Strong Enough

Cardeno C.
Strong Enough
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The Romance Authors
Release Date
August 2013
Book 2 of Family

When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.

When twenty-two-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn't difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.

Spencer is surprised when he's approached by the gorgeous construction worker he's admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his thirty-eight years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he'll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.

Book Review by KindleRomance (reviewer)
Sep 19, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
231 people found the following review helpful
Sweet and sexy love story where the relationship is based on two people wanting the same things out of life.

Spencer Derdinger, a university professor, has been checking out the construction workers outside his office for days. One of the workers, Emilio Sanchez, has had his eye on Spencer. After the first date, it's become apparent that these two have a special connection. Spencer just needs to work through his insecurities in order to take Emilio up on the relationship that is being offered.

Spencer is a 38-year old math professor at the university, and he truly believes he isn't much of a catch. This concept was reinforced repeatedly by his last cheating boyfriend and a family that has very little to do with him. Emilio Sanchez is a very sexy, mature, and hard working 22-year old electrician. I got a kick out of Emilio's arrogance. He knew he was hot, but he never used it in a negative way and instead he hoped it would help him win Spencer. He knows the age difference bothers Spencer, but these two have so much in common and want the same things out of life that Emilio considers their age a non-issue.

Spencer and Emilio absolutely adored each other, and this could have almost been too sweet of a story. Fortunately, there was just enough angst, with Emilio's jealousy and the appearance of Spencer's ex-boyfriend, that it kept the story interesting. Even though Spencer wasn't sure why Emilio would possibly want him, he was smart enough not to push him away. I also adored the interactions with Emilio's family, including when they teased each other, but especially how they protected each other.

The story moved at a great pace, and I read it in one sitting. I loved the instant attraction these two had, but I also enjoyed the amount of time we spent with them together doing the simple things in life, like making breakfast, to reinforce that they were actually destined to be together.

Spencer believes he suffers from erectile dysfunction. I liked how Emilio tried to help him with it both emotionally and physically. Needless to say, there were a lot of very hot and steamy sex scenes and moments.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sexy and romantic story where love flowed easily between two good men while they found their place in each other's lives. Another fantastic treat from Cardeno C., who has quickly become one of my favorite authors.
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Book Review by Lynn (reviewer)
Aug 01, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
216 people found the following review helpful
STRONG ENOUGH is a sweet story about the strength it takes to truly love and be loved.

Emilio Sanchez is a young, handsome, outgoing construction worker who could probably have any man he wanted. Spencer Derdinger is an older shy, college professor who is coming out of a bad relationship and doesn't feel he is worthy of anyone's love. Spencer has been watching, and lusting over, Emilio out of his office window while Emilio has been doing construction work. What Spencer doesn't realize is that Emilio has seen him walking to his car and has decided he wants to get to know Spencer better. When Emilio approaches Spencer after work one day and propositions him, Spencer is completely thrown off his guard. He wants to be with Emilio but he doesn't understand why this beautiful, young man would want to be with him. Spencer is also not a "pick-up" kind of guy so he doesn't know how to act or what to expect when he and Emilio get back to his house.

After some funny and heartwarming bumbling, the two end up in bed together and realize they might like to stay there. Emilio quickly realizes that he must be slow and patient with Spencer as he has obviously experienced some past trauma in the bedroom. Spencer realizes that if he doesn't want this perfect man to get away, he is going to have to open up and trust Emilio. Are the two of them STRONG ENOUGH to make their relationship work?

I absolutely adored the characters in this book. They are total opposites in some ways and exactly the same in others. Emilio is boisterous and confident while Spencer is reserved and hesitant. They are both nervous about making their relationship work and both looking for a happily ever after. The author does a great job expressing the emotions associated with being in a relationship with someone so much different in personality. I felt like I was experiencing the characters' insecurities and love right along with them because their emotions were written so honestly.

Emilio is this amazing man who refuses to walk away from Spencer even when he realizes their sexual relationship is going to be hindered by something in Spencer's past. Spencer's lack of self-confidence and horrible ex-boyfriend having left him feeling unworthy of love and he has to work so hard to believe Emilio's love for him is real. The two are perfect together.

My only complaint about the story is Spencer's ex-boyfriend, who is thrown in as a weak and unnecessary antagonist. He tried to cause problems for Spencer but his attempts were half-hearted and pointless. I felt like he either shouldn't have been a factor at all in the story, or he should've had a much bigger impact. But it was fun when he realized Spencer had moved on to a young, gorgeous man who loves and adores him! This was a very enjoyable book.
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