Countdown to Healing a Heart

Guess what? We’re just a little over two weeks till the release of Healing a Heart! Can you tell I’m excited? Excited is a mild word. I’m downright giddy!healing-a-heart-meme-for-website

I grew up with a love of cowboys and all things Western. So I guess it only makes sense that I would want to write books about them too. To me, there’s something inherently special about a cowboy hero. And Jake Langston is no exception.

Jake is Seth’s brother (Loving a Lawman). Jake is the second oldest in the Langston family and runs the family ranch in the absence of Mav, the oldest.

Jake has had a rough spell, beginning with the death of his wife in childbirth and continuing on as he does his best to raise his daughter with the help of his family, namely his mother and grandmother. And he has no intentions of ever getting married again. Ever.

Then a one night stand turns his life upside down.

Even the mighty fall.

Now Jake is torn between his vows to himself and his responsibilities to this new child entering his life. But Bryn Talbot, the mother, is unlike any woman he’s ever met, and Jake finds himself thinking about more than visitation rights and financial support.

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Bryn looked out over the pool to the ranch beyond. The buildings and other fenced areas created an L around the property, and she wondered what they were all used for. She had no idea the ranch would be this . . . sprawling. But it seemed as if that was the measure of Texas. Sprawling.

Even the table they had eaten at was a huge entity that seemed to go on for miles.

But it had been fun. She had worried about sitting at a table with a bunch of strangers. That was what they were to her, strangers. Even Jake.

And that was the weirdest part of all. They were having a baby and they didn’t know the first thing about each other. But come tomorrow, that was one thing they were going to have to work on. Just how did one go about getting to know the father of their child?

She moved a little further out onto the patio, staring up at the billion stars in the sky. Maybe it was because the land was so flat or maybe things really were bigger in Texas, but it seemed that there were twice the number of stars here than in Georgia.

She heard a clicking noise and looked to see Kota padding across the patio. She didn’t know a lot about dogs, but he seemed friendly enough. What was it Jake had said? As long as she didn’t break from the herd. She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but she could guess.

“Come here, doggy.” She lowered her voice and stooped over a bit, holding her hand out toward the pooch. He really was the craziest-colored dog she had ever seen. Mostly black, white, and gray with rusty patches thrown in for good measure. Kind of like a German shepherd that had been liberally flecked with bleach. She supposed he was some sort of herding dog, though she had no idea of the exact breed. Wait, weren’t they just called cow dogs?

Kota came closer, slowing and finally coming to a stop right in front of her. He sat on his haunches and stared up at her expectantly.

“You’re a good dog, right?” She hesitantly scratched him behind one ear.

He tilted his head to the side and she took that as a good sign.

“Yes, you are,” she said, gaining more confidence where he was concerned.

“Nice night.”

She nearly jumped out of her skin. Dog forgotten, she whirled around, hand pressed to her pounding heart. “Jake! You scared me!”

“I didn’t mean to.”

She lurched to the side and apparently Kota considered her breaking from the herd. He nipped at her heel, effectively keeping her in place.

“Ow,” she exclaimed more from surprise than pain.

Concern immediately took over Jake’s expression. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

She shook her head. “He just scared me a bit.”

Jake nodded, though he let out a high-pitched whistle. Kota immediately left Bryn to stand at his side, though she could tell Kota really wanted to make sure she behaved. Well, according to a cow dog’s standards anyway.

“What are you doing out here?” she asked.

“Same thing as you, I guess. Enjoying the evening.”

“Wesley in bed?”

“Finally.” He chuckled “She was pretty wound up at supper.”

“She’s a wonderful little girl.”

A silence fell between them, broken only by the sound of the night. There were no cars or horns. No sirens out here, just the low of the cows and the occasional bark as one of the other dogs heard something it didn’t like.

Kota’s ears stood up and he let out a small whine, but he never left Jake’s side.

“Go on,” Jake commanded.

The dog took off into the night.

She could hear the dogs barking, then things grew quiet once more.

“What are we going to do?” she quietly asked.

“Get married.”

She shook her head. “I can’t marry you.” Though her heart leapt at the prospect. Down, girl. He might be one of the most handsome men she had ever met and the fifteenth most eligible bachelor in the entire state, but she didn’t belong here. And he surely wouldn’t pick up and move to Georgia. So where did that leave them? “I guess we should talk about visitation and that sort of thing.” It sounded cold, like they were talking about something other than a living, breathing child. Something less.

“Why not? I have a good job, enough money to take care of you and the baby, and all my own teeth.”

