Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.
The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need
Stong Enough (Family #2) by Cardeno C.
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
As a teenager, Charlie “Chase” Rhodes meets Scott Boone and falls head over heels in love with the popular, athletic boy next door. Charlie thinks he’s living the dream when Scott says he feels the same way. But his dreams are dashed when Scott moves unexpectedly and doesn’t return.
Years later, Chase meets brash and confident Adan Navarro, who claims all he wants is a round between the sheets. When they’re still together after eight months, Chase is convinced Adan returns his love. But then the time comes to be open about their relationship, and Adan walks away instead.
Time heals all wounds, but when Charlie runs into Scott and Adan and realizes the only two men he’s ever loved are now in love with each other, his heart breaks all over again. Scott and Adan tell Charlie they want him back, but Charlie doesn’t know if he can trust two people who have hurt him so deeply. And even if he can, why would Scott and Adan want Charlie when they already have everything with each other?
Review of More Than Everything
More Than Everything is my first read by Cardeno C., but it will definitely not be my last. I loved Charlie, Scott, and Adan’s story. Even though this is primarily Charlie/Chase’s story to tell, getting Scott and Adan’s perspectives allowed for all sides of their relationships/experience to be explored, and it also allows readers to see the growth that occurs for all three of them when they reunite many years later.
Readers are first introduced to a teenage Charlie and Scott. They are next door neighbors who turn into so much more, but when Scott moves to Las Vegas for college, Charlie’s world is turned upside down, and he has to learn to move on from his first love, even though he will never forget Scott or their time together. While in college, Charlie, now known as Chase, meets Adan who is actually Chase’s antithesis in many ways. Chase has never pretended to be someone that he’s not. He’s comfortable in his own skin and isn’t afraid to be himself no matter the situation or people who surround him. Adan isn’t as comfortable as Chase; in fact, he refuses to take his attraction to Chase to mean anything more than a one night stand. Quickly, though, that one night turns into months of a relationship that Chase is fully invested in, but one that Adan can’t fully commit to because he’s not comfortable with how he will be perceived by having Charlie as his boyfriend. Charlie refuses to hide, so he ultimately ends his relationship with Adan and works to move on, yet again, from another person who crushed his heart.
One would think that Charlie/Scott and Chase/Adan’s stories are over when, in fact, they’re only just beginning, and when fate steps in and brings all three of them together, it will be up to Charlie to figure out how to proceed. The two people who he gave everything to are back in his life, but will he be able to see past their betrayals and focus on his love for them or will it be too much for him to handle?
I’ve never read a ménage that involves three males, but Cardeno C. does a fantastic job at showing that the only way Charlie, Scott, and Adan can actually live fully is by giving themselves completely to each other. What’s interesting to me about their relationship is that Charlie seems the complete opposite of both Scott and Adan – but maybe that’s why it works so well between them.
Charlie using the pictures he takes to lead into the different life altering moments he experiences definitely shows how important and sentimental each moment is. Readers can get a sense of what Charlie is trying to capture and then actually telling the story of each image brings it into focus, capturing the emotions and thoughts that are involved. Even though readers get Scott and Adan’s point of view, this story is still Charlie’s. But what their perspectives do, do for the reader is show, for Scott, how deep his feelings run for Charlie, even back when they were young, and it also illustrates how much he has grown as a man. For Adan, it allows readers to see how much he has changed since his college days. I’ll admit…I didn’t like him at all. I didn’t see how Charlie could be with him or why he wanted to for that matter, but Cardeno C. definitely illustrates Adan as a changed man when all three of them are together, and I don’t think I would have felt that way if Adan’s voice wouldn’t have been a part of the text.
More Than Everything is a story that spans over twenty years, and in that time, readers get a insiders’ view of all that Charlie has experienced and endured. Cardeno C. is a fantastic storyteller because the three perspectives are seamlessly woven together to ensure readers understand how all events have shaped the characters. With great character development, conversational storytelling, and steamy scenes that truly illustrate the depth of feelings involved, readers are in for a great read in the Family series.
A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 poison apples
Excerpt from More Than Everything
I was so lost in thought, I had the door open before I looked up. I raised my head when I saw two sets of feet walk in.
And there, standing in my apartment, were Scott Boone and Adan Navarro. I gasped and leaped back from the physical embodiments of the ghosts who had never stopped haunting me.
“Charlie!” Scott shouted happily, and at the same moment Adan excitedly cried out, “Chase!”
It was like a fucking nightmare.
“Fuck,” I muttered and turned my head quickly from my first love to the only other man I’d trusted with my heart. They’d each eviscerated me once upon a time, and though I’d healed, mostly, being faced with both of them at the same moment was still too much… way too much. I suddenly felt as nauseous as Stacia.
Adan slowly turned his head to Scott, whose mouth was gaping open.
“Charlie?” Adan asked weakly.
Scott closed his mouth and gulped. “Chase?” he said.
“Fuck,” I groaned, as my brain started catching up to the comedy of horrors unfolding in front of me. It wasn’t just that they were both there at the same time. They had been standing close together when I’d opened the door. Really close. And was Scott’s arm around Adan’s back?
They both looked over at me and stared.
“Charlie?” Scott asked, his voice hesitant, the question clear from histone.
“Chase?” Adan asked, sounding equal parts incredulous and horrified. Their tones and body language had already clued me in to what I was seeing, but when I shifted my gaze from Scott’s eyes to Adan’s and then back again, my suspicion was confirmed. I knew them well enough to recognize what I was seeing.
I’d loved two men during my thirty-five years on this planet. Only two. And I’d lost them both. Wouldn’t it just figure that they’d found in each other what they had both deemed missing in me?
I dropped my face into my hands and whispered, “Fuck.”
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).
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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