Chapter Nineteen

"Why the Luxor?" Marcus asked as he unlocked the door to their room and ushered her inside. "It's not exactly in the thick of things here."


"That's why," Divine said, sounding amused as she glanced around the room and then moved into the bathroom to look it over.

Marcus glanced around as well, and managed not to wrinkle his nose. The room was in need of refurbishing. The carpet was worn, the furniture too, and the wallpaper had to be a good thirty years old. If this was the state of the rooms, he wasn't sure he wanted to try the food.

"I picked it because it's near the end of the strip and less busy," Divine explained, coming out of the bathroom. "And it reminds me of my youth."

He arched an eyebrow at that. The Luxor was a huge pyramid with a one-hundred-and-ten-foot re-creation of the Great Sphinx of Giza. "You were in Egypt during your youth? Did your parents live in Egypt?"

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Divine grinned at the question. "Youth is a relative term. I guess I was two hundred, maybe almost three hundred years old when I accompanied the Persians there."

Marcus arched his eyebrows. "The Persians conquered Egypt, didn't they?"

"But good," she agreed dryly.

"Hmmm." He watched her cross the room to a binder on the table and open it to glance through the contents. They'd grabbed a couple of donuts and coffees from a drive-through coffee shop to tide them over on the way here, but he was starved now. It looked like she was too.

"This room service menu . . ." Divine frowned and shook her head. "It might as well be in Greek. What are buffalo chicken wings? Are there buffalo chickens? I thought buffalo were wild ox or cows or something."

"So did I," Marcus said with a shrug. "We could always bypass the menu and order pizza delivered. Dante and Tomasso seem to really like that and order it delivered all the time."

"Would they deliver to a hotel room?" she asked with interest.

"Why not?" Marcus said and pulled out the cell phone Vincent had loaned him. He quickly looked up pizza delivery in Las Vegas. He found one close to the hotel, looked up the menu, and pursed his lips.

"Problem?" Divine asked, snapping her binder closed.

Marcus shook his head. "I'm just not sure what's good on pizza. The boys usually order something called a meat eater's or something and— Oh good, they have a meat lover's pizza that should be similar . . . It has pepperoni, sausage, bacon, and meatballs," he read off, and glanced at her in question. "Is that okay with you?"

"Sounds fine," Divine said and stood up to head for the bathroom. "I'm going to take a quick bath while you order."

"Take your time," Marcus murmured, distracted by punching in the restaurant phone number from memory. "It usually takes a while for pizzas to arrive after ordering. Anywhere from half an hour to an hour in Canada."


He heard the door close, but his attention was on the ringing from his phone. It wasn't until he placed the order and ended the call that Marcus realized that Divine was taking a bath. He could hear the running water and supposed she was stripping and—

Realizing that he'd somehow moved across the room without intending to and that his hand was now on the doorknob, Marcus caught himself. She wanted a bath. If she'd wanted something else she wouldn't be shut up in the bathroom running water, she'd be stripping out here in front of him.

He couldn't blame her for wanting a bath, Marcus thought as he turned away from the door. While it had probably been in the nineties when they'd started their play evening at five, it had cooled off a little as the night had progressed, but had still been in the high eighties and humid as they'd rushed around from ride to ride. He was feeling a little in need of a bath himself and his clothes were grimy and sweaty, Marcus noted, wrinkling his nose as he raised an arm and sniffed himself.

He definitely needed a change of clothes, and Divine would no doubt appreciate fresh clothes when she got out of her bath too, Marcus thought, and headed for the door.

The plan was for him to just quickly nip out and pick up a couple of things, then hurry back. It didn't end up that way. Divine was the problem. Marcus wasn't sure on size or even what she'd like. It wasn't like Gypsy outfits were easy to find in hotel gift shops. Actually, while there were lots of T-shirts, jackets, etc. with the Luxor logo on them, there wasn't much in the way of bottoms. Not that he thought Divine would want to walk around with "Luxor" on her ass.

In the end, Marcus asked the concierge for a suggestion of somewhere nearby to shop and then grabbed a taxi out in front of the hotel to the place the guy suggested. What followed was several panicked moments, maybe even half an hour, of picking up and discarding items until he just gathered a bunch of items together and rushed to the till. He had to be back in time to accept the pizza. Marcus wasn't sure Divine had any money on her, if she was even out of the tub to answer the door.

He was weighed down with half a dozen bags heavy with clothes when he got back to the Luxor. Marcus rushed to the elevators, conscious of the passing time and afraid he'd missed the pizza delivery. That worry in mind, he made a run for it when he saw that one of the elevators was on the ground floor, the doors just closing. Even so, he wouldn't have made it if the young guy inside, the only occupant, hadn't grabbed the door to stop it from closing.

"Thanks," Marcus murmured with relief as he slid inside.

"No problem," the young man said easily as Marcus glanced to the numbered buttons on the wall.

