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

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.

Probably more me than the book.

Let me try to explain my feels on this without sounding like a complete asshole. I'm a self-proclaimed sports junkie. Sports and athletes have been a part of my life since I was a mini Cupcake. I get the athletic mindset-the higher up the ladder the higher the stakes and the tougher the competition. I get the need to eliminate as many obstacles within your power to control, Johnny Manziel notwithstanding, to get to (and stay in) the pros. I also get that being publicly out isn't an option for most players. I also get that people have the right to come out in their own time, in their own ways and that should never be dictated by another. 

On paper I get Eric but I didn't particularly like him. I wish I understood him more and maybe that's part of my problem. I don't get why he can't tell his family. I don't get why he was rude AF to the Carlisles. And more than anything else it made me sad. Sad that he's so unhappy and constantly petrified that someone will find out. Sad that this is the world we live in. Sad that people still give a shit who random strangers fuck or don't within the privacy of their own homes (or wherever). Sad that this is probably only going to get worse under a Trump/Pence administration. I admit this election has fucked me up in weird ways so at any other time this book could've easily been a 4 Heart read, but right now, in this moment I didn't want to be reminded that this is the world we live in. I didn't want to be sad.

However, there were things that I really liked about this book, most of all Dorian. Dorian is so patient and understanding with Eric that my heart went out to him. He kept saying when things were good they were great between them and some of that does translate to the page, but I mostly just felt like Eric wasn't good enough for him. He has the biggest heart and I commend him for letting bygones be bygones because holding a grudge is petty and would cause unnecessary drama, but he didn't deserve to be shoved back in the closet and made to feel like a dirty little secret. If there to had been a better balance between Eric and Dorian pre and post coming out that probably would've swayed me to a higher rating. I needed more of them happy and reunited and reestablishing their relationship than the two chapters I got. As it stands Eric's 180º felt too rushed for me to really invest in them and their HEA.

It probably seems like an odd thing to say given everything I just said but, this book really isn't heavy on the feels or depressing. 

Also, their sex life is scorching. They may have trouble pretty much everywhere else but in the bedroom they click. HARD. Good gravy. That whole last scene with the spanking and biting and no hands... And there's a size difference between them that Eric relies heavily upon to my delight.


Eric's teammates were all great especially Jaromir who amused me to no end. I actually would've liked more locker room/team dynamics since they provided some much needed levity. The Carlisle family can never have too much page time. Ever. This one was Denver heavy and has me excited for his book. 

I'm still invested in this series and I did actually like this despite all the kaka negativity I just spewed. I think this is mostly just my personal baggage getting in the way of what otherwise would've been a solid read, so your mileage will most certainly vary. 

Recommend to fans of the series and romance that's not too weighty.

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Be sure to check out Meg Harding's hockey flashfic + giveaway here!

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