Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Strong Enough (Family, #2)” as Want to Read:
Strong Enough (Family, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Strong Enough

(Family #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  2,797 ratings  ·  399 reviews
7 hrs 5 mins

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
Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published April 28th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 29th 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Strong Enough, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cindra I read Strong Enough without having read any of the other books in the "Family" series and I managed fine. Nothing cropped up that left me wondering w…moreI read Strong Enough without having read any of the other books in the "Family" series and I managed fine. Nothing cropped up that left me wondering what was going on or who were they talking about.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,797 ratings  ·  399 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Strong Enough (Family, #2)
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book was sappy, sticky, cheesy, almost-too-perfect…and I kinda ADORED IT.

As a single person “of a certain age” (ha!), this book is the fairy tale. Feeling “ordinary” – but suddenly pursued by a HOT model-looking man, who not only is beautiful, but gentle, supportive, totally into you, AND the “settling down” kind. Duh…sign me up! And maybe it’s this personal connection to the story that had me smiling ear-to-ear as I read each page, but, in the end, my heart felt full.

I love that Cardeno
BWT (Belen)
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fluff lovers
I ADORE this story and cannot help but fangirl and squee all over this!

Spencer Derdinger, a thirty-eight year old applied mathematics professor has been scoping out a hot, young construction worker working outside his office window for the last two weeks. He's the ultimate fantasy guy and Spencer has no trouble fantasizing. This is the first man who's really caught his attention since his not-so-amicable breakup with his douche-bag extraordinaire ex-boyfriend. Spencer watches the younger man
Reread January 2018

Just what I needed right now. A sugary sweet, cotton candy, fluff read.

Originally read June 2016

This was sweet...sugary sweet but I liked it. Emilio was the perfect hero. He was so patient and kind with Spencer. He did everything right. He was always thinking about Spencer and how to make things better and easier for him. He was definitely swoon worthy. Emilio was written to be 22 years old but he seemed much older than that.

Spencer was okay. He was the 38 year old, nerdy math
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All the romantics out there!
* Big huge long drawn out satisfied sigh *

I sort of wanted to leave my review at that because that's how I felt when I ended this lovely romantic, sexy book. I adored it. To be honest I've not read many Cardeno C books ( to be honest some of the past covers have put me off.. Shallow I know! ) but if they're all like this one then I'll definitely be dipping my toe in a few more. This is the second in The Family series so I've ended up reading back to front but I get the impression that it doesn'
Re-read October 2018

Wonderful wonderful hurt/comfort.


So much hurt/comfort! I loved it.

We have the 38 year old shy professor, Spencer.
And we have the hot 22 year old construction worker Emilio.

38 year old Spencer works as a professor at a university. He notices the hot construction men working next to the university immediately. Especially one, Emilio. But Spencer is way too shy to even think about approaching the hot younger man.

Emilio is attracted to the shy profes
Sugary. fluffy angst-free read.

Re-read Sept. 2015: First class comfort read!

When I started this book, I was horrified at how quickly these two MCs hooked up and started planning their HEA. The age difference was 16 years and I felt it was so totally unrealistic for them to end up together, much less fall into insta-love after less then 24 hours. But after reading the first 35% of the book, I was pretty much sold on these two, MC Spencer, a highly intelligent math professor with low self esteem and no family support and MC Emi
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***3 Stars***

This was a quick, cute, saccharine sweet but oh so steamy read.

Ok, first and of the MC's is named Emilio....and all that went through my head EVERY SINGLE TIME I read his name was....

I'm sorry. Not the author's fault. But there you have it.

The insta-love moved at lightening speed, but for some reason by the time I hit 35-40%, I didn't mind anymore. Well played, CC...well played.

The dynamic between Spencer and Emilio was sweet, heartwarming and pretty damn hot. I lo
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
Well, gimme heaps of sugar and pour some syrup on it. This book is soooooooooo fucking sweet, it will make your teeth hurt.

Emilio is 22, hot, buff, brilliant with his hands (ahem), and wants to settle down pronto with a geeky, neurotic math professor: Spencer, who at 38 has been beaten down by shitty past boyfriends, one in particular.

Do people like Emilio exist? There are plenty of nice guys, but Emilio??? He was absurdly perfect, so perfect that he seemed like a caricature. He was too patien
4.5 stars, rounded up for the excellent audiobook.

