Book One of the Fool’s Odyssey trilogy
by Chris Quinton
When Xavi becomes an accidental witness to the murder of a wealthy woman he knows exactly what to do – get the hell out of there, fast! Xavi lives on the edge of the law; he and the police don’t exactly mix. Unfortunately the cop who is sent after him turns out to have some rather unusual abilities, so it isn’t long before their paths cross – which is roughly when Xavi begins to realise that getting caught may be the very least of his troubles.
40,000 words/142 pages
Publication 1 November 2010
Paranormal Romance Guild
Third in Reviewer’s Choice Award 2012
“I cannot recommend this book enough, a very satisfying read.”
Review by author R.J. Scott 2 November 2010
“…interesting complexities…sophisticated style…”
Review at Michele’n’ Jeff Reviews 26 November 2010
(Site since removed)
RAINBOW AWARDS 2011
Sixth in Best SciFi/Futuristic category
“…mixes action, suspense and a budding relationship into the perfect recipe…”
Review at Literary Nymphs 1 December 2010
“…flowed smoothly…I…read this story like a starving person…”
Undated review at Coffee Time Romance
“…lots of great ideas which combine to create a vivid world in the future…”
Review by Jenre at Jessewave 17 December 2010
“…a unique blend of paranormal/vampire, futuristic, and romantic suspense…”
Review by Bobby D. Whitney at BookWenches 14 January 2011
(Site no longer available)
“…a classical cat-and-mouse cop novel, with the vampire, Andreas, in the role of the hunter, and Xavi […] the mouse…”
Review by Elissa Rolle 28 February 2011
“…an engrossing, entertaining read, with promises of what is yet to come…”
Review at Three Dollar Bill Reviews 15 March 2011
(Site no longer available)
“…a sexual tension that is so palpable it has your own heart racing…”
Review at Blood, Lust and Erotica 29 April 2011
“…a great combination of humor and romance which made me want to keep reading…”
Reviewer Tina at Two Lips Reviews 16 May 2012
(Site no longer available)
“It has you on the edge of your seat until the very end.”
Review at the Paranormal Romance Guild 17 July 2012
“Don’t tease,” Sophia whispered, her fingers loosening another button. “I have to be at the restaurant for lunch in half an hour…”
“I know,” he said smugly. “Go and meet your politician-friends, and think of me.” He let her slip her fingers inside his jeans and cup his genitals, then caught her wrist and lifted her hand to his mouth. At the same time he unfastened more buttons and freed his semi-erect penis, pumped it slowly, deliberately displaying himself in the mirror to arouse her even more. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
“Bastard!” She pouted and jerked free of his light hold, but she was smiling as she did so. Then a faint noise came from downstairs, a door shutting not quite quietly enough, perhaps. Yet the villa should be empty but for them. Sophia paled. “Ohmygod—Marco—he’s come home early!”
Xavi swore, fastening his jeans quickly. Of all the farcical situations—the stupid bitch had been so sure her husband was in Madrid until the weekend.
He took one swift glance at the windows and dismissed them at once. There was a three meter drop onto the terrace and he had no wish to risk broken bones. So he did the next best thing; he dived to the floor and rolled under the bed, grabbing his shirt and shoes on the way.
Sophia snatched up her robe and a book and threw herself onto the rumpled sheets. “Who’s there?” she called. “Is that you, sweetheart?”
A drape of linen partially obscured his view, but from where he lay, Xavi could see the mirror, and the foot of the bed and the door reflected in it. The door opened, and the dark silhouette of a man stood there. Not Marco Rodrigues, the body-shape was too tall, too broad-shouldered. He took a step into the room and Xavi saw a stranger’s face.
“Raoul?” Sophia, said surprise in her voice. “What are you—” Raoul raised his hand and the sunlight glinted off the barrel of his gun. Sophia screamed once, the sound cut off by the first shot.
Frozen in terror, Xavi could not move, and that probably saved his life. Three more shots rang out, each one punching through the bed in a line from pillow to midway down the mattress, the last two plowing into the floor only inches from his rigid body. If his bladder had not already been empty, Xavi would have pissed himself.
The thunder of his heart in his own ears was deafening. Surely this Raoul would hear it as well—but the man turned and walked out, shutting the door quietly behind him. Still Xavi couldn’t move. Blood soaked the loose sheet and dripped slowly off the bottom edge to spatter on the carpet, the smell of it mingling with feces and cordite to clog in his throat, and it was the steady pat-pat-pat into a widening pool that finally galvanized him into action.
A shuddering whine of horror broke from him, and Xavi rolled away from the spreading redness. He scrambled to his feet on the far side of the bed. Then he froze again. Sophia was dead. Very dead. One bullet had hit between her eyes, the others at breastbone, stomach and groin. Very precise, very deliberate. This was no passion-driven killing—this was an execution.
And he had witnessed it.
Xavi was at the door before commonsense stopped him. He had very little money, while Sophia was loaded and dead. Her purse lay on the dressing table and he pounced on it, jerked it open and filled his pockets with every coin and note he could find. The cards he left—any payment or withdrawal could be traced. Then the jewelry caught his eye.
Gold, gems, they could be fenced and Xavi had contacts in Barcelona’s back streets. He spread his shirt on the floor and dumped an indiscriminate double handful of treasure in the middle of it, then knotted the fabric into a bundle. He hurried to the security panel by the front door. Sophia had driven him here in her car, and she would have made sure his arrival hadn’t been monitored. One glance told him all the cameras were down. No one was going to have a record of him leaving the place.
He made for the deserted kitchen. From the trash container he retrieved a reasonably clean plastic bag with a local supermarket’s bright logo on both sides. He dropped his cache into it and let himself out the back door. Then, keeping to what cover he could find, he ran, not to the garage, but the boathouse below the terrace, and the small but powerful motor launch that was, as usual during the summer months, moored to the jetty. It was the work of seconds to hot-wire the ignition.
Xavi turned the boat for the open sea, and then accelerated south along the coast towards Barcelona and its busy marinas. Maybe he was being paranoid, maybe he wasn’t, but he wasn’t prepared to take chances. This was the safest way of getting back to his apartment, safer than taking Sophia’s car and driving. Just in case the killer—or whoever hired him—was watching the road. His fingerprints would be all over the room, but it was not only the police he was worried about.
Xavi Peres Escudero was going to disappear.