This month I had the privilege of vacationing for four amazing days at my family’s lake house in northern Alabama. Here on the Gulf Coast, things still feel a bit like summer. Everything’s green and there’s some lingering humidity. Up north around the lake, however, the trees are changing from green to golden yellow to burnt orange and some autumn reds mixed in. There’s the scent of pine needles in the air. The water of the lake is calm and still with that gorgeous fall palette mirrored on the surface. There’s a bit of a nip to the air as well so it didn’t take long for me to break out the thermal shirt and sweatpants. All that was missing was a fire in the hearth and some hot cocoa. In the early mornings, wisps of white fog lingered on the surface of the water. Was it any wonder my creative juices were stirred? I came home with words and ideas flowing from my muse in abundance. And my first thought was, “Why haven’t I written another western romance?"
I’m not sure what cowboys have to do with autumn, but while we were up north we stopped by a western store. My father treated himself to an early birthday present with a pair of calfskin boots and was kind enough to buy me a pair of custom moccasins and a belt for my husband. While wandering around the store, I caught the western bug. Maybe it was the cardboard cutout of John Wayne or the clever signs on the wall that said things like “Coffee. Chocolate. Cowboys. Some Things Are Better Rich.” There was even an old saloon piano and a bench made out of an authentic covered wagon seat and wheels. It reminded me of everything I love about the west and writing western romance.
Recently, my western romance trilogy went from ebook to audio book collection. Since LASR readers have embraced these books and characters, I thought I’d bring it back with an excerpt from Book II, BLUEST HEART! Enjoy!
“I’d buy you a drink,” Casey drawled, “but I know you don’t.”
Josie raised a brow, tilted her head. “You remember that?”
“I remember,” he said significantly.
A shiver raced up her spine, though he hadn’t said the words in a sensual way. He’d said it in a fond, twinkle-in-the-eye kind of way that wiped all the sense clean out of her head. Glad when Rita Mae called her name, she turned and took the bottle of water Rita handed over the bar. “Thanks,” she said absently, quickly unscrewing the top and tipping the bottle up for a long drink. Whiskey probably would’ve done a hell of a better job snapping her out of Casey’s reverie. Too bad she didn’t drink. It was just too damn bad.
When she didn’t say anything, he spoke up, glancing at the empty stage. “You doing any more singing tonight?”
She shook her head, twisting the top back on. “I’m done.”
“That was a sweet song you sang for Judd,” he commented.
She lifted a shoulder. “We all go way back. And I’ll miss him.”
“He’s getting married,” he told her, “not dying.”
She shook her head. “You wouldn’t understand.”
He blew out a frustrated breath. “I’m tired of everybody acting like marriage is a death sentence. It isn’t a bad idea, settling down.”
“Not for you,” she pointed out. “Some of us just aren’t the marrying kind.”
“How do you know?” he challenged.
She looked away from his piercing stare. “Just trust me, all right?”
He must’ve seen how uncomfortable she was. Setting his finished beer on the counter, he leaned close again, his shoulder brushing hers and asked, “You want to go for a drive?”
She looked into that breathtaking blue stare. “You want to take a drive? With me?”
“That’s right,” he confirmed, gaze flickering down over her lips.
Pressing them together hard to keep from gaping, she couldn’t look away from him to collect any semblance of reason. “Fine,” she said after a moment.
He grinned, reaching into his pocket for his wallet. “Good.”
Today I’ll be giving away an audio edition of BLUEST HEART to one lucky commenter! All you have to do is answer the following question: What is your favorite thing about western romance? That’s it! Thanks to Marianne and Judy for letting me share today! Now readers, sound off!
Amber Leigh Williams is a multi-published romance author, a member of Romance Writers of America, former Secretary of her local RWA chapter, and a reviewer for The Season. Her first western romance, BLACKEST HEART, is a 1st Place More Than Magic Novella and her historical romance, FOREVER AMORE, was nominated for Best Book of 2009 by Long and Short Reviews. She is represented by D4EO Literary Agency and lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband and three labs. Learn more about her books at her website: http://www.amberleighwilliams.com/.