“This is not why I told you about the baby.”

He took a step toward her. A menacing step, or was that a trick of the shadows where he stood? “Then why did you tell me, Bryn? You obviously don’t want money or a ring. So why come here and tell me when you have no intentions of letting me be a major part of the child’s life?”

“Maybe this was a mistake.”

“You think?” He took another step, this one bringing him close enough that she had to crane her head back to meet his cold green gaze.

“Not the baby.” She waved a hand around as if to dismiss that idea. “Coming here.”

“That’s what I’m talking about as well.”

She swallowed hard as he continued to tower over her.

“So why did you?”

“I don’t know,” she whispered in return.

Something changed between them, shifted, until the night seemed to hold something each one had been searching for but had never managed to find.

“Could it be you want to know if what we shared that night was real?”

“Of—of course it was real,” she sputtered. Deliberately obtuse was not her best look.

“You know what I mean.” He reached up a hand and brushed her hair back from her face. “I don’t remember the purple,” he murmured.

“Rick—my friend I was with that night—he thought it would be fun.”

“Does he always advise you?”

“Sometimes.” When had he gotten this close to her, and why had she only noticed now? It would take only a breath and he could swoop in and capture her lips with his own. Or maybe she should raise up on her toes and see if his kisses were as hot and sweet as she remembered.

And if they were? What then?

She wrenched herself from his embrace, only then realizing that somehow his arms had gotten wrapped around her.

“No.” The one word was breathless with anticipation and disappointment. “You can’t manipulate me this way. It’s not fair.” She backed away from him and fled to her room.

She could not fall under his spell again.

Healing a Heart will be available in paperback and ebook formats on February 7, 2017.

Hope you’ll check it out!

And I hope you’ll leave a comment. I’m giving away a signed copy of Healing a Heart (paperback version) to one luck commenter. Tell me, do you prefer paper or digital books? (I’m a paper girl myself.)

Thanks for reading!

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Reading Challenge 2017

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It’s that time again. A new year, the perfect time to set new goals, or even recommit to the ones from years before. I vow every year to lose weight, eat healthier, blog more consistently, and/or to not complain when I don’t get my way. Yeah, well…the best plain plans…

Anyway, one resolution that is easy to keep (at least easier) has to do with reading and books. Last year I posed a 10 book reading challenge. Now this isn’t a challenge like some. The point here is not to see how many books you can read in a year, but to stretch your reading legs and get out of your comfort zone a little. Try something new. That’s why there are only 10 challenge books. I couldn’t go the entire year without reading my favorite genre. And I don’t expect you to either. Just to push yourself out of your cozy spot 10 times this year and read something you might not normally read. I’ll be honest; there will be new books you love and new books you hate, but at least you’ll be able to say that you read something you might not have otherwise read.

Below is a list of 15 types of books to help you find new things to read. If you’d like to join me in this challenge, all you have to do is check in here once a month (the second Thursday of the month) and leave a comment. Let me know what you’ve been reading and where it falls on the list. Yes, there are 15 choices in a 10 book challenge. Pick your faves and start reading.

What am I reading right now? Well…I’m between books. But I’m about to start A Man Called Ove. I got it in a Christmas book exchange, and since it’s going to be made into a book soon, I’m calling it my #14.

I hope you’ll join in the challenge! Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog will be entered into a drawing to win a mystery book. And with any luck, it’ll be a book to help the winner read more and read differently in 2017.

Happy Reading!

Amy

Release Day: TITUS RETURNS

Finally! December 27th is here! And I’m so excited to announce that Titus Returns is now available! All online retail outlets should have it available, and it will be popping up in Walmart, the grocery stores, and maybe even Target this week.

Titus Returns is a touching story about one man’s attempt to start over.

After being released from prison, Titus Lambert returns to Wells Landing, unsure how to begin again. He just wants to move past all the pain he’s caused. Mandy, his once-upon-a-time girlfriend, has married another but wonders now if she made a mistake. And then there’s Abbie King. Her twin brother Alvin died in the car wreck that sent Titus to prison. Abbie’s family has suffered since the accident, and Titus longs to help. But he soon discovers that he’ll have to learn to forgive himself if he truly wants to begin again.

Titus Returns is the fifth book in the Wells Landing Series and features characters from past novels as well as a few from the Quilting Circle novellas.

I’m thrilled that I can share Titus Returns with you today! It’s a pleasure and a blessing.

Happy reading!

