Hiding Behind The Couch

Hiding Behind The Couch, by Debbie McGowan, is a multi-part series of stories surrounding a single group of nine friends that takes place over the course of many years.

The series (so far) includes the Hiding Behind The Couch website, and the stories listed here.

It is best thought of as a literary soap opera, with seasons and special episodes - some are 'character specials', some are 'holiday specials'.

All stories conclude, but there will be overarching plots that continue from one instalment to the next.

The inspiration for the characters, events and settings is the real world, but all characters, events and locations are entirely fictional.

Scroll down past the video for the list of stories and reading order for the series.

Got questions? Want to discuss the series? Leave a comment below and I'll gladly reply. :)

Free Stories

You can download the three stories below for free from hidingbehindthecouch.com/?n1=where_to_buy#free:
  • Beginnings (Prequel 1)
  • Hiding Behind The Couch (Season 1)
  • Breakfast at Cordelia's Aquarium (short story)

Character Profiles with Excerpts

The video below is a very early trailer (2012-3) with characters developed using Daz3D.

Reading Order

There are two recommended ways to read the series:
  1. In chronological order (in relation to the characters' ages)
  2. In the order they were written

1. Chronological Order:

  1. Beginnings
  2. Ruminations
  3. Class-A
  4. Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One)
  5. No Time Like The Present (Season Two)
  6. The Harder They Fall (Season Three)
  7. Chain of Secrets
  8. Crying in the Rain
  9. First Christmas
  10. In The Stars Part I: Capricorn-Gemini (Season Four)
  11. Breaking Waves
  12. In The Stars Part II: Cancer-Sagittarius (Season Five)
  13. A Midnight Clear
  14. Red Hot Christmas
  15. Two By Two (Season Six)
  16. Hiding Out
  17. Breakfast at Cordelia's Aquarium
  18. Those Jeffries Boys
  19. The Wag and the Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1)
  20. The Lost Mitten
  21. Reunions (Season Seven)
  22. Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2)
  23. What A Scorcher!
  24. To Be Sure
  25. Goth of Christmas Past
  26. The Advent of Reason

2. Writing Order:

  1. Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One)
  2. No Time Like The Present (Season Two)
  3. The Harder They Fall (Season Three)
  4. Beginnings
  5. First Christmas
  6. In The Stars Part I: Capricorn-Gemini (Season Four)
  7. Breaking Waves
  8. In The Stars Part II: Cancer-Sagittarius (Season Five)
  9. A Midnight Clear
  10. Red Hot Christmas
  11. Crying in the Rain
  12. Ruminations
  13. Two By Two (Season Six)
  14. Hiding Out
  15. Breakfast at Cordelia's Aquarium
  16. Chain of Secrets
  17. Those Jeffries Boys
  18. The Wag and the Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1)
  19. Class-A
  20. The Lost Mitten
  21. Reunions (Season Seven)
  22. To Be Sure
  23. Goth of Christmas Past
  24. Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2)
  25. What A Scorcher!
  26. The Advent of Reason

(View graphic depicting the series to date.)

Detailed Info


Main Novels (Seasons)


Hiding Behind The Couch (Season One)
Josh Sandison has spent his lifetime trying to keep his friends together, never forgiving himself for being the one to push George away. Now in their thirties, they reunite in a bid to help Shaunna's daughter establish her father's identity. But there are secrets and lies that have been lived too long, with the power to destroy friendships for good. Welcome to The Circle...
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No Time Like The Present (Season Two)
Sometimes a murder mystery is the least of life's challenges...When Eleanor's boyfriend James is arrested for the murder of a local businessman, the ripples are felt across The Circle. While Josh and Dan fight to clear James's name, Andy is planning his big comeback, with high hopes he'll be home for Christmas. It's the perfect time to make new friends, make amends...and solve a murder case.

The Harder They Fall (Season Three)
A fatal plane crash in Kathmandu, a fateful high school reunion, the wedding of the year and a honeymoon that eight best friends will never forget...

In The Stars Part I: Capricorn-Gemini (Season Four)
Fate, karma, written in the stars, or just bizarre quirks of coincidence? For better or worse, the events of the next six months will push the friends to the limits. In The Stars Part I explores the day-to-day lives of The Circle - nine friends from high school, now it their late thirties - following them through the first half of a year of celebration, loss, illness and life-changing decisions.

In The Stars Part II: Cancer-Sagittarius (Season Five)
The Circle is in flux. It's been a hectic six months, and as the friends head into the heat of summer, more trials await that will truly test the bonds of friendship. In The Stars Part II explores the day-to-day lives of The Circle - nine friends from high school, now it their late thirties - following them through the second half of a year of celebration, loss, illness and life-changing decisions.

Two By Two (Season Six)
Two pregnancies, two babies, two troubled teens. Two psychologists hunting down the leader of a deadly cult. When Libby takes a stand against her abusive parents, Josh and George readily make her part of their family, but her parents may have been involved in something more sinister. Two unexpected guests seek sanctuary in Shaunna and Andy's new home, but that's not all. Someone is watching them.

Reunions (Season Seven)
When greed, fear and obsession rule the senses, danger is never more than a heartbeat away. A night of celebration affords the perfect opportunity for an unlikely band of criminals to make their move, but as details emerge, it soon becomes clear the crime is far more sophisticated than the police first thought. And that's only the beginning.

Alumni (Season Eight - in progress)
There's something strange going on... (More info to follow.)

Character/Holiday Specials




Journey back to childhood, where the buds of friendship and romance blossom; take a peek into the lives of the primary school children who would become...The Circle.
Download free ebook

First Christmas
Josh and George spent half a lifetime apart, so it matters not that they're all grown up now. For this is their first Christmas together, in their new home. They finally have all that they wished for. But perhaps Santa still has a few surprises in store. A Christmas story full of festive magic and romance.

