing with tension, this book reads at high speeds all the way through. Issues including domestic abuse and relationships between people of different backgrounds are dealt with in a manner that allows the reader to see the darker side of todayís society while still providing hope, romance, and the ever-looked-for happy ending.  In all, I happily recommend Chasing A Dream!" -- Sally G. Laturi, IvyQuill

Tess hadnít seen the man coming.

One second she crossed the parking lot, keys in hand, eager to get out of the rain. The next second a strong hand clamped over her mouth, stifling her scream. Another hand snaked around her waist, and a brutish arm hauled her up against a stout body.

Panic surged through her. Fear squeezed her chest. Her keys clattered to the pavement.

"Get in the car," a deep, menacing voice ordered. Something hard jabbed her side. She heard a loud click, like the cocking of a gun. The man thrust her toward a blue sedan.

Acting on survival instinct alone, she twisted and fought as her captor shoved her toward the waiting car. Adrenaline strengthened her, but her certainty that she would die if she got in the sedan fueled her struggle.

The manís grip around her middle tightened. His gun dug deeper into her ribs. The hand over her mouth suffocated her, and her lungs burned with the need for air. Clawing at his hand, she prayed for deliverance, for oxygen. When he lifted her from her feet, she thrashed wildly. She kicked the knees of her captor in a desperate battle for her freedom.

Suddenly, his grasp weakened. Asphalt bit her hands and knees as she crashed to the ground with a jarring thud. Ignoring the pain that streaked through her limbs, she groped frantically for her keys. Tears blurred her vision. The rush of blood in her ears muffled all but the drumming of her heartbeat.

She didnít waste time wondering how sheíd won her release. Focused only on fleeing, she searched futilely for her keys. Finally, her fingers touched metal. At the same time, a muscled arm wrapped around her waist again. The powerful man dragged her to her feet.

"No!" She wrenched around and flailed at the assailant whoíd imprisoned her in his grip.

"Tess! Itís me!" Justin caught her wrists and held off her blows.

Confusion stilled her momentarily. A groan called her attention to the man sprawled on the pavement at her feet. Clutching the back of his head, the wounded stranger turned dark, feral eyes up to meet her stare. With a growl, he swiped a hand toward her feet. Justin jerked her by the wrists away from the sweep of the manís arm.

She stumbled as her cowboy-savior tugged her toward the parked Jimmy. Her gaze locked in terror on the dark scowl of her would-be kidnapper. The face of evil. Her living nightmare. A chill slithered down her spine.

"Hurry, Tess!" Justin pulled harder on her arm.

The man pushed to his knees and grabbed for the gun heíd dropped when heíd lost his hold on her.


Justin spun around at her cry. "Get in the truck!"

He ran back toward her assailant, but fear rooted her to the spot. Her cowboy reached the pistol just before the manís fingers could close around the weapon. With a brisk kick, Justin sent the gun sliding across the pavement.

Another swing of his booted foot caught his opponent in the jaw. The man howled with rage, collapsed on the ground again, and held his injured face. Justin fled for the Jimmy. "Tess, get in! Letís go!"

Jolted into action by his shout, she mashed the remote button on the key chain that unlocked the doors. She fumbled with the handle on the driverís door, only to have him reach around her and yank it open.

He shoved her inside then followed, pushing her to the passenger seat. "Iíll drive." Snatching the keys from her, he jammed one in the ignition and threw the truck into reverse. The Jimmyís tires slipped on the wet pavement before finding some traction and squealing as he peeled out of the parking lot.

The crack of a gunshot reverberated through the damp air. Tess screamed.

"Are you hit?" He glanced over, his eyes dark with concern.

Her body convulsed with fright. Her knees and hands stung. She registered these facts on some level, but shock rendered her mute.

"Tess? Are you hurt?" Justin asked again, his voice rising.

She managed a quick head-shake then hugged herself to suppress the shudders ravaging her body. "How did he f-find me so f-fast?" Closing her eyes, she moaned. "Oh, God, I knew heíd find me."

"What are you talking about, Tess? Are you saying you knew that guy?" Incredulity filled his voice.

