A chuckle vibrated in his chest. "My Romany tribe, then. It's been too many years. I'd like to find out if my grandmother is still alive." He paused. "And I want to ask some questions."
Drawing her hand to his forearm, Cam pressed it to his tattoo. "This."
Thinking of Merripen's identical tattoo, and the strange, impossible coincidence of it, Amelia frowned in curiosity. "What kind of connection might there be between you and Merripen?"
"I have no idea." Cam smiled ruefully. "God help me, I'm half afraid to find out."
"Whatever it is," she said, "we'll trust in fate."
Cam's smile widened. "So you believe in fate now?"
"And luck," Amelia said, her hand tightening on his arm. "Because of you."
"That reminds me? He raised himself on one elbow and looked down at her, dark lashes sweeping over glowing amber. "I have something to show you. Don't move?I'll bring it here."
"Can't it wait?'' she protested.
"No. I'll be back in a few minutes. Don't fall asleep."
He left the bed and drew on his clothes, while Amelia took possessive pleasure in the sight of him.
To keep from falling asleep while he was gone, she went to the washstand and used a cold cloth to freshen herself. Hurrying back to the bed, she sat and tucked the covers beneath her arms.
Cam returned, noiseless as a cat, carrying an object that was approximately the shape and size of a slipper box. Amelia regarded it quizzically as he set it beside her. The heavy box was made of wood and heavily tarnished and pitted silver, the whole of it giving off an acid-sweet reek. As Amelia ran her fingers experimentally over the surface, she discovered the surface was slightly tacky.
"Fortunately it was wrapped in oilcloth," Cam said. "Otherwise it would have been soaked in fermented honey."
Amelia blinked in astonishment. "Don't say this is the treasure that Christopher Frost was looking for?"
"I found it when I was getting the crushed bees for Merripen's poultice. I brought it back for you." He looked vaguely apologetic. "I meant to tell you about it earlier, but it slipped my mind."
Amelia stifled a laugh. The average man would hardly forget something like a cache box possibly containing treasure ... but to Cam, it probably had little more significance than a box of hazelnuts. "Only you," she said, "could go looking for bee venom and find hidden treasure." Lifting the box, she shook it gently, feeling the movement of weighty objects within. "Blast, it's locked." She reached in the wild disarray of her coiffure. Finding a hairpin, she handed it to him.
"Why do you assume I can pick a lock," he asked, a sly flicker in his eyes.
"I have complete faith in your criminal abilities," she said. "Open it, please."
Obligingly he bent the pin and inserted it into the ancient lock.
"Why didn't you tell Mr. Frost that you'd already found the treasure?" Amelia asked as he worked to find the catch. "Then you might have been spared being swarmed by all those bees."
"I wanted to save this for your family. Frost had no right to it." Before another minute had passed, the lock had clicked and the box was open.
Amelia's heart pounded with excitement as she lifted the lid. She found a sheaf of letters, perhaps a half-dozen, tied with a thin braided lock of hair. Gingerly she picked up the bundle, pulled the top letter out, and unfolded the ancient yellowed parchment.
It was indeed a love letter from a king, signed, simply, "James." Scandalous, ardent, and sweetly written, it seemed far too intimate for her to read. It had never been meant for her eyes. Feeling like an interloper, she closed the brittle folds and set it aside.
Cam, meanwhile, had begun to pull objects from the box and lay them in her lap; a loose ruby at least an inch in diameter, pairs of diamond bracelets, ropes of massive black pearls, a brooch made of an oval-shaped sapphire easily the size of a sovereign, with a teardrop diamond hanging beneath, and an assortment of jeweled rings.
"I don't believe it," Amelia said, jostling the glittering heap. "This must be enough to rebuild Ramsay House twice over."
"Not quite," Cam said, casting an experienced glance over the lot, "but close."
She frowned as she sorted through the trove of priceless jewels. "Cam?" she asked after a long moment.
"Hmmm?" He seemed to have lost interest in the treasure, absorbed in playing with a loose lock of her hair.
"Would you mind if we kept this from Leo until he's... well, a bit more rational? Otherwise I'm afraid he'll go out and do something irresponsible."
"I'd say that's a valid concern." He picked up the jewelry in careless handfuls, dumping it into the box and closing it. "Yes, we'll wait until he's ready."
"Do you think," Amelia asked hesitantly, "that Leo will change from the way he is now? Will he get better?"
Hearing the worry in her tone, Cam reached out and nestled her against him. "As the Rom say, 'No wagon keeps the same wheels forever."
The covers slipped between them. Amelia shivered as the cool air wafted over her na**d back and shoulders. "Come back to bed," she whispered. "I need you to warm me."
Cam stripped away his shirt, and laughed quietly as he felt her hands plucking at the buttons of his trousers. "What happened to my prudish gadji?"T