Yeah, Jonas decided. He owed Little Miss Pain in the Ass Sunshine. He stood on the floating dock until the launch was out of sight.
But as he headed back toward the ugly villa, his thoughts were on Preston Yarwood. Caitlin Evanger had said the lab report on Yarwood declared him dangerous in some vague way.
Jonas thought about his own recent experiences with jealousy. It was a powerful force. Furthermore, he knew, from the brief occasions in the psychic corridor when he'd picked up on the rage of a wronged man, that a violent reaction was not uncommon in a jealous male. He'd held rapiers that cuckolded men had once used to avenge their honor. He'd felt the shattering fury that could lead a man to commit murder.
It was possible that Yarwood had known such fury this morning.
Jonas shook off the thoughts as he walked back into the main hall. Verity was coming downstairs. She had dried her hair and changed her clothes.
"Did they get off okay?" she asked anxiously.
"They're gone." Jonas looked up at her and came to a decision. "Put on a coat, Verity," he said softly. "I want to go for a walk."
She frowned. "Now?"
He nodded. "Now. It's stopped raining."
Verity hesitated. He thought she might ask a few more questions but she didn't. She hurried back upstairs and came down with another parka.
"Where are we going?" she asked as he helped her into the jacket.
"Out to the cliff where Elyssa fell."
Verity looked up at him questioningly as they went outside. "You suspect something, don't you?"
"I just want to see if there's anything there."
"You mean any lingering vibrations of violence? Are you thinking about the fact that she and Yarwood have been quarreling lately?"
He raised his eyebrows. "The thought crossed Doug's mind, too. But I'm not sure what to think yet. I just want to see if I can pick up anything."
She nodded. "I can't see Yarwood doing anything that drastic, though, Jonas. He isn't the type."
"Any man is the type if he's pushed far enough."
Verity gave him a sharp glance, then looked away. He didn't have to ask her what she was thinking. She was wondering if he was the type. "Any man, Verity," Jonas said with quiet emphasis. "Even a nice, gentle soul like Oliver Crump."
"You're wrong," she said with the same quiet forcefulness he had used. "A man like Oliver would never kill, except perhaps in self-defense."
"Don't bet on it." He gripped her arm more tightly than was necessary, annoyed with the way she had leaped to Crump's defense.
Neither one said another word until they reached the cliff above the cove. Verity peered over the edge.
"She was lucky it was a relatively short drop. All the bushes growing on the side of the cliff probably broke the fall."
Jonas followed her gaze. "If she'd landed wrong, she would have broken her neck." He felt the shudder that went through Verity and wished he'd kept his mouth shut. "Let's see what we can turn up."
"You'll need something to touch, Jonas. Something that she might have touched as she went over the edge."
"We need to find exactly where she was standing when it happened."
"You can't see any footprints in these pine needles."
Verity said as they started walking along the edge of the bluff.
"No, but I should be able to feel something if we find the right spot. Watch your step." He tightened his grip on her arm.
They took another dozen steps before Jonas felt the atmosphere around him shiver with the familiar sensation of violence. Verity halted at once, watching his face intently.
"Here?" she whispered.
"Close to here," he confirmed. "But it's very faint. I'll have to work to get anything at all. Are you ready?"
Verity nodded quickly and clasped her hands in front of her. "Ready."
Jonas took a step closer to the edge of the cliff and the vibrations grew stronger. There was a heady exultation in being able to control what had once threatened to overwhelm him. He could handle his talent these days, thanks to Verity.
Reality curved around him, creating a corridor that had no end and no beginning. Jonas remained aware of his external surroundings as he entered the psychic tunnel in his head. He knew that Verity was experiencing the same disorienting feeling of dealing with two realities simultaneously. It could be done. A few months ago he'd fought a duel in real time using the fencing skills he'd "borrowed" from another dimension.
He knew she was there, he could always sense her presence. She was his anchor here. He saw her out of the corner of his eye, standing a short distance away from him in the dark corridor. She was staring straight ahead at a weak image that was slowly forming in front of them. The vision was barely discernible, probably because it was so recent in time, Jonas thought. His talent was at its strongest when the vision took place in what he considered his prime time, the Renaissance. In the past few months he'd become powerful enough to pick up more recent scenes of violence. It had something to do with Verity.
She had not only helped him control his talent, she had made him stronger. All the same, he couldn't get anything this recent to come through with much clarity.
"There she is, Jonas," Verity whispered. "You were right. Look at the ribbons."
The hazy image of a woman toppling over the edge of the cliff hovered in front of them. It was Elyssa, a look of terror on her features as she clawed uselessly at the air. There was no way to tell who or what was behind her, but Jonas sensed a second presence in the image. Snaky tendrils of violent emotion were unraveling from the animated vision, flowing first toward him and then, as if caught by a magnet, toward Verity. The snakes were pale and weak compared to those that would have emerged from an older vision.
"It's too damn hazy," he muttered. "I can't tell what's happening."
"Maybe it was just an accident—a violent accident," Verity said tightly.
"No." Jonas knew better and so did Verity. She just didn't want to admit it. His talent wasn't for random violence, like deaths caused by storms or accidents. The psychic ability that had nearly driven him insane was linked to the kind of violence men and women used against each other. "There's someone else involved. I wouldn't be picking up anything at all if there wasn't." He reached out to touch one of the sickly pale ribbons that coiled around Verity's feet. The shivering tendril leaped hungrily for him, a nasty little snake that would poison him if he wasn't very careful.