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Book 1 in Amity's Lassiter's first book in a new sweet western heat series!

Ren Maddock wouldn't call herself a runaway, but when she's backed into a corner by a childhood she'd rather forget, she's chosen flight every time. With her teenage sister in tow, Ren picks Three Rivers, Colorado and hopes that it will provide them with the quiet, simple life she's been looking for. She doesn't expect responding to a job ad will have her suddenly wanting to break her only hard and fast rule: never lay down roots.

Dane Baylor already has his hands full running the family cattle operation when a tragic accident leaves him as his young nephew's legal guardian. Before long, he finds himself over his head and desperate not to betray the trust his brother put in him. He doesn't know how badly he needs Ren until she shows up and balances out not only his life but his heart.

For the first time in years, Ren feels safe, and despite her best efforts, believing in the happy life she could have with the man who offers her the love she's never known. But when her past comes knocking, threatening her new family and her new life, she may have no choice but to fight for everything she holds dear.

RUNAWAY HEART (Dane Baylor & Ren Maddock)
HOMECOMING HEART (Noah Baylor & Emma Pierce)
SECONDHAND HEART (Finn Baylor & Lily Jacobs)

Hearts of Three Rivers is a series with recurring characters throughout, however, each book may be read as a standalone or out of order with ease. Runaway Heart is a contemporary 'sweet Western heat' novel -- including cursing and open door bedroom scenes, but little frank language.

233 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 21, 2014

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About the author

Amity Lassiter

12 books67 followers
Amity Lassiter lives in Eastern Canada with her herding dog, her barn cat, two horses and her Mister. She has loved telling stories her entire life and even before she could write could be found in her grandmother’s basement, reciting fiction into an ancient cassette recorder.

The most influential author in Amity’s life would be Peter S. Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn, who introduced her to her first achingly impossible love story and made her believe in magic. She met, and shared the most surreal small talk with Beagle in May 2014.

She loves critters, coffee, and cowboys – and she still believes in unicorns.

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5 stars
481 (36%)
4 stars
427 (32%)
3 stars
300 (22%)
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75 (5%)
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22 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 110 reviews
Profile Image for Jennifer.
2,417 reviews73 followers
November 27, 2019
ARC received for review

Dane and Ren are great together, but at times a little boring that I skipped pages to get to good stuff. The ending wasn't that great...we're together and done. There was no resolution to the drama with her mom.
August 7, 2016
3.5 stars
I liked but I didn't love it. Too sweet for my taste I needed a little bit of spice. Lol
No OW/OM drama there's a woman who said that she went out with the H once but nothing came out of it and she asked the h to put in a word for her but that's it so I wouldn't call it ow drama.
Profile Image for Joan.
2,196 reviews
November 11, 2017
Incompetent people who are really tstl, let alone take responsibility for a child.

My status updates:
I'm starting Runaway Heart: Found this lurking in my ‘to read’ collection and decided to give it a try. A mish-mash of unexplained characters, an assortment of men who are incapable of looking after a child properly, a guy who interviews a woman for a child-care job without asking what experience she has and without even telling her anything about said child. Meh. Life is too short to read crapola

DNF'd early on.
Profile Image for Ruby's Book reviews.
74 reviews12 followers
September 19, 2014
***I was giving an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion***

I really enjoyed the story of Ren and Dane. It was very heartwarming and sweet. I mean who wouldn't love a sexy cowboy who is raising his nephew, who just wants to love and protect not just you, but you sister too. Dane officially melted my heart.

I loved the extend Baylor family too. After suffering some pretty heavy losses, they welcome Ren and Kerri with open arms. When trouble comes for them, Dane stands by Ren and supports her thru it. He wants nothing more than to make Ren and Krissy part of his permanent family.

I liked that the story had both his and her's point of views. It also touches on the brothers stories, I hope to read more about them.

I would definitely recommend reading this book. I can't wait to continue reading this series.
Profile Image for Mimi.
930 reviews44 followers
July 7, 2017
Even though this story was a sugar cake with too much frosting (a.i. way too sweet), I kept gobbeling it up. Because at it's heart, it was a good story.

A few things bothered me a bit, though. One was that, at quite a few times, it was repetative. We as readers would receive background information about a character, only to read the same thing a page or so further.
The thing that bugged me the most was the insta-family. I believe in love at first site. And I believe a 'patchwork family' can develop really quickly. But do you let your kid run up to strangers (as in you've met her an hour ago for the first time) and hug them? Me neither. You can take chances with your own heart, but you don't take chances when it comes to family.

