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Baby butterfly kisses, p.1

Baby Butterfly Kisses, page 1

 

Baby Butterfly Kisses
 

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Baby Butterfly Kisses


  BABY BUTTERFLY

  KISSES

  Rena Marks

  Baby Butterfly Kisses

  Rena Marks

  The mates of Helian Six are protecting the refugee Puritans hiding on the planet Hesprii by pretending they are their visiting human cousins.

  The males of Helian Six have welcomed a bounty hunter crew from their home planet of Freijia who have a mission to either return or destroy those same Puritans.

  Conflict wreaks havoc on the planet unless the males and females of Hesprii can keep the predators and prey separated. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of room for separation when the snipers fall for the ladies hook, line, and sinker.

  Nor when the ladies decide to find poor fools to lose their virginity to.

  Table of Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Alien Stolen

  Artificial Intelligence

  Abducted

  Stargazer Series

  Also by Rena Marks

  Prologue

  Joy:

  The party after the wedding was definitely fun, almost as much fun as they’d had during the ball. Well, except with Wilma Ann going crazy and drugging everyone, that was. But the only new folks at the ball had been their own Mayor’s Council from Quakestrarian, and here at the wedding reception, well, there was a ton of sexy, new Freijians. Before Freijians, Joy never realized how badly the males of her species were lacking. In height and in other areas.

  She would never go back. For the first time in her life, she felt free. Here, she wasn’t someone’s property, she wasn’t constantly chastised and told to remain pure. Even laughter was frowned upon in her world. There was no dancing, no frivolous dress. She existed to wed a man in the hierarchies, and the one right she had in life was getting to choose which one. Even that choice had dulled now that Joy knew the severe limitation of their own men.

  No, this was the life. Suddenly, she had new admiration for Pariah. That woman broke the Puritanical mold. She was a brave, brave soul, marrying a Freijian and refusing to marry a Quakestrarian.

  “Would you like to dance?” The voice did strange, quivery things in her belly.

  Joy looked up to see the most handsome devil, ever. His gleaming black hair was cropped short and spiky, and he had deep silver skin and piercing blue eyes, with horns to match. Whoever heard of silver and blue being sexy? But it was.

  “I’d love to.” Thank the Lord Commander Pritchard ordered the Helian Six crew to give them dance lessons for his wedding. This gorgeous man was too stunning to step on his toes.

  He took her smaller hand in his and led her to the dance floor. Land sakes, it was much nicer to dance with a Freijian than a Quakestrarian, for sure. With a much shorter Quaker, his nose might catch in your navel. With this tall sexy thing, however, she could catch the thudding of his hearts beneath her ear. He wanted her, as much as she wanted him. She knew it.

  “I am Rojan of Echo Nine.”

  “I’m Joy. Do you work with Commander Krieck—I mean Pritchard?”

  He smiled. “It will be difficult to get used to his married name. Yes, I worked with him many times in the past. How about you? Do you have a family?”

  “Three other sisters.” She’d never known her parents. At her birth, she was designated a child of beauty and taken from her home to be raised as a Puritan. The three others in her level were who she considered her family. They understood each other and protected one another. Not every Puritan was the same. It was Pariah who had taught them differently. She would always feel Beatrice, Virginia, and Molli were her siblings.

  The barn doors were open to let in the fresh air. Just beyond, the gardens beckoned. He led her to a bench under the moonlight. The air was filled with the sweet scent of flowers in bloom. It was only then, when they cuddled in a corner, that he asked her if she happened to be a virgin.

  What an odd thing to ask. She couldn’t imagine why he would want to know. So she blinked— rather coquettishly, she hoped.

  “But of course not. I’m quite experienced.” And, she was. She and her sisters studied every sex toy in the galaxy. The open-minded humans had taught them.

  He looked relieved. “That relieves me to no end. Perhaps I can go get you a drink?”

  She tried not to giggle. She had not yet experienced the sin of alcoholic indulgence. Nor the sin of sex, but tall, silver, and handsome didn’t have to know that.

