"I'm not picking up a thing," Jonas said cheerfully. He touched a long chain dangling from a wall. The chain ended in a wrist manacle. "Not a damn thing." He turned the manacle over and studied it with the flashlight. He chuckled.
"What's so funny?" Verity demanded.
"Made in Hong Kong. More fake antiques, honey. Just like the stuff in the bed-and-breakfast place."
"Well, that's some relief, I suppose." Verity glanced around disapprovingly. "Imagine collecting this kind of fake antique, though. It's disgusting. I can't envision the twisted mind of someone who would enjoy making love in a place like this. Maggie seems like such a nice person. And as for Digby, I had pictured him as a respectable if somewhat eccentric scholar. I never dreamed… " She broke off. "Jonas, this throws a whole new light on Digby Hazelhurst."
Jonas grinned. "Can't wait to finish this consulting job and write the definitive biography of the man." He found the light switch and flipped it on. "Hazelhurst obviously considered this room important enough to have wired for electricity." Jonas took a whip off the wall and examined it with great interest.
"I'm not sure a reputable publisher would even print a biography of Digby. Jonas, for heaven's sake, put down that whip."
He laughed softly, drawing the lash through his fingers. "You can learn a lot from a respectable scholar like Hazelhurst."
"Don't look at me like that, Jonas."
Jonas gave the whip a gentle flick and Verity jumped in startled reaction as the lash curled itself around her waist. It didn't hurt a bit. Jonas tugged gently on the whip handle and drew her toward him.
"This is not amusing," Verity announced in regal tones. She caught the tip of the lash and started to unwind it from her waist. "It's made out of velvet," she exclaimed in amazement. "No wonder it didn't hurt."
"Want to experiment with some of the other stuff?" Jonas asked, looking far too hopeful.
"I most certainly do not." Verity finished unwinding the lash from her waist. "Put that back this instant."
"You never let me have any fun." He replaced the velvet whip.
Verity studied the floor. "Maggie's kept this area clean, I see. Sentimental reasons, no doubt. I wonder what she and Digby did in here."
"The sort of kinky things that would make a little prude like you turn fire-engine red, I'll bet."
"Talk about weird." She put down a manacle she had been examining and looked at Jonas. "Now what?
Back into the corridor?"
"I don't think so. It's getting late, and you need your sleep. I think we'll go on back to our room. But no need to do it the hard way." He walked across the torture chamber and opened the door. "Might as well use the main route. No sense going back through that stone-cold passage."
"What if someone notices us wandering around?"
"We'll just say you wanted a drink of water and I came along to keep you company."
They found their way back to the second floor of the south wing without incident. But when they passed the door to Elyssa's room, the sound of angry voices caught their attention.
"That's Yarwood in there with Elyssa," Verity observed as they hurried past. "Wonder what they're fighting about."
Jonas gave the closed door a thoughtful glance. "I don't know, but it sounds serious." He stopped to listen.
Verity frowned. "Remember what Caitlin said about Yarwood being dangerous? Maybe we should interrupt."
"The last thing any sane person does is get involved in an argument between two people who are sleeping together. You did tell me that Yarwood and Elyssa are having an affair, didn't you?"
"That's what Slade said. Yarwood sounds furious, doesn't he?"
Preston Yarwood's raised voice was barely audible behind the wooden door.
"You hot-assed little bitch," Yarwood shouted. "What the hell do you mean, you want to call things off between us? I'm the one who turned you on to your psychic potential in the first place, remember?"
"Now, Preston, you know this isn't a personal thing. I admire you very much, but Saranantha says I must seek another mate."
"Fuck Saranantha! I know what you're up to. You want to screw Quarrel, don't you? I'm not about to let you dump me like this just so you can hop into bed with some jerk you think has stronger psychic powers."
"Preston, please, there's no need to shout. I'm only following Saranantha's advice. She is my spirit guide.
You know that."
"I'll shout if I feel like it, goddammit. And don't use Saranantha as an excuse. You've got the hots for Quarrel because you think he's got psychic power. Well, I've got news for you, I'm the only real psychic around here. Quarrel's a fraud."
"He is not!"
"He hasn't found that treasure, has he? He's a fraud, all right. I don't care what those lab people said. I knew it all along. I had my suspicions when I was at Vincent, and I've been proven right. Quarrel hasn't found a damn thing for us. If you want to sleep with a genuine psychic, you sleep with me, you little bitch."
Verity looked at Jonas, her gaze uneasy. "He sounds furious. What if he hurts her? I'm going to knock on the door. I'll pretend I wanted to talk to Elyssa and didn't realize there was anyone else in the room with her." She raised her hand to knock.
Jonas grabbed her wrist. "No, you are not going to knock on the door. You are going to leave the whole situation well enough alone." Jonas pulled her firmly along the corridor. He got her as far as their room and was thrusting her safely inside when the door down the hall opened with a crash. "Move it, Verity."
Verity had no choice. She moved.
Jonas got the bedroom door shut behind them and sighed in relief. He leaned back against it and arched his brows at Verity. "I guess Yarwood found out that Little Miss Sunshine is out scouting for new sperm donors."
One storm had passed during the night, but another was on the way. Verity stood beneath dripping pine boughs and gazed out over the cold gray waters of the Sound. In the distance she could see a Washington State ferry gliding gracefully past the scattered islands.
She had felt a compelling need to get out of the chilly villa this morning. There had been obvious tension in the air. Some of it had been generated by Elyssa and Preston Yarwood, who were apparently still at odds with each other. Oliver Crump had seemed more preoccupied than usual and Slade Spencer had retired to the salon after breakfast. He had not expressed any interest in further exploration of the villa.