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.
©2013 Cardeno C. (P)2016 Cardeno C.
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"It’s official: I adore Ezekiel Robison!"
Ezekiel Robison's 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 absolutely sets the audio on fire with the hot sex scenes.
That shower scene alone is worth the price of the audio book. For reals.
I ADORE this story and cannot help but fangirl and squee all over this!
Bottom Line: This is super sweet, charming, gloriously hot and sexy and fabulously entertaining. Add the fabulous narration and it’s a WINNER!
Yes, it's a different kind of HEA with a different road the MC's have to travel to find their happiness.
Emilio. Ever patient, strong, devoted and passionate about Spencer from the start.
Emilio and Spencer finally, fully consummating their relationship.
Spencer. He never gave up.
Spencer Derdinger has never been lucky in love. Losers and abusers is all he seems to attract. A direct result of his past and the trauma he's endured, Spencer has a bit of an ED issue. When he meets sexy, enigmatic and genuinely sweet Emilio Sanchez, everything changes. For the first time in his life, someone actually cares about Spencer. Not just on a physical level, no, Emilio wants to court him, take care of him, give Spencer the attention and devotion a man deserves from his partner. But the issues of the past keep Spencer on guard and a lifetime of being told you're not good enough threatens to derail his new relationship with Emilio before they are running at full speed.
It took me about an hour roughly to get into the story. It was very much insta-love and I don't usually care for that type of story. CC is a master at making it work and delivering HEA for her characters each and every time though, so I stuck it out and I'm pleased that I did. While this is an insta-love story, as it unfolds and you are given more information about Spencer and his past, it completely makes sense that he would fall hard for the first guy to truly care for him. But falling and letting down his guard are two different things. It takes a lot of love, encouragement and self awareness for Spencer to completely open himself up.
Emilio is patient, protective and loving from the start. You see, while he hasn't had the same issues as Spencer, he has never found anyone he wanted to settle down with. As soon as Spencer gifts Emilio with one of his shy, awkward smiles, dimples and all, Emilio is hooked. As he gets to know more about his sexy, shy professor, Emilio learns about his problematic past. Where some men would duck and run, Emilio stands his ground and continues to support the man he is fastly falling for.
Narrated by Ezekial Robison, the same narrator for all the books in this series. I am normally very engrossed in everything Robison reads, but the voice he chose for Spencer was odd and distracting. That being said, the voice he gave the antagonist in the story, Spencer's ex, that was like nails on a chalk board and fit so perfectly for his annoying personality. The only downside, CC didn't write Emilio stomping a mud-hole in the man's ass then walking it dry!
I loved the passion and connection that Emilio and Spencer shared, the way Emilio proved his commitment to Spencer, the way their love and devotion to each other proved to Spencer that he didn't really have ED, he just had the wrong partners until now. I'd recommend this story to fans of CC's work, fans of the narrator, as well as anyone that is looking for a story with a different kind of HEA.
"It was ok"
I read this book some time ago, and liked it a lot. Hearing it on audio was o.k. I liked the narrators voice for Emilio, he sounds exactly how I expected the sexy Emilio sounded. But he completely destroyed the idea and voice of Spencer.
I wanted a softer sweeter voice for Spencer rather then the dumb jock sound. The narrator should have just used his own voice, and I think I would have enjoyed the story better.
Overall, not a bad story but wish the voice for Spencer hadn't been so distracting.
The narrator was pretty good. I like him best when he voiced Emilio. This book was so cute and funny, a real gem. Spencer, 38, was shy, sweet and unexpectedly complicated and Emilio, only 22, was warm and nurturing. I loved what they built together. And while I usually hate the insta-love storylines, I'm so ok with Spencer and Emilio realizing quickly what they had.
"Loving Ezekiel Robison's narration in this series"
I enjoyed this book quite a bit when I read it the first time a year ago. Spencer, a sweet man who has been hurt by love more than once, shy and insecure. Meanwhile Emilio, young, but confident, and willing to go after the man he wanted as soon as he saw him. Emilio is one of my favorite characters that CC has written. Despite his age, Emilio knows his mind, knows what he wants, and isn't afraid to go after it. He's all the things that Spencer needs in his life.
As much as I enjoyed the book when I read it, I loved it even more when I listened to Ezekiel Robison's audio version of the book. His narration has gotten better and better as he has done this series, and my enjoyment of his narration of this book was off the charts. He was great, including accents and voice changes that worked well for both main characters.
The story of these two men was sweet, and sexy, and really touched your heart as you learned all that Spencer had been through, and that Emilio only cared about taking care of Spencer, and helping him to heal and love. These two, such opposites, attracted in the best way possible. They filled holes that the other didn't quite realize they had.
"Another Great book by Cardeno C & Ezekiel Robison"
This was another excellent book by Cardeno C. She always finds a way to make me laugh while still having a great sexy story with fully relatable characters at the same time.
