Title: The Traveling Man (Traveling, #1)
Author: Jane Harvey – Berrick
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Aimee Anderson is ten when the traveling carnival first comes to her nice little town. She doesn’t expect her world to change so completely. But meeting Kestrel Donohue puts her life on a different path. Even though she only sees him for the two weeks of the year when he passes through her home town, his friendship is the most important of her life. As a child’s friendship grows to adult love, the choices become harder, and both Kes and Aimee realize that two weeks a year will never be enough.
This is a first Harvey-Berrick read and what a treat!
It’s such a charming emotional read, if that makes sense. A love story that spans time, a love story about second chances, a love story born out of innocence… sigh… The more I think about this, the more the emotions wash over me and make me appreciate the relationship and story more.
Part 1 completely captivated me, seeing the connection blossoming in time, feeling the same anticipation as Aimee did at every turn, aching just as much as Kes and Aimee, and breaking my heart just as much. Oh the innocence that only childhood can evoke…
Part 2 challenged me a bit, technically and emotionally. I disconnected a bit at their first reunion, not sure why. Then, my eyes glazed a bit with all that carnie details. This is all personal taste of course. But there is no denying the sweet (oh so sweet) emotions. As much as I want to simplify the decisions in my head, I can’t, because these decisions are life-altering in real life and for me to minimize the feelings, especially Aimee’s, it just didn’t feel right.
The last chapter completely hooked me in and gutted me, the crossroad that they need to pass…
“… Love doesn’t feed you or keep you warm – it withers and dies when you have to get practical.”
“But if you have all those things without love, what’s the point?”
Kes has only ever known carnival life, and not just that, it permeates his blood. His challenges meant a lifetime of insecurity yet, like Aimee described him, he’s just this amazing person. Kes has a lot of layers to him that can be explored some more. Aimee got Kes right from the start. Frankly, I don’t think she would’ve stood out too much in my head if not for her reaction towards Kes. But because of that, I do like her. Also, maybe because for me, she does represent “normal” so I get it. The secondary characters that surround Kes and Aimee are just as colorful to stand out in my head. And by secondary, I meant the other carnival folks (sorry, Aimee’s sister).
I was bemoaning about the cliffy ending to people in my Goodreads circle, so just be warned. I really don’t know how I did not see that coming. It says in the cover ‘Duet’. It says in the Goodreads title, ‘Traveling, #1’. Silly, silly woman!
Lastly, I just want to say that when I’m highlighting, if I’m highlighting at that, passages and quotes that sometimes do not even belong to the MCs, I know then that I’m reading someone’s words that resonate well with me…
“Do you know what I dream about? My dream would be to die looking at the lights on the Ferris wheel. When I get old, when my body has given up, that’s what I want to see. And in that dream, you’re standing next to me.”
I can’t seriously wait enough for The Traveling Woman!
Kes returned a minute later with Brian’s BMX. According to Jen, it had been her ex-husband’s early mid-life crisis gift to himself, but one that he hardly ever used.
Kes adjusted the seat to accommodate his longer legs, then left it resting against a tree. Then he levered off his boots and socks, and whipped off his t-shirt.
Every set of female eyes was focused on him, and I wasn’t the only one who had to reel in my tongue.
The whip-tight body he’d had as a teenager had morphed into something amazing. You could count every muscle of his abdomen, which I did twice, because I lost count the first time. The V-shaped ridge that disappeared into his low slung jeans was advertised by a line of dark hair pointing down from his navel. Then he stretched his arms above his head, making his muscles dance and ripple. When he rotated his hips, I wasn’t the only one having a hot flash.
Obviously these were his warm-up exercises, but honestly it was the closest thing I’d ever come to watching porn.
Jennifer seemed to agree.
“Holy shit!” she whispered. “To think that you’ve slept with that!”
“Believe me,” I hissed out of the corner of my mouth, “he was hot as a teenager, but now…”
I was lost for words, but I think Jen understood because she nodded, following his every movement from behind her sunglasses.
“He moves like a dancer,” she sighed. “It’s a waste having him covered up in leathers all the time when he’s riding his motorcycle.”
I had to agree.
Kes wandered over smiling. He looked happy and relaxed; very different from the tense, angry man I’d met again less than a week ago.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” he said. “Those kids look like a tough audience.”
I laughed. “Tell me about it. Sometimes third grade is more like crowd control than teaching.”
“I’ll need my assistant for this show,” he reminded me with a wink.
He held out his hand, and I could have sworn that I heard my sister sigh.
Kes strode to the center of her backyard and yelled out, “Who wants to see some magic!”
“Me!” all the kids screamed loudly.
One by one, he invited the kids to come and have coins and toys and carrot sticks appear out of their ears, out of their pockets, even out of their noses, which was really gross but funny to watch their shocked little faces. Then he did the same with the moms: conjuring up cell phones and wristwatches, and in one case a wedding ring. He winked as he passed it back to the astonished woman.
I had no idea that Kes had those skills, such magic in his hands. I wondered what else I didn’t know about him.
He started off juggling with a soccer ball and a football, telling jokes the whole time. I watched for his nod, then tossed him the watering can. Soon he was juggling four mismatched items, and then five, then six. The children’s mouths were open and their eyes bright with amazement. They all laughed when Kes tossed the watering can to me and I dropped it. Yes, let’s all laugh at the clumsy person.
After that, I was officially resigned as Kes’s assistant and the kids all took turns at throwing odd for things to him to juggle. He never missed once, even when their throws were nearer his knees than his chest.
By now, Kes was really sweating in the formidable summer sun. But instead of looking disgusting like anyone else would, it made his smooth skin gleam, and I couldn’t help following the drops of perspiration as they tracked down his broad chest, disappearing into that loose waistband.
Finally, he grabbed hold of Jen’s bicycle and started showing the kids wheelies and various balancing tricks. Of course, it was slower and less sensational than his stunt riding, but I think it connected with the kids better because they all rode bikes themselves. What they couldn’t do was somersault off them like Kes, or do handstands on the seat and over the handlebars. It was like watching an Olympic gymnast perform in your backyard. I had no idea he was so flexible—and my mind went straight to the gutter.
He finished with a flourish, cartwheeling off the bike, which brought a round of applause from the adults and whoops and cheers from the kids.
I hoped that none of them tried to copy him at home, or there would be an epidemic of broken bones in the neighborhood.
Then he flopped down on the grass and let the kids jump all over him. I bet some of the moms would have liked to jump all over him, as well.
“Oh my God!” gasped one mom, her hands fanning her face. “Does he do kids’ parties?”
“Forget that!” said her friend. “I want him for my party!”
I watched him playing with the kids, listening to each of them, making everyone feel special. I realized with a pang, but no sense of shock, that I was in danger of falling for him again—and there was no safety net for love.
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About the Author
I lived in London for over 10 years and have a love affair with New York. It's only since I have moved to the countryside, that the words have really begun to flow. I live in a small village by the ocean and walk my little dog, Pip, every day. It’s on those beachside walks that I have all my best ideas. Writing has become a way of life – and one that I love to share.
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