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.
Family Series Fun Facts:
Each book in the Family series is freestanding but each one has a main character who is related to a main character in another book:
Asher Penaz (Something in the Way He Needs) is Emilio Sanchez’s (Strong Enough) cousin (on Emilio’s father’s side).
Adan Navarro (More Than Everything) is Emilio Sanchez’s (Strong Enough) cousin on his mother’s side. Adan and Scott make a cameo at the end of Strong Enough.
Daniel Tover (Something in the Way He Needs) is friends with Charlie/Chase Rhodes (More Than Everything) and they each have a cameo in the other’s book.
More Than Everything spans twenty years, so chronologically, it starts before the other books. But that book is written in three parts and the third part starts and ends at the same time as Something in the Way He Needs.
Scott Boone (More Than Everything) went to college at UNLV, where Spencer Derdinger (Strong Enough) now works.
A 10 to 12 minute shower uses approximately 10 gallons of hot water. So the 50 gallon tank Emilio Sanchez installed in Spencer Derdinger’s house in Strong Enough gives the guys almost an hour of playtime.
In 1999 there were 107 geese attacks on people reported. That means Adan Navarro’s (More Than Everything) fear is well-founded.
Daniel Tover from Something in the Way He Needs has held the following jobs: dancer, masseur, taekwondo instructor, jewelry maker, band member (song writer).
“Hey, hold up!”
Spencer heard the voice behind him and was torn between following the demand or running the
remaining few steps to his Accord . Ignoring the person calling out to him would be socially awkward.
Not that he was a top authority on social graces, but he was pretty sure running away would be
considered rude. So Spencer stopped, took a deep breath, and slowly turned around, keeping his
briefcase against his chest.
Of course, he had no idea what kind of protection some leather and paper could offer, or even why he
needed protection. Other than the first day he’d seen the handsome man, he hadn’t been caught staring.
Plus, they were in a public parking lot, in broad daylight. He was safe.
“Hey, uh, hi!” the guy shouted as he jogged over. “I’m Emilio Sanchez.”
Now that he was face-to-face with the big man, or actually face to neck, Spencer realized he had been
wrong in thinking Emilio was as attractive in person as he had been through the window. No, as it
turned out, up close and personal the man was even more stunning. The first time he had walked by the
construction site and locked eyes with the stranger, Spencer had turned away within seconds. But this
time, the broad chest was right in front of him, the sweat-damp T-shirt stretched over muscles Spencer
wanted desperately to touch, and as close as they were standing to each other, the scent of sawdust and
musk born of hard work permeated his nose. And that quickly, Spencer felt his cock filling.
Not since he’d been a teenager had he experienced spontaneous erections. And in recent years, he had
often found them hard to achieve or maintain even when he was naked in bed with a man. Orgasms,
whether alone or with someone, were so infrequent that Spencer couldn’t remember the last time he’d
had one. He had chalked it up to age, to stress at work, to some bad relationships in his past, to the fact
that he hadn’t ever had a particularly high sex drive. But none of those factors were stopping him now.
Just a few seconds next to this man and Spencer was already achingly hard. Then he gulped and
looked up into chocolate-brown eyes and shuddered as his balls drew up and his dick pushed against
his zipper. It was as close to cumming as he’d been since an unusually active night with his ex over a
year prior. Spencer would have been terrified—should have been terrified—that the man in front of
him would notice his erection, but it felt so good to want again, to experience that pull in his groin, he
couldn’t bring himself to feel anything but relief as he lowered his arm so his briefcase covered his
“We’ve been doing work close to your office, so I’ve seen you around,” Emilio said, making Spencer
realize he had been staring, but not talking. Then the stranger held his hand out and added, “I’ve
wanted to meet you.”
“Oh!” Spencer looked down at the offered palm and then back up at the handsome face. He switched
his case from his right hand to his left, making sure to keep it in place, shielding his groin. Then
he took the man’s hand and shook it. “I’m Spencer,” he said, proud that his voice shook only a tad.
“I was right,” Emilio said, sounding quieter, huskier. Spencer waited for clarification about that
statement, but it didn’t come. Instead Emilio held his gaze and his hand.
“Right about what?” Spencer finally asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
“That you sound as great as you look.”
Not knowing what to say or how to respond, Spencer started blinking rapidly and stammering. “I
don’t… I… what?”