Amy

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Release Day: MORE THAN A PROMISE

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WELLS LANDING QUILTING CIRCLE NOVELLA 2 Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

promise pic 1At the heart of the Amish community of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, a women’s quilting circle rallies around a member who is suddenly alone, under unusual circumstances…
 
One of the only women in the quilting circle without children, Mariana Miller prayed to be blessed with a little one throughout fifteen years of marriage. But now, newly widowed, Mariana discovers she’s pregnant—with twins! How will she support herself and the babies, not to mention stay healthy when the doctor puts her on bed rest? As neighbors band together to help, Mariana is more grateful than ever for the Amish community. She especially looks forward to visits from Reuben Weisel, her late husband’s business partner and best friend. Reuben’s quiet strength comforts her—until he proposes marriage…
Honorable and loyal, there’s no doubt Reuben sincerely wants to provide for Mariana and the twins. Never married, he can now be a good husband and father. So long as the bishop approves, to wed him is a sensible choice—and an unexpected gift. But when Mariana discovers there is more behind Reuben’s proposal than she thought, their fragile agreement and fledgling love will be put to the test…

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Why Apple Pie?

If you’ve cruised around my website or even hung out with me on Facebook, you’ve probably heard me talk about apple pie. More specifically, that my books are ‘sweet as apple pie.’  And some of you out there are scratching your head and asking yourself, “What do romance novels and apple pie have in common?” Maybe more than you think.

What does Apple Pie mean?

sweet as apple pie meme 2016Apple pie is my explanation of how all my books tie together. So in a sense, apple pie is my voice. All my books whether they are cozy mysteries, Amish romances, or even wacky romantic comedies have the same tone.

What is Apple Pie?

When I say Apple Pie what’s the first thing that comes to mind? American, oh yeah. Warm absolutely. And sweet. You got it.

Once upon a time when talking about romance sweet meant without love scenes. But now, “clean” is taking sweet’s place as the description for a book that doesn’t contain sex. And although only about half of my books are ‘clean,’ they are all ‘sweet.’

What is sweet?

Ever been watching a movie and it’s hard to see because it all happens at night, in the rain and there’s a serial killer on the loose who’s chasing the babysitter at a lonely house on a cliff-side overlooking the ocean? Yeah, well, that’s not my books. That’s not Apple Pie.

I say sweet. Others use warm, heart-warming, cozy, but they all mean the same thing: the warm-fuzzies. My books make you say, “awhhh…” And that’s just the way I like it.

How do you know what’s right for you?

apple blog meme 2Welcome to the Apple Pie Rating System! When it comes to my books, you have three choices: Green Apples, Yellow Apples, and Red Apples.

Of all of these, Green Apples are the most straight forward. Green Apples are clean reads with a Christian world view. In a nutshell, they are inspirational.

Yellow Apples are a little trickier. These books contain no described love scenes. This means either the characters don’t have this type of relationship or it’s off camera, so to speak. These books can also contain a bit of innuendo and maybe a little pillow talk. So if this sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, maybe the Yellow Apples aren’t for you.

Red Apples. Ah, the Red Apples. Yes, it’s true. The Red Apple books contain detailed (or described) love scenes. But to leave it at that is a disservice to my stories and to you, the reader. I jokingly tell people that my books aren’t 50 Shades, but there is still a great deal of sensuality levels between my books and E.L. James.

In a world that keeps getting sexier and less shamed to ‘show it all,’ I pride myself in writing books (yes, even Red Apple Books) that aren’t so much about the physical relationship but the emotional one instead.

If you’re completely against love scenes in books, Red Apple Books aren’t for you. But I hope that the rest of you might give one of my sexier reads a try and see what they are all about.

Where should you start? Love Potion Me, Baby is my suggestion. It’s a shorter book, it contains one love scene, and it’s all wrapped up in a charming romantic comedy. Oh, and did I mention that it’s only $2.99? Hope you’ll give it a try!

Happy Reading!

Amy

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And don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog post for the drawing. I’m giving away a copy of one of my books at the end of the month. All you have to do it leave a comment.

Not sure what to say? Tell me your favorite color apple. And whether it is for eating or reading! :)

 

The New and Improved Yellow Apple Rating

I’ll be the first to admit that my writing across several genres and heat levels can present a bit of a problem for readers. Especially those readers who prefer one heat level over another. That’s why I came up with my Apple Rating System, to help readers navigate through the choppy waters of my website.

yellow apple meme for blogRed Apples and Green Apples are pretty straightforward. Red Apples are secular and sexy reads. There are open door love scenes between the main couple, who may or may not be married at the time. Green Apples are inspirational and have no love scenes. Most of my inspy books contain at least one good kiss but that’s where it ends.

