Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling #6)

-he thrust against her, letting her feel the heavy, dark heat that she could have-
"what's my fucking name?"

Branded by Fire
Nalini Singh
Psy-Changeling, book six
ebook, 346 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Gollancz
First published July 7th 2009
ISBN 9780575100053

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.

Mercy is the most dominant female of the DarkRiver leopards. Unfortunately, for her, all the other dominant males are happily mated and Miss Kitty doesn't like weak. But neither can she accept a more dominant male controlling her. And yet.. the mating urge is riding Mercy to the state of madness. Enter Riley Kincaid. SnowDancer lieutenant and eldest brother to Brenna (mate to Judd), Riley is a wolf in total control of his emotions with the aim of finding a nice, submissive mate to share his life within the pack. Riley is nothing that Mercy wants, and Mercy just might be more than Riley can handle.

One word: Yummmmmy! This sequel had, by far, the most erotic elements of the series. The most action. The most suspense.

As much as I disliked Dorian in Hostage to Pleasure, I loved Riley and Mercy in this. Kitty needed to be chased. Wolf needed a worthy hunt. And they couldn't have been more perfect for one another. My one complaint? Mercy's a bit of a selfish bitch. From their very first intimate encounter, Riley knows he'd be proud to wear Mercy's marks on his skin. Although he falls short at times, he fights like hell to reign in his dominance and need to protect in order to keep her with him. Their biggest concern, though, is the mating bond's potential impact on the bonds they share to their packs. There lies a possibility of one of their pack bonds being severed once the mating bond is solidified. And Mercy goes mad crazy about it. She outright refuses to leave her pack for his. While Riley, albeit with regret, tries to find some way to ensure that his would be the pack bond that breaks. Thankfully, the matter settles itself to each party's satisfaction.

When the mate bond finally does lock in place, it's not during sex. Big shocker there for me. Of course, they always did do things weird. Sex outside. Cuddle and sleep in bed. Finding out Riley had already built a home for himself and future mate five years ago was pure heart melting goodness.

Riding background to the love story carries a series of mass killings ending in suicides by brain controlled perpetrators. Bombs everywhere. And the members of the Psy Council are being targeted for murder. Updates to the series, because it does indeed progress with every book, included Sascha's pregnancy, and Sienna, having now moved from SnowDancer to DarkRiver to avoid Hawke's unsettling presence, is making fast friends with the newly adult-ranked Kit, a future alpha in his own right. Oh yes. One does smell trouble.

4 out of 5 stars.

Previously in the series:

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