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Carbon Copy
Ashley Ladd

Carbon Copy Excerpt

Rough, the guard chained Siobhan’s hands behind her back, clasped a metal ring around her neck, and hauled her like a dog to death’s corridor. The heavy chain clanked on the floor, biting into her neck and making it almost impossible to hold her head up. With every scrap of strength she could muster, she held it up to meet her fate head on, marching proudly past the rows of the worst deviants and slogs in the galaxy.

“What’d you do, sweet thing? Burn the muffins?” A particularly disgusting double-faced, four-legged Glitopuss taunted, coiling his long slimy tongue toward her. His genitals swelled and glistened grotesquely in the weblinthium’s pulsing glow.

She veiled her eyes, looking away. Unfortunately, the view was no better wherever her glance fell.

“Maybe the Diva Goddess stuck that perky nose up in the air at the King,” a single-breasted Pretadorn drawled. Sporting a single beady eye and three nostrils, she was as abominable as the Glitopuss.

“You take a wrong turn? The debutante ball is in the penthouse, at the top of the compound.” Startled by the svelte, human voice, her gaze sought out the owner. He appeared to be the only man on the corridor. The inmate’s amused gaze dissected each and every inch of her. He leaned against the weblinthium bars nonchalantly as if he was hanging out at the cantina. Mischief danced in the man’s jade eyes, striking against his waist-length coal-black hair. He was simultaneously the most disreputable and sexiest male she’d ever seen, so much so, he made her forget to breathe. “Don’t mind them. They never heard of manners.”

And he had? Regardless of his handsome façade, she detected no evidence of his so-called manners. “You’re on death’s corridor because you have such sterling ones?” Siobhan returned the favor, letting her gaze drink him in. Tall enough to make her look up at him, the man had to stand at least six foot four inches. Broad shoulders tapered down to a narrow waist, slim hips, and powerful legs. Mocking intelligence smoldered in his disturbing gaze. Unkempt though he was, she grudgingly admitted the man was ruggedly handsome, with sculpted cheeks, a braided beard with faded beads strung through the two braids, and a high forehead, which his unruly locks insisted on tumbling over. He was one-hundred-eighty degrees opposite her fiancé’s polished blonde figure. He wore the outfit of pirates, her sworn enemies.

“Just a little misunderstanding, sweet thing. My attorneys are working on my appeal as we speak.”

Sweet thing? Hardly. If he’d heard the rumors of her supposed crime, he wouldn’t waste a drop of charm on her. “Hope your attorneys are better than mine.” Considering her own case, it was possible, if highly unlikely, he spoke the truth. Danger seeped from his every pore, mixed in with his scallywag charm. Charming men made her internal alarms whir out of control—they couldn’t be trusted. Her father had tried to alliance her with several. Blatantly honest, she loved her straightforward Dennis. No artifice. No games. Thoroughly trustworthy, she could consign him her life. She had done so often and he had never let her down.

So where was he now?

Trying to find her, most definitely. She had been captured and arrested without due process…

The guard disabled the weblinthium force field in the cell across from the pirate, then unclasped the chain from her collar and shoved her inside. In a reverberating, mechanical voice, he said, “Better pray fast to your gods. Your execution will be at the rise of the third Balderian moon.”

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