Apart from those to things (and one of it really is just personal preference), it was an enjoyable, sweet story.
Profile Image for Holly.
130 reviews20 followers
August 21, 2014
I got an advance copy of this because I have CONNECTIONS. I had to read it on my iPad which was a horrible hell for me, but whatever, you don't get an advance copy of a book every day so I can deal.

So I am not normally a reader of romances, as I think we all know, but occasionally I like a little mindless ridiculousness, and as far as romance novels go, this one was excellent. Normally when I read a romance it goes like this:
1. Read the first ten pages
2. Skip ten or twelve pages to get to when the dudes meet
2. Read all the bits where they are *about* to have sex
3. Be incredibly disappointed by sex scenes
4. Get bored with the plot
5. Skip to the end so I know what happened

This book went more like this:
1. Read the first ten pages
2. Read the next bunch because the first ten were enjoyable and I actually kind of cared what was going to happen
3. Read all the bits where they are *about* to have sex
4. Feel weird about how not disappointed I was by the sex scenes
5. Be like "Ohhh man, are they gonna get together!?!?! But reasons, though!?!?!!"
6. Care about how everyone ends up, even the not-sex-related bits!
7. Read the whole rest of it, even!

So as you can see there were two extra steps in there. I needed a step to feel weird about sex scenes that your friend writes, and another step because not the whole book was about sex which is usually annoying. Maybe I have just been reading terrible romance books?

Important Side note: I really liked the overall feminist tone the book took (people asking for consent, and not referring to women as objects!) that in no way detracted from the silly romance of it all. That was lovely.

I will probably (definitely) read the next one of these for sure.

Profile Image for Heather andrews.
9,520 reviews151 followers
September 11, 2014
I loved this book it was so heartwarming and cute. Dane he's such a gentleman, "trust me, there isn't much I want to do more than lay you out in the bed of this truck and make love to you until the sun comes up. But this isn't the place, and you need time." The boy sure knows how to exhaust himself, "with his eyes closed, he grumbled again but released her. "Fine. But you should know the only reason I'm letting you go is because I'm too tired to fight you. Find yourself here again and you might not be so lucky next time." He also can be a jealous man and it's so hot, "Ren, I..." He stopped, choosing his words carefully. "I saw red when I saw Jimmy touching you. I want to be the only one whose touch you welcome. I want to be the one you come to when you need anything. Nobody has ever made me feel the things you make me feel." I can't wait for the other boys to get a story.
September 11, 2014
Albeit a short read, I was fast approaching a new obsession come the second chapter. I have never been one for Cowboy Romance and couldn't tell you which side of a horse to climb on but *cough* HO-LAY that southern country charm and respectable gentleman, Dane, quickly changed my mind. Easy read with an emotional rollarcoaster for a plot. Definitely a good read for anyone looking to pass a couple hours ensconced in a book. Rated 5 out of 5 for the fact that I was caught reading it during a wedding rehearsal as a bridesmaid and then again at the wedding reception.
Would I read it again? Definitely! Am I dying to read the next installment. Totally!
Profile Image for Diaries of 2 Thick Chicks.
181 reviews16 followers
September 21, 2014
Runaway Heart is the debut book by new author Amita Lassiter and for me she nailed it! I was instantly drawn into the story and instantly found myself reading it straight through. Lassister does an excellent job developing the individual characters while building a strong desire to see Ren and her sister Kerri finally experience what it's like to have a home and a family.

Ren Maddock hasn't known love, peace and acceptance since her father passed away a long time ago. After years of her mother's abuse, both physical and emotional, Ren decides it's time for her to leave home. Loving and caring for her younger sister Kerri has become second nature for her so she moves out but remains close so that she can check on Kerri as often as possible. When Ren and Kerri's mother Anita goes too far one night, Ren decides the best thing for her and Kerri is for her to take her sister and leave. That was four years ago, and the two have been on the run since. Making the decision to try to find roots and settle down to give Kerri the stability she needs, Ren moves the two across the country to the small town of Three Rivers.

Dane Baylor was content to live his life having fun, not committing to any woman, and running his family cattle ranch until tragedy causes him to become a responsible adult. Name guardian of his young nephew Gage, Dane has been struggling to balance parenting a young boy while running the ranch. When Gage falls and breaks his arm while Dane was working, he's forced to admit that he needs help. Hiring Ren at first sight was pure instinct but figuring out how to keep his hands off her will take iron will.

For more of our reviews: http://diariesof2thickchicks.blogspot...

I loved that the romance between Dane and Ren was a slow build even though the two had an instant attraction. Dane was caring, gentle and patient....all things Ren needed after the last 4 years of her life. Even more, I loved the strong sense of family the Baylor's offered Ren and Kerri. Having never known what it's like to have a mother, both Ren and Kerri needed the nurturing spirit that came from Ella.

