Psy-Changeling Read-Along: Branded by Fire (+Contest)

NSingh-Branded by Fire

Psy-Changeling Read-AlongSo Branded by Fire is the first look into the SnowDancer den. And we have a wolf and a leopard. Exciting stuff! This is probably my favorite book out of the series (so far) and I’m so glad you joined me for the discussion!

NSingh-Branded by FireThough 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…

Here are the past discussions!

Slave to Sensation – the discussion Blaze of Memory – the discussion
Visions of Heat – the discussion Bonds of Justice – the discussion
Caressed by Ice – the discussion Play of Passion – the discussion
Wild Invitation – the discussion Kiss of Snow – the discussion
Mine to Possess – the discussion Tangle of Need – the discussion
Hostage to Pleasure – the discussion Heart of Obsidian – the discussion
Branded by Fire – the discussion


The Human Alliance is starting to grow stronger and stronger, but it’s starting to tear itself apart. The command arm of the Alliance basically wants to use any means necessary to become a major power in the world. But the military arm is starting to question what they are being asked to do.
The Psy Council are also starting to split into two factions, those that are fully behind Silence and those that think the Psy need to evolve.

Main Characters:

Riley – Senior Lieutenant of SnowDancer (brother to Andrew and Brenna). Riley is very dependable and family oriented. Because of what happened to his parents he has decided that he wants a submissive for a mate. But he has no problem with playing with the DarkRiver liaison to SnowDancer, Mercy.

“Got an itch, kitty?” – Riley to Mercy

Their personal relationship is going to cause a few complications when they go on the hunt for the Human Alliance agents that are causing problems in their territory. So now he has to help hunt down the humans trying to hurt his pack.

“Can you two keep from tearing each other’s throats out…?” – Lucas to Riley and Mercy

The Psy are starting more problems too, mostly in the form of suicide bombers. And when he decides he wants to keep Mercy? Well, he needs to remember that leopards have claws too.

“You’re my mate. End of story.” – Riley to Mercy

Mercy – Mercy is a DarkRiver sentinel and the DarkRiver liaison to SnowDancer. She has to work closely with Riley, whom she warmly refers to as Mr. Stick in the Mud. And Mercy has been alone for a quite a while now…for so long that even tangling with Riley sounds like a good idea.

“She was going so insane with need she couldn’t think of anything but the fever in her body, the hunger in her throat, the clawing want in every cell, every breath.” – Mercy

She’s wants one night of fun, but when the Human Alliance starts making problems by trying to kidnap changelings under DarkRiver/SnowDancer protection, Mercy has to deal with Riley on a daily basis and she’s not happy about it.

“If Riley wanted to mess with a cat, he’d better invest in armor.” – Mercy

And Mercy also has to deal with the reality that she might never find a mate because she’s so dominant. But what a leopard wants, a leopard gets.

“Mine, part of her purred…” – Mercy

Changeling Characters:

Lucas & Sascha update – Someone’s pregnant!

Dark River Sentinels SnowDancer Lieutenants
Nate – Senior Riley – Senior
Dorian Indigo
Vaughn Judd Lauren – Psy
Mercy Jem

Psy Characters:

Tatiana Rika-Smythe – A member of the PsyCouncil, Tatiana is actively influencing the Human Alliance Chairman for her own needs. She also tried (and failed) to assassinate the other members of the Council.

Sienna – Sienna is having some major problems controlling her power, which we still don’t know anything about except that it’s very dangerous.

Psy Designations Psy Council
Tp-Psy – Telepathy Santano Enrique Anthony Kyriakus
Tk-Psy – Telekinesis Ming LeBon
M-Psy – Medical Henry Scott
F-Psy – Foresight Shoshanna Scott
E-Psy – Empathy Nikita Duncan
Ps-Psy – Psychometric Santano Enrique Kaleb Krychek
Tk-Cell – Influence physical bodies on a cellular level Tatiana Rika-Smythe
Tk-V – Teleport

Human Characters:

Bowen – The leader of the rebellion in the Human Alliance. He wants to break away from the command arm and get justice for the men they killed. He ends up taking over the Human Alliance and working on a treaty of sorts with DarkRiver and SnowDancer.


