4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hockey Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Sports

Checking It Twice (The Carlisles #3) by Meg Harding

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents


Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory.


Eric is a an adorkable hockey player who meets Dorian doing promo work for an advertiser. He’s in the closet and barely had any sexual experience but knows he wants to try something with Dorian. He figures that Dorian, more than many others he might run into, has very little motivation to try to “ruin him” or out him for being gay and is therefore not only hot, but maybe safe, too?

Dorian knows it’s a bad idea to hook up with someone as closeted as Eric but he can’t help but be attracted. Once they start seeing each other, he finds he’s as attracted to what’s inside of Eric as what’s on the outside.


I really liked the way Dorian handles Eric’s sexual inexperience (and Eric, too for that matter). It felt both respectful and bossy and realistic, too. (Not everybody is perfect in bed together the first time they touch!)

I was glad to see Dorian stand up for himself and not let Eric’s unwillingness to be out pull him back into the closet.   I’m not sure how Eric thought hanging out with Dorian “as a friend” wouldn’t look suspicious, but I was glad Dorian stood up for himself with Eric’s friends and hockey mates.  That, too, felt authentic. The push-pull of wanting Eric but hating it at the same time.

I still find the present tense style of writing to be really bulky and awkward and it’s definitely not my favorite as it pulls me out of the story time and again stumbling over phrases that just don’t sound right.

This was a lot better than book two, but I still like book one the most in this series.

I’m excited about Denver’s story but not sure if I’ll pick it up to read, mostly because I just don’t like that writing style – so much!

Fans of the series will be pleased with this (though it absolutely works as a stand-alone) as will fans of Hockey player romances.

4 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

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