Berkeley’s high spirits are dampened when he opens his world up to three relative strangers and is confronted with a series of macabre happenings. When things get out of hand, Berkeley turns to his ex-partner, Captain Rick, to help unravel the mystery of what’s happening and why. Berkeley’s gardener, Rene, a Santeria Priest, is the obvious suspect. But is he too obvious and being set-up? Jacob, an author, has the creative mind to develop and execute such a cunning and sophisticated plan. Nantan has inside knowledge and the opportunity. With another few suspects thrown into the pot, Berkeley and Rick have their work cut out before time runs out and death strikes again.
The automatic exit doors at Reina Sofia airport, Tenerife, opened, and Berkeley and Nantan were greeted by an invisible wall of heat which stopped them in their tracks. Having spent so many hours on a plane travelling from Denver to London and then London to Tenerife, they were relieved to be in the open air. But the intense summer sun in Tenerife was suffocating and a complete contrast to the air-conditioned environments they’d spent the past twenty hours in. Berkeley looked across at Nantan and smiled. He was relieved that he was back at home in Tenerife and that nothing strange had happened to either of them during their flights.
Nantan smiled and winked at Berkeley, put a reassuring arm around his shoulder, and pecked him on his temple. Berkeley blew him a kiss, grabbed the handle of his suitcase and started walking toward the taxi rank.
When they reached it, there was a long line of white taxis waiting for their next fare. The taxi driver at the front of the queue opened the rear doors of his Mercedes and beckoned them to get in with his hand. The driver grabbed the handles of the suitcases Berkeley and Nantan had left on the pavement and put them in the boot of the car. When the driver was sat in the front seat, Berkeley asked him to take them to Palm Mar. The driver nodded and started to drive.
They reached the motorway, and the hazy hills and mountains to their left and the seemingly never-ending Atlantic Ocean to their right were both visible. Nantan took hold of Berkeley’s hand and looked at him with wide eyes and a beaming smile. That alone was enough to give him reassurances that Nantan had no regrets leaving Loveland to spend some time with him in Tenerife, to discover if their relationship would work out.
As they passed El Medano beach, Berkeley pointed at the red mountain to their left that gently sloped down and disappeared into the sea. He explained the beach was immense and one of Tenerife’s natural beauty spots. Nantan squeezed Berkeley’s hand and said he’d love to go there one day, so they could take a romantic walk and paddle in the sea. Berkeley promised to take him and suggested he might even be able to have a nice run there if they stayed until early evening when it was a bit cooler and there were fewer people around. Nantan nodded enthusiastically.
Nantan stared out the window and observed the passing landscape. He turned to Berkeley and blew out air. “Wow, this place is awesome, and not so different from Denver, with all the mountains and arid landscape. Already it’s beginning to feel like home away from home.”
Berkeley squeezed Nantan’s hand and blew him a kiss. “Aww, I’m so pleased your initial impression is a good one. I’m sure after a few days, once you’ve settled in a bit, you’ll love it.”
“Oh, from what I’ve seen so far, I’m sure I will. And to be right by the sea is amazing. We’ve got lakes in Loveland, but looking at the sea fills you with such a sense of freedom and peace. I can’t wait to see where you live. You said it was close to the sea, right?”
Berkeley nodded and smiled. “Yep, it sure is. The sea’s only a few hundred yards away, and you can see it from the upper terrace, so you can look at it whenever you want.”
“Oh wow. That’s awesome. How much farther is it?”
“Only another ten minutes or so, and then we’ll be there. If you fancy it, we can have a nice drink and then a dip in the pool.”
Nantan looked at Berkeley, grinned and nodded. “Oh yes. After all that time we’ve spent on flights, I could really do with a good stretch and a dip to wake myself up.”
“Okay, well that’s sorted then.”
Sensing Nantan was content looking at the landscape and soaking up as many of the views as he could, Berkeley reflected on how his life had turned into an assault course of dramas, deceit, heartache, and new love that he’d found when he’d least expected it and in the strangest of circumstances. As he looked at the changing landscape, he reminded himself of all the action, adventures, romances, and new experiences he’d enjoyed during his life journey. Not to mention his new-found wealth and love.
Berkeley looked out the window at the clear blue sky and was overcome with a sense of appreciation, self-fulfilment and tranquillity when he saw a flock of birds flying freely and floating effortlessly on the warm air currents. Having Nantan beside him made his life feel complete, and he imagined he was experiencing the same sense of freedom a white dove must have felt when they were flying around without a care in the world.
The taxi pulled up outside Berkeley’s villa. He looked at his watch, and it was just after five—the perfect time to have a drink and make the most of the afternoon sun and pool. Nantan looked at Berkeley with widened eyes, blew out air and nodded his head.
Nantan helped the taxi driver get the suitcases out the trunk. When Berkeley opened the gate, he immediately noticed all the plants and trees looked pristine and well taken care of, and he was pleased his new gardener, Rene, had taken good care of the place in his absence.
Berkeley walked through the front door and was greeted by the light, lingering smell of cleaning products. As he walked into the lounge, he looked around, and the place was spotless.
Nantan put the suitcases down on the floor in the lounge, walked toward Berkeley, and embraced him. “Well, nookoox, we’ve finally made it to your place, and what a beautiful place it is. Come on, show me around so I can see the rest of it.”