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Page 51

Beautiful, free, uninhibited love. On that other plane, I've felt your hand on my breast. Our mouths have touched. I've felt your seed pouring into my body. Now it is time to unite the reality of the higher plane with the reality of this one. This afternoon is perfect. I've checked all the astrological charts and meditated with crystal. Everything is harmonically aligned."

"You mean everyone is either out of the villa or busy elsewhere," Jonas said bluntly. "Beat it, Elyssa, I've got work to do. Verity will be wondering where I am."

"Verity is gone too. In any event, I feel sure she would understand. I sense that she is a very psychically aware woman. She and I are sisters in the way all women are sisters. She knows in her heart that you and I must mate. She will accept it."

"The hell she will. You don't know Verity very well, do you?"

"Actually," Elyssa went on in a confidential tone, "there's no need for her even to know about it, if you would prefer to keep it a secret."

"Elyssa, if you're not going to get out of here, then I will. Dammit, Elyssa, get out of my way. What do you think you're doing? Jesus, what's the matter with you? Are you crazy? Elyssa, no, don't do that. Hell, I'm getting out of here. You can explain to your brother why his report is late." The rest of Jonas's protest was abruptly cut off.

Verity could wait no longer. She shoved open the door of the torture chamber and stood glaring with narrowed eyes at the sight of Elyssa in Jonas's arms.

Jonas saw Verity in the doorway and was momentarily stunned. He had been in the process of firmly disengaging himself from Elyssa Warwick's unwanted embrace when the chamber door burst open to reveal his obviously furious lover. He had never before seen that particular expression of outrage on her face, he realized dimly.

"Verity!" Angrily, he shook himself free of Elyssa. "Verity, listen, it's not what you think," he began quickly. Then he stopped, not at all certain what she did think. After all, she hadn't seemed particularly upset yesterday when Elyssa had asked her for a loan.

The hell with it. Jonas decided against further explanations for the moment. As it turned out, he didn't need to do the talking anyway. Verity and Elyssa were handling that end of things. Sisters, huh? He had never in his life met two women who were less like sisters than Verity and Little Miss Sunshine. Jonas leaned back against the wall near the dangling manacles, crossed his arms over his chest, and watched the open warfare with great interest.

He couldn't take his eyes off Verity. She was madder than hell. A fierce, feminine fury radiated from her, which seemed about to set fire to the room. It was certainly setting fire to him, Jonas thought with an inner grin. He felt himself getting hard just watching her as she sauntered into the chamber, looking every inch the lady of the villa.

Verity was shorter than Elyssa and far more slender, but with her wide eyes shooting blue-green sparks, her regal bearing, and that mane of fiery curls, she totally dominated the situation. Elyssa looked like a poodle facing a lioness.

"I thought I made it clear to you yesterday, Elyssa, that Jonas is not available for any moonlighting work." Verity's voice was soft and husky with warning. She advanced on the other woman in such an intimidating manner that Elyssa automatically fell back a few steps.

"Verity, please, you're overreacting. How can I make you understand?" Elyssa said pleadingly. "The union between myself and Jonas is right. It's meant to be. The consummation must take place."

"Try consummating anything with Jonas and I can personally guarantee that you'll find yourself on a very high psychic plane. I will kick your butt up there myself. In fact, I will kick it so high you'll probably never get it back down."

Elyssa blinked in astonishment. "Really, Verity, there's no need to get so upset. We are talking about a matter of deep psychic spirituality here."

"Really? I got the impression we were talking about a quick toss in the hay with my man. A one-night stand. A cheap thrill. Isn't that all you really want, Elyssa? An opportunity to screw a guy who might have genuine psychic talent? You want to see if any of it rubs off on you? See if there's anything special about making it with a real psychic? Weil, take it from me, you're not going to get the chance to find out what you're missing. Come near Jonas again and I will tear you apart into little tiny pieces and then I will throw those pieces into Puget Sound. Do you understand me, sister?"

Elyssa's soft eyes brimmed with tears. "You don't understand anything. Your mind is closed, after all.

Don't you see, Verity? Jonas and I were meant to experience a powerful sexual experience. It's my destiny. I must fulfill it."

"Says who? Get out of here, Elyssa. Now. And don't you dare come near Jonas again unless I'm personally around to chaperone him. Move it, you twenty-thousand-year-old chippy!"

Elyssa's eyes widened further, then she burst into tears and fled from the room, her necklaces and bracelets jangling. Her sobs echoed down the stone hall.

In the taut silence that descended on the room, Jonas felt a glorious rush of triumph. It was all he could do to keep from sweeping Verity up in his arms and swinging her around in an exuberant circle.

But Jonas made himself stay where he was, one shoulder against the wall, as Verity turned to him. He didn't want to spoil her show. She had a right to the fireworks, and he wouldn't throw water on them now—not for the world. He knew the grin on his face was wide enough to show most of his teeth, but he couldn't help it. He was feeling too damn good.

Verity stalked toward him, her soft mouth tight, her red-gold brows forming a fierce line above her small nose.

Her eyes were a sea of flames, and her hair was practically crackling with energy.

"Well, well, well," she murmured, her voice deceptively smooth, "the big, brave, psychic treasure hunter almost got himself raped by the client."

"Consummated," Jonas corrected. "I was in some danger of getting consummated by the client. But you saved me."

"You think this is funny?" Verity shifted her gaze, apparently intrigued by the manacle dangling on the wall beside him.

"I think this was one hell of an embarrassing scene, and it's lucky you came along when you did," Jonas murmured.

"Why?" she challenged him abruptly. "Were you tempted to get yourself harmonically aligned with Little Miss Sunshine?"

"No, I was not tempted, and you know it. But the whole thing was getting awkward."

"Awkward?" Verity picked up one of the manacles and began swinging it idly. "Awkward is an interesting description of what I just saw. I didn't notice anything awkward about the way Elyssa had her arms around your neck. She looked very well coordinated to me."

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