Breaking Waves
What do you do when you fall in love with your childhood best friend? Do you tell them and risk ruining the friendship? Now, thirty years on, the secrets are out in the open. But can two hearts almost destroyed by denial and separation ever be healed? Fill in the gaps by joining George and Josh on their Cornish honeymoon against an awe-inspiring backdrop of breaking waves, sand and sunshine.

Chain of Secrets (Included in Love Unlocked Anthology)
The story of George and Josh - two little boys who became best friends...two adolescents who stayed best friends...two young adults with secrets that might change their friendship forever.

A Midnight Clear (Included in Volume One of Boughs of Evergreen Holiday Anthology)
It's a cold, desperate December when a young girl flees home, in search of food, shelter and the real Santa Claus. Stranded in George and Josh's hometown, she discovers that the spirit of Christmas can be found in the most unexpected of places. Includes the story of The Little Match Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen. (Suitable for younger readers and adults, aged 12+)

Red Hot Christmas
Shaunna has a complicated Christmas ahead of her. For more than twenty years, she and Kris were a couple. Now Kris has a new boyfriend, Ade, and Andy is love with Shaunna...she know what she wants, but it all adds up to a Christmas that might just be too hot to handle. (Adult Content)

Hiding Out
Hiding Behind The Couch meets Checking Him Out: Josh is heading to Norwich for the mentoring workshop Sean was due to give. Matty is agonising over his impending dance show. Noah - Matty's on-again, off-again boyfriend - has promised to be there. Can Josh and Matty face their fears? Will the Sandison-Morleys' get the young men to express their feelings to each other before it's too late?

To Be Sure (Included in Never Too Late)
Saorla Tierney’s sons are conspiring against her, and at their age, they should know better. After all, she’s nearly seventy-one herself, and, quite frankly, whether she still ‘has needs’ is none of their business. Between her grandson’s unconventional baptism and the decades-long feud between her sons, even with Aileen at her side it’s not as easy a decision as they seem to think. Or maybe it is. Saorla doesn’t know anymore, and until she’s sure…

The Advent of Reason
A weekend in an ancient castle and a murder-mystery game that becomes all too real. It's safe to say Josh's plans for a romantic anniversary with George are not turning out how he'd hoped. In spite of his cynicism, and his promise not to embark on any more life-threatening pursuits for answers, when one of the guests turns up dead, Josh can't help but put his talents to use to solve the murder.

Short Stories


Breakfast at Cordelia's Aquarium
This is a very short, fun interlude in the Hiding Behind The Couch series. Unlike the rest of the series, which is written in third-person (semi-omniscient) past tense, this short story is written in first-person present tense. It has no real bearing on anything else that happens in the series; it is what it is: an Easter Egg.
Download free ebook

Simon is young and handsome. To the people around him, he looks like he's got it all - money, looks, a future with a wife... All mapped out by his parents. But Simon is gay. And Simon is high. And when Simon sees his fake girlfriend Jess alongside a boy called Taz, suddenly all the choices explode. Will Simon follow his orders? Or will he follow his heart?

What A Scorcher!
Iris and Pauline are on their holidays! It's only a fortnight's house-sitting, but it'll do. The sun's cracking the flags, there's not a whisper of wind. And who needs fancy seaside resorts, anyhow?
Download free ebook

Children's Stories (written as J.S. Morley)


The Lost Mitten
George is excited to receive his extra special mittens, knitted for him by Grandma Coppee. But as winter descends upon the village, George discovers he may not be the one who needs his mittens the most after all. A heartwarming story for children of all ages. Illustrated by Sofia Oxelstrand.

Stand-alone Novels


Josh Sandison has waited his whole life to go to university. Gifted - and bullied for being different - he hopes it will be a change for the better. Instead, he encounters the unexpected, when strange things start happening in his room. When Sean Tierney arrives, three days late and broke, the two strike up an unlikely friendship. But can they solve the spooky mystery of the third floor?

Crying in the Rain
For many years, Ade Simmons has been an outsider, trapped in an abusive relationship, seeking sanctuary in his job. Actor Kris Johansson is patient, gentle and passionate - everything that Ade's ex-boyfriend is not. When Kris takes a role in one of Ade's plays, the attraction is mutual and instant. But his ex will not give up his punchbag so easily - can Ade finally find the strength to fight back?

Those Jeffries Boys
Three brothers: doting dads, dealing with the everyday challenges of fatherhood. Mike Jeffries has one priority: his six-month-old daughter. Andy Jeffries has finally found the perfect challenge: keeping the woman he loves satisfied and raising their twin daughters. Dan Jeffries is about to become a father for the second time, and he's terrified, not that he's the kind of man to admit it.

Goth of Christmas Past (October 2018)
Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Gray Fisher Series


The WAG and The Scoundrel (Book One)
Three years after his partner's death, Gray Fisher is ready to move on from police work. He's not looking for love, but he welcomes Will's friendship. Will Richards is an investment banker with a farmhouse menagerie of rescue animals. When former colleague, Rob Simpson-Stone, asks for Gray's help with case, he's reluctant to get involved...until Rob reveals the identity of one of the suspects.

Tabula Rasa (Book Two - June 2018)
When Rob fails to arrive at his leaving do, his former boss/new PI business partner Gray Fisher can’t understand why nobody else is worried Rob is MIA, never mind that Gray is missing out on a night in with Will. As the reasons unfold, Gray’s past recklessness threatens to catch up with him, putting those he holds close in danger and forcing both Rob and Gray to forge reluctant alliances.

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