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Sneak Peek: Curio Criminal (Book 3 of the Curio Trilogy)

"How did this happen?" demanded High Counselor Memoria Levantan.

Piloto Acaparan--the first paz man I had ever seen after my abduction--shifted uncomfortably, but didn’t bow out of the hard question.

"Counselor," said the familiar procurer of curios, "you know we left as soon as we dropped off the last batch of organisms. We’ve been gone for nearly a full Paz year. We had no word whatsoever that a specimen we brought was out 
now." He shook his head incredulously with a glance in my direction. When I matched his gaze, he quickly averted his solid black eyes and shifted the bag on his shoulder into better place.

"Procurer Acaparan," Memoria said softly, but her low volume only communicated more force behind her words. "Did you even attempt to observe the human species? How could you and your team be so utterly irresponsible?"

Piloto Acaparan twitched, but he covered the gesture with another shift of his large bag. 

"We saw nothing of their species that showed intelligence," he said shortly. "Counselor, my ship and crew are waiting for me. I apologize for this situation, but I must go." He turned away and began walking at a swift pace towards an airlock door on the far side of the room, headed for the docks.

"Procurer Acaparan, we are not finished," Counselor Levantan called, blinking in dismay at his rudeness. "Your ship must wait to depart until we decide what to do with the aftermath of your grievous mistake."

But the procurer kept walking. He punched the button to release the air pressure and open the door to exit the room of containment holds. 

A wire of electricity seemed to shoot through my every muscle at her words. Unthinking, I let go of Inquieto’s hand and ran towards the door.

"Wait!" I cried. Home. This man could take me home. Images of my father and grandparents and friends flashed through my brain with the sounds of cacophonous human laughter, energetic and sexy dance music, and the yells and cheers of triumph in a sports stadium--memories of the loud, unrepressed life humans enjoyed, but paz deemed inappropriate, even disturbing at times. 

The procurers had stolen me from Earth. They could take me there again if I dashed to their ship this instant. I could go home. I could...

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