Cardeno C’s Family Series

Posted in: Blog Tour

Y’all should know how excited I am for being a part of this tour. Cardeno C is in my top 3 favorite authors. He’s an auto-buy and I have never been disappointed. But the Family series is so good. Each book is stand alone so you can read them in any order. I got the chance to sit down and have a conversation with CC about the books in the series and boy are you going to want to read it! It’s longer than my typical interview but you’ll enjoy it, I just know it. After the interview you can read about all three of the stories in the series. There’s also an excerpt from Strong Enough that will make you want to run out and read it for sure!

Amanda C. Stone: Good afternoon!
Cardeno C: Hi, I’m here.
ACS: The real question is if you are properly caffeinated.
CC: No, so take me at your risk.
ACS: So when “Something In The Way He Needs” came out, there was discussion going around about whether it was BDSM book or not. Some say yes, some say no. Was it your intention when you wrote it to be a BDSM book?
CC: Absolutely not. I don’t write BDSM.
ACS: That was pretty vehement. Any reason why not?
CC: I think to do that well, you have to know more about it and I don’t have that kind of knowledge. Though I have friends who are lightly into the leather scene, I don’t think that’s the same thing as true BDSM. If anyone I know is into that, they’re not open about it so I’m not aware of it. That means I can’t know much. I am aware of some blogs by people who are allegedly in that lifestyle, but they’re not local and I don’t know them personally. That means I have no way of knowing whether the blogs are real information or fantasy.
ACS: Would you write a BDSM book if you had the knowledge base?
CC: I suppose it depends. If I had a friend who was into that lifestyle, I’d definitely ask questions to learn more. At that point, it would depend on whether inspiration struck. But without real knowledge, it’s not something that has ever inspired a book.
ACS: True, you can’t force an idea to be there when it’s not.
CC: To be clear, Asher wasn’t into BDSM. Or at least I don’t see him that way. Asher was into the leather scene but even that wasn’t deep. More than anything, Asher was and continues to be into control. He enjoys having power and control over his partners sexually and that bleeds over into his life. But there are no BDSM scenes in that book. The closest possible thing I think is a light spanking scene. But as you might recall, the spanking is not hard and doesn’t lead to orgasms.
ACS: And Daniel was about letting go of control.
CC: Yes, Daniel is about letting go of control. Daniel was very much into letting Asher completely dominate him. But the “letting” part of that is really key to the story. Because the reality is that Daniel held every single card in that relationship. And for Asher, realizing that was difficult. He struggled very much to deal with that. That’s the main thread in the story, really.
ACS: Yes he did. It kind of blew up in his face
CC: It did. When I write, characters are first. In that book, the character was Asher. I’ve never had a more difficult time really getting a book on paper. I loved it, but I am by nature someone who wants to write sweet and warm and fuzzy. Asher is none of those things. And I didn’t want him to be. I didn’t want him to change. I didn’t want him to suddenly become sugary. So writing a book without that is against the grain for me.
ACS: He wouldn’t have made sense if he was syrupy sweet
CC: No, he wouldn’t. So he had to develop but not change and I was fascinated by the idea that someone who gets off on power and control can see that it’s illusory when it’s external and realize that the power comes from an internal place. That’s a difficult thing when Daniel can do anything, go anywhere, have anyone. How does Asher get to a place where Daniel’s choice to be with him and follow him is enough to meet that need? I hope I got there.
ACS: I read the book when it first came out so it’s been a while. But you definitely showed how Asher realized that BECAUSE it was Daniel’s choice, the control meant that much more.
CC: Exactly. And that is a very hard conclusion to come to for someone who was used to smoke and mirror type of control.
ACS: Throughout most of your books and series, characters from previous stories show up. They either get mentioned or are actually part of the story. How do you keep it straight where the characters are in their own timeline versus the story timelines and when books are released?
CC: That varies from series to series. First, I keep an outline of every series. It has a timeline, characters, etc. For Mates, I outlined the full series before I wrote it. Not a detailed outline, but a rough one.
ACS: Wow, all of the books in the series in that outline?
CC: For Mates, yes. But for my contemporary books it varies.
ACS: I would imagine with it being paranormal that one was harder because of the rules you had to create.
CC: Every time I introduce a character, if he is going to have a book, I have his story. I won’t introduce a main character as a side character without his story. So I know when he shows up where he will be. Again, that’s for Home and Family series. Not Mates. That’s a much clearer storyline.
ACS: But not every character has a story.
CC: No, not every character has a story. So I have side-characters who are not ever going to get a story and then I have characters who I know will get a story. I know that before I write them in at any point. So from a timeline perspective, they fit from the first time.
ACS: Wow. So when a character has a scene in one book, even if it’s out of order release date wise, you know exactly where he is in his own story that the scene goes?
CC: Yes. If he is going to be a MC.
ACS: That’s some powerful organization. My inner OCD is having a party with that.
