Gypsy, the fifth novel in the Traveling Series world is available now and can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone.

And, of course, I had to get little Winnie into the story, too!

Born into a family of travelers, Gypsy leaves Ireland to meet her cousin who works in a traveling carnival, 3,000 miles away across the Atlantic.
She has a special gift for healing wounded hearts, and hopes to heal her own.
As she travels through America, she meets people on the journey who need her special help – a lovelorn waitress, a runaway boy, and a brooding mechanic who’s as lost and lonely as Gypsy.
Against the carnival’s backdrop of sawdust and stardust, they travel west, searching for love, and a family that they can build for themselves.

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© 2022 Jane Harvey-Berrick
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EXTRACT 1

Gypsy

Are you looking for your soulmate? Are you looking for the one person in all the world who’ll love you and support you and travel with you on this journey of life?
I can help.
Ever since my first memory, I could see things that others couldn’t and I knew things that others didn’t—I could see the future.
People like me have been hated, feared, feted and venerated across the millennia. Now, the wheel is turning again, and people come to me for help and healing.
Are you looking for your soulmate?
You’re not alone.
Are you looking for your one true love?
So am I.


EXTRACT 2

Gypsy

A couple of teenaged girls came to my booth to have their fortunes told, each prodding the other to go first. Eventually, the taller one named Shelby went first, and her friend, Annemarie, waited outside.
“What do you want to know, Shelby?”
“Do you have a limit on questions?” she asked anxiously.
“Nope, ask away. You want to know if a certain boy likes you.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Oh, my God, yes! Can you read my mind?”
I smiled at her, “Not in the way you mean.” I took her hands in mine, studying them carefully. “He likes you but he’s not very sure of himself. He’s hoping you’ll make the first move.”
“Wow! Really?”
“Yes, but he’s nervous about what his friends will say.”
“He has sucky friends,” she frowned.
And then I saw with great clarity that the girl she was with was not a true friend, and was after the guy Shelby was interested in. This happened occasionally and was always tricky to deal with.
“There’s someone in your life who isn’t the friend you think they are,” I said delicately. “Stay true to yourself and don’t be swayed by the opinion of others—the truth will come out.”
She leaned forward, her eyes darting to the entrance.
“Can you see who it is?” she whispered.
“Someone close,” I repeated.
She chewed her lip for a while.
“Will I ever live abroad?”
I closed my eyes, following the threads of her life.
“Hmm, I don’t think so, Shelby. But I do see a lot of traveling. Looks fun!”
She smiled brightly. “Am I going to have kids?”
“I see you surrounded by little kids—wow, there’s a lot of them. Maybe you’re thinking about becoming an elementary school teacher?”
Her eyes widened and her mouth made a little O shape of surprise.
“I was going to, but Annemarie said that was lame.”
“I’m sure you can make your own choices,” I smiled at her, pleased when she nodded decisively.
She stood up to leave, then suddenly asked, “Am I going to pass my math test next week.”
I pretended to look into the crystal ball.
“I’m afraid not, Shelby.”
“Oh my God! My mom will kill me!”
“Wait, the mists are clearing! I see you studying very hard, very hard indeed. I think you could pass. You are master of your own destiny, Shelby.”
As she left, I couldn’t resist smiling to myself. I totally made up that part about studying because I had no idea about her test, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. I’d left school at 11 and I’d often wondered if I’d missed out. I was brought up to be a wife and mother—nothing else mattered. But these girls, their futures were very different.
And I couldn’t help thinking that my life had taken a very different turn since I’d arrived in the New World.
Shelby’s friend, Annemarie, asked similar sorts of questions, and I was fairly certain that the boy they were both into wasn’t worth their time, but that was for them to figure out. She certainly didn’t have Shelby’s best interests at heart, but I could see that she was very insecure, so she put down others to make herself feel better. I told her that she was very artistic and that it was something she should pursue.
“You mean like my makeup tips on TikTok?”
“Could be,” I said, and was pleased when she walked out with a smile on her face.


