Love, Honor and Defend
She'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
He'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
Voted by Cata-romance Readers' Choice as the Best Series Romance of 2005, Best First Book of 2005, and Best Silhouette Intimate Moments of 2005
Finalist- 2004 Golden Heart Romantic Suspense
1st place- 2004 Winter Rose Contest (Yellow Rose RWA)
1st place – 2003 Spring Into Romance Contest (San Diego RWA)
1st place- 2003 PASIC Book of Your Heart
3rd place- 2004 Maggie (Georgia Romance Writers)
"Gifted new author Beth Cornelison delivers the
quintessential Intimate Moments with her debut novel,
TO LOVE, HONOR AND DEFEND. Ms.
Cornelison's fresh voice and passion for her story is
evident on every page of this spellbinding romantic
suspense. Her multi-faceted characters, tight writing
and innovative plot makes TO LOVE, HONOR AND DEFEND
a fast-paced, delightful and fun read that will keep
you up well past your bedtime." --Bestselling
author Linda Castillo
"TO LOVE, HONOR, AND DEFEND has it all: a
hero to die for, a heroine to cheer for, emotion that
will tug your heart and suspense that will have you
looking over your shoulder! With wonderful characters,
deep emotion, and page-turning suspense, Beth
Cornelison makes an unforgettable debut with
TO LOVE, HONOR, AND DEFEND." --
Intimate Moments Author Jenna Mills
"TO LOVE, HONOR,
AND DEFEND is a great read that will keep you turning
the pages. Cal is a fabulous hero with very real flaws,
and a heart-melting love for his little girl. Libby is
tough as nails on the outside, but so soft under her
facade. If you want a book that will keep you glued to
your seat, while your heart races, pick up Beth Cornelison's
TO LOVE, HONOR, AND DEFEND."
--Cathy Cody, Senior Editor,
"In her debut
novel, Beth Cornelison explores the many facets of
betrayal, the many faces of guilt and innocence, and a
world where nothing is black and white. Her portrayal of
this complex relationship goes well beyond the problem
of simple forgiveness, delving deep into the characters'
hearts so that they forge a new understanding that has
the reader truly believing this relationship can last.
As a bonus, the character of Cal's daughter, Ally, is
heartwarming and realistic. I even liked the cat. Four
Stars" --Karen Leabo,
Top 500 reviewer
emotional scenes between the main characters and the
ever present threats to the heroine, new author Beth
Cornelison has penned an engaging story. As the story
progresses, readers learn about the characters’
backgrounds, and why they have such powerful reactions
to certain situations. The suspenseful intrigue
surrounding the heroine and hero keeps escalating until
the shocking finale, which was much unexpected. TO LOVE,
HONOR AND DEFEND is a thrilling romantic story, where
emotions and suspense run high. Brace yourself
for an exciting rollercoaster ride. TO LOVE, HONOR
AND DEFEND is pure enjoyment. Pulsing with restless
energy, this Silhouette Intimate Moments is fast,
furious and thrilling."
-- Amelia Richard,
Cornelison has created an intriguing tale, one brimming
with several sub-plots. The author blended a
second-chance romance churning with turbulent emotions
together with a marriage of convenience, a stalker, a
brewing custody battle, a drug addicted ex-wife, an
injustice (at least to my way of thinking) and made it
work. Beautifully... All in all, TO LOVE, HONOR AND
DEFEND is extremely well done. If this story is any
indication, I can't wait to read more from Ms.
Romance Reader at Heart
author Cornelison has debuted with some great strength
in writing..." -- Thea Davis,
The Romance Reader
"Debut author Beth Cornelison couldn't have
written a better first book. It had all the
ingredients for a fast paced exciting read. It was
practically a one sitting read for me. I enjoyed
this debut book so much that I know I for one will be
looking forward to more books from Beth Cornelison. I
eagerly look forward to what else is in store from this
fabulous author." --Kathy Boswell,
The Best Reviews
"Cornelison sustains tension and suspense, and
her dialogue is believable. Her characters live with
the consequences of poor decisions, whether their own or
those of others. The love scenes are somewhat explicit.
Alternating points of view allow the reader to see into
the thoughts and emotions of each of the main characters
– and the misunderstandings and false assumptions caused
by their pasts. The themes of redemption, forgiveness,
and second chances are woven throughout the book."
The Road to Romance
Libby's face, already pale with fright, blanched a
shade whiter. Cal frowned and eased his grip on her arm.
Something had her spooked. Badly. She'd bolted through
the door from the stairs like she had the hounds of hell
on her heels. "Are you all right, Lib?"
The bedroom-brown eyes he remembered were now bright
with fear and glanced nervously around the empty parking
garage. But was she looking for someone to help her or
searching for whatever demon had her racing for her car?
The idea that she could be afraid of him gnawed his gut.
No matter how much he hated what she'd done to his life,
the years she'd stolen from him, the job he'd lost, he
wasn't the kind of man who'd harm a woman. In all the
months they’d spent together, hadn't she at least
learned that about him?
"Mmmr wwrm," she mumbled from under his hand.
His scowl deepened, and he nailed her with a no-nonsense
glare. "I'll let go of your mouth if you promise not to
scream again. That last screech busted my ears."
Her dark eyes flashed indignantly.
Oh yes, he remembered her stubborn pride. A steel will
ran through her, equal to her passion. And compassion.
He needed to reach her tender heart and her inordinate
sense of responsibility today. She was his last hope,
his only hope. Besides, she owed him.
Slowly he pulled his hand away, keeping a wary eye on
"How dare you scare me like that! What were you
thinking? You deserve a face full of pepper spray for
that stunt! Of all the--"
She swung at him.