She chewed her lip, remembering the black, evil eyes of her attacker. She rocked slowly, squeezing her arms more tightly around her. "Not him. But . . ."

"But what?" Justin guided the Jimmy onto the interstate, passing cars as he inched their speed up well past that of the other traffic. "What did he want, Tess?"

If the man had gotten her into the car . . .

If Justin hadnít come along when he did . . .

If sheíd been alone . . .

When she realized how close sheíd come to dying, a whimper escaped her throat. What did it feel like to die? Would the man have let her suffer?

Knowing Randall wanted her dead was a whole different creature than actually experiencing a brush with death.

Drawing a shaky breath, she turned tearful eyes toward Justin. Heíd saved her life. The reality of that truth seeped in through the thick veil of her terror.

Should she trust Justin with the truth? Didnít he deserve to know what heíd gotten himself into? If he knew, she could convince him to save himself, to leave while he could. Was that what she wanted?


With an effort, she forced her tongue to work. "He was going to kill me. Randall sent him."

"Some guyís trying to kill you?" His expression said he wouldnít have believed her if he hadnít just witnessed her attack.

She nodded. "I donít understand how he found me so fast. I knew he would come after me, butó"

"Christ." Justin ran a hand through his hair, knocking off his Stetson, which tumbled to the floor of the backseat. "No wonder you were acting so jumpy." He tapped his fist on the steering wheel and expelled a deep breath. "Maybe you should tell me exactly whatís going on here. Why is this guy . . . whatís his name? Randy?"

Tess fought a wave of nausea. "Randall."

"Who is Randall, and why does he want you dead?"

Several tense seconds ticked by before she answered. "He wants to keep me quiet. Heís killed before. I just found out about the other murders, andó"

With an abrupt jerk of the steering wheel, Justin exited the interstate for a small two-lane road. She grabbed the armrest on the door to steady herself. Easing onto the narrow shoulder, he stopped the car and faced her.

"Who is Randall?" His blue gaze bore into hers.

Tears brimmed in her eyes. She thought of the naive girl sheíd been when sheíd met Randall following the loss of her family. Ironically, sheíd needed his protection and the home heíd offered. Now the man whoíd vowed all those years ago to help her, wanted her dead.

She filled her lungs with a reinforcing breath, fighting a swell of shame. "My husband."

Calling Randall her husband, the role heíd claimed without benefit of making the title legal, was easier than explaining the truth.

A shadow crossed Justinís face, and he closed his eyes. "Shit!"

She jumped at the harsh sound of his curse, and a tear trickled down her cheek. "You should go now. I was wrong to put you in danger when I picked you up."

The rugged features of his face hardened, and he narrowed his eyes. "Iím not going anywhere."

His declaration hit her in the stomach like a fist. "But you canít stay with me. Itís too dangerous."

"No way am I leaving you alone with a killer after you." His gaze, the resolve underlying his tone brooked no resistance.

"This isnít your problem, Justin. I canít let youó"

"Iím making it my problem."

When she shook her head, he leaned closer and cupped her jaw in his hand. Strong but gentle, his touch sent a heady sensation spiraling through her.

"I wonít turn my back on you. I canít walk away. This is something I have to do. Not just for you. For me. I made a promise to Rebecca . . ." He ducked his head, and his expression grew stormy. "Look, I donít expect you to understand. But the thing is, youíre stuck with me." His thumb swiped at a tear clinging to her chin. "Weíll be all right, Tess. I wonít let anything happen to you."

His words stirred a warm reassurance inside her that battled with her icy fear of Randallís power. She wanted to believe Justin, wanted to think she might survive this nightmare.

Searching the bright promise in his eyes, she curled her bottom lip in and worried it with her teeth. His blue gaze dropped to watch her abuse her lip. Smoky desire filled his eyes. The muscles in his jaw tightened and flexed, and he slowly lifted a finger and dragged it over the roughened skin. His breath hissed through his teeth as he caressed her chapped lips with his fingertip. When he raised his penetrating stare to meet her eyes, the air stilled in her lungs. He intended to kiss her, she knew.

The simple idea of his kiss sent a tremor racing from her head to her toes.

Sliding his hand from her chin along the line of her jaw, he settled it at the nape of her neck. He drew her nearer, angling his head.