  He flagged down a server bot, brought by his ship solely to service the party. One drink later, she had to admit to enjoying said indulgence.

  “Another?” he enquired.

  “Love to! These wine coolers are delicious. Like Kool-Aid.”

  But the dratted robot was nowhere to be found. So her handsome devil leaned forward to kiss her forehead. For one brilliant moment, she was tempted to turn her head up and meet his lips. But courage failed her at the last moment, and his lips landed sweetly on her forehead instead. “I’ll be right back,” he murmured and rose. She watched his backside as he wandered to get refills.

  Only then did the sodden-drunk Joy realize the downfalls of alcohol. Slow reflexes. She didn’t even have a chance to scream when a bag was placed over her head, and she was yanked from the bench in the gardens.

  EARLY THE NEXT MORNING, there were a few hungover Freijians standing outside the Commander’s ship, talking quietly amongst themselves. Bajoc, first commander and right hand to Captain Tristan Jeislak of Helian Six, arrived for the mandatory meeting the next morning. But even the quiet whispers caused a few to wince. It was quite the party last night. It would have been nice to sleep in, but Commander Kriekjan—Pritchard, now that he was married—was leaving for his sugarmoon and had to ready the crew before his trip. When a blue-horned officer standing with the rest called his name, Bajoc looked out in surprise.

  “Rojan! My friend, what are you doing here?” Bajoc asked.

  “I’m on a mission. My shuttle may be stationed here for a while since the Commander will be on his...” he sighed as if he’d forgotten the term. “Trip.”

  “Were you here for the wedding?”

  “I arrived at the end. The reception—I believe it was called.”

  “Oh, so you probably met our human mates.” Their sweet humans were having the time of their lives with the first party on the planet.

  “I did. You Helian Six warriors are so lucky.” True enough, Rojan sounded envious.

  “Yes, we are.” Bajoc couldn’t help it if he sounded a bit smug. He deserved this smugness. He’d been through hell and back.

  They arrived at the double doors, taking a seat with the already seated Freijians. Commander Kriekjan—again, scratch that, Pritchard—had the floor.

  “So, thank you all for the good wishes. Pariah and I will be heading for our honeymoon, but until then, you’ll have new arrivals. Their mission is to find and return wayward virgins, namely the Puritans, who seem to have disappeared. The Quakers have ordered their return upon discovering the growth of the unibrows, of course. But during the reception, all four maidens, gone.”

  Tristan stood, eyes narrowed like he was hiding something. “They were banished citizens of Quakestrarian, correct? How can their return be ordered by those same males who banished them?”

  Pritchard shrugged. “It is an issue we are trying to unravel. Before the
ir disappearance, the Puritans declared themselves free citizens based upon their banishment. And naturally—as Freijians had nothing to do with their disappearance—we want them found also, as they were our wedding guests. Until the mediation is heard—and you all know how long these things take—the Quakers have the right to hunt them down as their own possessions.”

  Bajoc almost harrumphed. The reason why this mediation would take forever is that the Supreme Commander was being selfish enough to take a sugarmoon. Pariah obviously wore the pants in their family. Again he felt a cold sweat break out on the back of his neck. He hoped she would not want a child, because she would get what she wanted, for sure. And there was no telling what that demon seed may look like.

  “So, in the realm of interplanetary relations, the Quakers requested our best sniper turned bounty hunter.”

  “Sniper?” Tristan’s jaw dropped. “Marked for death? Isn’t that a little extreme? The Quakers are aware from the kidnapping itself during the ball that it was not the Herbasnuts plotting against them.”

  “The Quakers are standing by the defense that Wilma is indeed Herbasnut and that the planetary officials are simply denying it because she was caught. It is truly a big mess, and you should pity the poor, extremely attractive mediator who gets this case!”

  Several of the warriors fought against the eye-roll, as the session was being recorded. But it was well known that the Supreme Commander himself doubled as the mediator.

  “But a sniper?” Tristan insisted.

