All this month I'm sharing bits about my Amber Quill Press romances set during the hot and sultry summer months. Today I'm taking a peek inside the often misunderstood world of professional wrestling with my novel, A Perfect Match.
I grew up watching wrestling and several years ago I had the opportunity to hang out with real life wrestlers. At the time, I wasn't writing books, and the thought of creating a wrestling romance never even entered my mind. But I've always been the nosy and curious sort, so I kept my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut.
I learned a lot from observing the guys as they traveled to and from matches, dealt with zealous fans, and talked about the internal workings of the business. But two things stuck with me most: 1: when it came down to it, they were regular people (granted, very large regular people) and 2: 95% of the world doesn't understand what they do or why they do it. I filed all that away in the back of my mind and carried on with my life.
So how did A Perfect Match come about? Years later (after I'd been writing for a while) I woke up one morning with the entire book in my head. I knew the plot, the characters, and even the subtle backstories of everyone. I had everything I needed to write the book, so I did. (And the hero, Vinnie, is not modeled after any one particular wrestler - although it's fun to see who readers think he 'really' is. His character is a combination of about 5 different wrestlers. The other characters are all compilations, too.)
The book made the rounds to 'big name' publishers who all said the same thing: "Wrestling? Who wants to read about wrestling?" (Even though the book was a top ten finalist in the first "American Title" book contest.) Their rejections only solidified my theory: people just don't understand it.
But I'm happy to say that the book got excellent reviews and several people have commented on how it opened their eyes to what goes on behind the scenes. A Perfect Match isn't just for wrestling fans - it's for anyone who loves a good romance.
Here's a summary, a steamy excerpt, and a few of those nice reviews!
Falling for the wrestler she had been assigned to interview wasn’t part of Danni’s plan, until Vinnie Valentine pinned her heart in a flash.
Disgruntled with her job as the office gopher for a national sports magazine, Danni Stone impersonates a reporter to prove herself to her boss. Her assignment? Spend thirty days on the road with Vinnie Valentine, a sexy professional wrestler.
Life isn’t going well for the Heavyweight Champ. Vinnie is struggling with a manipulative boss, prepping for the most important match of his career, and feuding with his arch-enemy, Thorn. The last thing he needs is a nosy reporter following him around—even if she is hot.
Thrown together in close quarters, Danni can’t help falling for Vinnie. Their mutual attraction grows, and Danni gives in to the lustful feelings she’s repressed for years. As their relationship deepens, she finds herself drawn into Vinnie’s world and becomes a key player in his title bout. But before Danni can tell Vinnie that she isn’t the reporter she claims to be, he discovers her deception. Her lie threatens to destroy everything between them. Is their fragile love destined to fail, or are they a perfect match?
Danni hurried down the hall to the locker room. She hadn’t meant to be late picking up Vin tonight, but the moron lot attendant wouldn’t let her back into the parking area. She pushed open the locker room door and rushed inside. “Vin, I’m sorry I—”
Her tote bag slipped through her fingers and dropped to the floor. Vin stood less than three feet away, soaking wet. A white towel barely covered his waist.
“Oh, my God!” Her entire body flushed as a tingling sensation built deep in her belly. Vin was practically naked and dripping wet from the shower.
“I…um…you’re…I…oh God,” she muttered and whirled around. Why wasn’t he saying anything?
Vin’s warm hand settled on her shoulder. He gently turned her to face him. Beads of water dripped down his chest, and she longed to lick them away. “Um…you…you’re wet.” She glanced at the towel and prayed it would fall off his waist.
“And you’re not?”
She squealed as Vin drew her to his chest. His mouth covered hers, and she lost all sense of reason.
A wet heat built between her legs as Vin’s tongue entered her mouth. Her body surged beneath his touch. She clutched him tight and dug her fingers into the solid flesh of his back and ribs. He smelled like soap and water and yet there was a hint of something manly, musky about him.
Vin moaned and cupped her buttocks through her sundress, melding her body against his. A high-pitched mewing sound escaped her throat as a long-denied lust flared within her. Was this really happening? She’d had this fantasy for so many nights, would she wake up and discover it was only another dirty dream?
She slid her hands down Vin’s flat stomach to the edge of the towel. For a second, she hesitated, unsure. Did she dare do what every instinct commanded? Vin’s tongue plunged deeper into her mouth, wordlessly urging her on. She groaned and traced the outline of his rigid cock through the towel. Hard and thick, it was exactly what she craved.
Without thinking, she tugged the towel away, freeing his penis. Vin moaned as she ran her hand along the length of him. It was so huge, it would never fit inside her—but that didn’t matter—she wanted to try.
Vin scooped her into his arms and carried her across the room. She kept her eyes closed as he set her down on something padded. Her knees hung over the edge of something sturdy. Was she on the massage table?
“You sure you want it?” he asked, his voice raspy.
“Yeah. God, yeah.”
Wide hands pushed up under her dress. Vin massaged her wet sex through her panties and she lifted her hips toward him. She needed him inside her—now.
“Please, hurry,” she begged.
Read more on the book's buy page: http://amberquill.com/AmberHeat/PerfectMatch.html
“5 stars! Kelli A Wilkins’ A Perfect Match is one of the best books I read in awhile. It’s romantic, sweet and HOT!! Vin and Danni have it bad for each other and once they both give into their passion, its hot and heavy. I really enjoyed this book, it has a great storyline and I loved all the characters.” – Wanda, Reviewer, Romance Writers Reviews
“4 stars! A Perfect Match is a how-to manual of what goes on in the professional wrestling world. I found it fascinating. You don’t need to know or like the sport to enjoy this tender, yet fierce love story, with a ‘HEA for now’ ending. I hope you like it as much as I did.” – Patrizia M., Reviewer, Manic Readers
“Kelli A. Wilkins writes a daring romance. She gives her readers ringside seats to a spectacularly sexy main event. Danni may have her reasons for being deceitful, but her treachery will not allow her to obtain what she honestly wants. Vinnie may be on his way out, but he will not surrender without the fight of his life. Together, they create a tag team that cannot easily be defeated. Ms. Wilkins certainly pins her readers and keeps them down for the count. I definitely could not stop reading once I was caught firmly in the grasp of the entangling romance. A PERFECT MATCH throws out all the rules and shows just how no-holds-barred love can be. This was a fun, fast, and feisty tale.” Melissa K., Reviewer, Noveltalk
Next week, I'll be sharing a summer romance...with a vampire!
Until next time!