THE CONCLUDING STORY of Aimee and Kestrel, begun in THE TRAVELING MAN ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
How many times do you gamble on love? When love has knocked you down, should you give it another chance? When does optimism become stupidity?
And what happens when the man you’re in love with is never still, always moving, always traveling? Do you say goodbye, or do you leave behind everything that you’ve worked for, everything that you’ve ever known? Can a traveling carnival be my home?
Oh. You thought I had the answers. No, sorry. No answers, just a lot of questions—and a heart that wants to rule my head.
Can one person be my home?
I stopped suddenly and Gregg all but ran me over, knocking my purse from my arm and making me stumble.
“Really, I can explain about Lulu,” he babbled, but I wasn’t listening to him.
I was staring at the man on the other side of the parking lot, his silver-gray eyes fixed intently on me.
“Kes,” I breathed, my heart starting to gallop.
I squeezed my eyes shut, wondering briefly if I’d fallen over the edge of sanity and conjured him up, imagined that he’d come for me. But when I looked again, his eyes were still watching me, full of fire.
Gratitude, hope, love, shock—so many emotions twisted inside me.
He was leaning against an electric-blue motorcycle and a plain black helmet dangled from one hand. A leather jacket hung from his broad shoulders, his long legs encased in dark denim and ending in heavy black biker boots. He looked dangerous, and when he pushed his free hand through his dark hair and straightened up, his heated eyes never left mine.
He was here. Really here. For me.
My body hungered for his and my arms longed to reach out for him. The words ‘I love you’ burned on my tongue, but I bit them back.
He was here, but I needed to know what it meant. So I locked my heart away. Kes still had secrets.
But he’s here! My happy heart screamed.
His eyes swept up and down my body and a pulse of heat washed over me as color rose in my cheeks.
But then his eyes narrowed slightly as he lasered in on Gregg, and I could see the rage boiling up inside him.
“Oh shit,” I said softly as Kes stalked toward us.
I pulled my purse back onto my shoulder and glanced at Gregg who was still talking.
Finally, he noticed Kes striding over and his eyebrows lifted with surprise. But it was Kes who spoke first.
“Can we talk?”
I stared at him. “You want to talk? That’s new.”
He winced, regret and pain on his face, and glanced across at Gregg. “Am I too late?”
**Contains spoilers if you haven’t read The Traveling Man**
The way things ended in the first book left me feeling agitated for days, and during that time I wanted nothing more than to get my greedy hands on this sequel. But I was also nervous because I wasn’t sure how the author would approach Aimee and Kes’s relationship after that ending, and was even more afraid that I wouldn’t like it. It was a bumpy journey, but overall I’m really happy with the way Aimee and Kes’s story was resolved – some plot events along the way I definitely didn’t agree with, but I respect and admire the author for going all out and delivering a conclusion that fit these characters well.
The beginning of this story picks up where book 1 ended, and to my surprise, I didn’t expect that previous cliffy ending to be resolved so quickly. Kes visits Aimee and decides to try living her lifestyle since she spent weeks on the road with him as a carnie before. I liked that there was some character growth in this portion of the story as Kes and Aimee truly communicate and lay out their insecurities and fears. In the first book, I totally felt that this was a couple that belonged together, but got aggravated by the unresolved angst and inner conflict due to a lack of communication, so I was really overjoyed to see them both improve in this aspect.
As the story progressed, I settled into the comfortable pace of the story and that’s when I got caught off guard by a twist the author threw into the book. It startled me, but it was bound to happen sooner or later and most importantly, the author wrote it in a way that further convinced me how strong the bond between Aimee and Kes was, how much they loved each other, and how they could get through pretty much any obstacle together. It was a journey full of redemption, second chances, and healing, and through this experience, they both matured considerably.
There are only 2 reasons to why I can’t give higher than a 4 star rating: one being the slow first portion of the story and how fast one main conflict was resolved in the first 30% of the book, which I was expecting to be developed more. The other reason was that plot twist that took me by surprise. While it ended up benefiting the plot and character growth, I personally didn’t agree with it so that’s my problem and may very well be easily accepted by other readers.
Now that I’ve finished this book, my recommendation would be to read these 2 books back to back. I think it’s a story that really can’t be judged until read in its entirety, which is probably why I struggled so much with rating the first book on its own. Overall, I would give this duet a 4-4.5 star rating. The two books complemented each other perfectly and fit together like two puzzle pieces. Book 1 was more of a charming, magical story that swept me off my feet and took me to a dreamy world full of carnival fun and hopeful wishes. Book 2 – while still retaining some of that magical quality – presented a more realistic, relatable story following the romance between a restless wanderer and a homebody at heart, and how a relationship between two people so different could work. And because put together, this duet encompasses pretty much everything, the reading experience was satisfying and rich full of feelings too. All in all, the author has really given readers a unique and fresh romance that’s going to capture hearts.
The Traveling Woman is book 2 in the Traveling Duet and must be read after The Traveling Man.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4 stars for this second book. 4-4.5 stars overall for the duet.
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.