Runaway Heart is a sweet and sultry read that plucked my heart strings throughout. It was nice to read a book where the drama was low and at the heart the book was what romance is all about. Two people finding one another in impossible situations. I'm giving this one 4 Sizzling Keys! Oh and I'm totally adding Amity Lassiter to my follow list on Goodreads so that I can grab a hold of Homecoming Heart which releases sometime in November!
Profile Image for Anne.
275 reviews6 followers
May 26, 2015
I grabbed this for free recently and am glad I took the time to read it not just shelve it. I enjoyed this heartwarming, classic romance. It was a fast read that kept me engaged. It was nice to see from that start that Ren took her responsibility more seriously then anything else. In spite of her horrible past, or maybe becasue of it, she had a strong work ethic and morals she tried to live by. And who wouldn't want a Dane in their life. A strong, loyal rancher who puts his family before enything else. He proves this beyond a doubt When his whole life is upended due to a family tragedy.The chemitry between these two strong, loyal people was nicely done. I appreciated that things grew slowly even though they were both aware of the attraction immediately. Dane's instatnt protectiveness was what Ren and Kerri both needed to feel secure. I also have to so I love the entire Baylor family.

The one thing I found hard to believe -

I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Anna Chastain.
Author 5 books56 followers
September 27, 2014
Runaway Heart has a very classically romantic feel to it that I enjoyed very much. In this story we meet Ren Maddock, a girl in a tight spot, and Dane Baylor, a man in a similarly tight spot. Both Ren and Dane are raising a younger sibling, though for very different reasons. I liked the back stories of the characters and I enjoyed meeting the Baylor clan. Both left me looking forward to a continuing thread of family stories in future books. The setting was peaceful and it was easy to see why a family would settle in a place like Three Rivers and never want to leave. And though I'm not typically a cowboy girl, Dane is the type to sway me without much of a hardship. Also, Amity Lassiter picks great names for characters. A fun, sweet, enjoyable read; the perfect escape.
**I received a copy for review from the author**
Profile Image for Christine.
273 reviews8 followers
August 28, 2014
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed reading this - it was a nice short story. The writing was reasonably good, the plot flowed easily and kept you engaged throughout. The setting and characters were good and I'm sure we will read more about the other Baylor brothers in the future.
12 reviews
September 22, 2014
Awww, such a great read. Dane Baylor, our hero, is a super tough, hardworking cowboy (yum!), but he isn't a jerk or bad boy who treats the heroine like crap--that we're then supposed to be believe miraculously changes (although that can be fun too, lol). He's kind and considerate and ridiculously easy to fall in love with. :) I rooted for Ren, our heroine, the whole way. Can't wait for Book 2!
Profile Image for Angie.
2,135 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2017
This was a really interesting book about Dane and Ren. Neither have had an easy life and they are both hoping that things will change for them. Things seem to be going good until Ren's mom shows up. Dane really sticks with Ren and it was really sweet. Good book!
Profile Image for Jane Tims.
Author 11 books
June 10, 2019
A story of love and family

I read this in one sitting, wanting to read the story again before I enjoy the rest of the series. The characters are loveable and the point of view is flawless. The setting takes you in and makes you wish you were part of the rangeland community. To read this book is to be drawn into a love story with lots of satisfying moments along the way!
Profile Image for Linda.
887 reviews83 followers
November 25, 2014
Arc graciously provided by author for an honest review?

Sweet Romantic story!

Ren Maddock and her little sister Krissy find themselves in Three Rivers starting over again,trying to stay one step ahead of there mother, this has become the norm for several years.
New to Three Rivers , employment is a necessity and an add posted at the laundromat turns out to be life changing.

" Homemaker wanted, room and board provided."

A perfect job for Ren , it will allow her to save more money, for the next time Krissy and her have to run.

Dane Baylor, has taken over the family ranch from his parents and after a horrible tragedy the responsibility of raising his five year nephew Gage, but after Gage gets hurt Dane finally cedes that he needs help, raising a five year old and running a ranch b himself is just not working anymore. Ren Maddock answering his add so quickly is a gift, she is perfect , Gage likes her and she is good with him , but keeping his hands of her is going to be a challenge, he finds her incredibly attarctive.
The attraction between these two is not one sided and as this sweet stir progresses their relationship morphs to more than employer and employee and they share some low ly romantic moments keeping everything secret from the kids and family, well almost.
Dane's possessiveness does cause pretty much the whole town to figure out their is more going on, but they manage to keep from Gage and Krissy , well as mucha as you can from a teenager who is not blind.
The story culminates when trouble comes for Ren and Krissy in the form of their unstable mother , and draws Dane in when that danger touches not only Krissy but Gage also and Dane is determined not to let anyone or Anything hurt what he considers his little family and Ren and Krissy are his!

