Checking Him Out series by Debbie McGowan

Checking Him Out (Checking Him Out #1)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: Engineer Sol Brooks is a happily married man, so people keep telling him. He and Elise have been in Boston for eight years, he loves her, and she loves him. They’ve got a great apartment that’s kept its value, they’re both up for promotion, and he can hook up with any guy he likes – all the sex he wants, so long as it’s of the “no strings” variety. And that’s all fine and dandy…until a chance meeting at the checkout.

Dear Author,
When I met the love of my new life (his words not mine… ass), I was simply waiting in the checkout line. I might have been caught up in a conversation with my best friend/wife of X amount of years about something, I can’t remember at the moment. So anyway, we were distracted and didn’t notice that the line had moved. So after maybe 30 seconds, or a minute at the most (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that long), Mr. Impatient, with an accent like that character on The Originals (not that I watch that show at my age), got our attention in the rudest way in my opinion, or in my wife’s heart-of-a-ho opinion, the kindest way possible for our insensitive asses. I’m pretty sure his accent, mixed with his damn charm, got him out of more trouble than it should. We had a rough start, but we had quiet moments when we weren’t all over each other or fighting, in and out of bed. Anyway, I would love a story about our first year.

Photo Description:
Photo shows a ruggedly handsome, olive-skinned guy in his early to mid-thirties, with thick, short dark hair, deep dark eyes, broad angular features and heavy stubble on his lip and chin. He’s wearing a suit jacket over an open-necked hoodie, dark hair visible on the bared V of his chest. His eyes are narrowed and looking straight into the camera; his index finger is pressed to his thick ruddy lips in mischievous, sultry warning.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’s “Love’s Landscapes” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.

MY REVIEW: Love. The. Twist. The story comes together quickly but believably. The actions of the main characters makes you feel the annoyance, despair, disconnect.

Checking him for holidays-DM

Checking Him Out For The Holidays(Checking Him Out #1.1)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: Freelance engineer Sol Brooks doesn’t do the festive season. He thinks it’s boring and overly sentimental. With the rest of the household laid up with ‘the flu’, Sol’s planned on using the time to crack on with some work.

His mother, however, has other ideas.

And so does Sol’s husband, Adam.

MY REVIEW: Good short story. Catches you up on an interesting couple, opens the door to new characters. All while experiencing the nostalgia and mixed emotions that come with the holidays.

Hiding out-DM

Hiding Out (Checking Him Out #1.2)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: If any adult was going to get the chicken pox, it would be Sean Tierney. That alone would be bad enough, but his illness means friend and colleague, Josh Sandison-Morley, has to step in and face his fears: guest-speaking at a university in Norwich. As Josh gathers his husband and his foster daughter for the trip, he is unaware that their world is about to collide with that of another makeshift family: Noah and Matty’s.

Matty is agonizing over his impending dance show. Sure, talent scouts will be in the audience, but there’s an even bigger problem. Noah—Matty’s on-again, off-again boyfriend—has promised to be there too. And Matty’s dance? It has a secret meaning he’s not sure he’s ready to reveal to Noah.

Can Josh and Matty face their fears and perform for their respective crowds? More importantly, will the Sandison-Morleys’ influence be enough to get the young men to express their feelings to each other before it’s too late?

* * * * *

This novella continues the stories of Josh and George from the Hiding Behind the Couch Series and Matty and Noah from the Checking Him Out Series.

MY REVIEW: Another good short story. This one allows you to revisit likeable characters and hope for a relationship. Honestly, it also makes you curious about the other series this short has in common.

Taking him on (checking him out2)-DM

Taking Him On (Checking Him Out #2)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: It’s almost a year since Noah told Matty they needed to cool it, believing it was the sensible thing to do. After all, they were too intense, and they were both failing uni.

Now, with Matty just weeks away from taking up his place at a prestigious London dance academy, Noah is desperate to make the most of the little time they have left. It’s only a temporary separation, and they are forever. Or so he’d thought.

A novel about Noah and Matty from Checking Him Out.

MY REVIEW: I appreciate when a couple isn’t automatically perfect and fixed just because they’re together. They have to work for it, issues happen, life happens. Growing occurs.

Checking in (checking him out3)-DM

Checking In (Checking Him Out #3)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: Freelance engineer Sol Brooks is in hot demand. He’s landed a couple of big contracts and is all set for a business trip back to the other side of the pond. The last thing he needs is an unexpected visitor to complicate his departure.

Especially when that visitor puts his relationship with Adam on rocky ground.

Determined to fulfill his contractual obligations, Sol goes ahead with the trip. It’s a great opportunity and a chance to catch up with old friends. And he’s going to check in regularly.

What could possibly go wrong?


MY REVIEW: I wasn’t expecting part of the previous story, just presented from a different perspective and a few more details. It was okay, though. It was nice to revisit a previously enjoyed couple. And I look forward to reading about the new character.

Making of us (checking him out4)-DM

The Making of Us (Checking Him Out #4)

AUTHOR’S BLURB: When English Lit. student Jesse Thomas meets Leigh Hunter, he has to reconsider a few assumptions he’s made about himself.
Two years ago, Jesse joined Pride—the uni’s LGBT+ society—to support best friend Noah, and Noah’s boyfriend, Matty. As a straight, cismale ally, Jesse keeps a low profile—not difficult for someone as shy and body-conscious as he is.
Leigh Hunter is Noah and Matty’s new housemate. Born with a life-threatening congenital condition, Leigh is intersex and identifies as queer—none of which alters Jesse’s conviction that they are the most beautiful person in the world.
While Jesse and Leigh get to know each other, a new academic year begins in earnest, bringing with it the usual challenge of balancing work and play. Add in a week’s holiday in Cornwall that Jesse and Leigh half-wish they hadn’t agreed to, Jesse’s unplanned involvement in the election of Pride’s new officers, and some big decisions for Noah and Matty, it’s going to be an interesting semester all round.


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