Jonas's gaze went from the ugly green crystal to her serious face. "Spencer says that all he or Hazelhurst ever found were the stiletto, that chunk of sword hilt, and a ruby ring. But he's convinced the rest of the treasure is still buried here somewhere."

"And so are you," Verity concluded quietly. She looked down at the crystal. "Do you believe in curses, Jonas?"

"No, but I have great respect for the intricate workings of the Renaissance mind. And a psychic Renaissance mind boggles the imagination. I don't think there's a curse on the treasure but I do believe that someone has locked it up very carefully. Hazelhurst believed that crystal was the key, and I think he might have been right."

Verity looked at him, her expression unreadable. "You're going to try it, aren't you? Sooner or later, you're going to try to unlock that frozen vision."

"If I don't, I'll probably wind up as nutty as Hazelhurst or as insane as Spencer," Jonas said harshly. "I have to know the truth about it, Verity."

She nodded. "Yes. I can see that." She carefully repocketed the crystal. "When the time comes you'll need my help."

Jonas was startled. "What makes you say that?" he demanded as she started to turn away.

She glanced back, her mouth softening slightly. "I can tune this crystal to the one on the desk in the vision."

He took a long stride forward and caught her by the arms. "Verity? What are you saying? Are you sure?"

"Unfortunately, yes. I'm fairly certain I can do it. Don't ask me how, Jonas. I really don't understand it myself. And if you want my professional opinion as your business manager, I suggest we forget the whole project. But I know you don't want my professional opinion." She turned away again and went into the bathroom to wash the dirt and blood off her hands.

After a little fiddling with a screwdriver he'd located in the kitchen, Jonas managed to open the torture-chamber entrance. Spencer had been too panicked to do a thorough job of jamming the mechanism.

Inside the passageway Maggie was still unconscious. Jonas managed to get her upstairs to the salon, where he put her on the couch. She didn't awaken but her breathing seemed steady and the bleeding had stopped. Verity left her tucked under a quilt and went outside with Jonas to retrieve Slade Spencer. They locked him in a spare storage room.

"What are we going to do with him?" Verity asked as she followed Jonas upstairs.

"There's nothing we can do until Warwick and Crump get back with the launch. We're sure as hell not going to try to get off this island in that little skiff Spencer rented. In the meantime, I want to see if we can find those missing diary pages in Spencer's things. He may have kept them."

"Doug and Oliver might not be able to get back here for hours," Verity remarked as they walked down the hall toward the room Spencer had used.

"True."

"We'd better wake Yarwood and tell him what's going on. To think that all this time we wrongly suspected him of being up to no good," Verity said, chagrined. "I suppose it must have been Spencer who pushed Elyssa off the cliff. Maybe he thought she was getting suspicious about the boat."

"I don't know about that," Jonas said thoughtfully. "You mentioned finding the boat earlier and he never made an attempt on your life."

"He didn't make an attempt on my life then, but he tried to do something nasty to me before that," Verity stated quietly.

Jonas's head snapped around abruptly, his eyes fierce. "What? He tried to hurt you? When?"

"That night we stayed in the bed-and-breakfast inn."

"The joker who tried to grab you outside the bathroom?" Jonas asked in amazement. "It was him?

You're sure?"

"I recognized the tobacco he uses. I just caught a whiff of it on his sweater that night, not enough to make a real impression. I didn't recognize it when he was smoking his pipe around here because the odor was so much stronger then—it overpowers you. But when I caught a trace of it again in the torture chamber, I knew it was the same tobacco. No one else smokes around here except Spencer."

Jonas started back down the hall, his fury reignited. "I'll kill him."

Verity grabbed his arm. "No, wait, Jonas. There's no need for that. He's already under lock and key."

"I should have strangled him the night he made a pass at you." He shook off her hand.

Verity made another grab for him and caught hold of his sleeve. "Jonas, stop it. Listen to me. Everything is under control, there's no need for any more violence. Lord knows there's been enough in this place.

Let's go wake Yarwood and tell him what's going on. He's got a right to know."

A door creaked. Verity and Jonas both turned.

"I'm glad you feel that way, Verity." Preston Yarwood stood in the doorway of his bedroom. "I would very much like to know exactly what is going on. And when you've finished telling me, we'll all go searching for Hazelhurst's missing treasure. But when we find it, I'm afraid there will be a slight change of plans. You see, too many psychic treasure hunters spoil the image."

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Yarwood?" Jonas asked softly.

"I've decided we don't need your name attached to this particular find, my friend. You're a fraud, you see. I'm the one with real psychic talent around here, and finding the treasure is going to prove that once and for all. This is my project, and I'm the one who's going to get the credit. When this is all over, people will be forced to admit that I've got psychic power. And with you and Verity mysteriously gone, there won't be anyone left alive to tell them differently."

Verity stared in shock at Preston Yarwood's face for a long time before her eyes dropped to the gun in his hand.

Chapter Seventeen

Jonas contemplated the gun in Preston Yarwood's hand. The man looked as though he knew exactly what he was doing with it. The report says he's dangerous, Caitlin Evanger had said.

"There's no treasure, Yarwood." Jonas edged a few steps away from Verity, making it more difficult for Yarwood to keep both of them covered with the weapon.

"Don't try to bullshit me, Quarrel," Yarwood said genially. "The treasure is here, I know it. I've had a psychic premonition of it all along."

"Talk about bullshit," Jonas muttered. "You've just got treasure fever."

"I know it's here," Preston snapped. "I had sections of Hazelhurst's diary translated, you see. Not all of it, but enough to know he was onto something. It's here, I tell you. And I've heard enough this morning to convince me you're close to the answer. So you're going to take me with you when you unlock the secret."

Source: www.StudyNovels.com