Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling, #6)

By Nalini Singh

30,283 ratings - 4.25* vote

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 Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid,

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Book details

Mass Market Paperback, 345 pages
July 7th 2009 by Berkley
Original Title
Branded by Fire
0425226735 (ISBN13: 9780425226735)
Edition Language

Community Reviews

Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession

Branded by Fire was a good read, but at times Mercy annoyed me. She would act a little bitchy at times and go on and on about how she was a dominant female. Blah blah blah if I had to hear about her dominant ass one more time I would have ripped my hair out. Just saying I get it she is a dominant female and they are hard to mate. Riley was a saint for putting up with Mercy's ass. He was sexy, at times very sweet, protective and supportive! Riley made the book for me.

Giorgia ~ Reads

4 stars Back into this series after a few months break and loving it. RTC

Blacky *Romance Addict*

Wow. This was the sexiest book so far, with the strongest characters Photobucket I know it's stupid to read a series and say for every new book that it's your new favorite, but I just have to Photobucket This one is my new Psy-Changeling favorite Photobucket

Riley and Mercy were fan-fucking-tastic! A luitenant and a sentinel for two opposite packs, they couldn't stand each other even though there was a massive sexual attraction in the equasion. In the beginning of the book (and my, this was a shock to the system), I think it was chapter one or two, Mercy is going crazy, the last dominant male from her pack got married, and she's frustrated both sexually and emotionally, because she can't get involved with someone weaker than her, and the rest of her pack (males anyway) were exactly that. So she goes to blow off some steam and ends up having wild monkey sex with Riley, from the wolf pack. Photobucket The problem is, they can't stand each other, she's a cat and he's a wolf, and they're both dominants in their pack.

I love the way their relationship went through the book, it started right away, there was no 200 page seduction that ended in 1 or 2 sex scenes XD There was lots of action in this one Photobucket the problem was the fact that they are from two different packs, and their mating would require for one of them to leave their pack and station. Mercy was great, so strong, she was definitely NO pushover (thank God), and I love the fact that she didn't bow to everything Riley said, they fought all the time, and were equal in everything Photobucket

The story outside their relationship was a bit weaker than those before, but it was good, we got a bit more insight in all the other characters, and bad guys too. I wonder what was Nikita's deal with the book? Could she have some feeling for her daughter after all? And there was the Hawk and Sienna problem Photobucket I simply can't wait for their book Photobucket . I wonder what is an X-Psy Photobucket and who the hell is that Ghost dude Photobucket

Sophia Triad

Mercy Smith (Changeling) and Riley Aedan Kincaid (Changeling)

Riley is an Alpha ShowDancer, i.e a Wolf and Mercy is an Alpha DarkRiver, i.e. a leopard. They are both strong and they both do not back down.
Can a cat and a wolf mix? Especially when they are both so dominant? And above all since they do not like submitting?

“Not so fast are we, wolfie?”
“I was trying,” he said, blocking her next set of blows with his arms, “not to hurt you.”
“I’m not a frickin’ princess”

Since there are no Alpha unmated males in DarkRiver, Mercy has been left unmated and with not much of sex life really. Riley will become her sex buddy because he is the only one her cat accepts as an equal partner.

It will be casual at first but later on the feelings of jealously and possessiveness will make them unable to live without each other. Especially when two cats arrive from a different pack to test their comparability with Mercy.

“You make me so fucking insane, I want to mark you all over. So everyone knows you’re mine.”
The leopard growled in her throat. “Not yours.” She was her own person, a predator same as him.
“We’ll see about that.”

I love their passion and the sexual intensity and their fights for dominance. A very intense and steamy story!

“You want to claw at me, kitty-cat? Come on.”
Her hands clenched. She really wasn’t this much of a bitch. But goddamn Riley had a way of lighting her fuse. “Sorry, I don’t beat defenceless puppies.”
He laughed. He actually laughed. She hissed at him.

Alex is The Romance Fox

The fascinating Psy/Changeling world continues…..6th book in the series…and so good!!!