CC: For example, the last book in the Home series is Walk With Me. Seth and Eli were introduced in several other books. Including the 2nd one I wrote – He Completes Me. So they were in book 2 and again in book 7, and sprinkled in throughout. It’s not something someone would notice, I don’t think, unless they read them all together. But if you do that, you see the characters pop in at various points in time and at various points in their lives. One reason that’s particularly important in the Home series is that most of the books span years. When books span two decades, it’s important to know where everyone is.
ACS: It’s something I specifically look for when reading a series, even if it’s a while between books. I like knowing how other characters are doing even after their stories are over.
CC: In my upcoming Family book you get a glimpse of Asher from Something In The Way He Needs.
ACS: Oh that was my next question. I’m so happy. Do you plan to have any more cameo appearances in the books ahead, other than Asher?
CC: It was a fun scene to write because I like visiting them too. We’ll see where I am with that series. I have a lot of books on my to-be-written list and I’ll have to decide if I want to do more Family books. The next one will be book 4 of the series. I have characters set for more books, but I don’t know yet whether I’ll write them.
ACS: Are you not as in love with the series as your others? Or is it just not as there in your head?
CC: I actually like the series a lot, but with series it’s hard. There are many people who won’t read them until they’re done or they won’t read them out of publishing order. I write mine so free-standing, especially Family, that they really don’t need to be in a series. So I need to consider whether it makes more sense to write freestanding contemporaries rather than series. That was something that hit home for me with the last Home book and the last Family book. I’m proud of those books and loved writing them, but not nearly as many people read them as the earlier books in the series or my freestanding contemporary.
ACS: It sounds like you’re kind of at a pivotal point in your career and are trying to decide which path to take next.
CC: I’m not sure if it’s a career path question so much as a decision of how to organize my books. I write books for readers. I’ve often heard people say that writers should write for themselves. But I don’t. I love writing. But I write for people to read my books and enjoy them.
ACS: I’ve heard the same thing so it’s interesting to see someone say the opposite.
CC: To each her/his own. I’m not saying one thing is in any better than the other. But for me, if people didn’t read my books, I’d stop writing.
ACS: Wow, I really hope that doesn’t happen for a long time then!
CC: I want to make people feel happy and uplifted. I want to provide them entertainment. If I’m not doing that, there’s no reason for me to keep writing. It’s a big reason why I worked to reduce the prices on my books. I don’t want to price my books out of reach. If people can’t afford them, they won’t read them.
ACS: Fangirl moment here. But your books always manage to get released at a time when I need the heartwarming stories with happy characters. So it’s great that you were able to work to lower your prices so more people can get that same feeling.
CC: That makes me feel so good. Thank you. That’s exactly why I write. I hope it helps.
ACS: Me too. Now the members of the band Burning Wrath and Indignation seemed like a fun bunch. Will future books in the Family series have members of BWI? Or maybe even be ABOUT one of them? Hints are welcome.
CC: There are two members of the band with stories scripted. But I’m not sure if I’ll write that book or not. Like I said, series books lose readers so much that I’m not sure it makes sense to keep writing in a series. I feel like I can provide books to more readers if I do standalones or shorter series. But from my perspective, if people don’t want to read it, I don’t think it makes sense to write it, for me.
ACS: Agreed. When you have to juggle other responsibilities you need to write smarter. Personally I hope you do because I enjoyed the scenes with them in Something In The Way He Needs. But I get that writing stand alones or shorter series can be more beneficial.
CC: Thank you. I wrote them with their story in mind but we’ll see. Yes, it’s really hard. I struggled to say goodbye to the Home series. I could have kept writing in Emile City for a long time. I didn’t get to tell all the stories I had in mind for it.
ACS: I still haven’t read the last one in the series because I don’t want it to end.
CC: Writing the last line on the last book made me cry, which I never do.
ACS: That’s exactly why I haven’t because I will be that reader that is sad it’s over. And of course my husband would look at me strange like “What’s your problem?” Last question and it’s a fun one. If you were a candy bar, what would you taste like?
CC: *laughs* Hmm. Definitely sweet, and more than a little nutty.
ACS: *laughs*
CC: Plus, I’d have that nougat stuff that’s a bit confusing and makes people wonder what it is.
ACS: Oh my gosh! Seriously! I always wonder what it is as I devour it because it tastes so good. That’s all of my questions for the interview. Thank you so much for joining me today. I loved having you.
CC: Thanks for having me.

Now read all about the books.

Something in the Way He Needs (Family #1)
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)
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.

“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 bulge.

“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. “Spencer Derdinger.”

“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 earlier comment.

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 place.”

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.

More Than Everything (Family #3)
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?

About Cardeno:
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.”

Buy Links:
Something In The Way He Needs:
Amazon Paperback:
Dreamspinner Press:
Dreamspinner Paperback:

Strong Enough:
Amazon Paperback:
Dreamspinner Press:
Dreamspinner Paperback:

More Than Everything:
Amazon Paperback:
Dreamspinner Press:
Dreamspinner Paperback:

Tour Information:


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