Finding the button for the floor the room he shared with Divine, Marcus noted it was already lit up and let out a little sigh as he leaned against the wall for the ride. He'd barely done so when the scents in the elevator drew his attention back to his companion. The kid who had held the door for him smiled and nodded when Marcus's gaze zeroed in on the wide flat insulated bag he carried on one raised hand like a waiter carrying a tray.

"Smells good, huh?" the fellow asked.

"Yeah," Marcus agreed and completely relaxed as he read the room number on the sales slip taped to the top of the six-pack of Coke in the guy's other hand. He hadn't missed the delivery. This was it. Marcus didn't say anything to the delivery boy, though, simply rode up with him, stepped out, and headed down the hall, aware that the boy was following.

"Figures," the kid said with a laugh when Marcus stopped to unlock his room door.

"Yeah," Marcus agreed. "I was afraid I wouldn't be back in time. Good thing you held the elevator door for me. Thanks again for that."

"My pleasure. Saved me a trip back and forth for nothing," he said with amusement, moving forward when Marcus gestured for him to follow. He didn't come all the way into the room, but stopped just inside, his body keeping the door open as he waited for Marcus to drop all his bags and pull out his wallet to pay him.

Marcus gave him a good-sized tip, took the pizza and pop and wished the kid a good night, then let the door close and turned into the room just as Divine came out of the bathroom. Her hair was damp and slicked back from her head, and she wore a hotel robe. She looked shiny and clean and sexy as hell in the oversized robe and for a minute Marcus considered leaving the pizza until later and just—

"Mmmm, that smells delicious," Divine said, smiling widely.

"Right," Marcus murmured, and gave his head a shake. Food first, he told himself firmly and carried the pizza and Coke to the small round table between two chairs. Setting them there, he then snatched up the ice bucket and headed for the door. "You go ahead and start eating. I'm going to grab us some ice."

Marcus didn't wait for a response, but hurried out. He'd spotted the ice room on his way up the hall and hurried there now to fill the bucket. When he got back, Divine had found little packaged coffee packets with a spoon, sugar, cream sweetener, and napkins in them. She'd opened a couple and taken out the napkins for them to use. She'd also collected the two glasses from the bathroom counter and set them out on either side of the pizza box on the table.

"Go ahead and start, I'm going to wash my hands," Marcus said, setting the bucket on the table and heading for the bathroom. The room was still a little steamy from her bath and smelled good from the shampoo and soap, he noted as he walked up to the sink. He turned the tap on, but one glance at himself and Marcus grimaced. He was filthy. He didn't know how, all they'd done was ride the rides and then drive for a couple hours, but he was coated with a fine dust of dirt, that had pathways through it from where sweat had run.

Turning the tap off, he spun to the shower and turned that on instead, and then quickly stripped. What followed was possibly the fastest shower ever. It couldn't have been more than five minutes later that he walked out of the room with a towel wrapped around his waist.

"There's another robe in the closet," Divine announced on seeing him, and Marcus stopped to find the item, and then drew it on over his towel.

"Feel better?" Divine asked as he joined her.

"Yeah. Sorry about that," Marcus said as he settled in his chair and noted that she'd put ice in both glasses and poured them both pop . . . and the pizza box was still closed. "You didn't have to wait."

Divine shrugged. "I only finished pouring the soda a minute ago. I was debating starting without you when I heard the water shut off so I waited."

"Well, thank you for pouring the pop," Marcus murmured, and opened the pizza box and then glanced around with a grimace. "No plates. Didn't think of that. I guess we'll have to eat out of the box. The boys do that sometimes."

"The Dante and Tomasso you mentioned who like pizza?" Divine asked with amusement, reaching for a piece of pizza.

"Yeah." Marcus smiled faintly as he picked up a slice for himself as well. "They aren't the only ones who like pizza though. Actually, I can't think of anyone in the family who eats who doesn't like pizza."

"Then it has to be good," Divine said, lifting her piece to her mouth, but only sniffing. "It smells good."

Marcus took a bite of his slice and stilled, savoring the various flavors that assaulted his tongue.

"Good?" Divine asked curiously. When he moaned aloud with pleasure and nodded, she finally took a bite of her own. Her eyes immediately widened. After chewing and swallowing, she said, "Oh yeah. It's good."

It was the last thing either of them said for several minutes as they concentrated on eating. Marcus hadn't been sure what size to order. Dante and Tomasso could demolish too large apiece, but Christian and Caro tended to order one large only so that's what he'd ordered, a large for them to share. However, since he and Divine were both still new to eating and stretching out their stomachs, a large was too much. He managed two pieces, Divine only got down one. It left most of the pizza still in the box.

Marcus closed the pizza box with regret, wondering if it would keep for a snack later, and then sat back with a little satisfied sigh and glanced to Divine. She was curled up in the opposite chair, looking relaxed and sipping at her drink. His gaze slid slowly over her in the robe. It was big, white, and fluffy. It had also parted above the knees, leaving her lower legs on display. Marcus couldn't help thinking she had the cutest little feet he'd ever seen. He wanted to kiss each of her little toes and play that "This little piggy went to market" game, and when he got to "This little piggy went wee wee wee all the way home," he'd tickle his way up her legs to— 

"You have the strangest smile on your face," Divine said suddenly. "What are you thinking?"