Riley Kincaid, a Wolf Changeling and the Senior Lieutenant of the SnowDancer wolf pack
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Mercy Smith, a Leopard Changeling and a Sentinel of the DarkRiver leopard pack
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- both dominant and totally into each other!!!
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I loved this book. Riley is awesome, sexy, hot and sooo alpha!!!
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And Mercy…wow, I adored this kick-ass, independent, take no shit dominant woman!!!!!
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The raw passion, the sexual tension, their incredible connection….unbelievable….awesome.

I love the world that this author has built….complex and breathtaking, filled with unforgettable characters, compelling stories that just keep getting better and better.



Finally, I had some free time to continue reading this fantastic series. And as per usual I really enjoyed reading this story or any story in this series so far. This one was a bit different since we don't get a changeling and psy couple but two changelings trying to find their luck in love. All I can say is that I really hoped this would be a fantastic read and thankfully my hopes have been heard. :)


4 to 4 1/2 INTENSE and STEAMY Stars!!!

Another AMAZING addition to my FAVORITE paranormal series!!!

I LOVED so much about this book! I LOVED the hero and heroine (Mercy has become one of my all-time favorite heroines), the banter, the romance, the cast of secondary characters, the varying points-of-view, and the complex word building. However–and I can't believe I'm saying this–I felt there was too much sex in this book. Gasp! I found the abundance of sex distracting. In fact, I was skimming pages just to get back to the plot. Other than that small hiccup, I LOVED this wonderful book!

Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More)

Before I wrote a review on this book, I had to sleep on it. I was trying to figure out a way to express my feelings about Mercy. She annoyed the crap out of me for the majority of this book. I felt so bad about it. I love strong women. I am definitely a reader who wants a strong, independent heroine in a story, yet I like the sweet heroines as well. I just like well-written heroines. Mercy was certainly well-written. I can't say I fault Nalini Singh for writing a book about an interesting character like Mercy. Having said that, she really worked my nerves.

It suddenly came to me as an epiphany about Mercy. She's a female cat. As a lifelong cat lover, I have made an observation that other cat lovers will probably agree with me on. Female cats can be a pain in the butt. They are much more grumpy and unreasonable more often than male cats. They are mercurial as all get out, one minute wanting to be loved on, the next trying to scratch your eyes out. That's Mercy in a nutshell.

Frankly I was doubting for some period of time while I was reading that she deserved Riley. I felt like I was being a sexist thinking this. I asked myself why do I love heroes that are flawed, but Mercy was bugging me. Well, I came to realize that her imperfection wasn't the problem. It was the fact that she gave Riley hell most of the time for what seemed like no good reason. Sometimes she was a purring kitten, but most of the time, not so much. It was made clear fairly often that this was the way of a dominant female changeling, and that was when the lightbulb about female cats came to me. Once I accepted this realization, I could deal with Mercy a lot better. And since Riley loved her for who she was, I guess I can't afford to lose sleep about it.

I do have to say that she did admit when she was wrong, most of the time. But she really put Riley through her paces, and he was clearly the one who gave of himself much more. When it came down to it, she made a very difficult choice out of love for him, and I had to give her props for that.

Now I have to say that I loved Riley to bits. Nothing wrong with him. The part where he so-called betrayed Mercy, I can acknowledge that it was the wrong decision, but he made it for what he truly believed was the right reason. Just like Mercy couldn't change her spots, if you will forgive the pun. It's wrong to ask a wolf to shed his skin. He had the right to be the dominant male, just like she had the right to be a dominant female. I don't like double standards, so I don't think that Mercy should have been able to get away with her bad behavior (because of her nature) and then give Riley a hard time for him following his nature. I thought that the romance between Riley and Mercy was good reading, although I didn't love it as much as Sascha/Lucas, Vaughn/Faith, Judd/Brenna, and my favorite Dorian/Ashaya. I think it's because I love the Changeling/Psy relationship dynamic so much. Having said that, it was nice to see the hero be a wolf. Love me some wolf heroes. :)