“What are you doing for dinner tonight?” Emilio asked before Spencer had finished processing the
Feeling completely flummoxed, he didn’t know what to say. He looked at his wristwatch instinctively,
then back at the man standing in front of him and said, “It’s only three thirty.”
The contrast between Emilio’s shiny white teeth and his deep tan skin and five o’clock shadow made
his smile all the more powerful.
“Good point. We shouldn’t wait for dinner. Let’s start the weekend now.”
“Start the weekend…. Wait, what are we talking about?” Spencer asked.
“Well, right now we’re talking about hanging out for a little while and then getting dinner together.”
Emilio hadn’t moved his gaze from Spencer’s face for even a second. He didn’t remember ever having
someone look at him so intently. It made his legs quake. “But I’m hoping I’ll be able to talk you into
stretching things out longer. At least until after breakfast.”
“Breakfast?” Spencer repeated, hating that he couldn’t seem to put together a sentence. He was a
numbers guy. Words weren’t his specialty and neither were people, so he didn’t expect to be charming
or a brilliant orator, but a complete sentence would have been nice. Of course, before his mouth could
work, his brain would need to catch up to the situation at hand.
“Yes.” Emilio raised his free hand and covered the back of Spencer’s with it, making him realize they
were still holding on from that handshake. “I make a mean omelet,” he said as he moved his fingers
over Spencer’s skin with barely there touches. “Do you have jalapenos?”
“No.” Spencer shook his head and then wondered why he had answered the question. The entire
conversation made no sense. “But—”
“That’s okay. We can always pick some up later. I’ll come by now and check your fridge to see what
else we’ll need.”
Truly, the entire conversation was confusing to the point where Spencer wondered if he was dreaming.
He half expected a frog to ride by on a flying bicycle at any moment. He could think of only one
possible explanation that would lend some logic to the situation, but it seemed very unlikely. No way
was this man looking to hook up with him.
At the risk of getting punched, or worse, Spencer steeled his courage and said, “Uh, Emilio.” He
swallowed hard and took a deep breath. “Are you, uh, coming on to me?”
As soon as he said the words, he realized how ridiculous they sounded. Emilio was all cut muscles,
chiseled features, and perfect hair. Someone who looked like that wouldn’t have given Spencer a
second glance ten years ago, when they would have been closer to the same age. To think it was
happening now, when he was softer, grayer, and more lined, was positively preposterous.
But then, contrary to any expectation Spencer had for the response to his question or, for that matter,
the entire conversation, Emilio lifted their joined hands to his mouth and gently kissed Spencer’s palm.
Spencer was pretty sure nobody had done that to him, ever, and it made his heart flutter.
“Yeah, I am,” Emilio said. “But if you have to ask, I must not be doing a very good job of it.” Emilio
grinned as he spoke and his eyes sparkled. “I’ll see what I can do to be more clear once we get to your
The corners of Spencer’s lips tilted up in response. How could he not smile with this man looking at
him like that?
“Oh, holy shit!” Emilio gasped as he let go of Spencer and pressed his own hand against his chest.
“You have dimples.” He sighed loudly. “I think I’m in love.”
Spencer’s jaw dropped and all the color drained from his face. “What?”
Without bothering to answer his question, Emilio pointed at Spencer’s Honda and asked, “Is this your
car?” Spencer nodded. “I’ll follow you to your place, okay?” Emilio didn’t wait for an answer, just
dipped his face down, planted a kiss on Spencer’s cheek, and jogged back to his truck.
It was the single most perplexing exchange of Spencer’s life. He wasn’t sure what had just happened,
what he was supposed to do now, or what was going to happen. With his entire body trembling, he
decided to perform simple, familiar tasks: walk, open his car door, put the key in the ignition, and pull
out of the parking lot.
He drove home on autopilot, his brain still in that parking lot processing his interaction with the
handsome younger man who had looked at him in a completely unfamiliar way. Then he glanced at his
rearview mirror and saw the big white truck following him. It was terrifying, like having a freight train
barreling straight at him.
No, that was a bad analogy. With a freight train he’d know what to do—jump out of the way as fast
and as far as possible. But this was a gorgeous man with an unexpectedly gentle touch. So, contrary to
any logic he should have been smart enough to have or self-preservation instincts he was old enough to
have developed, Spencer didn’t drive to the nearest police station or a friend’s house or a public place.
Instead, with his heart slamming against his ribcage, his breath coming out at an unusually fast clip,
and his dick still hard as steel, he continued to drive straight home.
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-ever-after sunset.
Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.”
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