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Checking Him Out

(Checking Him Out #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,370 ratings  ·  198 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 198 pages
Published November 16th 2014 by / Beaten Track Publishing (first published June 14th 2014)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  1,370 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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SueBee★bring me an alpha!★
 photo Free Li xB by sb_zpsamwuwffk.gif

FREE on Amazon US today (3/20/2015)

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.

Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-love
Checking Him Out was a cute and fun read. It was also free on Amazon.

I was kinda lost in the beginning but after a few chapters, I understood.

The blurb does mention that Sol is married and he is but it's more of an "arrangement". I am not one for cheating and I wasn't sure how I would feel but once I understood the background story, I was okay.

Sol had funny ways and I really struggled to like him.
He is was an okay person I guess but not my favorite.

Adam was a whole different story. I liked
Debbie McGowan
So, you don't want to read a story about cheating?

That's OK. I totally understand, but you're here, reading this author review, so why don't you: (view spoiler)
Truuss / Loveislovereview
5+++ big stars Jesus I was really walking slow and blindly in so much depth
In the beginning yeah great way of writing, catching, then it's starts to get even better... then I got the feeling it's brilliant and then BAM no words really speechless. There goes my best better bests. The story grabs you by the heart. From light to such a complete gripping story.Really really amazing buildup. Feelings from left to right from low to high e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e with in exact the right loading!! Amazing.
Tanu Gill
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The blurb promises a fun story, if a little illicit in its beginnings, and it delivered on that promise. But what that blurb left me unprepared for was the depth of emotion I felt while reading it.

I started off with being intrigued as to what will happen next. I ended up feeling a heavy happiness, heavy in the heart, that is.

During this journey, I felt a myriad of emotions, going through fury at one infuriating character, laughter with the MCs (who were absolutely adorable), hatred towards the
I don't like how bitchy the wife is protrayed. Read just past the first story post; it doesn't sound like an eyes-wide-open marriage of convenience. Women and wives don't need to be horrid in order for the gay men to be cute and/or righteous when cheating.

In fairness the story does follow the prompt exactly.

in my wife’s heart-of-a-ho opinion

Yeah, this was never going to be a story for me.


Oh and UK, Britain, England - these three are not the same.
Some of us are British without being
Debbie McGowan just made me take another Valium. There have been some exceptional stories this year for this event and this author has written a five star read, IMHO. Not perfect, but definitely full of emotion. Even though it's character driven the plot was outstanding. Once again, a story that will make you cry but there is an HEA. Kudos, Debbie for a wonderful book and thank you for sharing such a lovely story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
I'm not quite sure what to rate this story, so for now I'm giving it a solid 3 stars because, even though I didn't particularly like any of the main characters, the story was well written and it followed the prompt. However, there were quite a few things that bothered me about this one, like:

-the bitchy wife that gives you an excuse to cheat (to clarify, I don't have a thing against cheating in fiction at all, I just hate the bitchy wife trope)
-too much crying... like, a LOT of crying
-a major
3.5 stars

This is what I felt like for two-thirds of this story:



If you put the cheating aside (It was in the blurb, I knew what I was getting myself into) This is still one hell of a frustrating read. It fell on the old "wife's a bitch" trope and what an effing bitch she was! Elise was hypocritical and cruel and I hated every moment she had on page.

For as much as Adam inserted himself into Solomon's life, he was quick to want to remove himself from it as well. He was so impatient at
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mm-romance
This was a surprise gem. I really loved the story. Would've been closer to 5 stars if we would've gotten some better communication from the MCs. It really jumped around in places. Awesome for a free read!
Amy Spector
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to admit right upfront that I am a sucker for stories about healing, and surviving the shit that life cruelly throws at you. Real life can suck, horrible things can and do happen, and I like the idea that people can still find happiness in the aftermath of a not-so-perfect life.

I'm also going to admit that I am not normally a “tag reader”, I would go as far as to say that I'm a total “tag ignorer”. It is too much like Let's watch this movie, you'll like it, Rosebud is his sled. Why
Wart Hill
my wife’s heart-of-a-ho opinion
my wife’s heart-of-a-ho opinion


I'd rather not have a side of misogyny with my M/M.
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
I'm not sure what I expected after I read the blurb. All I can say is that what I got by far succeeded what I might have expected. :) If that makes sense.

The choice of title is brilliant, as are the MCs.
I didn't realize at the beginning how lost and torn Sol was, but as soon as Adam appears on the scene, and Sol keeps hijacking his chance of happiness you start wondering what is going on. It becomes clear soon enough that some kind of dark secret is holding him back big time. The author does a
Cee Brown
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won't lie... I thought this story was cheesy when I started reading it. I almost gave up, but then Sol did me in. And Adam had his say and I was mush..
I can relate to all Sol had to do in order to release himself and was glad Adam was man enough to take him on.
The story took a different turn than what I expected, but Lordy, I had a few LOL moments, especially Sol's first time submitting to Adam. You just gotta read it. Miss Debbie had him say what we all think. LOL.
Glad they found their happy
Ofelia Gränd
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t believe I haven’t read this story until now, it’s been sitting on my E-reader since last year when it came out. I loved the roller-coaster ride this story took me on, and as always Ms. McGowan’s writing is lovely.
Let me start by saying something two very important things. Firstly, I think I've been using five star ratings way too liberally, because this deserves something a hell of a lot more. Secondly, I’m not a fan of M/M romance in general, or a big reader of gay fiction.

This, like some other books I’ve read recently, I went into rather sceptically, thinking I was bound to dislike it. Turns out I didn’t dislike it – I dislike all the hypocritical idiots who have left jaded, ignorant reviews of it on
Pamela Su
This felt like two stories.

