Cardeno C., Dreamspinner Press

Cardeno C.’s “Strong Enough” Is A Don’t-Miss Read



“Just like there’s always time for pain, there’s always time for healing.” ― Jennifer Brown


I don’t think I have ever read a book by Cardeno C. that hasn’t tugged at my heartstrings. Cardeno has a way of writing MCs that just pulls me in and makes me fall in love with them immediately. This book was no different.

We first meet Spencer Derdinger in his office talking to his friend and co-worker. It seems he has been spending an inordinate amount of time watching one of the super sexy construction workers from his office window for a while now. His friend can’t get the identity of said construction worker out of Spencer, but she does encourage him to go for it. It seems that Spencer doesn’t have the best track record with men and his latest ex has done a number on his self esteem. Spencer is thirty-eight and doesn’t believe for a second that the buff, handsome and much younger man would give him the time of day. Also, Spencer doesn’t even know if this solid wall of perfection is even gay. No, he will just continue to admire him from the safety of his office window. Which was working out fine for Spencer until the day the object of his fantasies barges into his reality.

Emilio Sanchez has been tied up in knots for weeks. After seeing that handsome math professor walking by his construction site he has found every excuse in the book to stay on the site his family’s construction company has on the local campus. Now Emilio knows he is handsome, tall and built. Normally that would be enough, but does he have what it takes to earn the attention of an older and admittedly smarter man? Well, only one way to find out!

One Friday when Spencer is leaving work, he comes face to face with Emilio outside the math building. It takes a few minutes for Spencer to realize he isn’t going to be pummeled for ogling the hot construction worker. He is being asked out and he just can’t believe it. Thankfully, Emilio’s brain is working just right and he somehow convinces Spencer to let him follow him home.

From the very start, Emilio realizes that Spencer is not just socially awkward, he is scarred emotionally, and when Emilio slowly finds out the reasons for this he is determined to help heal this man. Emilio isn’t just here for the night; no, he wants to be there for the long haul. Now just to convince Spencer that they are meant for each other.

This book touched me so deeply for many different reasons. First, Spencer is a very attractive man, and I mean really, thirty-eight isn’t old by any stretch of the imagination. It is so sweet to witness Emilio demonstrate the reasons he can’t resist Spencer and even more wonderful to watch Spencer start to believe he is handsome. I love how Emilio helps Spencer get over a past trauma that is still causing side effects even now.

One of the best parts of the story was the love and acceptance Spencer finally finds, not only from Emilio, but from his entire family. Emilio’s uber-tough brothers, his loving sister and his parents all took Spencer in and adopted him into the Sanchez family. Spencer has never had that kind of acceptance from his own family and this makes him more grateful than he knows how to say. These two men do have some obstacles to overcome though. Between some of Spencer’s history, their age difference and a completely obnoxious ex-boyfriend their fledgling romance is tested.

As I said at the beginning, I love Cardeno’s books and this one is no exception. Watching Spencer come out of his shell and seeing that there is more to Emilio than his great body was a fun ride, and it is one I plan on taking as many times as possible. Seriously, you will miss a wonderfully sweet romance if you miss this one!

Reviewed by: Jackie

You can buy Strong Enough here:

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