EXTRACT 3

Huck

I was heading south, running from trouble that didn’t need to find me.
Another day riding, just riding, pointing my motorcycle and chasing the open road. I’d had enough of big cities to last me a lifetime or two, and I couldn’t face another New Jersey winter, so I was following the sun like some old snowbird.
Old. I’d turned 30 two days ago, but I only remembered this morning.
Without anywhere to be, and with no one giving a damn whether I lived or died, I could go where the wind blew me. I was utterly free.
I came, I went, I left no trace—not in the eyes of people who saw me pass by, or the dirt under my wheels. It can get so a man feels like he’s invisible, or maybe dead already. Only the hunger pangs in my belly and the dust in my throat reminded me that I was still alive.
Soon, I’d need to stop riding, find somewhere to stay a while, get a job, earn some money, before moving on again. Always moving on, drifting through my life, a ghost—existing but not; living but not; being but not. And one day I’d fade out of this world like a photograph left in the sun. I touched no one’s life, I hurt no one. No one would remember be, no one would mourn me.
And that didn’t seem so bad.
I’d been traveling through the Ozarks for days now, winding my way along the single-lane country road named the Pig Trail, with its sharp, hairpin turns and steep hills, going off-road where I could, staring at nothing but the vast green canopies of towering trees all around, catching glimpses of small towns, flashes of silvery rivers and mountain lakes.
I only saw her for a second, but it was long enough, like staring into the sun, the image burned into my brain—golden skin and long hair lifting in the breeze. Butt naked, and it looked like she was dancing. I wondered if the heat had sent me crazy. Dancing and naked, her hands above her head, poised to dive into the dark blue water of the lake, and disappearing.
And then I hit a rock in the road and nearly exited the world for good. When I wrestled my old Indian Chief Motorcycle upright, the woman and the lake had vanished from view.
Ahead the road forked, and I paused: should I go right, traveling west toward Fayetteville, or left towards Little Rock?
Hell, I’d never taken a right turn in my life, so why start now. I headed south.
And I wondered, had I dreamed her?


EXTRACT 4

Huck

“I’ve been looking for you.”

I glanced up, surprised.

Beautiful. That was my first thought. Light brown hair hung nearly waist-length, framing a striking face with wide cheekbones, eyes shadowed by the straw Stetson she wore, and full lips rising in a smile. Killer body, too, great rack with a cropped tank that showed a sliver of toned, tanned stomach, narrow waist, curvy hips, and cut-off jean shorts that displayed a spectacular pair of long legs, ending with bare feet, her toes painted pink, which made me think of shells on a beach.

I licked my lips, reminded that it had been a long time since I’d had a woman. Too long.

When she smiled, it was hard to stop myself from smiling back. But habit or experience or whatever you’d call it, those instincts kicked in, and I stared coldly at her.

“No, you’re looking for Claude the owner. I just started here.”

She cocked her head on one side like a wild bird, watchful, eyes bright.

“I’ve been looking for you,” she said again, a slight emphasis on the ‘you’.

What was that accent?

I stared at her, wondering what her angle was.

“I don’t know what you’ve heard, lady, but Claude Peters is the owner.”

Her smile widened and I might have thought that she was simple, you know, touched, if I hadn’t seen humor and, for the want of a better word, knowledge, deep in her gaze.

“My axle’s broken. You can mend it.”

She wasn’t asking a question, she was telling me. And that lit the smallest spark of irritation, if only because she was a beautiful woman and telling me what to do. I preferred working on bikes, but yeah, I could fix cars. And I didn’t usually let anything or anyone get under my skin.

“What do you drive?”

I bet myself it was some shitty older model Honda. She sure didn’t dress like someone who had money—more like someone who’d fallen into their mom’s dressing up box and woken up at Woodstock. A loose cotton shirt slid off one tanned shoulder, half covering the cropped t-shirt, and I saw that she had feathers and tassels in her hair. Her feet were bare like a frickin’ hippie. I couldn’t help staring at those pink toes, bright like candy.

I want to suck those toes.

And maybe she was high. That would explain the feeling of otherness she gave off, like she was slightly out of focus. It might even explain why I suddenly felt drunk with lust. A woman like that, she was made for a man to dream about.

