This “Meet the Character Day” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each “Behind the Scenes” blog, I 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. The “Meet the Character Day” blogs are fun chats with the heroes and heroines from my romances. Warning: blogs may contain spoilers.
Hello romance lovers! Today we’re chatting with Vinnie Valentine, the sexy hero from A Deceptive Match by Kelli A. Wilkins.
Q: Greetings, Vinnie. A Deceptive Match is a contemporary romance set in the world of professional wrestling. Can you tell us a bit more about the book?
I’d be glad to. The action starts right on page one. My boss and devious wrestling promoter, Nick August, has arranged for a reporter named Danny Stone to follow me around for a month and write an “inside story” on the wrestling business. Sounds simple, right?
Well, Nick and I figured Danny was a guy—nope! Imagine our surprise when we learned Danni is short for Danielle. Danni and I travel on the road together and I show her the ropes of the business, so to speak.
Over the course the book we realize we’re attracted to each other and start a relationship. As if that’s not complicated enough, I’m also feuding with an arch rival, facing the biggest wrestling match of my career, and overcoming a severe knee injury. There’s a lot going on in this book.
Tell us about your first meet with Danni. It wasn’t love at first sight, was it?:
Nope, not at all. It was a rocky start, to say the least. Nick August was manipulating Danni (and me) as an opportunity to get publicity for his wrestling organization. He wanted me to make sure Danni wrote a story with a positive spin on the industy. It was my job to keep her away from anything controversial that would give her a negative impression of the business or the wrestlers. Basically Nick wanted me to babysit her, and he threatened that if the story didn’t go well, I’d be fired.
Needless to say, I was resentful of Danni’s intrusion into our world, and even more resentful of Nick putting me in that position. I thought Nick was using Danni to spy on me. I was also worried that her following me around would make me look bad to the other wrestlers and I’d lose their respect. I didn’t want anything to do with her or the story, but my job was at stake.
And Danni wasn’t thrilled with me, either. We were stuck with each other and not happy about it. We were on the road for a month, going from arena to arena and hotel to hotel. We got on each other’s nerves a lot and had our fair share of arguments. I think she called me an arrogant caveman—among other things—at some point.
That’s when I realized I was behaving like “a complete ass” as my best friend Everett would say. Ev set me straight about a lot of things and pointed out the fact that I was acting like a jerk to Danni because I liked her. At the time I refused to believe he was right… but he was.
Wow! When did things change for you? When did you realize you were attracted to each other?
To Danni’s credit, she didn’t take any crap from me. After a few big blowouts, she was ready to abandon the whole story. She was frustrated with the way I was acting and made it clear she wouldn’t be pushed around. That made me respect her, and we started getting along.
After Danni and I cleared the air, we discovered we liked each other, but were fighting our feelings. We both had baggage from bad past relationships and didn’t want to take a risk and get involved.
The night Danni subbed for my valet turned everything around for us. I saw her in a new light. She looked so beautiful that I kissed her in front of the whole world.
Once I kissed her, we realized we wanted to be with each other, but we still had some obstacles to overcome. I won’t go into all the details here, but we both had trust issues. Danni was afraid I’d use her while we were on the road and then forget her. It took some convincing to get her to believe my feelings were sincere. After that, things got a lot hotter for us from there. (Laughs)
Was Danni a wrestling fan before she met you?
Yes, she grew up watching it on TV and going to live matches, but she didn’t understand the behind-the-scenes aspect of the business. I explained everything to her along the way. Danni was a good sport and quickly adapted to the crazy wrestling world. She even played a major role in the pay-per-view storyline. She was my valet (and more) for my big title match and really came through for me when I needed her. And man, can that woman deliver a wicked chair shot!
Do readers need to be wresting fans to enjoy A Deceptive Match?
Nope! Wrestling is the setting or backdrop to the main romance. Kelli wrote the story in a way to help non-wrestling fans understand the moves, terminology, and action. So they won’t be confused or lost.
Kelli says the only difference between A Deceptive Match and other contemporary romances is that the story is about wrestlers instead of more “traditional” characters, like police officers, Navy SEALs, FBI agents etc. She could have written a similar romance about another sport (like hockey or basketball) but she chose wrestling because she’s been a life-long wrestling fan, and it’s what she knows and loves.
Okay, tell us the truth. Are the characters in A Deceptive Match based on real wrestlers?
Nope. Kelli gets asked this all the time, and I’m here to say emphatically none of the characters in the book are based 100% on any one wrestler. Kelli drew upon her years of wrestling knowledge and took bits and pieces of different wrestlers to create the people in the story. I’m based on at least three different people, and Ev is drawn from at least five different guys. Even Nick August isn’t completely based on a famous “billionaire” wrestling promoter and owner. He’s close, but even he’s not 100%.
What do you and Kelli think of wrestling’s popularity these days?
We’re loving it! The wrestling world is getting lots of exposure and is certainly part of popular culture. There has been a recent wave of wrestler biographies, crossover shows featuring wrestlers, and wrestlers guest-starring on reality shows. Maybe we started a trend, because now people want to see behind-the-scenes shows of what goes on in the ring, out of the ring, and what happens backstage that fans never know. It’s an interesting business, for sure.
Kelli wrote another wrestling romance called A Secret Match. Can you tell us about it?
Sure! It’s sort of a sequel to A Deceptive Match. A Secret Match takes place in the same wrestling world with same characters, but the hero is my friend and ex-tag team partner Everett Kinkaid. Ev is my best friend and he is introduced to readers as a secondary character in A Deceptive Match. He plays the role of matchmaker for Danni and me and is a voice of reason when the two of us have troubles in our relationship. He’s also a smartass and a fantastic pro wrestler, but he’s been hiding a big secret from the world.
Kelli fell in love with Ev when she was writing A Deceptive Match and knew Ev needed a book of his own, so she wrote A Secret Match, which focuses on Ev and his secret. A Secret Match is Ev’s own love story. A gay love story. It’s an excellent book filled with drama and action and it’s an emotional roller coaster. I don’t want to give too much away about it. Kelli will be blogging about the book next week and Ev will be here to share his thoughts soon.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for having me on this blog. I hope romance readers check out A Deceptive Match. It’s got everything a good wrestling storyline needs: heroes, heels, action, drama, humor, betrayal, suspense—and in this case—hot love scenes. It’s really a great story, and it’s one of Kelli’s favorites. I invite readers to catch up on all of Kelli’s romances and visit her on social media. If you missed a blog, you can catch up here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/blog
Here’s the summary and links for A Deceptive Match:
A DECEPTIVE MATCH
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 assistant 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, and she unwittingly becomes a key player in his title match. Their mutual attraction grows, and late one night, they give in to the lustful feelings they’ve been fighting.
As their relationship deepens, Danni considers telling Vinnie her secret. But before she can confess the truth, Vinnie discovers she isn’t the reporter she claims to be. Her lie threatens to ruin everything between them. Will their relationship be destroyed by her deception or will their love win out?
Order your copy here:
All Other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/3RB96j
Read reviews here: https://www.kelliwilkins.com/a-deceptive-match
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20 romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 3 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.
She released Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing in early 2021. This fun and innovative guide to journaling is filled with hundreds of thought-provoking prompts designed to get you writing about your feelings and emotions.
In 2020 Kelli published Love, Lies & Redemption, a western romance set in 1877 Nebraska. This novel blends a sensual love story with mystery and danger.
Visit her website/blog www.KelliWilkins.com for a full title list and to find all her social media links.