The Traveling Man by Jane Harvey-Berrick
Series: The Traveling Duet #1
Published by Harvey Berrick Publishing
Published on January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I was ordinary. Nice. He was extraordinary. And he wasn’t always nice.
Moody and difficult, brilliant and beautiful, Kes scared me and he protected me. He could be incredibly hurtful and incredibly thoughtful. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me. He challenged me, he took me out of my safe little box and showed me the world could be magnificent. He was everything I wasn’t.
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.
I gripped his biceps then pulled him closer, sliding my hands over his satiny skin.
The feel of his erection digging into my hip made me pause.
“We can’t,” I whispered.
“Why not?” he mumbled as his hand disappeared up my t-shirt.
“Because everyone saw us come in here—they’ll all know what we’re up to.”
“So! I’ve only just met them—it’s embarrassing!”
Kes chuckled. “No secrets between carnies, Aimee. We all live too close to each other for that. Cut one, we all bleed.”
“How sweet. But I don’t want my new family to know that we’re in here fucking, five minutes after I met them.”
“They won’t care,” he said, squeezing my nipples hard enough to make me gasp.
“I care,” I said, as my voice wobbled unconvincingly. “And there are kids out there, Kes! We can’t give them the wrong impression.”
This time he laughed loudly.
“I never knew you were such a prude!”
“I am not!”
“Jesus, Aimee! These are carnie kids. They live in trailers and RVs like us. They’ve heard their parents fucking a thousand times. They’ve seen the stallion take the mare when she’s in heat, and believe me, once you’ve seen that, every guy has performance anxiety.”
I laughed a little when he said that, but he wasn’t finished.
“Do you remember when we were kids and you asked me how I knew that Madame Cindy was Dono’s girlfriend? I heard them. I knew what sex was before I could say the word. These carnie kids are just like that. We’re not doing anything wrong, we’re not hurting anyone.”
His tone had started off light and amused, but had become more serious and insistent as he’d gone on.
“Maybe I am prudish,” I said quietly. “It was the way I was brought up. I just happen to think that making love is a private thing between two people: not a public display of your testosterone, unless you’re doing it to make that stallion blush.”
He sighed and shifted onto his back. “Did I imagine you rubbing my cock while we were laying in the field at the carnival when we were kids?”
I didn’t answer, but fiddled with the hem of my t-shirt.
“You want to wait until everyone has their backs turned, pretending that they don’t know what we’re doing in the privacy of our own home?”
He turned his head to smile at me. “My funny girl.”
I smiled back, and he reached out to wind his long fingers around mine. He brought my knuckles to his lips and kissed them one at a time.
It was the sweetest gesture, and I fell a little more under his spell.
Jane Harvey-Berrick proves once again why she is one of my favorite authors with this magical, sexy, unique love story. This book blew me away from start to finish!
The little man edged closer, his face inches from mine. “You’ve been sprinkled with fairy dust, missy. The carnival is in your blood now.
On Aimee’s 10th birthday all she wants is to go to the traveling carnival that has taken up residence across from her house. From her bedroom window she can she the Ferris wheel, rides, and games and much to her parents dislike, she wants nothing more than to experience something different.
“I was old enough to know that magic didn’t exist, and young enough to hope that I was wrong. I was sure that if magic belongs anywhere in the world, it was living and breathing right across the road in Mr. Peterson’s field.”
Unknowingly, this is the day that would change Aimee’s life forever. This is the day she meets Kes, a boy the same age as her who is “carnival royalty.” His grandfather runs everything and Kes and his older brother are performers in the main attraction. The day they meet, the pair sneaks off, Kes showing off many behind the scenes wonders to Aimee, who is completely enraptured from minute one.
Kes gave me his shy smile again and my heart was captured from that moment. I didn’t know it then; I didn’t understand what it meant, but whenever I looked at him, my skin felt warm, like my own personal sun was shining just for me.
So, every year for two weeks in the summer, Aimee and Kes are inseparable. What begins as a childhood friendship and innocent crush turned into a passionate first love as they grow into teens.
“I’ll come back next year.”
“I’ll wait for you.”
From the get go I had that excited, indescribable feeling while reading. Usually when I see characters as kids I just want it to hurry up so we can get to the “good stuff,” but that was definitely not the case here. It was ALL the good stuff. I absolutely adored seeing Aimee and Kes as children. Their interactions even as young as ten years old had me giddy with excitement, which only intensified as they grew into teens and began sneaking through bedroom windows to learn each other in more intimate ways. I cannot express how perfectly they are depicted as teenagers fumbling through those big moments, it was hilariously accurate, butterfly inducing, and so freaking addicting.
That sounded dangerous: trust the boy I saw for just two weeks a year with my fragile heart? I knew it was a mistake. Unfortunately it was one I’d already made years ago.
He reached out and brushed his thumb along my bottom lip.
“You’re my girl, Aimee. No one else.”
The way the story is told by Aimee, you can feel the sense of foreboding during their younger years. You know something is going to happen and it’s going to devastate them (and you by extension). This led to me having major anxiety for a large portion of this book. My heart was racing and I was just waiting for that moment to come. What happens, I believe is completely realistic for the plot and it leads to a time gap in the story that I think was needed considering their age when they fall in love.
I couldn’t imagine how he’d fit into a normal world. The thought made me shiver, because I couldn’t imagine how I’d fit into his world, either.
Now, I want to talk characters. Kes. He is one of the most interesting characters I have read about in a long time. He is gorgeous, wild and reckless, mischievous and rebellious, even as a kid and that definitely continues into adulthood. I found myself completely falling in love with something swoony/sweet he’d say but then he would go and do something that would shock me with how vicious or vindictive it was. I could never get a handle on his moodiness. He’s the type of guy that makes no apologies for who he is and doesn’t like to show any weakness. That’s what made the moments he does show some vulnerability, if even for a second, that much more powerful. There is still so much we don’t know about him and his past, but it’s clear things have always been rough. He has constantly been let down and trust is a huge issue for him.
“Kes will never be easy, and the person who loves him won’t have it easy. But if he loves you back, it’ll be worth it, because he’ll love you with every part of him.”
Aimee just considers herself a regular girl, but I really loved her character. She has a quiet strength and honesty about her. Kes is someone that could bulldoze over you and I feel like even though it’s very apparent that she has a weakness for him, she’s able to stand up to him and doesn’t take his shit. This leads to some very INTENSE moments between them. Both sexually and emotionally. These two have some crazy chemistry. They love hard and they fight hard and sometimes it’s just painful. It’s exhilarating to read, but had me filled with anxiety half the time as well.
He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me. He challenged me, he took me out of my safe little box and showed me the world could be magnificent. He was everything I wasn’t, but somehow, together, there was a synergy, an alignment, something that just made sense, no matter how crazy it seemed to anyone else.
This book was simply perfection in my eyes. There is such a magical quality about the story with the whole carnival aspect, but also with the writing. It’s beautifully pieced together, well researched and I highlighted like a madwoman. When I read I look for something that’s going to make me emotional, whether that’s happy, angry, devastated, terrified, you name it, I want to feel it. And I did here. My emotions were all over the place and I loved every heart wrenching moment of it. I am DYING to get my hands on The Traveling Woman. There are so many things I still need to know and I just can’t wait to read the conclusion to Kes and Aimee’s story. I have a feeling it is going to be just an intense and amazing as this was.
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