Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense
Also by this author: Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss #2), Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling, #12)
Series: Psy-Changeling #6
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Source: My shelves
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'll leave them both branded by fire...
Please don’t judge the book by its cover on this one – Ms. Singh isn’t called the Alpha Author of Paranormal Romance for nothing. I think it’s no secret that I absolutely adore every facet of this series – and the books get better and better as the series goes on.
So far, we’ve explored only two changeling packs: the DarkRiver leopards and the SnowDancer wolves. It’s always hard to pick a favorite… and in Branded by Fire, you don’t have to! Since the romance is between Mercy, DarkRiver sentinel, and Riley, SnowDancer lieutenant, we get the best of both worlds.
Mercy, as a dominant female, is hurting. It’s been too long without skin privileges, but there are no available dominant males in the area that can match her fire. Except… Riley. But he’s a wolf! Too late.. the line’s already been crossed ?? As things heat up between the couple, the danger is also heating up in the Packs, and Riley and Mercy are forced together more and more as they’re put on the case.
“Smiling, she went for his throat and almost had him, when—using a move that was all sorts of illegal—he flipped her again so her front pressed into the leaf-laden ground, her wrists still locked in his iron grip and pinned above her head. “Cheater.”
“So says the woman who tried to kick my balls into my throat,” he pointed out, even as he licked the salt off the skin of her neck in a lazy and highly provocative move.”
This one was just SO MUCH fun. Mercy and her brothers are hilarious, and she takes no shit. Mercy’s one of my favorites in this series because she’s so under-appreciated. She’s strong and steady as a rock, and when anyone needs her, she’s there. No questions, no thoughts about herself in the process. She’s also a complete badass, which is always awesome to read about ? I may need to add her to my fierce female’s list… But the best part about Mercy is she isn’t afraid of her feminine side, even if she’s the only dominant female sentinel in her pack and surrounded by men, she knows that her skills speak for themselves. She never held back, it was awesome to be in her head!
Riley, too, is a reliable rock, used to keeping his emotions on lockdown. But after what happened to his sister (in book 3), he’s also not just a bit broken. He raised his siblings after their parents died, and the fact that he didn’t protect her enough rubs him raw – even if it wasn’t his fault in the least. Watching him lower his walls for Mercy was a treat, and I was honored to be a fly on the wall ? I admit, I remember being put of by the way he was with his sister in Caressed by Ice, so over-protective and over-bearing. That said, we got to see why and a different side to Riley, as he struggled to let his sister go and I ended up loving him.
This is an obviously different format, as it’s the first time in the series that two dominant changelings get together, so I knew that things would be different. I was a bit worried because I knew that Mercy would have to be the one to “bend,” and I didn’t like that. But I was pleasantly surprised in this one that a middle-ground was able to be reached! We love a good compromise ? With how serious he is, Riley needed a bit of wildness, and that wild was name Mercy, who doesn’t know how to hold back.
“Can you two keep from tearing each other’s throats out during however long it takes to find Nash?” Lucas’s dry tone did nothing to hide the feline amusement in his eyes as he broke into her line of sight. “Or maybe I should be worrying about clothes instead?”
Riley and Mercy were such an enjoyable read! They hilariously bantered and argued like nobody’s business, and it wasn’t quite an enemies-to-lovers, because their packs were allied, but they also had a teasing rivalry. Between two similarly-dominant changelings, the connection was red-hot and the stubbornness was through the roof! But the emotional side was there for them both, as the danger heated up and dealt with their individual lives. They also came from two different packs, and who knew what was going to happen with that.
The best part about this one – besides the obvious banter between two highly skilled and stubborn fighters – was the community aspect, which I talk about in each of my reviews for this series. The connections and family-like connections the packs had made this one exceptionally fun. As Mercy and Riley were working on a case to keep the packs safe, they were squirreled away in hiding like some of the characters in the other books were, but in the field, working with other changeling family’s and attending pack events.
Ms. Singh’s writing style and evolved world-building really shone in this one. The world-building in this series is utterly fantastic, as I also mention in each book, and is so complex and intricate and lovely! And Ms. Singh’s writing… she writes such vivid characters with a unique, fluid writing style that is so good, it escapes notice. It’s easy to get lost in these books because you forget that you’re reading. The books just build and build and it’s a masterpiece. If you haven’t experienced one of these books, I highly recommend it, as Ms. Singh has crafted an amazing, one-of-a-kind world, all without you actively noticing. And the series, it just gets better and better as it continues. (See Review of book 1)
Series Reading Order
More reviews to come as I continue with my reread of the series!
Other books you may enjoy…
Have you read a book by Nalini Singh? Do you typically enjoy urban fantasy books? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!