Title: Roustabout (The Traveling Series #3)
Author: Jane Harvey – Berrick
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Twelve years ago Tucker McCoy walked away from the hell that was his family with not much more than the shirt on his back. No regrets. Never once looking back.
Living his life as a roustabout turned stunt rider with a traveling carnival keeps a smile on his face. His new family are the people he’s chosen to be in his life, the people who travel his road. Kes, Zach and Zef don’t share his blood, but they share his hopes and dreams. Understand his fears and know what makes him tick. They’re his brothers, his real family.
If you keep moving, no one can catch you—it’s a simple rule. So when Tucker crosses paths with Tera Hawkins, he knows he should move on. There’s no woman that’s ever been worth breaking his rules for. Besides, she’s off limits, untouchable. He knows stronger men would walk away, but dammit, he’s always been weak.
All he can offer her is a night she’ll never forget, but will that one taste be enough?
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Just as I was considering making my excuses and driving back to the hotel in Arcata, a man’s laugh rang out, a sound of deep joy echoing through the twilight. I looked across and saw him: his head thrown back, his eyes sparkling, his hands on his hips. He was still smiling when his gaze met mine. I saw his eyes darken with a predatory expression that made me feel as if his gaze alone could strip the clothes from my body.
I straightened up fractionally when he started to approach me, his walk loose-limbed and confident.
“Hey there,” he said, giving me a sexy half-smile as he casually propped a shoulder against the coffeeberry tree where I was slumped in a deckchair. “Tell me why a beautiful woman is sitting all by her lonesome.”
His accent was warm with a touch of Southern that melted like honey on his tongue.
I raised an eyebrow and gave him one of my father’s patented campaign stares, the one he used with reporters who asked dumb questions.
“I’ll take the compliment of being called beautiful,” I said, “but really, is that the best line you have?”
The light of challenge sparked in his eyes and his grin grew wider.
“Not even close to my best,” he said with a cocky edge to his voice. “I thought I’d start off easy.”
“Oh, but I’m not easy,” I replied. “I’m complicated and difficult and it takes a lot of work to impress me.”
I was lying. His long, lean build, deep-set eyes and model-pretty face were impressing the hell out of me. His hair was curling to his chin, the ends bleached to a dirty blond by the sun. And what color were those amazing eyes? Gray? Green? Almost a light olive color—I’d never seen anything like them before.
Close up, the air seemed to spark and crackle around him. There was an intensity hidden in his lazy gaze and laidback smile that made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to feel the heat in his eyes, and I definitely didn’t want to feel the attraction pulling at me.
Feeling twitchy and wanting to squirm under his penetrating gaze, I did the opposite: I leaned back, crossing one leg over the other, smiling to myself as his eyes followed the movement.
He glanced up and grinned again.
“I’ve never been afraid of hard work,” he murmured, hooking a thumb through one of his belt loops.
“Good to know that you like a challenge—that makes it easy for me.”
“How d’you figure that?” he asked, his lips curving upwards.
“I just keep saying no to keep you interested.”
“So you want to keep me interested?”
“I like a challenge,” I threw back at him.
He leaned a little closer and it felt like a bolt of static electricity zipped between us. I glanced out toward the ocean, wondering if a storm was brewing, but the waves were silky ripples under a purple sky.
“I’ll work for my supper,” he said, his tongue flicking out to wet his lips as he spoke, looking at me as if I was on the menu.
It sounded so dirty, the way he said it, the way his gaze roved over my chest. But I wasn’t going to let him know that.
“Now you want me to cook for you, too? Wow, you’re sure of yourself.”
He gave a husky laugh. “Is it bad that I’m sure of myself? It’s you I’m not sure about.”
“What makes you so sure of yourself?” I asked, looking him in the eye.
“What you see is what you get.”
“Hmm, so no hidden depths. That’s disappointing.”
He grinned at me, his eyes crinkling with pleasure.
“Nope, absolutely no hidden depths. As shallow as the day is long. But that means no surprises, right? Just lil ole me—everything that you’ve been checking out for the last two minutes.”
My cheeks flushed as I met his eyes.
“Not that I mind,” he went on. “I like the way you look at me … pretty much like the way I’m looking at you.”
“Slightly annoyed?” I suggested, pretending to be bored.
He grinned and shook his head.
“Uh-uh, pretty lady. The look you’ve been giving me says that you’re interested.” He leaned closer. “I’ll be hitting the road tomorrow, but we could make sweet music tonight. It’ll be worth your while—I’m a guy who knows how to use his … hands.”
“I’m more concerned with your mouth … more specifically your tongue … especially if you keep mixing your metaphors.”
He gave a startled laugh.
“I think you’re teasing me, beautiful, or maybe that’s a challenge?”
“Not at all,” I said, being serious for a moment. “I know you’re good with your hands. I was told you did most of the repairs on Kes and Aimee’s cabin. Did you work in construction before you joined the carnival?”
Tucker looked taken aback. “Who told you that?”
“Aimee mentioned a few things.”
Tucker lifted a shoulder and leaned back against the tree, his face hidden in the shadows.
“Just some stuff I picked up,” he said, sounding wary now.
“More than a few things from what I heard.”
He shrugged again, noncommittal, then his eyes made a slow appraisal of my body. I should have been insulted by the way he let his hot gaze roam every inch of me, but I was enjoying returning the favor.
His jeans hung loosely from his hips, the rips in one knee caused by hard usage not designer tears. He wore an Eagles t-shirt that had been washed so many times it was impossible to read the words that ghosted over his firm chest. His biceps bunched as he propped himself against the tree, and his tanned skin was turning from gold to light brown in the first months of spring, but he was no gym rat. Everything he had was from hard, physical labor. I’d been brought up with men who pushed papers for a living—this man was not from their world. And that excited me.
“Why’s a class act like you hanging with a bunch of carnies?” he asked.
His voice had turned edgy and his question felt like a test.
“What do you mean?”
His tone was still lazy, but there was a tightness that hadn’t been apparent before.
“Sweet cheeks, you’re wearing a designer skirt that must have cost two hundred dollars and there’s nothing cheap about your perfume.”
Determined not to show my chagrin that he’d read me so easily, my reply was calm and level.
“Three-hundred dollars. And I’m visiting friends.”
“Jealous?” I asked with a light laugh.
He grinned. “Maybe I just don’t feel like kicking anyone’s ass tonight.”
“Maybe you’d be the one getting your ass kicked.”
He leaned closer, and I caught the scent of soap and clean sweat.
“If you’re the one doing the kicking, it would be worth it.”
He whispered the last words, making me lean towards him, but when we were close enough to touch, he pulled away at the last second and winked at me.
Annoyed, I sank back into my chair. “I think I’d like to kick your ass.”
“I think I’d like to let you.”
I couldn’t help laughing. “Very smooth, Mr. McCoy.”
His expression showed surprise.
“Well now, that just doesn’t seem polite that you know my name but I don’t know yours. You gonna tell me your name, sweet cheeks?”
I stood up and smiled at him. “Well now, it isn’t ‘sweet cheeks’.”
I lifted my beer in a salute and walked away, hearing his laughter follow me.
I knew myself well enough to know that I was minutes from falling for his obvious charms. I needed to get away before…
The hell I did!
I almost stumbled as my steps faltered. What on earth was I doing? Why was I running away from a man that I was deeply attracted to, whose eyes promised as much sin as I could take in a single night?
The Traveling Man (Traveling Series, #1)
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.
The Traveling Woman (Traveling Series, #2)
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?
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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