  “The Quakers feel that if they can’t have them, no one shall. The Puritans are considered their property.” The Supreme Commander shrugged as if it was not a big deal, but Bajoc knew better. The human mates would consider this a very big deal.

  “Here he is now. Our esteemed bounty hunter. He is to find and return the Puritans at any cost and will remain on Hesprii until the mission is complete. Welcome, Rojan of Echo Nine.”

  Bajoc’s jaw dropped. That was his friend’s mission? To search for and destroy the Puritans they were hiding? This was bad, very bad. Rojan never failed. As the Supreme Commander said, he was the best.

  They would need a plan for this. And hopefully, the human mates wouldn’t screw it up.

  Chapter One

  Joy finally understood the phrase: Praying to the porcelain goddess.

  She hurled what was left of her stomach acids, and listened to the gagging in the next room from her loving, spiritual sisters who listened.

  “Go make sure she’s okay,” Molli hissed at Beatrice.

  “Uh, uh,” Tris answered. “I don’t do well with body fluids.”

  “None of us do,” Virginia said. “But we need the experience if we want to be nurses. Go.”

  “I’m rethinking that idea,” Tris mumbled. “So you go.”

  Joy tuned them out for a few minutes while she brushed her teeth. She studied herself in the mirror. Her freckles stood out against the pallor of her milky white skin. Her lips looked plump and slightly reddened, but that could be from all the sin she’d just spewed from them. The wine cooler had definitely tasted better going down.

  Her reddish-blonde hair hung straight and fine, losing the glorious, intricate curls it had the night before. Her face seemed oddly unbalanced. Something was off. Then she saw it.

  Her stomach lurched and her eyes widened in horror.

  She shrieked.

  A clamoring of footsteps came pounding in rapid succession down the wooden hallway—for they all liked to wear stiletto heels indoors—and the door was thrust open, privacy be damned.

  “My unibrow! It’s gone!” She wailed.

  “What?!” Tris pressed her face to hers as if searching for it.

  It made Joy shriek again.

  “What?!” Tris screamed.

  “Your unibrow! It’s hanging off your head like a dead caterpillar!”

  It was true. Beatrice’s gentle, yellow roll was unraveled on one end and flapping in the wind.

  “What’s happening to us?” Virginia screamed, pushing them out of the way so she could peer in the mirror. “Good God. My heart! It’s broken.”

  Her carefully groomed unibrow, shaped into a delicate heart with two outstretched ribbons that curled around her eyes, was now mashed and mangled, with one of the outstretched ribbons cutting through like an arrow pierced it instead.

  “Move!” Molli screeched, shoving Virginia aside. She peered into the mirror. “Oh. Awesome. My braid still looks good.”

  “Why didn’t I pick the braid?” Virginia sobbed.

  “Please,” Joy said to all the ding-a-ling twits. They may have been her sisters, but they were annoying simpletons sometimes. “Do you suppose you might keep it down? I’m the first one of us suffering from a hangover, you know.”

  “Didn’t you just have one wine cooler?”

  The girls all looked toward the voice. Lara, Marcie, Anita, and Diamond stood just inside the front entryway.

  “Sorry,” Marcie said. “But the door was open. And we really need to talk to you. It’s an emergency.”

  “Yes, I had a wine cooler. I was about to have the second one when someone nearly suffocated me with a bag over my head.” Though she glared at Virginia, Joy couldn’t help the proud tone in her voice. Bucket list. She was the first of the Puritans to try the sin of drink, and everyone knew it. “This is my first hangover, and I’d really like to enjoy it if the rest of you could all stop screeching so loudly.”

  Lara laughed lightly. “Sorry to get you ladies up out of bed so early. But like Marcie said, this is really important. Come sit down.”

  “Did you see our unibrows?” Virginia asked. “I’m not sure what happened.”

