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To Chase a Dream

By Chandra Lynn Smith


Newly graduated Dr. Andrea Cobb has returned home to Lake Nolan to catch the dream she’s chased since childhood; becoming Lake Nolan Animal Hospital’s new associate. She and her Labrador Retriever, Jasper, move into the apartment above the boathouse on the edge of the lake.
Andrea’s first night on-call ends in an early morning emergency surgery. Stoked at the end of her first successful solo surgery she goes for a run on the lake trail. Off the trail, at the bottom of a ravine she discovers a wounded retriever. When her efforts to save the animal end with her own tumble down the mountainside, she enlists the help of a stranger at the overlook to take her and the dog to the animal hospital.
Nathan Sykes, a newcomer to Lake Nolan, is on his way home from a day of painting when he witnesses the young woman tumble down the incline. He answers her call for help and transports the wounded dog and attractive veterinarian to the animal hospital.
The chance meeting on a lonely mountain road changes the lives of the veterinarian and the artist. Past hurts, current fears, and missing dogs work to interfere with their budding friendship. Can they help solve the mystery of their community’s missing dogs? Will they trust the possibilities of new dreams or allow them to fade with the waning moon?
Book Two of the Lake Nolan Summers Series takes the readers back to the peaceful lake community in southern West Virginia for more romance, intrigue, inspiration, and dogs.

Book Takeaway:

When we stop chasing our dreams and trust the Creator of our dreams, He brings them to us.


Year Title Description
2015 ACFW Genesis Novella winner

Why the author wrote this book:

I love creating locations for my novels almost as much as the characters. Lake Nolan is one of my favorites. I have always loved the mountains and lakes. One of my favorite activities when I was a little girl was swimming at a lake some friends owned. We called it Nolan’s Lake. At the young age of nine, I learned the joy of flying through the air as I leaped from the three meter dock. It’s only natural I would name my town Lake Nolan. If you do a search for Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee and Lake Stephens, Cheat Lake, and Summers Lake in West Virginia you will find images of my idea of Lake Nolan. Lake Nolan is fiction, but the beauty of West Virginia’s mountains and lakes is real. In the past eighteen years I’ve had many wonderful getaway weekends visiting my dear friends in West Virginia. The picnics and hikes at Kanawha Falls, New River Gorge, Gauley Bridge, Cathedral Falls, Hawk’s Nest State Park, Chief Logan State Park, and swimming at Lake Stephens inspire the location for the Lake Nolan Summers series.

Rachel’s’ Gift, the organization Trudy references as she helps Andrea through her loss, is a wonderful organization. I became one of their blanket makers during 2020. The organization was referenced in this novel with permission from Lori Beth Blaney, the director of Rachel’s Gift. From Lori Beth; “No parent should suffer the loss of a baby alone. We are devoted to validating each child’s life. Our purpose is to lend guidance on the path to healing.” ~Rachel’s Gift

Since 2008, Rachel’s Gift has collaborated with hospitals to provide specialized care for parents who lose a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. At the time of crisis, their bereavement care and services help to lesson trauma and long-term regrets and reduce psychological damage.
They provide educational training to caregivers along with keepsakes and follow up support to families, all of which is funded by generous donations from the communities they serve. To learn more, please visit

I started brainstorming this story in 2006. A number of mysterious Labrador disappearances locally kicked my imagination into gear. The following year, NFL football player, Michael Vick’s conviction for dog fighting spurred my imagination even further. It took years to research and write this book. During the research process I often sat at my desk crying. Then I would go and love on my own dogs and the dogs I was training. Dog Fighting is now a felony in all fifty states; it actually wasn’t at the time I began this novel. I offer many thanks to The National Humane Society for their tireless work to put an end to this most horrid type of animal abuse. I also wish to thank every undercover agent who suffered the horrors of being present at fights in order to shut them down.


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