Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght

By: Cathryn Cade

Orion Series, Book 1





DEDICATION



To all the poets who have left their words

burned indelibly on our hearts



Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright,

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

~William Blake





TYGER, TYGER, BURNING BRYGHT



Orion Series #1



** This novella, first published in 2008, has been re-written with added material. **



He's an alpha beast, trapped on the space ship Orion in mating shift … and she’s all that lies between him and madness.



Tryon Jag is handsome, wealthy and arrogant. With good reason—he's the best of the elite Tyger navigators trusted to bring ships like Orion through the deadly asteroid belts around his home planet … until he shifts into a feral half-man, half-cat with only one thing on his mind.



They'll never make it to safety, unless they bring him the one woman who ran from him.



Calla Fellura loves her new post as novice interpreter aboard this state-of-the-art space cruise ship, but she's in uncharted space when it comes to Jag. The virile alpha can have any woman he wants--why would he choose the naïve, shy female who turned their first hookup into a snarling disaster, humiliating him in front of his entire planet?



This time, she'll have to stay … and let him take her any way he wants.





CHAPTER ONE



The crew leaders of the spaceship Orion, bound for planet Bryght by way of the Cattarus system, winced as the unearthly scream of a big cat echoed through the ship’s command center. The scream swelled into a roar, and then subsided in a series of deep, coughing growls before fading. The listeners shuddered in instinctive fear, and glanced uneasily at the seal-locks on the entrance.

Captain Steve Craig looked around the holo-table at his crew commanders. From the far reaches of the galaxy, all some of his team had in common were their sleek grey flight suits. Each bore the insignia of their craft, from tactician to interpreter. He himself wore the bars and stars of ship’s captain, as well as several military commendations.

“I believe that explains why I’ve called you in for a meeting,” he said dryly. “As you know, our navigator on this run must be a Tygean native from planet Bryght. Only they can navigate safely through the Cattarus system.’

‘We have the best on board—Commander Tryon Jag. Unfortunately, under the influence of their home moons, Tygeans undergo a yearly mating shape shift. Jag has shifted into full Tyger mating mode. Something’s got to be done.”

His second-in-command, Commander Navos, a tall, spare Indigon, raised one arching brow. “Sedation seems the logical course.”

Someone gasped.

“A Tyger in shape shift is a dangerous creature,” Navos explained. “With uncertain temper, and the claws and fangs of a predator.”

“I could attempt to add some type of palliative into his food,” the ship’s physician, Dr. Tentaclar, offered. The Occulan’s several eyes waved about on their stalks, one pair trained on Navos.

“We can’t drug him.” Captain Craig shook his head. “We need him awake and alert. Without a Tygean navigator, we will never make it safely through the Cattarus asteroid belt. You all know the powerful gravitation of their moons—we’ll be pulled into a crash. Every ship lost in the Cattarus had a non-native at the helm.”

“It is unfortunate that our departure from Earth was delayed,” said the Indigon. “The moons of the Cattarus system have risen to their male phase, inciting the predictable hormonal reaction in Commander Jag.”

Craig scowled. “Yes, we were supposed to be through here by now. Damned terrorists. Earthland Security regs have become so tight, what used to take hours now takes days.”

“Is it the eco-terrorists this time?” asked someone. “Or one of those religious fundamentalist groups? I can’t keep them straight.”

“All equally dangerous,” cut in Navos, his deep blue eyes cold as an Indigon glacier. “As is any creature willing to destroy others and himself to make a religious or political point.”

“Yes, and speaking of going through customs—was it really necessary to body search the entire crew?” grouched Ogg, the chief systems mechanic. “Most of my guys and gals have been with LodeStar for years.”

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