Gender politics dealt with, I really enjoyed the suspense and conspiracy elements. Singh writes a great romance, but she also weaves an interesting read that I believe would appeal to a straight science fiction fan if that person didn't mind a lot of kissy-poo along with it. The stakes have been raised, and the world of the Psy/Changeling has expanded to focus more on the human quotient. It will be interesting to see how that aspect plays out in the future. Can I say I am a serious fangirl of the Psy. They are kickbutt. Still want to read more about the Tk-Psy and the Arrows. (Hint, hint, Ms. Singh).

As for Hawke and Sienna, I am a little worried how things ended with them. Call me sexist, but I hope that she doesn't get deeply involved with Kit. I want her to wait for Hawke. Don't give up hope, Sienna. Hawke has deep feelings for you, girl.

I loved the glimpses of my favorite male character (although I dearly love Dorian and Judd) in this, Hawke. He's just droolicious. More Hawke please.

So, I must say that I was not disappointed, although Mercy gave me some heartburn.


My favorite of this series so far! This book should be considered a science book because woo-wee, these two had some major chemistry going on!

oh yeah, the sparks were flying!

The romance in this book is between Mercy, a female leopard changeling:

And, Riley, a male wolf changeling:

what the hell, let's use Joe. It's hard to find a specimen more perfect!

They are different "animals" that don't really mix. But, they also have a huge attraction for each other and have to work together a lot because of their packs' alliance.

Their romance is really fun because they are both alpha animals. Mercy is definitely no pushover, and Riley is determined to win her as his mate. Their banter is great, and it's the first book where you really feel the attraction between them strongly.

Of course, each of their packs have reservations about a wolf and leopard mating, so there is nothing easy about this romance.

But, the rocky road is totally worth it.

Lady Jayne *~*The Beach Bandida*~*

5 Stars!! - YOWZA!!! I felt Branded by Fire, alright!!!

September 2011 - Review to come... But just a few thoughts, for now... This is probably my favourite of the series, so far, along with Dorian's and Ashaya's book and the first book with Lucas and Sascha (which will always have a special place in my heart). I adore the DarkRiver alpha couple. *sighs* And I loved Mercy and Riley. LOVING this series!!!

March 2012 - Finally wrote my review.

Also reviewed at: Lady Jayne's Reading Den

This installment of the Psy-Changeling series started out SCORCHINGLY HAWT!

When Mercy Smith, a sentinel of the DarkRiver leopard pack, leaves her best friend Dorian’s wedding to go for a run, as it was difficult seeing him and the other sentinels all happily mated, she is found by none other than the highest ranking Lieutenant SnowDancer wolf who pushes her buttons, the sexy Riley Kincaid. Riley can see that Mercy is in heat and antagonises her into a “wrestling” match that turns into something primal…all in the first few pages! As I said, YOWZA!!!

Who you calling hot, wolf???

Yield to me, kitty. You know you want to.


This is the first changeling-changeling romance in the series, and I must say, it was certainly EXPLOSIVE! The chemistry and sparks between Mercy and Riley is off the charts.

This is also the first book with a wolf hero. While I love the DarkRiver cats, I also enjoy getting more of the SnowDancer wolves. And while I’ve loved the stories with the Psy/Changeling and Psy/Human pairings, it was great that Nalini Singh changed pace with this one.

Mercy and Riley, as the representatives for each of their packs in their still new alliance, are thrown together often, and in this one, they have to work very closely together.

Mercy a.k.a. Miss Bikini Babe 2067 is afraid she’ll never mate, because she’s a dominant female in her pack and she doesn’t want to be with someone she is more dominant over nor does she want to submit. Mercy is kickass, and her family and pack are very important to her.

Miss Bikini Babe 2067 - Rawr!!!

