Friday, June 1, 2018

Guest Author Day with Kelli A. Wilkins

Please give a warm welcome to Everett Kinkade from A Secret Match by Kelli A. Wilkins. Today as we sit down and see what’s on Everett’s mind…

Q: Greetings, Everett. Before we get started, could you tell our readers about the book?
Absolutely. A Secret Match is a contemporary gay romance set in the world of professional wrestling. The book follows my struggles as I face a crossroads in my personal and professional life. It’s a great blend of drama, humor, action, and hot love scenes.

Q: Tell us about yourself. What got you in the crosshairs for your author?
I’m a professional wrestler. Kelli got the idea for this story while she was writing A Deceptive Match, her straight romance that also takes place in the wrestling world. I was a secondary character in that book. I helped the hero (Vin) and the heroine (Danni) get together. Vin is my best friend, so I acted as a soundboard/matchmaker for him and Danni.

While Kelli was writing A Deceptive Match, she knew I needed my own book, but she wasn’t exactly sure what the storyline would be. Then one day on the way to work, the majority of the plot popped into her head, and she was off and writing. She says that I’m one of those characters who tries to take over a book. (Laughs) And why not? I’m charming, and witty, and handsome. Who wouldn’t want to read about my life?

A big part of the novel centers around me dealing (or rather, not dealing) with my sexuality and my (un)willingness to be open about who I really am. My longtime partner, Josh, is tired of being kept in my “walk-in closet” and wants me to come out (at least to friends and family) but I’m concerned about losing my job. (Will fans accept a gay wrestler?) Part of me wanted to keep everything just as it was because that’s safe. But another part of me longed to stop pretending and hiding the truth. 

Q: Do you sometimes want to strangle Kelli? What sort of upsetting or embarrassing things did Kelli do to you in the book?
At times, yes! The book starts off great, but within the first two scenes, all hell breaks loose. Josh decides to tell me that he’s tired of being my little secret, and wants me to come out. That caught me off guard and it was something I was not at all comfortable with. (Kelli’s great at jumping right into conflict!) So, Josh gave me an ultimatum. (Sighs) Things didn’t end well for us, and I was really broken up. Only one person knew about Josh, so I turned to my best friend, Vin, for help and advice.

Over the course of the book I had to come to terms with accepting myself for who I am, what I am, and how I’m perceived by the wrestling fans, my coworkers, and everyone else. Being an openly gay wrestler was something I didn’t sign up for, and Kelli threw me into a lion’s den! I did eventually come out —not once, but twice!—on live TV. That changed everything and took the story in a whole new direction.

Looking back, I realize it was for the best and Kelli knew exactly what she was doing, but at the time, I was physically hurt, emotionally wrecked, confused, and pretty pissed. Vin and Danni helped me through all the turmoil, and Josh stood by me when I needed him most.

Q: What is it about Josh that makes you crazy in a good way?
He likes to drive me nuts on purpose. He enjoys teasing me and pushing my buttons and my boundaries. But it’s always in a positive way, for my own good. He’ll deliberately force me to come out of my shell and open up to new people and new experiences. And I love him dearly for it.

Q: Was there an instant attraction between you?
Yes and no. I met Josh at the gym—but it wasn’t a gym hookup. I noticed him out of the corner of my eye and thought he was cute, but I was so deep in the closet that I didn’t dare approach him. Josh asked me for training advice and we got to know each other in a casual way. Then one night he asked me if I wanted to grab a bite to eat, and the rest is… in the book! (Laughs)

Kelli did an excellent job of working my first meeting (and first kiss) with Josh into the book. They are some of the most sensual, tender scenes she’s ever written. I was incredibly nervous and unsure of myself, and Josh was there to put me at ease.

Q: What’s your favorite food?
Well, since I need to stay in tip-top shape for my job as a hot and sexy professional wrestler, I have to eat a healthy, low-fat diet. But when I do indulge, I like to have steak, BBQ, or chicken wings and a few beers. I’m actually a great cook and love to make meals for Josh and our friends.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges?
I’m on the road wrestling about 300 days a year, so one of my greatest challenges is maintaining my relationship with Josh. We don’t see each other all the time, but we’re constantly talking on the phone and sharing photos. When Josh has time off from work he comes on the road with me and we hang out before my matches. It’s not easy (okay, it’s almost impossible) to have a “normal” home life, but we do the best we can—and we make the most of the time we have together.

Q: Describe yourself in four words.
Sensitive, strong, sexy, wiseass.

Q: Anything else you want to add?
I’m grateful to Kelli for sharing my story with the world. And I’m pleased to help her promote it during Pride month. A Secret Match isn’t just a “wrestling story” or a typical romance loaded with sex scenes, it’s a sensitive, coming out story that resonates with all types of romance readers; straight, gay, or whatever. Anyone who likes a good love story/romance should read the book. And you don’t have to be a wrestling fan to enjoy the book. But you might become one after you read it! (Laughs)

If gay romances aren’t your thing, I urge you to check out the book that introduced me to readers, A Deceptive Match. It’s a great romance and a fun behind-the-scenes look into the world of professional wrestling.

Kelli writes a lot of romances in all genres—historical, paranormal, contemporary, gay, and straight—but they all have two things in common—they’re all unique stories, and they’re anything but boring! I hope you’ll check them out. I plan on reading her other two gay romances, Four Days with Jack, and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with everyone. Here’s the summary and a steamy excerpt from 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?

The Excerpt:

Everett finished his beer and gazed around the living room. It was comforting to have someone to talk to, instead of constantly keeping everything bottled up inside. It had been years since he’d been alone with a guy, and he liked Josh, liked him a lot. But he was worried. What if something went wrong? What if Josh told someone?

Josh gave his shoulder a little shove. “Come on, out with it, Muscles. Either you really love staring at my bookcase, or you’re too shy to face me. I know you’re thinking about something behind those beautiful blue eyes.”

“I… nah…”

“What? Anything. Say it.”

He sneaked a glance at Josh out of the corner of his eye. “I was wondering what it would feel like to”—he bowed his head—“kiss you.”

“Why don’t we find out?” Josh took Ev’s empty beer bottle and set it down on the marble end table. “Come here.”

He let Josh draw him into his arms. Ev closed his eyes and waited, his heart hammering out of control.
A second later, Josh’s lips gently pressed against his. Ev gasped and kissed him back gingerly. Josh increased the pressure, and their mouths moved in unison. The scent of Josh’s spicy vanilla cologne washed over him and he lost himself in the tender embrace. Josh’s beard grazed his cheek, sending an electric tingle racing up his spine. God, this was good.

He clutched Josh tighter, holding on to him for dear life, not daring to let go. Josh groaned and slid his tongue into his mouth. An adrenaline rush of excitement flooded through him, and his cock sprang to life.

Dear God, he wasn’t supposed to have these kinds of feelings, this hunger, for another man, but it felt right. The wet heat of Josh’s tongue swirling around his drove him into a frenzy, and he kissed Josh deeper, praying this would never end.

After a few minutes, Josh eased away. “You are amazing. That was hot.”

Ev smiled. “It’s been so long. I forgot how good this could be. I feel safe with you. I really do.”

Josh rested his head on Ev’s chest. “You should, because you are. And don’t worry, we’ll take this slow. You set the pace, Muscles. Whatever you’re comfortable with works for me.”


Order A Secret Match here:

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Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.

Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

Kelli’s writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

Her Gothic historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past will be released in June 2018.

Visit her website and blog to learn more about all of her writings.

Follow Kelli A. Wilkins on the Web…
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