Book one in the Thresl Chronicles series
When Kreslan is attacked, little does he know the shape-shifting beast who saves him will completely change his life.
When Kreslan Piers is attacked in the cargo hold, he is rescued by a rare shape-shifting beast who transforms into the reincarnated leader of an entire planet. Will Kreslan be willing to give up his dream of being an ordinary soldier to partner with an extraordinary creature?
Vohne has been named by his human half, and the longer they’re together the more he’s remembering the details of their previous lives—lives he shared with Kreslan before watching him die. When they reach the Thresl home planet, Vohne has to break the news to his skittish mate that they not only does he belong to Vohne, but he is fated to be his other half for the rest of eternity.
Instinct had Kres stepping up to the creature. “Come on. See, I’m not hurt. You stopped the bad men in time.”
The loud snarling dimmed to a low growl.
Sergeant Wallace shoved his way through the sea of soldiers.
“What happened here?” he demanded.
“Barley showed up with his friends and decided to beat me up. The Thresl stopped them.”
The ship’s captain arrived in time to hear the accusation. “That’s a serious charge, Lieutenant. Why would Lieutenant Barley want to attack you?” Captain Thomson asked.
“I don’t know, probably because that’s what he does whenever he thinks he can get away with it,” Kres snapped.
“Don’t listen to him!” Barley screamed. “He sicced that creature on us. I want justice.” He clutched at his face with one bloody hand.
“You’ll have it,” the sergeant promised. Kres’ heart sank in his chest. He was finally going to get the prison sentence Barley planned for him. He’d eluded it until now, but Barley wouldn’t give up until Kres spent the rest of his life in a smaller cage than the Thresl.
The Thresl moved away from Barley and went to sit beside Kres. The animal sat upright, curling his tail around his body, a low purr vibrating his chest.
A group of four men wearing medic uniforms rushed over to the fallen men. They sprayed sealant on the open wounds and bound Barley’s face with gauze.
“Take them to the medic ward,” the captain ordered. “We’ll deal with them later.”
As the trio left the area, Wallace turned to the captain. “After we had a few thefts last year, I added a new camera system to the cargo hold. We can review the recording here.”
Pulling a remote out of his pocket, the sergeant pressed a few buttons. Two wall panels pulled apart, revealing a large flat screen monitor.
“Now see here, Sergeant. Don’t you think this should be shown in a more private location?” the captain protested.
“No. I’ve looked at Lieutenant Barley’s record, and for some reason, all the evidence of whatever he’s accused of always mysteriously disappears. I want there to be witnesses,” Wallace replied.
The monitor flickered on and, after the sergeant reversed the digital recording, everyone watched as Barley attacked Kres.
Captain Thomson viewed the entire scene in silence. “After they leave the medic ward, Barley, Stanner and Philson will be confined to the brig until we reach port.”
The Thresl licked his bloody claws.
Captain Thomson started shouting orders, concluding with, “Everyone clear the area except Sergeant Wallace and Lieutenant Piers.”
The captain waited until everyone was gone before turning to Kres. “It seems we have a problem here, Lieutenant Piers.”
“I’m so sorry, Captain Thomson,” Kres said. “I really don’t know why Barley hates me.”
Sergeant Wallace laughed. “Probably because you’re smarter, better looking, and people actually like you.”
The captain smiled and slapped Sergeant Wallace on the back. “I’m so glad you recorded the incident, Wallace. I’ve been trying to pin something on that pompous ass since he walked onto my ship. I hate punk kids who ride on their parents’ glory.”
“So I’m not in trouble?” Kres asked. He couldn’t believe he was getting out of this, and Barley was actually receiving the punishment he deserved. It was like a living dream.
“There is the problem of the Thresl…” Captain Thomson said.
“I didn’t let him free, Captain, I promise. His cage just came open.”
“I saw,” the captain agreed. “But he’s still imprinted on you.”
Kres stared at the creature in horror. “Imprinted? No. He can’t be. He’s meant for an ambassador or someone.” This was awful. A million-dollar Thresl imprinted on a lieutenant with little money and no pedigree. “We’ll put him back in the cage. He’ll be fine.”
He looked down at the cat creature blinking up at him with gold eyes. “Go back into the cage, Thresl,” Kres said in a soothing tone. “Go on now.” He made a shooing motion with his hand. The Thresl rubbed his enormous head against Kres’ stomach, a low purr rolling up from his throat.
“Yours,” a voice whispered inside Kres’ head.
“Oh, no, no, no. Not mine.”
“Did it talk?” the captain asked curiously. “I’d heard they can sometimes mentally communicate with their bonded humans. They are an interesting breed.”
“I can’t have a Thresl. I can barely take care of myself,” Kres objected.
“We’ll have to explain to the ambassador why his present is no longer going to work.” The captain gave him a smile. “I’ll put that on Barley’s shoulders also.”
“What do I do with the Thresl?” Kres asked, bewildered.
“You’ll have to be transferred to the Thresl training facility,” the captain said. “It’s located on the moon of their home planet of Nillre. That’s the only place that conducts proper Thresl orientation. Once your training is complete, you can come back to your position as a fighting team or you can join the troops on Nillre. Since we’re allies, either military group would take you. Unfortunately, you’ll be useless until you’ve finished imprinting with the beast.” The captain gave him a measuring look. “Consider yourself lucky. Not very many have the privilege of a Thresl bonding.”
Kres realised it didn’t matter what he wanted. Now that he’d imprinted with the Thresl, he couldn’t abandon the creature that had saved his life. “Is there a shuttle I can catch?”
“Yes,” Sergeant Wallace said. “I can have one ready for you in an hour if you want to get your stuff together and head for the dock.”
Kres didn’t have much to pack. As a soldier he was only allowed a rucksack full of clothes and a few personal items.
“Thank you, Sergeant, for all your help.” He hoped he was able to convey his gratitude to the man who’d essentially saved him from prison. After saluting both officers, he turned to leave.
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Wallace asked.
The Thresl bounded after him, his huge body as tall as Kres’ chest.
Kres looked back at the cage. “Do I need a collar or something?”
The Thresl gave a low growl.
Captain Thomson shook his head. “He’s yours now. He won’t do anything unless you are in danger, and if that is the case, you don’t want to be on the other side of a leash.”
The hair on Kres’ arms stood on end. He could see no way this was going to end well.
Sighing, Kres headed to his room.
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