Noxx (Alien Adoption Agency #1) - Tasha Black
Luna clutched the armrests and tried to remember how to pray.
The tiny spacecraft was shaking hard enough to rattle her teeth. But at the moment, she was almost more worried about her dress. It was going to take nothing short of divine intervention to keep her breasts from evacuating the weirdly low-cut gown the adoption agency had insisted she wear.
She still wasn’t sure why they had dressed her up like she was headed to the red-light district of Cerros-3. Or why she was being flown out to meet her new baby in a contraption that seemed designed to orphan him a second time.
The struggling engine gave out a high-pitched whine and an acrid, smoky scent wafted toward her. Luna forced her eyelids open to check on the other occupants of the puddle jumper.
Opposite her, two more adoptive mothers, in identical purple gowns, clung to each other.
The one on the right, Phoebe, was looking as space-sick as Luna felt. She swore even Phoebe’s blonde hair had taken on a greenish tint.
Phoebe was from a Terran planet, like Luna. And Luna was willing to bet that she had never been on a spacecraft before they had each started the adoption process. Luna certainly hadn’t.
Phoebe had told them she hailed from a tribe of farmers. Adopting a baby meant she would be given her own plot of land so that she could continue in that tradition.
Beside Phoebe, Aurora’s bright blue eyes twinkled, even though her mouth was set in a hard line.
The three women had been through the strange intake process together and had quickly formed a strong friendship. But Luna was still afraid to ask Aurora her last name.
The thing of it was, Luna was pretty sure she had seen hologram images of her new friend in the dailies many times over, after the rebel bomb had gone off in New Samsara. Though the woman in the holos was a blue-eyed redhead, not a brunette. And the feeds only referred to her as “The Fox.”
No one had been killed, or even hurt in that explosion, but the factory that made the weapons used by the Cerulean soldiers on Terra-2 was destroyed.
There was a time when such an action would have been widely celebrated by Terrans everywhere. Aurora, if it had really been her, would have been considered a folk hero.
But now that Ambassador Serena Scott was working toward a fragile peace and removal of Cerulean troops from the Terran planets, no one wanted anything to mess it up, least of all a factory explosion the Ceruleans were calling a terrorist attack.
Citizens on both sides were furious, and the intergalactic military was on the hunt for the woman known only as the Fox.
Aurora winked at Luna and flashed her a sly, pirate smile.
She was clearly not as freaked out by the bumpy ride as Luna and Phoebe.
Maybe this was because Aurora had been on them before for rebel missions. If there was one thing most Terrans did not have, it was access to good spacecrafts.
Whoever Aurora used to be, what she was now was a woman expecting a new baby and a new life.
The Alien Adoption Agency offered an excellent, if inadvertent, safe harbor.
The three women were about to be dropped off on a frontier moon, far from Terran reach, where they would likely disappear forever to raise the orphaned pod babies of the planet Imber in relative peace.
“Ohh,” Phoebe said, her voice quavering from the rough ride.
Luna looked out the window to see what Phoebe was looking at.
The moon below was the most lush thing Luna had ever seen.
The tops of millions of leafy blue and green trees made its surface look almost soft. It was like something out of the books at the Terran museum with all the images of old Earth.
In the center, there was something oblong, blue, and shimmering.
It looked almost like…water.
Could there really be so much water in one place without a factory there to drain it and sell it off?
“Hot damn,” Aurora said, peering out the window.
There was a crackle and a buzz before the speaker came to life.
“We’re about to land,” Luna’s chip translator told her the captain was saying.
The whole speaker system was ridiculous, she could literally see the pilot through the opening in the small curtain that separated his seat from theirs.
“When we arrive, prepare for sterilization,” he continued.
Luna looked over at Aurora, who shrugged.
Phoebe shuddered and looked away.
Times like these, Luna hated her chip. She knew it wasn’t rational to expect to learn a