Title: Branded by Fire
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #6, Psy-Changeling Season One #6
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Dark fantasy, Paranormal romance, Shapeshifters
5th sentence, 74th page: “I think you’re fine, now.”
Hailed by Christine Feehan as a major new talent, New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh brings two fierce changelings together in her most explosive story yet.
Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.
But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man – before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it could leave them both branded by fire…
I’ve always been a stronger believer in the idea that opposites attract, so it was a pleasure to read a story about two characters that were oil and water, cat and dog (literally). Mercy and Riley are the perfect example of how opposites are able to work together to become better versions of themselves, and help their other half become what is needed. Riley’s rigid, unyielding, ruled nature is offset by Mercy’s firey, free and spirited attitude. Yet, it is their ability to work together that is the most admirable and enviable.
Although there is heat and passion from the beginning of Branded by Fire, there is a lot more resistance to the idea of Riley and Mercy tying their lives together. Partly it is due to their reluctance to pursue someone so contrary to their expectations, in spite of the physical attraction. But it is also partly due to their inability to completely submit to one another. Where the past Psy-Changeling stories have focused on female characters with a spine of steel, they have also been softer, and more submissive than their counterparts – a good balance to the pushy dominance of a male who is used to being in charge. However, Mercy is herself a soldier and incredibly pushy, and unwilling to give up her identity for the sake of a man. Which is why she is by far one of my favourite leads in the Psy-Changeling stories.