Series: The Traveling Duet
Published by Harvey-Berrick Publishing on January 27th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon US • Buy on Amazon UK
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.
*An E-ARC was supplied to me in exchange for review*
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.”
I’m finding it hard to put into words how much I loved this book. I went into the story with little knowledge of what it was about, other than it was set around a carnival, and I certainly didn’t know that it was book one of a duet. That’s a good thing though, a really good thing, because that means I get more of Kes Donohue, and I can’t wait because Kes has stolen my heart.
The story is centred around Kes and Aimee, and we first meet them when they are 10 years old. Aimee is so excited when the carnival arrives in town for the very first time, especially as it falls on her birthday and she gets to choose where the family will spend the day. From the moment the trucks roll in, thundering past her house, she is mesmerised and can’t contain her excitement. To Aimee the carnival is magical, the stuff of dreams, and her excitement was catching!
“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.”
When Aimee arrives at the show ground, a boy catches her attention and she slips away from her family to talk to him, and from that point her a friendship is formed that will last for many summers to come. The boy is Kes and he lives among the “carnies”. He opens her eyes to a whole new world, showing her around the carnival and introducing her to a different way of life.
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.
This book is in two parts, in the first part we get to know Aimee and Kes as young children and watch them grow into teenagers, and the second part we catch up with them as adults 8 years down the line. The first part of the story is very much like a YA story, it captures the innocence of young love, the tenderness, the nervousness and the anticipation.
“Can I kiss you?” he asked, softly as if he was sure I’d say no. I took a deep breath. My first kiss was going to be at the top of a Ferris wheel. I’d never heard of anything more romantic. “Okay,” I said, wiping my mouth with my sleeve. Kes leaned in and I felt his dry lips press against my cheek. I turned to stare at him and he was grinning, looking inordinately proud of himself.
We held hands for the rest of the ride, and I’d never been happier.
I loved how Aimee and Kes were inseparable for two weeks every summer, never forgetting each other and growing from childhood friends to young teens in love. As Kes grew into a young man he drew more attention from girls, but Aimee was the only one for him. His need to make her happy was so endearing, I couldn’t help but fall for him. He has a vulnerability about him, that only Aimee and his family sees, and he trusts Aimee implicitly. His issues make him lash out at those closest to him, but Aimee gives as good as she gets and challenges Kes where others would back down. Their love and friendship was so sweet, and it made me nostalgic for the summer, when (in the words of Bryan Adams) the days seemed to last for ever….
When we catch up with Kes and Aimee as adults, they’re older, wiser and real life responsibilities have changed them. They still have that chemistry when they’re together though, and boy do they sizzle! I’m not going to say anymore as that could spoil it, so all I can say is READ THIS BOOK!!! It’s got it all – love, humour, heartbreak, and of course STEAM!!
In case you haven’t guessed already, I loved this book! Right from the gorgeous cover to the very end. I loved the characters, I loved the story, and I loved the carnival setting. I could almost smell the cotton candy and hot dogs, and the story was just like the carnival – magical! Now I have to try and wait patiently for the next book!
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.
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