  The unibrow was a symbolism of maturity on their home planet. It enabled the wearer to reach her right of passage into adulthood and was the first of their women’s rights. One of the few they had, and the most important. The right to choose a husband. Joy was sure they would have all had natural unibrows by now if they hadn’t been banished from the nourishing atmosphere of their own planet to the strange one of Hesprii.

  Instead, they had to fake it.

  “Well, we did tell you they may not last as long as Titi’s and Reese’s did, remember? The babies don’t wear makeup and lotions, and wash their faces daily...”

  “Though we try,” Marcie cut in, glaring at Lara. “We’re just busy mothers, you know.”

  “Anyway,” Lara continued. “The babies lost theirs during the kidnapping. So we may have guessed that you’d have yours a little longer, but we were mistaken.” It was one of their own, Sister Wilma Ann, who had gone insane and kidnapped the purple toddlers.

  “Well, mine is fine,” Molli said proudly, waggling her braid for effect.

  “Then you’ll have to hide indoors ‘til it falls off,” Lara said sternly.

  “Ex-excuse me?”

  “We want them off.” Lara leaned in. “The Mayor’s Council hired a special ops team of bounty hunters. Their mission is to either find you and return you to Quakestrarian by dragging each of you kicking and screaming, or...” She dramatically paused.

  “Yes?” Virginia asked.

  “Or he destroys you.”

  “Destroys? What does that even mean?”

  Lara shrugged. “The Quakers’ contract with the Freijian Council is explicit. Return the four of you, or destroy you all if you refused to return to your expected roles.”

  “But...but, why would a stranger want us...dead?” Molli asked.

  “It’s his job,” Lara explained. “He can’t refuse. It’s why we staged your kidnapping during the Supreme Commander’s reception, so no one would know you stayed here. But that means any young maiden walking around with a unibrow is automatically suspect. So, for now, you’re going to pretend to be human. That means ditch the brow. You’ll become our adorable cousins visiting from planet Earth.”

  Stars and galaxies. The universe was making choices for her. Surely no one present could know that Joy’s greatest wish was to have b
een born human instead of Puritan. She sighed enviously. They were so lucky to dress how they wanted when they wanted. To marry the drool-worthy Freijians or to simply have dalliances. To have choices in their lives.

  “Planet Dirt?” Molli asked.

  “Urth.”

  Blank looks followed Lara’s words.

  “Earth. E. A. R. T. H.”

  “Ee-aarth?” Joy asked.

  Marcie snickered. “Perhaps they should have been cousins to the Freijians instead. None of them can pronounce it either.”

  “Oh, but we’re not silver,” Virginia said. “We can’t possibly pretend to be their cousins.”

  “You’re a true blonde, aren’t you, my dear?” Anita asked.

  “Yes. I’m a natural blonde.”

  “Bet you don’t even need to bleach your roots.” Anita reached over and grasped one end of Virginia’s heart unibrow...and ripped.

  “Owwwwch!” Virginia screeched.

  “There. You’re good to rejoin the planet’s festivities. But you can’t go by Virginia. How about Ginny? Ginny Ann?”

  “I guess that’s c-close enough to my n-name that I’ll know who it is when I hear it called,” Virginia sobbed.

  “Oh, come here,” Marcie said, pulling her blonde head onto her shoulder to cry it out. “Your forehead will just be red for a day or so. Like waxing.”

  “A whole day?” Virginia shrieked, her head popping up. “How will I ever find a man when I’m so hideously ugly?”

  Joy shook her head. Her simple sister had vanity in spades.

  Marcie patted Virginia’s back. “There’s plenty of time for that when we get the bastard bounty hunter and his crew off the planet.”

  “Bastards,” Molli said.

  Joy gaped at her sister for voicing the unholy word.

  Molli looked excited. “Our bucket list taped to the fridge. The sin of cursing. I was waiting for just the right moment to use it.”

  “Ahem. Well, got that one under your belt,” Marcie said.

  “Yeah, and you lay off the wine coolers,” Anita said with a grin to Joy. “Which, by the way, we should probably change your name to...Joy-see. Josie. We can call you Jo.”

 
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