Cam's voice was muffled. 'There's nothing except bees and honeycomb."
"There has to be," Christopher snapped. "Go in there and find it."
"He can't," Amelia cried in outrage. "He'll be stung to death."
He aimed the pistol directly at her. "Go," Christopher commanded Cam.
Bees were showering onto Cam, crawling over his shining black hair and face and the back of his neck. Watching him, Amelia felt as if she were trapped in a waking nightmare.
"Nothing's here," Cam said, sounding astonishingly calm.
Now Christopher seemed to take a vicious satisfaction in the situation. "You've hardly looked. Go inside and don't come out without it."
Tears sprang to Amelia's eyes. "You're a monster," she said furiously. "There's nothing in there, and you know it."
"Look at you," he said, sneering, "weeping over your Gypsy lover. How low you've fallen."
Before she could respond, a blue-white burst of light filled the room in a noiseless strike. The lamp flame was extinguished in a freezing blast. Amelia blinked and rubbed the moisture from her eyes, and turned in a bewildered circle as she tried to find the source of the light. Something shimmered all around them, coldness and brilliance and raw energy. She stumbled toward Cam with her arms outstretched. The bees lifted in a mass and flew back to the hive, the blue light causing their wings to glitter like a rain of sparks.
Amelia reached Cam, and he caught her in a warm, hard grip. "Are you hurt?" she asked, her hands frantically searching him.
"No, just a sting or two. I? He broke off with a sharp inhalation.
Twisting in his arms, Amelia followed his gaze. Two hazy forms, distorted in the broken light, struggled for possession of the gun. Who was it? Who else had come into the room? Not a heartbeat had passed before Cam had shoved her to the floor. "Stay down." Without pausing, he launched himself toward the combatants.
But they had already broken apart, one man tumbling to the floor with the pistol in his grip, the other running for the door. Cam went for the fallen man, while the air crackled as if the room were filled with burning Catherine wheels. The other man fled. And the door slammed shut behind him?although no one had touched it.
Dazed, Amelia sat up, while the fractured light dissolved into a faint blue radiance that clung to the outlines of the men nearby. "Cam?" she asked uncertainly.
His voice was low and shaken. "It's all right, hummingbird. Come here."
She reached them and gasped as she saw the intruder's face. "Leo. What are you—how did you? Her voice faltered at the sight of the pistol in his hand. He held it loosely against his thigh. His face was calm, his mouth curved with a faint wry smile.
"I was going to ask you the same thing," Leo said mildly. "What the devil are you doing here?"
Amelia sank to the floor beside Cam, her gaze remaining on her brother. "Poppy found your note," she said breathlessly. "We came here because we thought you were going to?to do yourself in."
"That was the general idea," Leo said. "But I went to the tavern for a drink on the way. And when I finally got here, it was a bit crowded for my taste. Suicide is something a fellow likes a bit of privacy for."
Amelia was unnerved by his tranquil manner. Her gaze fell to the pistol in his hand, then returned to his face. Her hand crept to Cam's tense thigh. The ghost was with them, she thought. The air had turned her face numb, making it difficult to move her lips. "Mr. Frost was treasure-hunting," she told her brother.
Leo gave her a skeptical glance. "A treasure, in this rubbish pile?"
"Well, you see, Mr. Frost thought?
"No, don't bother. I'm afraid I can't summon any interest in what Frost thought. The idiot." He looked down at the pistol, his thumb gently grazing the barrel.
Amelia wouldn't have expected a man contemplating suicide to appear so relaxed. A ruined man in a ruined house. Every line of his body spoke of weary resignation. He looked at Cam. "You need to take her out of here," he said quietly.
"Leo? Amelia had begun to tremble, knowing that if they left him here, he would kill himself. She could think of nothing to say, at least nothing that wouldn't sound theatrical, unconvincing, absurd.
Her brother's mouth quirked as if he were too exhausted to smile. "I know," he said gently. "I know what you want, and what you don't want. I know you wish I could be better than this. But I'm not."
He blurred before her. Amelia felt tears sliding from her eyes, the wetness turning icy by the time they reached her chin. "I don't want to lose you."
Leo bent both his knees and braced an arm across them, his fingers remaining curled around the gun handle. "I'm not your brother, Amelia. Not anymore. I changed when Laura died."
"I still want you."
"No one gets what they want," Leo muttered. "Not now."
Cam watched her brother intently. A long silence unfolded in pained degrees, while a burning cold breeze fanned over the three of them. "I could try to persuade you to set the gun aside, and go home with us," he said eventually. "To hold off one more day. But even if I stopped you this time... one can't keep a man alive when he doesn't want to be."
"True," Leo said.
Amelia opened her mouth with a shuddering protest, but Cam stopped her, his fingers pressing gently over her lips. Cam continued to stare at Leo, not with concern but a sort of detached contemplation, as if he were focusing on some mathematical equation. "No one can be haunted," he said quietly, "without having willed it. You know that, don't you?"