There was a lot of growth that Spencer went through in this story that really was endearing. I loved him even though he was a bit awkward and dorky at times. He had been through a lot and had to learn how to handle his past and the attraction of a younger, very sexy man.
I love how Cardeno writes her characters with such passion and determination in their souls. Absolutely a great book.
The narrator did an excellent job with the book so much so that I felt like I was right there as everything was happening.
I received a free copy of this book to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.
"4.5 stars for Strong Enough-fantastic narration!"
Emilio knows what he wants and goes after it; he's bold, outgoing, self-assured. While Spencer is unsure and not necessarily brimming with self-confidence, he comes across as sweet and unassuming...he's actually rather adorable. The two of them are complete opposites, but together they just work so well.
One of my favorite things about this story is the amount of growth Spencer's character goes through, and how Emilio helps him with that growth. I also love how open and accepting Emilio's family is. The closeness of him and his brothers is wonderful, and I love how they wholly accept Spencer as one of the family.
Peter, Spencer's ex, is one that I just wanted to go off on right from the start, and he sure provides plenty for the reader to focus their aggravation upon. But interactions with him are where we can see just how much Spencer's character has grown...even if Peter just can't get a clue.
One other thing I loved was how patient and gentle Emilio was with Spencer. He almost instinctively knows how to treat Spencer, even before Spencer reveals details about his past.
A story that touches your heart while also revving it up (oh yes, it's pretty damn hot), Strong Enough was a 4.5-star read for me. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys the M/M romance genre, and after reading it I can't wait to read the rest of the books in The Family Series.
18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
Now for the audio...and I've got to tell you, Ezekiel Robison's narration is without compare. Every audiobook that he's narrated that I've listened to has been spectacular, and Strong Enough is no exception. He gives every character their own individual voice (and therefore helps differentiate between personalities as well), and keeps them constant throughout the narration. When listening, he really makes me feel like I'm right there in every single scene with the characters. His interpretation is spot-on, and significantly increased my enjoyment of the story.
"A Sweet Gay Romance"
I have not read this title in print, however I would happily do so. The characters in this story are fun to read. Spencer is quite a bit older and a bit of a geek, when a sexy construction worker who he has been eyeing approaches him he is surprised and the story just gets better from there.
I really enjoyed this story and I felt that the narrator made it a very enjoyable experience by doing a wonderful job bringing the characters to life.
I don't always have a positive reaction to gay romance, although I enjoy it at times it has to be well written in order for me to get into the story. I was able to relate to the emotional aspect of this story and very much enjoyed it.
"Ezekiel Robison ROCKED the accent"
Spencer is a quiet college professor with a history of bad relationships. He crushes on the man he sees working on the construction site near his building and doesn’t dare to dream that could ever turn into anything.
Emilio is older than his years imply. He’s looking for a steady guy and guys his age aren’t into that. When he spies the cute professor giving him the eye from across the way, he just knows he has to get close to the man.
When Emilio approaches Spencer it’s instant attraction on both parts. They go from a first date to moving in with each other the same day. The relationship isn’t always easy but it is always together. Emilio helps Spencer heal from the past and Spencer gives Emilio the stability he’s always wanted.
This was a super, syrupy sweet and lovely story. Emilio is like a big teddy bear you want to squeeze and never let go. He’s absolutely wonderful with Spencer and so endearing.
I loved Emilio’s family too. I laughed out loud at the “do you have to wear flip-flops to those meetings?” comment and the “blow-job discussion”.
This book has a bit of “tough” in it: erectile dysfunction, rape, bigotry. But it definitely doesn’t overwhelm the story. It only enhances it.
I loved this book and it’s audio companion and have read and re-read it many times (and re-listenened!).
Though I really enjoyed the first audio version of this, one thing missing was Emilio’s accent. I always felt it should have been fairly pronounced and there were several Spanish words that the narrator mispronounced – well – Ezekiel Robison ROCKED the accent and the pronunciation! He is quickly becoming one of my favorite all time narrators and he totally aces this one! He gives Emilio a slightly strong accent but really accentuates well the Spanish words - especially carino - *swoon! I absolutely loved this narration and highly recommend it as well as the others done by the same narrator.
"Get a backbone"
When I saw the cover changed I though maybe some of the characters have been changed too. Well so much for that though Spencer is still a scared wimp that truly need an Emilio to keep him safe. The narrator is so wrong!!!!!! This will be another returned
"I love Insta Love!"
This was my first experience of an audio book and it took a little while for me to get used to it.
I really enjoyed this story and found Spencer and Emilio’s love story addictive. I wanted to keep listening and found every opportunity to do so.
Emilio is very headstrong and knows what he wants and won’t let anything get in his way. He railroad Spencer a little, but Spencer comes across as being a little bit more reserved.
It was definitely a story that I would recommend to others particularly those who like a bit of insta love.
I was given Strong Enough in exchange for an honest review and I give it 5 pink stars.
