Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Book Review: A Secret Match by Kelli A. Wilkins


A Secret Match
by Kelli A. Wilkins
Amber Allure
M/M Contemporary/Sports/Wrestling
Established Romance
Heat Level: 3
4 Stars
Review Copy from author

Blurb:

Everett Kinkade is a world-famous professional wrestler and a sexy heartthrob for 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, however, is the last thing Ev wants and fears it will ruin his career.

But 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 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?

Review:

I have to admit that I know very little about wrestling, I'd never really watched it on television or anything like that, but did occasionally glimpse it while channel surfing. It was my husband who told me that a lot of it was staged and I was very surprised at that, I'd had no idea.

In this book, Everett has been wrestling for a while and is the pin-up of millions of female fans worldwide, something his boss, Nick (or Nick the Prick as the wrestlers call him) is very keen to cash in on. Nick is the one who decides who gets into the ring, who gets a chance at the championship belts and sometimes who wins them as well.

But Everett has a big secret that he fears getting out: he's gay and has been with Josh for almost two years by the time the book starts. On his way to a bit match, Josh gives him an ultimatum: tell the world about them or they are finished.

Josh is fed up of being Everett's dirty little secret; there aren't even photos of them together in their apartment, in case someone sees them and deduces they are a couple.

I really felt for both Everett's and Josh's predicament here, I could well understand both their points of view. The world of wrestling seems very macho and Everett thinks if he comes out as gay, his career may be over in one fell swoop. But is his career worth losing Josh over? The tension between their two differing views felt very real and both were in emotional turmoil for a lot of the book.

Everett does a lot of travel for his wrestling job, and Josh is left alone for weeks at a time, time enough to think, is this really what he wants? A man who won't even admit he exists, never mind tell people they're together?

There were a lot of wrestling terms and jargon that I didn't understand, but I was still able to keep up with the story. When Nick decides on a storyline where Everett is supposed to steal his best friend's wife, Danni, as part of his next round of matches, Everett has had enough and announces on live television that he's gay. But Josh never watches the wrestling, and he doesn't know it until a lot later in the book. Sometimes I felt that the two of them needed to be locked in a room together and talk things through before they were let out again!

Well written, with interesting characters, it was a fun, romantic story with a bit of angst along the way, but not too much. It is a romance after all, not a tragedy.

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