The Human Alliance is ripping itself apart. With a little help from the Psy Council.

A chip that could block Psy from human minds? What’s the catch?

Hints to the Ghost

Judd suspects he knows who the Ghost is but isn’t ready to say.

The Ghost has nothing against Silence, instead he’s fighting against the Silence Protocol that puts the Psy Council in power.

Has no problem spreading rumors about the Council which feeds the rebellion in the PsyNet.

The Ghost is male! (pg. 222)

“Because if the Ghost lost control, the Net would truly shatter.” Pg. 276

Glossary of Terms

Vocabulary from the previous novels can be found on their discussion pages:

Alliance Chip – A microchip inserted into the back of the neck and connected to brain. The chip is supposed to block all Psy from reading the minds of humans, the only race with no blocks against the Psy’s mental intrusions.


  1. A wolf and a leopard…what do you think?
  2. How well do you think Nalini Singh navigated the DarkRiver/SnowDancer politics?
  3. How did you like the look into the SnowDancer den?
  4. What did you think about Riley? Mercy?


This marks our halfway point for the Psy-Changeling series and we’re changing up the giveaway associated with each discussion. Thanks to Nalini Singh and the wonderful people at Penguin, I have a couple of every single novel in the Psy-Changeling series, and while some of them have been claimed, all of them haven’t. So this is what we’re going to do – we’ll be giving away all the books in one shot at the end of the Read-Along. That means you have 13 different chances to enter for any one of the Psy-Changeling novels. Join in on any of the discussions and you’ll automatically be entered to win.

Here’s today’s question: A wolf and a leopard…what do you think? What other hybrids would you like to see Don’t be afraid to answer any of the discussion questions above either!

The contest will stay open until July 1st, at which time we’ll determine the winners with help from this snazzy plug-in that Jackie has.

About Jackie 3282 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. I absolutely adore this book! Mercy and Riley are great characters. And who better to deal with the polotics of leopard/wolf mating then them? Because they are both strong, alpha”s and because they are each high up in their pack structures, they are the perfect changlings to pave the way. Even though Snowdancer and Dark River have been working together for a while, they are still not completely comfortable with the other predatory changling group. Mercy and Riley compliment eachother so well it is wonderful that they are finaly able to see beyond old resentments and find love. I think. That now that they have mated we’ll see other wolf/leopard pairings.

    Also, I. Love that they each get to remain members of their respective packs. I think that it is important to maintain your own identity even in the best of relationships. I hope that the baby is able to shift into both wolf and leopard forms.

    I wold love to see a Windhaven/Dark River or Snowdancer pairing….or possibly a new changling pack. Maybe Tigers!

    • Tigers? Oh please let Nalini write a tiger pack in. I don’t think I’d be able to contain my excitement. Especially since tigers are the largest of all the large wild cats. Can you imagine a Tiger female changeling and one of our DarkRiver boys? And a Windhaven/Snowdancer pairing sounds intriguing. I so want that to happen now!

  2. Just re-read my comment above. Oops! Sorry for all the typos. Small keys on my smart phone = errors. :) Can I edit somehow?

  3. I loved this book! I like how Nalini Singh has so many different types of pairings. First we got two dominant male changeling leopards with female psy, then male psy with female wolf, then dominant changeling leopard with human (forgotten), then dominant male leopard with female psy. Now we get dominant female leopard and dominant male wolf! Then of course we got a look at dominant/submissive in Declaration of Courtship. And the healer pairings are interesting because of their unique positions in their packs (not dominant necessarily, yet able to pull rank to be able to care for her people).

  4. p.s. I like that two dominant changeling species being able to mate is rare… it just made me want to root for Mercy and Riley so much, like against all odds!

Comments are closed.