She tensed and pulled away. "No." Raising her hands to his chest, she pushed at him and averted her head. "Donít."

Unable to meet his gaze, she squeezed her eyes shut and pressed a trembling hand to her lips, left tingling from his touch. She heard his tired sigh, and a cool draft swirled around her, telling her heíd backed away.

"Please," she whispered, "we need to keep moving. Can we go?"

She heard the crunch of gravel as Justin pulled back onto the two-lane road. Her head already swam with the lightning speed of events that had changed her life and set her on the road. His attempt to kiss her gave her mind too much to process. She shoved thoughts of it aside so she could think more clearly about her situation and what she must do to shake Randallís henchman.

"Iím sorry," he said. "I know I shouldnít have done that."

She heard self-reproach in his low murmur. Peeking over at him, she found him staring out the windshield with a hard, worried frown darkening his face. The concern and determination reflected in his expression reminded her of his vow to stay with her. She couldnít fathom why he would want to put his life in jeopardy to help her. While his motivation puzzled her, she couldnít deny a twinge of relief. The promise of his protection enticed her to ignore the doubts about his reasons for involving himself in her problems. But how could she justify putting him in danger? Heíd already risked his life to save her from Randallís man.

"The first thing we have to do is figure out how he found you." Justin glanced at her. "Have you used a credit card or seen someone he knows? Did you tell anyone your plans?"

"No. Except . . ."

His brow furrowed, and she swallowed hard.

"There was the guy at the car dealership where I traded in my car." Shaking her head, she rubbed her arms, fighting the damp chill that seeped to her bones. "Someone could have followed me, I guess, but I didnít see any one specific car behind me."

Justin dragged a hand down his cheek. "We should go to the cops andó"

"No!" Alarm sharpened her tone. "No police. Randall might have . . . he has contacts everywhere. Probably within the police department. I canít be sure, but I canít risk it either." She bit her lip and shivered. "You donít understand about Randall. Heís a powerful man, and he holds a lot of influence overó"

"The phone," Justin said as his gaze swung from the road to Tess. Glancing down at her cellular phone, he slapped the steering wheel. "Of course! They traced the phone. You had it on. It rang earlier."

Tess gaped at him as his assertion sifted through her mind. A knot formed in her stomach and she groaned in despair. "How could I have been so stupid! I thought Iíd been so careful!" Frustration and anger over her slip-up churned inside her, and she balled her fists.

In her mind, she heard Randallís scornful laughter. Dumb bitch! You thought you could get away from me? You donít have the nerve or the brains to out smart me!

A rock lodged in her chest, and she sighed. "Stupid, stupidó"

"Hey!" Disapproval colored Justinís voice. "You were scared. You made a mistake. Now let it go."


"But nothing." He snatched up the phone, jerking the recharging cord from the cigarette lighter and rolled down his window. In a smooth motion, he flung the phone out of the car. "There. Problem solved. I donít want to hear any more about it."

The tension in her stomach uncoiled a fraction, but she couldnít forgive her screw-up easily. Her mistake may have blown her best chance at escaping Randall. Her carelessness endangered Justin, an innocent in her grim situation. Neither was forgivable.

So why did Justinís eyes hold such tenderness and absolution when he glanced to her from watching the road?

"Tess, I meant what I said before. I wonít let anyone hurt you. Not Randall. Not his flunkies. Nobody."

Her uncertainty must have been written in her expression, because he gave her a half smile, adding, "I know you donít believe me. Things probably look pretty hopeless right now. But youíve only lost when you quit fighting. Remember that, okay?"

His attempts to encourage her touched her, though she couldnít quite muster even part of the optimism he had. Justin didnít know Randall.

He didnít know Randallís capacity for cruelty or his relentless and ruthless tactics for getting what he wanted. He didnít understand the scope of Randallís power or the terror his wrath caused. And Tess could only pray that he never did.


May 2012
TKA Distribution
ASIN:  B00846FW6O

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Now available in audio book
August 2009
ISBN: 978-1-605-48424-2

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September 2006
Five Star Expression
ISBN 1-594-14514-8

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August 2000
Avid Press, LLC
ISBN 1-929-613-67-9






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