This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll talk about why I wrote the book, share my thoughts on the plot and/or characters, and reveal what I loved most (or least) about writing the book. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.
A Secret Match is my contemporary gay romance set in the world of professional wrestling. It’s a follow-up book (of sorts) to my M/F wrestling romance, A Deceptive Match. Technically, the book isn’t a sequel because it’s a gay romance and falls into a different romance genre… But it’s closely connected because it focuses on Everett Kinkade, a secondary character I introduced in A Deceptive Match.
In that book Ev is the best friend of wrestling champ Vinnie Valentine. They’ve been together for years as tag-team champs, confidantes, and are as close as brothers. I fell in love with Ev so much while writing A Deceptive Match I knew he needed his own book. And I knew it wouldn’t be an easy one.
Ev is a gay professional wrestler who has lots of insecurities and personal issues to overcome. Although he’s been in a long-term relationship with his boyfriend, Josh, he’s kept their involvement a secret. Aside from Josh nobody except Vinnie (and Danni, the heroine from A Deceptive Match) know he’s gay. He has a hard enough time dealing with his sexuality on a personal level, and on a professional level—forget it.
So naturally I put the screws to Ev—right in the first scene. When the book opens, Josh and Ev are having “going away” sex, and all seems well—until they have a major argument. Josh is tired of being hidden away like a “dirty secret” and wants Ev to come out or at least acknowledge their relationship to someone in their life.
Ev refuses for several reasons. His wrestling persona is a heartthrob that women fantasize about, and he needs to maintain his image if he wants to keep his job. Obviously, coming out would threaten his livelihood. He’s also afraid of what people will think about him if they know he’s gay. After a heated exchange, Josh gives him an ultimatum and walks out.
Ev is distraught and turns to his best friend and fellow wrestler, Vinnie for advice. Danni and Vinnie play a crucial role in Ev’s story—both in his personal journey—and in the ring.
The head of the wrestling organization, Nick August, tells Ev he has to go along with a “steal my woman” angle involving Vinnie and Danni. As part of the storyline, Ev has to kiss Danni in front of a live audience. This is the turning point in the book. Ev is torn between living a lie and being true to himself—and in the spur of the moment, he comes out on live TV.
From there, all hell breaks loose.
Ev instantly regrets what he’s done and is afraid he’s just tanked his career, some of the other wrestlers aren’t thrilled with the news, and Nick August is beyond furious. But in true wrestling fashion, the fans think it’s all a work—until Ev comes out again. This time, he’s out and proud.
When I wrote the book I knew Ev and Josh would be apart for about a third of the story, but I wanted to give readers a peek into their lives before the break-up. I decided the best way to do that was through flashbacks. Over the course of the book readers learn how Ev and Josh met, see their first kiss, and more. When Josh and Ev reconnect, readers know all about them and realize they’re meant to be together.
A Secret Match is my favorite gay romance. I loved revisiting the wrestling universe I created in A Deceptive Match, and I love Ev as a character. On one hand, he’s funny, sharp-witted, sexy, and a wiseass. And on the other hand, he’s an emotionally fragile, wounded warrior who is torn between living two lives.
A Secret Match has everything a good wrestling storyline needs: action, heroes, heels, drama, humor, sexy wrestlers—and in this case, some pretty hot love scenes. It takes readers (and the characters) on an emotional roller coaster ride. And it’s not just for wrestling fans. The wrestling world is merely a backdrop for a tender romance and a look inside Ev’s mind.
A Secret Match isn’t a sequel to A Deceptive Match per se, but it takes place in the same world of pro wrestling and many of the characters from A Deceptive Match appear in A Secret Match. You don’t have to read the books together or in any particular order, and each book stands alone as an individual read.
I realize not all M/F romance lovers will want to read a gay romance and not all gay romance lovers will want to read a M/F romance, but each book has excellent characters to root for, interesting plots, and lots of wrestling action that appeals to readers of all genres.
I hope you’ll check it out. If you love wrestling, if you love romance, and if you loved A Deceptive Match, you’ll love this book too.
A SECRET MATCH
Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and the sexy heartthrob of millions of adoring female fans. But Ev has a secret he doesn’t dare share with anyone. He’s gay. After years of being Ev’s secret lover, Josh is tired of hiding in the shadows and wants Ev to openly acknowledge their relationship. Coming out is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career. One night in a moment of truth, Everett outs himself on live TV. There’s no going back, and his announcement sparks a firestorm of problems—both personally and professionally. He’s forced to come to grips with who he really is while facing down a manipulative boss and a tag-team out to destroy him. Torn between living a lie and losing the man he loves, Ev has risked everything… can he find a balance between his career and his heart?
Order A Secret Match here:
All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/md6rZb
Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-secret-match
Don’t miss the book that introduced Ev to fans… A Deceptive Match:
All other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3RB96j
Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-deceptive-match
I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this hot gay romance. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media.
Happy Reading & Happy Pride Month!
Kelli A. Wilkins