But twenty-four months in prison had sharpened his
reflexes, taught him to be quick on his feet and have
eyes in the back of his head. He easily blocked her fist
and pinned her wrist to the car. "Whoa! Settle down.
What stunt are you talking about?"
She rolled her eyes then turned an icy glare on him. "On
the stairs? The 'I'm gonna get you, *****' crack?
Following me, hiding from me, purposely freaking me
The stairs? He thought about the terror that had filled
her face when she burst through the garage door and ran
for her car. Unease jerked a knot in his gut. He cut a
sharp glance to the stairs then back to Libby. "Someone
followed you on the stairs? Did they hurt you?"
What had she said about a comment using the term
'*****'? His disquiet ratcheted up a notch.
She yanked her arm from his grip and righted her silk
blouse. The soft fabric clung to her curves and made no
secret of the feminine body beneath. "You're not funny.
What were you trying to prove?"
"It wasn't me."
"Yeah, right." As she moved to climb into her Camry, he
grabbed her arm and brought her dark eyes back to his.
She pressed her lips in a thin line of irritation.
"I've been over there in my truck waiting for you for
over an hour." With a hitch of his head, he directed her
gaze to his dilapidated Chevy.
Suspicion narrowed her eyes but soon gave way to the
pale shaken look she'd worn when he'd first approached
her. "You weren't just on the stairs? You swear?"
He snorted. "Not that my word has ever carried any
weight with you, but ... yeah. I swear." He felt the
shudder that raced through her, and his chest tightened.
Releasing her arm, he cast another look toward the
stairwell door. "Want me to go check it out? See if
anybody's in there?"
Stiffly, she shook her head and sank onto the front
seat. "I'm sure whoever was there is long gone now."
Her cheeks had regained most of their color. She pulled
her lips into a pinched frown and raised her chin. "If I
find out you're lying, I won't hesitate to have you
hauled in for harassing an officer of the court."
Clenching his teeth, he fought down the rise of bile
that rose in his throat. The last thing he needed was to
give his parole officer an excuse to send him back to
prison. "I thought you'd already done that. Isn't that
what the last two years of my life have been about? Your
revenge for my leaving you to marry Renee?"
Her eyes flickered with shock, and her lips parted in
protest. "I didn't–"
"Trust me, marriage to Renee was a punishment in itself.
Ally's the only good thing to come from that mistake."
Libby's expression softened a degree at the mention of
Ally. Maybe his mission wasn't a lost cause.
As quickly as the tenderness appeared, it dissipated,
replaced with hard-edged anger. "Your prison time had
nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the
fact that you attacked a man!"
"My actions were justified! Was I supposed to stand back
and let him beat the hell out of that woman?"
Libby threw her hands up and shook her head. She jabbed
a well-manicured finger in his chest and drilled him
with a stony glare. He remembered that stare from the
courtroom two years ago. Cold. Flat. Void of emotion.
"Save it. It's over, and I won't debate this with you."
She tried to close her door, and he blocked it. "Hang
on. There's something else we need to discuss."
With a trace of suspicion still coloring her expression,
she tipped her head. "What?"
Cal straightened and met her eyes. This was it.
Everything he cared about rode on convincing Libby to go
along with his plan. Drawing a deep breath, he plunged
in. "I need your help."
She scoffed. "My help? Why?"
He crouched down to her eye level. When he braced a hand
on the head rest by her cheek and leaned toward her, she
stiffened. He moved close enough to smell the subtle
musk scent of her perfume, close enough to feel her
breath on his face, close enough to hear the sexy catch
in her breath. His own pulse scrambled from the
Damn! She still affected him. Mesmerized him. Tortured
"Because the way I see it, you owe me."
She frowned and rolled her shoulders, clearly struggling
to keep her cool. "I don't owe you squat, Walters."
He tensed as if she’d kicked him in the teeth. He'd
expected this reaction from her, but that didn't make it
easier to take. Curling his fingers into fists, he
plowed on, struggling to rein his temper. It wouldn't
serve his cause to blow up at her now, put her on the
"Look me in the eye and tell me you didn't have anything
to do with your office’s hardball negotiation on my plea
agreement. Tell me that during my sentencing you didn’t
once think about how I hurt you when I married Renee."
Surprise flitted across her sculpted, heaven-sent face.
"Yeah," he whispered. "I know I hurt you. And I'm
She knit her brow and turned away, but not before he
glimpsed the pain in her eyes. Taking her chin in his
hand, he angled her face toward him, felt her tremble.
The wall of her defenses came up in her eyes. The cold,
blank prosecutor look returned. "What do you want, Cal?"
"I want my daughter. I want custody of Ally, but my
prison record and my being a single father work against
"You want me to take your case? Is that it? Sorry, I
don't do custody cases, but I'll be happy to recommend
"I have a lawyer."
She huffed. "Then why do you need me?"
"Respectability. Stability. Image."
Her face darkened. "I don't follow."
But the wary glint in her gaze said she did understand.
The fluttering pulse at her throat gave away her panic.
"Hear me out, Libby." He ran his thumb along the line of
her jaw, and heat flared in her eyes.
Good. He still affected her too. He tugged his mouth
sideways in a satisfied grin.
"You see, Renee's got a bum for a boyfriend and a new
drug habit. She's neglecting Ally. I want to make a home
for my daughter, a better one than the hellhole she
lives in now. You can help give me that edge."
She was already shaking her head. But he wouldn't take
no for an answer. Libby was his last chance.
"I want you to marry me, Lib. I need a wife."