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Branded by Fire: Psy-Changlings #6    by Nalini Singh order for
Branded by Fire
by Nalini Singh
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Dark River sentinel Mercy Smith is proud that she's managed to climb to one of the highest ranks within the sentinel's hierarchy, especially as a leopard female. She's secure with herself and her work, but still feels the need to find a mate. However, as a rare alpha female, satisfying both sides of her dual nature is no easy task. There is one man who fulfills her needs, but no matter their incendiary attraction, Mercy has no intention of allowing SnowDancer lieutenant Riley Kincaid to dominate her.

Riley doesn't see a problem with their mating and would like nothing better than Mercy's agreeing to become his mate; he's wanted her for his own for years. He's no longer satisfied with their casual encounters, and knows that Mercy feels the same way, although she's far too stubborn to admit that they were meant to be together. Yes, they are of different species, but as far as Riley knows, there's no changling law that forbids a wolf and a leopard to mate. But when a brilliant young changling scientist is kidnapped, Riley's quest to win over Mercy is temporarily relegated to the back burner as the Dark River and SnowDancer changlings work together to rescue one of their own as well as uncover a deadly new conspiracy by shadowy figures hidden within the powerful Psy Council.

Branded by Fire is another crackerjack instalment in the entertaining and highly imaginative Psy/Changling series. Singh deftly alternates between Mercy and Riley's emotionally rich and red hot love story and sprinkling new twists into the fascinating Psy mythology where a secretive, splinter enclave continues to create fear and dissent. Mercy and Riley eventually unravel a few important plot threads as well as achieve their happy ending but there are still plenty of unanswered questions surrounding the shadowy conspirators looking to either shake up the natural order of things or bring down the Council altogether. Fans of this always-outstanding series should be well pleased with Branded by Fire.

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