Once Burned - Dee Carney This is one of those rare contemporary romance books that I devoured. I loved that Pepper knew what she wanted, wasn't whining, was older, still single, and normal!! She owns her own business, a food truck that sells gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Her business is doing great, and she's entered a competition to win 10,000 that will help her out a lot if she wins-which she is determined to do. There's just one hitch: Damien Priest. He's the one guy she can't stand but at the same time has never really gotten over. His food truck sells burger sliders, and his assistant is dating hers which means she knows more about and sees Damien more then she cares to. Her assistant thinks she has a thing for Damien, which is true but Pepper doesn't want to act on it because he hurt her really badly back when they were younger. He's white, and she's black and he couldn't handle the pressure of an interracial relationship and that hurt her more then she's ever told anyone.

Pepper is Damien's one regret. Now that he's older and more mature, he wishes he could go back and change how things were, but knows he can't, so instead he sets out to win Pepper over.

This book just had everything you could ask for. A hot alpha male, a strong, independent heroine, lots of sizzle and chemistry between the main couple. I was cheering for Priest to win Pepper over, and loved their banter and that Pepper didn't immediately cave into romance, but was gradually shown the light. There was the obligatory "Oh noes, you did what, and now I can't be with you" part, but even that worked. It was also short, and didn't take anything away from the sizzling chemistry that the two had with each other.

I honestly can't wait to read book two in this series, and I'm so glad I took a chance on it.