Ezekiel Robison has made this whole series a delight to listen to. His narration throughout is superb. In this story he clearly characterizes each person and their emotions with a distinctive voice to match the personality. He made Spencer’s voice mature yet cute, Emilio’s hot and sensual, and the slimy ex boyfriend Peter worked really well and provoked the required negative reaction.
I thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted tale. It was definitely lust at first sight for this May/December and very opposite couple. The young construction worker moving in straight away with the older professor might seem implausible in real life, but as usual, CC makes it entirely feasible. It’s a sexy and sweet romance of two men rapidly falling in love.
Emilio is such a great character. Handsome and sexy, he knows what he wants and sets out to claim Spencer from the start. For someone who is so young (twenty-two) he possesses amazing confidence and the ability to do what is right. He starts off in the role of the seducer, but when he notices Spencer’s vulnerability, he takes his time to earn Spencer’s trust. He declares his intentions towards him so it doesn’t feel creepy. I adored how caring and protective he is and how he makes Spencer feel comfortable and safe. They get to know each other well as Emilio gradually fixes the house for Spencer. He is patient and gentle, allowing Spencer the time to adapt to their new situation.
Spencer is the sweet and unassuming professor, who’s also lonely and insecure. My heart went out to him as we learn about his past and his insecurities. He’d been hurt before, but was still willing to give love one more chance. His reactions to Emilio loving on him and showing him attention are super.
The "off the charts" passion and connection between Emilio and Spencer made this story wonderful. The interaction and conversations showed a beautiful relationship developing and the smoking hot love scenes helped to make the insta-love believable. Emilio demonstrates his commitment to Spencer, and their love and devotion to each other prove to Spencer that he didn't really have ED but that he’d simply been with the wrong partners before Emilio.
Emilio’s family play a fabulous role in the story. They are all supportive of Emilio and readily welcome Spencer into the fold. Some of the comical scenes involving the brothers are hilarious and had me chuckling away.
This is a favourite series of mine and this story is a well-crafted tale of love that keeps your attention throughout. It draws the reader/listener into the characters’ lives and the blossoming relationship from the start.
"awesome book with awesome narration!"
I purchased my ecopy of this book, but was gifted my AUDIO copy for review.
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.
This has to be my favourite book by Cardeno C, like ever! I have some more to read, but still I loved it!
Emilio caught Spencer's eye whilst working across from his office. Emilio caught Spencer watching, and then, just barged his way into Spencer's home, and his life. I loved how Spencer dealt with it all, Emilio, being younger, brasher, more down to earth than Spencer, totally showing that opposites DO attract!
I loved the way Spencer and Emilio worked through Spence's issues, and how Emilio's brothers took Spencer in, warts and all.
No major fall outs, misunderstandings, or life changing decisions, written in a way only CC knows how, and has mastered in a way others should take note. Its not necessary for the characters to fall out and mess up, sometimes, just getting from A to B is story enough, IF IF IF its told well. Told from both men's point of view, we get an insight into them both, which I really LOVE, mostly, because I like to know whats going on, from everyone.
The best bit for me?? The discussion about rings. Loved that scene and stands at one of my all time favourite for ANY author, EVER!
This is book two in the family series, but can be read as a stand alone and out of order. Indeed, Asher from book one is mentioned in passing and doesn't feature at all. I would like Asher and Daniel to have made more of an appearance, but still.
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my audio copy of this book.
Okay, OKAY. I take it all back! Ezekiel Robison is OUTSTANDING in this book!
I couldn't finish Something In The Way He Needs, and I only liked The Half Of Us, when listening but when asked to review Strong Enough, I knew I had LOVED READING it, so really had to try. Just one more. Just one more time would I give Robison a go.
And he NAILED it!! Absolutely freaking NAILED it!! His voices are perfect. His reading voice, clear and even. There is NO, none at all, of the dipping sound I noticed in the other two books. Granted, I did not hear Emilio speaking with a Spanish-y accent when I was reading, but boy did it ever work here! The brothers voices too, were outstanding, and while similar, still different enough for me to make out who was talking in a multi- person conversation. Peter's voice was perfect too, and very much like the slimey voice I heard in my head when reading.
Robison portrays both men's feelings, emotions and thought processes beautifully. Spencer's fears and issues. Emilio's brashness and bull-in-a-china-shop attitude.
I usually take several days to listen to a book, sometimes several weeks. 6 hours and 43 minutes is a long time, to be totally engrossed in something but, THIS one? I got through in one sitting. One. Single. Sitting. I drove to it, I did laundry to it, I went to bed with it and stayed up til 2 in the morning because I wanted to get to the end. To THAT scene at the end. And it was as glorious listening to it, as it was reading. Still my most favourite scene in any book, EVER.
So, Mr Robison, I apologise for not liking the other two books, I really do. But thank you, for delivering Spencer and Emilio in such an outstanding way.
5 super shiny stars!
5 stars for the narration too!
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