REVIEWED BY CINDY
TITLE: Strong Enough
SERIES: Family Collection
AUTHOR: Cardeno C.
PUBLISHER: The Romance Authors LLC
LENGTH: 6 Hours and 43 Minutes
RELEASE DATE: March 14, 2016
When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.
When 22-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 38 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.
I’ve yet to come across a Cardeno C. book I didn’t like so I jumped at the chance to review this one. The author has a knack for picking the right narrator for the story and I think this is her best choice yet.
Emilio is a big man with a big crush. He comes from a large, loving family who accepts him for who he is and he’s well aware of how lucky he is. When he first spies Professor Spencer Derdinger while doing renovations at a local college, he’s instantly smitten with the shy man. He keeps coming back to the work site, hoping to see more of the man who is occupying so many of his thoughts.
Spencer spots Emilio too and is just as taken with the beautiful, younger man but is well aware of how out of his league the other guy is. Spencer knows he’s staid and boring, it’s been drilled into him by his past lovers over and over, but it doesn’t stop him from looking and daydreaming about the god that’s distracting him from his work.
This is truly a case of the narrator making the characters come alive. I was as smitten with Emilio as Spencer was. He’s smart, hard-working and has a fantastic relationship with his siblings, which is good seeing as how they all work together.
Spencer? Well, who wouldn’t fall for the sweet and shy Professor who’s also completely adorable. When Emilio finally decides to make his move, Spencer is dumbfounded that someone so beautiful could be interested in him. I admired Spencer for his bravery when he decided to just go with it when Emilio pushes to spend time with him.
As I listened to this story, I spent a lot of time giggling out loud, having no problem imagining the two men’s interactions with each other, thanks to the wonderful way Ezekiel Robison brought out their personalities.
There are several scenes that stand out for me in this story, and while I don’t want to spoil anything for you, I loved it when Spencer and Emilio went to the bar with Emilio’s brothers and Spencer’s ex shows up. The interactions between the brothers were priceless and the devotion they have for each other, although hidden behind smart-assed remarks and gruffness, reminded me of the relationship I have with my own brother and sister.
Speaking of Spencer’s ex, he truly is a vapid and annoying human being that made me feel even sorrier for Spencer because he truly believed that this sorry excuse of a human being was the best that he could hope for out of life.
Emilio does a lot of growing and re-evaluating of the relationship he has with Spencer. What starts out as an instant attraction and a desire to take Spencer to bed grows into something more….something that Emilio has been craving without really knowing it. The way he treats Spencer is a joy to read and made me long for more before I’d even finished the story.
Spencer spends a lot of time jumping to conclusions – the wrong ones mostly – and it’s heartbreaking to see how little he thinks of himself until he finally starts seeing himself through Emilio’s eyes.
I can’t even really come up with a critique of any kind for this story, because of how much I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can only say that I can recommend this story to anyone who needs something a little uplifting to brighten their day.