Marcus blinked and then sat up abruptly. Sexually, he wanted Divine like crazy, but more than that, he wanted her in his life. But he had to sort out if she was rogue, and if so, why. He needed that knowledge to sort out a way to keep her safe. So, instead of answering, he said, "Tell me about your family."

Divine stilled, wariness crossing her face, "My family? I told you about my family."

"Yes, you did, but—" Pausing, he leaned forward and said, "Divine, the Basha that Lucian is looking for is the mother of Leonius Livius."

"His mother?" she asked with a start. "I didn't think she was alive. I thought she died long before he did." And then with sudden alarm, Divine asked, "He is dead, isn't he? I was told he died back during the immortal/no-fanger war."

"Leonius Livius I is dead," Marcus assured her, noting the way she'd paled. "I'm talking about Leonius Livius II."

She blanched as if he'd slapped her. "There's another one?"

"Yes," he said gently, concerned by her obvious upset. "Apparently one son escaped during the immortal/no-fanger war." His eyes narrowed when she suddenly seemed to stop breathing.

After a moment, she let her breath out and said bitterly, "So one of his sons survived and you call him Leonius Livius II." Before Marcus could respond, she asked sharply, "Why? Because he's his father's son?"

"No, because that's what he calls himself," Marcus said patiently and then explained, "He calls himself Leonius Livius II and has named all his sons Leonius as well. They go by numbers though. At least, Leonius the twenty-first was called Twenty-one, Leonius the thirteenth was Thirteen, and the others the Rogue Hunters have caught all went by a number. Except for Ernie," he added with a frown.

"Ernie?" Divine asked sharply.

"Another son of his, but an immortal rather than a no-fanger," Marcus explained. "For some reason he was named Ernie instead of Leonius . . . Perhaps because he was immortal rather than no-fanger," Marcus thought aloud and considered that briefly before shaking his head. "Anyway, I'm off topic. The point is that Leonius was captured two years ago or so and a woman apparently whisked him away, and that woman according to Mirabeau looks like you but with blond hair. And then Ernie and this girl named Dee were captured, and from Dee they learned about a blonde named Basha who was Leo's mother."

Divine stood up and started slowly across the room.

Marcus frowned and said, "Now we know your son's name is Damian so you can't be the Basha who is Leonius's mother. And Jackie said you were actually Leonius's victim. But Mirabeau said there was still something in your thoughts about you being rogue or wanted. So just tell me why you think you would be—" He stopped abruptly, nearly swallowing his tongue when Divine suddenly stopped at the side of the bed, turned to face him with the robe undone, and shrugged it off her shoulders. All Marcus could do was sit and gawk as the robe hit the ground and pooled around her bare feet.

He swallowed, opened his mouth to speak, and then closed his mouth again, unsure what he'd been about to say. What had they been talking about?

Turning away, Divine climbed onto the bed, crawled to the center of it on her hands and knees, and then shifted to lounge on it, legs together, knees raised, feet and palms flat on the bed, arms back a bit, holding her upright at an angle that thrust her breasts into the air. It was about the sexiest damned pose he'd ever seen, or maybe it was just the woman. Marcus didn't know which and didn't care; without actually giving his body the order to move, he found himself standing at the side of the bed.

Disappointment slipped through Marcus when Divine immediately shifted to sit on the edge of the bed in front of him, but that died when she reached out, undid his robe, and then pulled it open. His erection, which had sprung into existence the moment her robe had dropped, bounced upward without the heavy terry cloth to hold it down and nearly poked her in the eye. Divine took that in stride though and simply caught it in her hand.

Marcus sucked in a breath, eyes squeezing shut as her cool hand closed around his hot member. His eyes blinked open again, though, on a shocked grunt when her hot, wet mouth suddenly closed around it.

Oh dear God, no, Marcus thought. This was too much, too fast. He'd lose control and— Oh hell, he thought as his hands reached for her head, his fingers tangling in her drying hair. She seemed to know exactly how much pressure to exert, just where to flick with her tongue, when to suck hard and when to ease up. It was like she was psychic.

Or a life mate experiencing what he was along with him, Marcus realized as his pleasure seemed to grow inside him in waves that rolled out, seemed to gather steam, rolled back in to gather more, and rolled out again.

Marcus moaned as a particularly strong wave of passion hit him, and heard Divine's answering moan, and then just as he reached and started to fall over the edge of that cliff their pleasure had built, he was suddenly alone. It was as if they were back on that bungee drop ride, harnessed in together, and when she pulled the rip cord, he was suddenly whipped away from her, riding it out alone. Marcus instinctively tried to stop his own fall, but couldn't, and found himself tumbling helplessly into the abyss where darkness closed over hi

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