The first half of the story didn't capture my interest. I almost gave up on it. I don't like how bitchy the wife turned out to be in this story. There was no redeeming quality about her and I just could not understand why it was stated that she married him for convenience because it sure didn't look like it. I don't understand her reaction to him finding someone he loves or her bitchiness.

How Adam and Sol fell in love was weird. A disjointed dating sequence occurred
This story had some low lights and some highlights but basically evened itself out into a pleasant story. This is quite a long story which was much appreciated for a free event.

The strength for me was in the detail of the story, the way the author brought the characters to life. I liked the movement from the US to the UK and the way this was reflected in the characters, dialogue and behaviours.

The parts that didn't sit quite so comfortably were the wife (I just needed a little bit more to
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book was a freebie on Barnes and Noble. I hooked me from the first few lines, and I really appreciated the situation Sol finds himself in as a gay man, married to a lesbian woman in order to have a more heterosexual appearance.

Before you judge, read the book. I cannot imagine facing the situation that forced Sol to feel marrying a woman was his only option, verse happiness. This book isn't about cheating on a spouse, but more about Sol cheating himself out of love and happiness.
Jun 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to follow. Fucking good
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awsome-chemistry, m-m
Sol has a marriage of convenience which has worked for 8 years. He can have one night stands with men, his wife can have one night stands with women and they can even sleep with each other, as long as the 'affairs' are kept secret and their careers are not jeopardised. Sol however, meets and has an instant and reciprocated connection with Adam. The chemistry between Adam and Sol is intense and as two English men living in the US, they also have an easy connection that Sol feels he has missed ...more
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, erotica, freebie
3.5 glowy stars :) This story really hit some closed off places in my heart and any writer that can do that to a reader (even without that reader having experiences those exact circumstances-or precisely because of that) is a wonderful writer in my book. It was confusing at times though, but at others HOT, and others utterly lovely. Thank you for this.
Mark Robert Winkle
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not what I expected!

This was no ordinary m/m romance novel. I was totally engulfed in this! Could not put it down till I was finished reading it!
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dritc-ll
I absolutely loved this story about Sol’s emotional journey from living in Boston in a “Lavender Marriage” to Elise, to (view spoiler) But how he gets from one to the other is a voyage full of love, laughter, pain and grief and then finally healing and becoming stronger and better.

This story had many layers and I felt like I had to re-evaluate what I knew of these characters every so often, it kept my brain
Alex Clarke
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, well well... Debbie made me all sappy with this one !

I came to this book with utter expectations. I've read Debbie McGowan's Champagne and disliked it. After some discussion with Debbie, she told me about this one and pointed out that there was a HEA in it (that didn't exist in Champagne and was part of my dislike).

So I have to say that my utter expectations have been reached :)

Two MC : Solomon (Sol for his friends) is an engineer in Boston. He's married to his once best friend, Elise.
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of two halves....the first was Sol coming to a junction in his life after just a simple one-off connection in the checkout line in a grocery started a chain of events that just unravelled before his eyes and he just barely held on for the ride.....panicking for most of it. Adam was the roller coaster, the safe haven and with clear focus on their future together.

Elise.....well......she was a bitch.......whether this was a salve to her conscious or a cover for her work
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well this is probably the first gay novel that I read where I can say that I see myself in one of the characters... (Sol) I understand him in so many ways so that made for a really enjoyable read. I'm like him in the way of thinking things through, not wanting to rush into things, being methodical, etc.. but on the other had I envy Adam for taking so many leaps of faith and just hoping that he lands safely. Like most I wasn't a big fan of Elise but I know women like her as well...

I also envied
Barb ~rede-2-read~
This is a nice story which evolves from reading about Sol, a guy stuck in a "lavender marriage" who meets another man (Adam) in a checkout line and falls instantly in lust, to a more in-depth story which involves delving into Sol's past to solve a long ago murder, and to come to terms with old issues related to past loves. Sounds convoluted? That's pretty much how I felt when reading this.

Overall, I didn't connect with Sol-- not when he was married, and not when he was finally getting together
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely amazing and moving romance.

I've read some really great reviews on this book, one in particular stands out which means I'll keep mine brief since its already been done so much better than I could.
While I don't read a lot of M/M books I have read several and enjoyed them, I like romance so provided the books have good characters, emotions, relationships, get the gist I like the romance and the build-up and so I absolutely loved this book.
I loved the fact that not only
Funnily enough, at 50% I was quite enjoying the book, then bam! 51% I was ready to strangle all the characters or slap some sense into them. While the "wife" was very hypocritical, I understand why the need for her character. Once you get past that one small section (I think 57% should do it ;) it is back to being a very enjoyable book. There was good sexual chemistry and enough development I think to accept the insta-lust-love.

Not everyone will have the same reactions to the way an author sets
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Author, publisher, social scientist.

Other books in the series

Checking Him Out (6 books)
  • Checking Him Out For The Holidays (Checking Him Out #1.1)
  • Hiding Out (Checking Him Out, #1.2)
  • Taking Him On (Checking Him Out #2)
  • Checking In (Checking Him Out #3)
  • The Making of Us (Checking Him Out, #4)
“Married?” my mother said.
I was waiting for, “What, like Elton John?” or some such.
“Yes, Mum.”
“Well, I suppose that means you won’t catch AIDS.”
“Very true,” said I. “Wedding rings are more than adequate protection…”
“She knew I was gay. She’d always known, and so was she, except she was so far back in the closet she had a residency visa for Narnia.” 1 likes
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