Wonderful read, paced well and hard to put down, the whole Baylor family is delightful and not only s Dane such a wonderful gentleman Cowboy , well hot too his brothers are going to be some great reads too! Looking foward to more!
3,580 reviews6 followers
June 23, 2018
Sweet read

Sweet little romance with a little bit of sexy thrown in. Nice storyline and nice country feel to it. Good versus bad.
Profile Image for Two Ordinary.
201 reviews28 followers
March 9, 2015
Runaway Heart (Hearts of Three Rivers Book 1) by Amity Lassiter

Reviewed by Klaire Sutherland for Two Ordinary Girls and Their Books
4 Stars

Well, what a sweet read that was with a little suspense and hot stuff thrown in. It was a good read for me but not a blow away read, hence the 4 star rating. It felt like an easy Sunday read, didn't twist me all up in knots or have me trying to figure out riddles. I'd suggest relaxing in a nice comfy chair with a cuppa and blocking out your surroundings for a couple of hours. I always enjoy stories with cowboys and this was no exception. They always seem to melt your heart with their charm and kindness. Dane really is that tough cowboy with the heart of gold. Not a womanising man in any way but when Ren walks in his front door he only has eyes for her. She's running, has been for years but upon finding Dane and his nephew Gage she has that impulsion to finally stay. Yes they get down to it pretty quickly but I really don't mind these insta-love stories (I mean how could I when my own was like that). There's some suspense in here, what Ren is running from but it doesn't overtake the story, it's not in your face, trying to guess what is going on all the time either. It's pretty much a straightforward story but an extremely pleasant one. Both main characters are a little bit broken, Dane's family has endured so much tragedy, but you get this overwhelming feeling of family in this book and that I very much liked. You can feel the emotions from those bonds in the story. Writing style was good and flowed really easy, character development steered in the right direction and there was plenty enough going on so that it didn't make it a stagnant read. I read from start to finish with only one break and I didn't bore or skip so in my opinion it's definitely worth that read.

Profile Image for Mary Jo.
2,376 reviews52 followers
September 15, 2014
Sigh … Dean will sweep you off your feet. The rancher with a great work ethic who is loyal and loving to his family. When his younger brother and his wife dies, he is named guardian for his 2 year old nephew and he won't let down his brother. Two years later he finds that parenting and running a ranch are usually at odds which forces him to realize he needs live in help to take care of Gage. Ren and her sister, Kerry are all each other has as they run from an abusive mother, that doesn't want to let them go, so every few weeks they have to change towns but then they landed in Three Rivers and a job posting at the Laundromat may be the answer to their prayers. When Ren meets Dean you can feel the chemistry as these two strong-willed and fiercely independent individuals have to realize that they both need help. The biggest test is really for Ren, will she be able to reveal her story to Dean about her sister? When trouble arrives, will she fight the need to run and stay with the new family she has found? I loved the entire Baylor family and how they support and love each other unconditionally. Looking forward to experiencing the other brother's stories!

I received a copy from the author for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kimberly Updike.
19 reviews
September 28, 2014
ARC copy given by author in exchange for an honest review.
Ren Maddock and her sister Krissy have run to the small town of Three Rivers looking to hide out form their mother.
Ren is looking to make some money to survive and to help the two run once again when their abusive and unstable mother tracks them down again as she always does.
Ren sees an ad when she is doing laundry with Krissy for a homemaker with room and board.

Thus begins the journey of Ren who meets her new boss Dane Baylor who owns and operates the families’ horse ranch. The Baylor’s have seen tragedy losing a son and his wife and leaving their son Gage to be raised by Dane who is out of his element with a young boy to raise.
The story is a heat-felt romance where Dane falls for the beautiful homemaker who gives the large farm home life and gives love to Gage. The four become a family that Dane did not think he needed at the ranch.

Ren who falls also for Dane is afraid of when her mother finds both her and Krissy and having to run again and leave both Gage and Dane.
I loved this story so real and honest. I cannot wait for the next book and I can only hope they will all be this great!
Profile Image for Jo - •.★Reading Is My Bliss★.•.
2,405 reviews207 followers
January 17, 2015
This was the perfect weekend read for me.

Ren has been on the run with her teenage sister Kerri for the last four years. Ren took Kerri away from their childhood home after years of abuse at the hands of their mother. They haven't crossed paths in all in time because Ren makes sure they don't stay too long in one place.

