Review: A Secret Match by Kelli A. Wilkins

A Secret MatchRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel


Everett loves his life as a famous entertainment wrestler. He even puts up with being a heartthrob for adoring female fans because he can’t speak the truth that he is gay.

Everett and Josh have been together for two years and Josh has reached his breaking point. Tired of hiding in Everett’s closet and evading questions from his friends about his boyfriend, Josh wants Everett to acknowledge the truth about himself and their relationship. Coming out is not at all in Everett’s plans, however, as his career comes first.

While put in an uncomfortable scenario on live TV, Everett outs himself. His announcement leads to having to deal with targeted issues of violence, professional problems, and repairing his relationship with Josh all while facing a tag time at his next wrestling event that is set to put him out of commission.

The world of entertainment wrestling. Not a place most of us get to hang out behind the scenes and the setting was interesting and unique. There is a lot of sports action, wrestling matches, and jargon used to round out the experience.

We meet Everett and Josh when they have already been together for two years and Josh has had it. At first, he understands Everett’s need to keep his sexuality hidden for his career, but Josh now wants to move forward with a life with Everett. We do get to see a few scenes from their early days as a couple through flashbacks which definitely helps to build the connection between the two of them.

They don’t communicate well. Everett travels a good portion of the time and was so freaked out about being in a committed relationship with a man that he did not even tell Josh what he did for a living for six months. Josh did not even ask him in all that time what his job was and Josh is certainly keeping some big secrets of his own.

A Secret Match is in the same universe as A Perfect Match, which is an M/F novel that focused on Everett’s friend and wrestling partner. While some things were explained, I did feel like I was missing a few things dealing with the injury of Everett’s former partner and a rematch, grudge match that Everett is involved in with his current wrestling partner. Not having read the earlier story did affect my connection to some of the characters and scenarios that were playing out.

I did enjoy the premise of the story of a professional athlete dealing with coming out and Everett’s struggles are realistic. While a good portion of the writing is well done, a few of the transitions to the flashbacks and some of the wording in the intimate scenes is a bit awkward. The guys have heat together, but some of the wording would stop the flow of the scene at times.

Some of the story line is a bit harder to connect to. Josh admits that he does not like wrestling, but is so completely disinterested in a huge part of Everett’s life. For his part, Everett is only interested in the times the guys get to spend alone and does not take much of an interest in Josh’s life either. For the sports aspect, the world of entertainment wrestling is a world unto itself. The wrestlers put up with being lied to and in many cases being seriously injured without any recourse for the other wrestlers or the manager that sets up the matches. I get that injury is part of the matches, but the guys are being targeted without being able to fully protect themselves and the ending does not offer much closure on that aspect of the story.

A Secret Match would be a nice choice for a look into the world of entertainment wrestling with an athlete struggling to come to terms with his identity and trying to have a relationship with another man in the midst of it all.

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