And then there are the Yellow Apples.

After having some readers come to me after reading The Trouble with Millionaires (formerly a green apple) and Loving a Lawman (a definite red apple) I made some adjustments to the yellow apple definition.

Yellow Apples are now sweet, secular reads. This means a book like The Trouble with Millionaires which doesn’t contain love scenes (closed or open door) is now classified with a book like Take Me Back to Texas which in the sweet version has no described love scenes, only one that is implied.

Now is that as clear as mud?

Let me see if I can explain a wee bit better.

Red Apples contain love scenes, but also may contain a few curse words and sexy banter between the characters. (Just a note here…though these books contain sex, the descriptions and actual writing is very mild by today’s standards. My books aren’t about only the sexual relations between the main characters. It’s just one part of the story.)

Green Apples are inspirational and have a Christian world-view. And no sex.

Yellow Apples do not contain a detailed love scene, but may have sexy banter and a little bit of language.

Hope that clears things up for everyone. Most likely you’ll be seeing a few more Yellow Apples coming through. And as always, feel free to shoot me an email at amylillard918@gmail.com if you are confused about a title. I will do everything in my power to help you decide which of my books are right for you.

Thanks for reading!

Amy

 

Loving a Lawman is here!

At last…

Can you hear Etta James sing? I can! At last Loving a Lawman is on the bookstore shelves! This book was a long time coming and I’m so excited to be able to share it with you.

LOVING A LAWMAN 1 Amy Lillard romance author http://www.amylillardbooks.com #AmyLillardBooks

LAL bothSheriff Seth Langston is head over heels for local wild child Jessie McAllen and has been for years. The trouble is she has eyes only for Seth’s rodeo star brother, Chase. Even though he considers Jessie his girl, Chase is an incorrigible ladies’ man with a wandering eye and no chance of settling down soon.

Jessie is ready to move away from Cattle Creek to put her feelings for Chase behind her, but after she shares a white-hot kiss with Seth, things get a little complicated. Jessie realizes her heart should have been his all along. And in the face of sudden tragedy, they’ll discover if their newfound passion will tear the Langston men apart or make the family stronger than ever. . . .

Here’s a tiny peek at Loving a Lawman.

Jessie sat at the end of the building farthest from the door. Her breathing had returned to normal and her head was down as she contemplated only heaven knew what. Her hands were braced her on her knees, and her hat was pulled low over her eyes.

Seth didn’t need to see them. He knew what color they were, had memorized it long ago—storm-cloud gray and just as dangerous, with dark rings around their irises that made them look twice as big as they really were and sooty lashes that should have belonged to a brunette.

“Jessie?” he said softly. It was the voice he used when talking to frightened mares and skittish colts and red-haired angels who had fallen from grace.

She didn’t look up, just raised her arms out in front of her, wrists lax, hands dangling, anger spent. “I’ll go peacefully. Just get it over with, Seth. Handcuff me and take me to jail.”

Handcuff her.

Now, there was an image Seth could’ve lived without.

He swallowed hard.

Despite his brother’s tomcat morals, and the fact that he didn’t deserve . . .

Well, despite everything that Chase didn’t deserve, including the sassy redhead, Jessie was Chase’s girl. Always had been. Always would be.

“I just want to talk to you about what happened tonight.”

She dropped her hands back to her lap and shrugged. But he still couldn’t see her face, couldn’t read what was going on inside that pretty little head of hers.

Uh-hum . . . did he say pretty? He’d meant . . . well, he’d meant something else, that was all.

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Release Day–Just Plain Sadie

It’s here! Book 4 in the Wells Landing Series is available today!

The Amish of Wells Landing, Oklahoma, treasure their close-knit community, and the promise of their growing families. But one young woman is struggling to choose a future that is true to both her heart and her faith…

Everyone in Wells Landing has long expected Sadie Kauffman and Chris Flaud to marry–despite Sadie’s telling them differently. While she loves Chris, it is more as a friend than a husband. Yet at twenty-two, the plainest girl in her group, Sadie is also the only one who is still single. Perhaps it’s time to be practical and marry Chris–though he still has not asked. But when Sadie meets a kind, handsome Mennonite, it seems her prayers have been answered…

With Ezra Hein, Sadie at last feels the joy she nearly gave up on. Unfortunately, others only feel shock that she would consider marrying an outsider. To complicate matters, Chris has finally begun talking to Sadie about their future. Distressed, Sadie will have to search her heart to recognize God’s marvelous gifts to her–and find the courage to accept them, challenges and all…

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