This book was cheesy, unrealistic, and just a bit silly.

I loved it.


Spencer Derdinger can't help but spy on the hot men at the construction site across from his office. One worker in particular fits his fantasy of the perfect man. But Spencer's in his late thirties and doesn't thinks he's a particularly good catch, so he limits himself to just looking. Emilio Sanchez notices the hot older professor, and he's determined to seduce him.

When Emilio r
BWT (Belen)
Belens Audio Book Review

It's official: I adore Ezekiel Robison!

His narration is consistently terrific, he offers new character voices for each new story, not just reusing the same old, same old. He also keeps track of the character voices from previous stories and when those characters show up, he uses the right voices. It's such a treat to listen to Robison!

Robison brings such depth to the characters, he highlights Spencer's vulnerability and Emilio's protective instincts, he makes their insta-love believable, and he
Rosa, really
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those not concerned with diabetes

Here's my review:


 photo 65f17ec8-ed1d-4a3f-87fa-07b900280857_zpsaqpz45sx.jpg

Strong Enough by Cardeno C is a fluff lover's delight. We have a kind-hearted thirty-eight-old Spencer who is afraid to trust after being hurt by those who are supposed to love him. Then there's twenty-two-year-old Emilio, who has a heart as big as the universe and isn't afraid to go after what he wants, and who he wants is Spencer.

What I loved:

*Emilio. He was so damn lovable. He was funny, sweet, and so romantic. He was wise beyond his years and loved how patient he was with Spencer- always pu
Re-reads: April 2016 - see my review for the Audio here

October 2015 - Wow that is sooo much quicker than insta-love, Emilio had some serious stalkerish moments, But I still flippin loved it, so sweet and sooo super hot!!!

Original Review

This was just a lovely book. It was a sweet fairytale story about two sweet men who fall in love and stay in love. I know it sounds boring and I guess if you're looking for a novel full of angst and drama then this would be boring. However if you're after a
Valerie ❈M/M Romance Junkie❈
re-read 10/07/2018 I loved every schmoopy moment.

Re-read 06/20/2015

I really needed something that I knew would make me happy. This book (actually any Cardeno book) makes me smile. I truly love Emilio and Spencer. It's sappy, cheesy goodness, and I loved every moment! I love knowing that I have books like this that can brighten my mood.

***audio edition***

I enjoyed this just as much with a narrator as I did just reading this. The narration was very nice. I am a sap for Cardeno C. I am not a lover
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Sweet and simple. Review soon.
Trisha Harrington
I am really, really glad I gave this book a go. The first one was not for me. It just wasn't. But this book was almost everything I love in a book. It had the sweetness and sappiness that went with two incredible MC's. I couldn't fault this book really. Cardeno C. has written an amazing book, one that I really wish I could have this couple again because they have become favourites of mine.

Emilio and Spencer were total opposites. With a 16 year age difference you would think they were doomed. But
Absolutely ridiculous! Seriously this plot is awful, hot young (22) construction worker besotted by shy older (38) professor. Goes home with him, fixes his house and fixes *wink* him. (view spoiler)

I was rolling my eyes and snickering (in a very mature fashion) at this book as I read it. Completely unrealistic story and insanely perfect characters.

But my sappy,
4.2 Stars

One of the best Cardeno C books I've read/listened to. Sure, Emilio seems a bit too perfect but just like Spencer I quickly fell in love with him anyway. He was quick to anger and hella jealous...and yet sweetly sexy. His young, brash, pushy behavior started off a bit annoying but the way he read Spencer's reactions and continued to pursue him (if less strongly but more determinedly & for more than just sex) was so romantic. He was kind of the guy you wish was knocking on your door, wan
Mandy*reads obsessively*
Note to whoever reminds me : download 30 August. :)

This author wrote one of my all time favorites He Completes Me so every time a new book comes out I think, will this one be the one to top that one ? *snicker snort at my very lame attempt at punny humor*

This one comes damn close, but no, Zach and Aaron retain their spot as my favorite Cardeno C. couple.

