Once Burned

Once Burned - Alexa Land Reviewed for Sinfully.

3.5 stars

This is another sweet romance from Alexa Land. The glimpses of the sexy Spanish painter we have gotten in prior books just scratch the surface of Ignacio Mondelvano. He is self-assured and passionate and goes after what he wants, which in this case is arson investigator Cameron Doyle. After Ignacio buys Cameron in the charity bachelor auction they are both participating in, the two spend a night together before Ignacio will be leaving the country for weeks for a job.

Cam has low self-esteem and is not ready to trust another man, or his own judgment, after the events in Armor left him shaken and betrayed, both personally and professionally. He believes Ignacio can't possibly want someone as plain and average as himself. Ignacio is ready to do what he can to convince Cam how much he desires him. Ignacio is all, devil-may-care and live in the moment, but he has a vulnerability and sadness about him, not letting many people in, and he literally wears some of his past hurts on his sleeve.

It turns out that Ignacio is just the man to bring some light and color to Cam's dreary world while Cam becomes an anchor for Ignacio. Like most of the stories in this series, the two men are quickly inseparable (even if it’s over video chat) falling fast for each other, but their separation does allow them to talk and develop a relationship not based sex.

Cam also travels to Ireland to help his estranged father. Here is another case of a relationship gone bad where cam wonders whether he should let the past bind him. If there is the possibility that his father has seen the errors of his ways, Cam doesn’t want to miss out on it.

I didn't see Ignacio's secret coming.

Ignacio’s love was clearly what Cam needed to heal and that becomes evident after it comes out, though I was hoping for a bit more angst and consideration after all is revealed. My heart ached for what Cameron went through in [b:Armor|34323583|Armor (Firsts and Forever #13.5)|Alexa Land|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1487285625s/34323583.jpg|55385274] and I thought it would take a bit more for him to forgive Ignacio. After all, Ignacio did break Cameron’s one condition going into the relationship – total honesty. But maybe that’s just me because I love angst and conflict in my books. I completely recognize that realizing his love for Ignacio is real and that Ignacio didn’t lie about loving Cam, shows that Cam has moved forward in being able to trust his judgment and his feelings for Ignacio. Ignacio is also willing to own what he did and face any consequences.

I enjoyed so much about this book, especially the two men. They make a wonderful couple and they have such an easy way with each other. I’ve been reading this series for years and still always look forward to the next installment. Why 3.5 stars then? Alexa Land’s writing has grown so much and this book is just as sweet, sexy and fun as the others but part of it left me wanting. Maybe because this book was shorter than most of the others, I felt that some aspects of the storyline were a bit rushed, especially once Ignacio’s secret came out. This is still a wonderful story and I would recommend it. I think it can easily be read as a standalone, but readers of the series will love the cameos that bring more news for the extended Dombruso family. If you’re just jumping in, be assured focus is on the relationship between Cam and Ignacio and the romance plays out here from their first meeting.