When Ren answers an ad for a live in housekeeper, she thinks she may have found the perfect job. Dane Baylor is happy to open his house up to both Ren and her sister Kerri. Dane has been raising his 5 year old nephew, Gage, after the death of Gage's parents. Gage quickly worms his way into Ren & Kerri's hearts.

Dane is completely taken with Ren, she is beautiful, strong and everything he could ever wish for in a woman. Ren feels the same way about Dane and these two are so cute together. I love how they slowly fall sweetly in love with each other.

Ren knows better than anyone that dreams can't last, when her past comes along with a big pin and bursts her perfect world bubble she realises that not everyone gets a happy ending.

This was a really sweet read :)
Profile Image for Lisa.
369 reviews17 followers
December 22, 2014
You can find more reviews Mademoisellesnow Blog

Dane would sweep you off your feet. He’s a rancher with great work ethic who’s loyal to his family. He takes on the guardian responsibility when his younger brother and his wife tragically die leaving him with their son. This is when he hires Ren who has her own tragic past which, she and her sister is running away from. This has a classical romance feeling to the story that I enjoyed very much. I loved meeting the Baylor clan and would like to know more about the family. I’d be interested in knowing their stories too in Amity’s other books.

I loved the characters in this book. Ren was self-sufficient and she had her own morals and has sacrificed so much for her baby sister. I loved the picture of how the author painted Three Rivers and the friendly people there. It made me wish that I could live there or at least meet everyone that does. It was a brilliant combination of trouble and romance.
Profile Image for Babs.
Author 17 books188 followers
December 10, 2014
I adored this book. Ren has been taking care of his sister Kerry for four years. They have been staying a step ahead of their mother. Ren moves them to Three Rivers and has taken up a job with Dane Baylor to help take care of his five year old nephew Gage. The moment Ren see Dane she is attacked to him but knows to keep her distance in case she has to pick up again and leave. Kerry has taken up with Gage as a big sister and has come out of her shell a bit.

The story between Ren and Dane is remarkable they help each other and Ren knows what a real family is like and what love really is.

The author does a great job in the characters as they work well together and the scenes are even better. The rides out on the ranch can transport your there. You feel like you are in the story.

I look forward to reading the other books in this series.
Profile Image for Ren.
608 reviews4 followers
May 3, 2015
Even though it was pretty much obvious from the start that Ren was going to win her man - Dane the rancher, it never once felt like the story was contrived to make a HEA at the expense of the plot. I enjoyed the fact that both main characters were in charge of younger children, and their reasons for it.

Ren was a strong woman with a definite work ethic and I also loved that she wasn't some itsy-bitsy 5 foot size zero. I know plenty of women are but there seems to be too much of an emphasis on tiny heroines and it's great to see a more statuesque girl getting her time in print.

I'll be honest, I picked up this book because it was free at the time, but on the strength of how much I enjoyed it, I think I'll certainly be buying the next in the series.

Profile Image for KimmE.
908 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2016
3 and 1/2 stars. FINALLY! A book about living on a ranch in which the characters actually SOUND like they live on a ranch! It wasn't horse-heavy, but you at least could tell that the author actually spent time around horses. The writing was good, and I liked the characters. The author was really successful in expressing the sexual tension and the warm fuzzies that come with small, innocent touches. I think that I would have liked this book more if the rising action didn't center around - it was a 4 or 5 star book in the making, but they lost me a little after the first half.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
204 reviews3 followers
August 12, 2014
I may be a little prejudiced as this book was written by my friend, but I really enjoyed it! I don't normally read ranchy type romances, or any romances at all for that matter, but I was deeply concerned about the outcome of this one. The characters were very real to me and had real-life problems to work through. And I feel like Three Rivers, where the novel is set, would be an excellent place to visit or live.

1,097 reviews17 followers
September 21, 2014
This was a wonderfully sweet read. I'm in love with a couple Baylor boys now...with Dane leading that parade. Ren has been through so much trying to raise her younger sister and keep her safe. When she takes the job to help with Gage and the house, she doesn't realize how much she will want to put down roots this time. Dane is a wonderful man and has a fantastic family - something Ren isn't used to. She feels safe and protected on the ranch.

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.
205 reviews1 follower
July 3, 2015
Sweet story

There is so much to love about this love story yet it felt like there was something missing. I needed to skim through much of the self dialogue that seemed repetitive at times. Two thirds of the book I waiting for something, anything to happen other than everyday life on the ranch. This is a sweet, quick read I would recommend for reading around the pool on a lazy summer afternoon.
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