Riley a.k.a. The Wall…or Mr Mud Stick/Muddie, as Mercy refers to him … is responsible and serious but is also so deliciously sexy and caring. I love these kinds of heroes! Just like my darling Marcus, Lord Westcliff, of Lisa Kleypas Wallflowers series. They are so outwardly controlled, but when they fall for a woman, their control is decimated and their passions are incredible to behold. Riley is so protective and he has a big heart. Just love him!

“Be gentle with him, Mercy. He's got a heart as big as Texas— he'll die for you without blinking. But he doesn't expect anyone to do the same for him.”
Be gentle, Mercy! description

Physically, these two are far from gentle with each other. Being changelings, biting and scratching certainly factors into their passions - it was very primal. They simply can’t keep their paws off each other.

On the emotional front, Riley is convinced he wants a domestic female for a mate, not an independent, kickass one, who would be putting herself in danger on a regular basis. But when things develop deeper with Mercy, he realises that Mercy is the one for him. But how can Mercy bring herself to submit to Riley?

[Edit: Or in Karla's mind....

LMAO! Love ya, Karla sweetie! ^_^]

I absolutely loved their banter!
Riley: "Do you want to claw at me, kitty-cat? Come on."
Mercy: "Sorry, I don't beat defenseless puppies.”
While there was no slow build-up to their physical relationship, like with couples in previous books - though there was already sexual tension brewing between them, earlier in the series - I loved reading about the development of Mercy and Riley's emotional relationship. These two struggled with how to make not only a relationship between two dominants work but between two different changeling packs.

Things aren’t easy for Mercy and Riley, and as much as I enjoyed the banter, I loved the moments of intimacy as they both bared their souls, making this a truly satisfying read. And when they submit to each other, in the end, it was simply wonderful!
“I have something for you.”
“Yeah? What? Is it shiny?”
They both waited until Indigo had jogged away before resuming their conversation. “So,” Riley asked, “what have you got for me?”
Taking his hand, she placed it palm-down over her heart. It would hurt like a bitch, she thought, but he was hers to protect as much as she was his. “Me.” And she opened up her soul, laid herself bare.”

I loved seeing Mercy and Riley get their HEA!

I love how Nalini Singh lets readers into the ongoing relationships of couples from earlier books after they get their HEA, such as with Lucas and Sascha, who hold a very special place in my heart, and the development that happens in this installment was just “Awww…”. And seeing Judd and Brenna in their HEA, too, was great.

Sienna is all grown up now and tensions are rising between Sienna and Hawke. Looking forward to getting to their book!

I enjoyed meeting Mercy’s three gorgeous brothers – Bastian, Sage and Grey.

I’m enjoying the progression of the overall series story arc and the tensions growing between the Psy, Changelings and humans.

The mystery of The Ghost continues to intrigue me.

And is it wrong that I find Kaleb Krychek alluring in some dark way? Could he be The Ghost??

If you still haven’t picked up a Psy-Changeling book by Nalini Singh, then you really should do something about that!

My Mercy - Amanda Righetti
My Riley - Aaron O'Connell


Psy-Changeling Series Reading Order:

1. Slave to Sensation – (Review here)
1.5 "The Cannibal Princess" - Free short story: - (Review here)
2. Visions of Heat - (Review here)
3. Caressed By Ice - To be reviewed.
4. Mine to Possess (Review here)
5. Hostage to Pleasure - (Review here)
5.5 "A Gift for Kit" - Free short story:
6. Branded By Fire - Reviewed.
7. Blaze of Memory - To be reviewed.
8. Bonds of Justice - To be reviewed.
9. Play of Passion
10. Kiss of Snow

And there are also stand-alone novellas:
1. "Beat of Temptation" in An Enchanted Season
2. "Stroke of Enticement" in The Magical Christmas Cat
3. "Whisper of Sin" in Burning Up

But if you wish to read in strict chronological order, see Nalini Singh's website (link to the page here):

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: I do not hold the copyright to any of the images used in this review. They are posted to add visuals to the review and for fun. If any of these images are yours and you would like me to remove them, please let me know, and I will do so as soon as possible. If I can identify the copyright, I will do so.