Spencer is 38 and a very smart, quiet, shy and unassuming man. He also is pretty insecure and has issues. At times he seems a lo
True Loveislovereview
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, lgbtq
Strong enough by Cardeno C.
This was just what I needed! This sweet loving caring couple. Instant love that was so endearing. One was hurt and the other gave so much trust, glorious hot tension, a lovely family. Sappy, drooling, tears. Two hot guys
One full empath the other sensitive. One so protective and the other feeling safe. One full of compassion the other deeply hurt. Both were determined about their relationship, funny and strong and hot as hell. Both were going for forever. Loved it !!!
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, audiobook
Significant age difference was no barrier for these two. Young construction worker Emilio was sweet, caring, considerate and the perfect match for Professor Spencer Derdinger. Strong Enough was a lovely tale of overcoming insecurities and a bad past relationship. Honey sweet all round!
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is completely OTT, but I still love it. It is instalove/instalust at its best. Spencer is shy and endearing, and his lack of self esteem just breaks my heart. Emilio is exuberant and so sweet. He's only 22, but he knows what he wants. I loved his whole family. It's totally cheesy, but I have always loved this author's books.
Aki | nose buried in books | ❤️ |
It seems I'm the odd one here, but I really couldn't like this book.
I nearly DNF it, I skimmed a lot and no, just no.
One MC is nearly forty and the other one is an adult as well, the other characters are adults, so why the story seems set in middle school? It is completely ridiculous.
I definitely appreciate sappy and sugary stuff, but this book is too much.
Denise H.
***** I really enjoyed this sweet, loving, caring, mushy, honest book. *****

We get deep characters that we like right away, an intriguing story, and amazing, erotic sex scenes, yummy. Everything you could want is here. This "love-at-first-sight" tale is about a construction worker and the college professor, seeing each other as they are caught peeking at each other.
38 yr. old Spencer, is 5'9", 160 lbs., soft, beginning to grey, and has big dimples, and apparently just what Emilio is looking f
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, age-gap, sweet to sixty! Even with 2 weeks of fantasizing, that was fast. Talk about insta... something. It was ridiculous, but if you can get past that, this is a sweet fairy tale of a story. Spencer was adorable and Emilio was his knight in shining armor. And the sex was hot.

I also had to get past:
1) Spencer sometimes acting like a needy and insecure 16 year old, not a 38 year old.
(It worked for Emilio, though. He wanted someone to take care of, and Spencer definitely fit that requirement.)

2) E
Jenny Wood
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this.... I see a lot of people having problems with insta-love but I like it... it really worked well for these two. Spencer needed someone like Emilio and Emilio liked that Spencer needed him.
They just connected well together.
Emilio was so sweet and patient, he really brought Spencer back to himself.

Another 5 stars for me, if I could give it more I so would... I love this series!
OMFG, can two people be more adorable, amazing and great than Emilio and Spencer?
I dislike book one from this series so much that I didn't even finish, I adore this sequel !!
Insta love, age difference, falling in love at the speed of light, who fucking care, this one was perfect for me.
Beware the insta-love!

But it's fucking sweet, okay. So when you're in the mood for over-the-top cuteness and sap and you've exhausted the internet's supply of puppy and kitten videos, grab this book.

*2.5 stars*

Good grief... My teeth hurt from all this sweetness.


Typical Cardeno so I should've known.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Frog
  • Hardwood (Four Bears Construction, #3)
  • Sexting the Boss
  • Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkin, #1)
  • Virgin Flyer
  • Looking For Love (Semper Fi, The Forever Faithful, #2)
  • Hard Knox (Havenwood #3)
  • Forsaken (The Protectors, #4)
  • My Brother's Best Friend (Caldwell Brothers, #1)
  • Clarity of Lines (Thomas Elkin, #2)
  • Promises Part 1 (Bounty Hunters, #1)
  • Nailed (Four Bears Construction, #2)
  • Redemption (The Protectors, #8)
  • Revelation (The Protectors, #7)
  • Pride & Protection (Southern Boys #2)
  • Gage & Tyson (Arrested Hearts, #1)
  • Throwing Hearts
  • The Making of Jonty Bloom (Unfinished Business, #1)
See similar books…
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ev ...more

Other books in the series

Family (4 books)
  • Something in the Way He Needs (Family, #1)
  • More Than Everything (Family, #3)
  • The Half of Us (Family, #4)

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
30 likes · 16 comments