Damn, she was beautiful. Natural, hair all knotted and tangled but looking soft and shiny, skin that was golden brown, and that teasing, tantalizing, rose-soft mouth.

She could have been a Latina or Italian, with those mesmerizing eyes slanting upwards like a cat, except for their strange shade of pale slate-blue that turned almost green as we walked outside. Maybe Eastern European, one of those tall Slavic models that you only saw on billboards and not in a small southern town.

As I followed her, I realized that she was only half a head shorter than my 6’ 6”. She stood upright, not slouching her shoulders like other tall women I’d known. She owned every inch of her body.

My eyes drank her in, and I followed her like I couldn’t not follow her. It was almost as if something inside me knew her before my brain did. Something like recognition. And for that second, I would have believed in Voodoo, because I had no intention of following her out into the blinding Arkansas sunshine. But I did.

And I’d been dead wrong: it wasn’t a beaten up Honda or even American metal of any kind. I stood and stared while the woman laid her hand on the whiskery nose of a huge, dark brown horse towering over her, with hairy feet the size of dinner plates. I’d never seen a horse that big.

I’d definitely never seen one towing a for-real covered wagon—although this one didn’t look anything like the Conestogas that I’d seen in school books. It was half the size, for a start, with intricate carving in red and gold, and the roof was wooden, not canvas.

The woman walked right up to the giant horse and put her arms around its neck. Long lashes curved across her cheeks as she closed her eyes, and I’d swear that she was gently blowing into the horse’s nostrils like some damn horse whisperer.

My boots crunched on a chip packet underfoot and the woman’s lips turned upwards but her eyes stayed closed.

“This is Dezzie. Well, Desdemona. She’d like you to stroke her.”

My eyebrows shot up.

“She tell you that?” I snorted.

I knew engines, I didn’t know a helluva lot about horses even if I had lived in Texas once. I knew horses didn’t speak.

“Yes, she told me.”

I rubbed my chin with my thumb. The horse seemed gentle enough.

“If I stroke her, she ain’t gonna eat me?” I asked, only half joking.

Laughter bubbled out of the woman’s pretty mouth.

“Of course not. She likes you. Don’t be afraid.”

I wasn’t afraid and nothing had scared me, not for a long time, and at 220 pounds, few people were dumb enough to try. But that was a damn big horse—well over a ton, probably 1500 pounds with massive shod hooves and long, yellowing teeth the size of piano keys.

I laid the flat of my hand on the horse’s neck cautiously, feeling the warm flesh and rough hair. A ripple ran under the animal’s skin, and the woman sighed.

“Ah, she likes you. See? I told you.”

I stroked the horse a few more times, feeling the sweat break out on my body as we burned in the late spring scorcher.

“Oh, yes please! That would be grand,” the woman said suddenly.

“What?”

She seemed flustered, and her cheeks turned pink.

“Oh, it’s really hot…,” she stammered. “I thought you were offering…”

“I guess you want some water?” I said gruffly, my voice sounding meaner than I’d meant.

“Thank you. That we would.”

“You’re not from around here.”

“No,” she said, her eyes dancing.

“I can’t catch your accent—where are you from?”

“Me ma said I was born in a thunderstorm and travel on the wind.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m from here and there. I belong to the earth.”

“Yeah, sure … what does your passport say?”

“What’s a passport?”

“You’re kidding me! Are you saying … you’re an illegal?”

“Ah well, I wouldn’t say that exactly. I try to stay on the right side of the law, as much as an honest woman can. A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures, so it is.”

Now I got the accent. Irish. So why not say that?

She smiled and changed the subject. “The axle?”

“That a covered wagon there?” I asked, raising my chin at the brightly painted cart that the horse had been pulling.

“It’s not a cart!” she said sound scandalized. “The English call this a gypsy caravan, but you should call her a vardo, built in the 1900s,” she said proudly. “It belonged to my great, great grandfather.” She squinted her eyes in thought. “Although there might be another ‘great’ or three in there.”

I wasn’t sure I’d even seen a wagon like this in books. I’d definitely never seen one in real life, let alone in El Dorado, Arkansas.


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