Ready to Get BIGGER THAN BECKHAM? A look at sports-themed romances (with giveway)

Today’s guest author is the fabulously talented Vanessa Kelly. Vanessa is a woman of many writing talents–she excels at her historical tales, and the woman is definitely gifted when it comes to contemporary romances.  Welcome back to Magical, Vanessa!


Hi Cynthia!  It’s great to be back here at Magical Musings pimping, er, talking about the contemporary romances I write with hubby as VK Sykes.  For those of you who are familiar with our work, you’ll know that most of the books are sports romances.  Our first book, CaddyGirls, is about a female professional golfer.  The subsequent three books revolve around a fictional baseball team called The Philadelphia Patriots.  I guess it’s not a surprise that a writing duo that includes a sports-mad husband would produce sports romances.

But here’s the interesting thing—authors have been told for years that sports romances are “box office poison.”  That unless you’re Susan Elizabeth Phillips, nobody wants to read about hot athlete heroes or immerse themselves in the uber-masculine world of dressing rooms, playing fields, Nascar racetracks, or competitive alpha males.  According to the powers that be, nobody wants to read those types of romances.

Good thing that hubby and I never listened to that advice, because our experience with sports romances has been just the opposite.  Readers love them, as I’m sure authors like Jaci Burton, Rachel Gibson, and Belle Andre will tell you.

I actually believe there’s a subtle form of sexism in the assumption that women don’t like sports romances, i.e., that sport is primarily a male domain, and that women just don’t like all that macho, nasty stuff.  Women, in fact, are avid watchers of most professional sports in North America, especially football and baseball.  That being the case, why wouldn’t they be interested in sexy athletes as heroes?

In our latest romance, Bigger Than Beckham, we decided to go past the traditional American sports scene into the soccer world.  I think we can all agree that a lot of soccer players are very sexy, cool guys, and would make pretty appealing heroes.  Anybody who has seen David Beckham in one of those underwear ads knows exactly what I’m talking about.  I really like our heroine for this book, too.  She’s a sports reporter who inherited a failing soccer team, and is doing her best to pull it up from the rock-bottom rung it’s plummeted to.  She and the hero have very different ideas on how to achieve that, which fuels the plot.

But no matter the setting or plot, our books are first and foremost about romance—the relationship between the hero and heroine and all the challenges and rewards that entails.  Still, we love the sports background and we think it adds a lot of drama and color to our story world.

And readers, thank goodness, seem to agree!

What about you?  Do you think the powers-that-be are off track?  Do you like sports romances, or do they make you break out in hives?  One person who comments will win a copy of Bigger Than Beckham, plus the first book in our series, Fastball.

Vanessa Kelly writes award-winning contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of VK Sykes.  She also writes award-winning historical romance under her own name, and was named by Booklist as “one of the new stars of historical romance.”  You can find her on the web at or

Bigger Than Beckham

Sports journalist Martha Winston loves her career, but her life goes sideways when she inherits a pro soccer team from her father.  The team is almost bankrupt and on the skids, but Martha has vowed to save her beloved father’s legacy.  But she needs to get a financial infusion fast, or else lose the team to the wolves baying at her door.

Former British soccer hero Tony Branch wants to add Martha’s team to his growing sports empire.  But he wants it strictly on his terms—full control, not a partnership.   When Martha turns him down flat, he’s determined to change her mind by any means necessary.  If that includes using the sexual heat flaring between them, Tony is more than willing to play a game of seduction.




Vanessa’s Blog

Rock*It Reads


About Cynthia Eden

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Cynthia is also a two-time finalist for the RITA® award (she was a finalist both in the romantic suspense category and in the paranormal romance category). Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over thirty-five novels and novellas. More information about Cynthia can be found at
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28 Responses to Ready to Get BIGGER THAN BECKHAM? A look at sports-themed romances (with giveway)

  1. I love sport related romances – Just finished reading Playing to Win By Jaci Burton
    Heather Coulter`s last blog was …Fall In Love Giveaway Hop

  2. Cynthia Eden says:

    I love sports themed romances, Vanessa! So I sure am thrilled that you are writing them.

  3. Sharon Hauser says:

    How could any woman NOT like seeing men in tight uniforms or shorts? I am a sports fan, but not exactly for that reason! 😆 To be able to read a romance book based on sports is a win-win for me! Thank you, Vanessa!

  4. Misty Evans says:

    Vanessa, we’re big baseball lovers at my house and I’m going to try a baseball romance now that I’ve read your post. I’m going to get Fastball for sure. Sounds like a story I would enjoy.

    The only other sports romances I’ve read are by SEP and I can’t get enough of those. 🙂

    So what advantages are there to writing with your husband?

    Congrats on the new book and best wishes!

    • Misty, one of the big advantages is that he writes the first drafts of the books. I can’t tell you how wonderful that is! Plus, it gives him something to do. I shudder to think what would happen if he didn’t have something to focus his time and energy.
      Vanessa Kelly`s last blog was …The Next Big Thing!

  5. Amy R says:

    Hi Vanessa – I haven’t read any of your books yet, but plan to check them out. I have read some of Bella Andre’s sports books and liked them. My husband is a big sports fan, especially baseball and football, however, there is always a sporting event on in our house no matter the season (baskeball, hockey, even some soccer). These sound fun! Very cool that you get to write with your husband. How do you split up the writing of a book? Do you work on all of it together or do you do the heroine side and he does the hero side?

  6. Vivi Cendana says:

    i love sport romances , i love all thing bout romance.. and i think this book will be awesome .. thanks for a great preview ^_^

  7. May says:

    I love sports romance! I think they are fun!

  8. CateS says:

    I love sports themed romances… provided there’s actual knowledge about the sports behind the plot.. But that’s a given with any good writing..background knowledge about the topic.

  9. Nar says:

    I love sports romances. I’m not a sports fan but I love sports romances. 🙂

  10. Michele says:

    I enjoy reading sports themed books. Have enjoyed reading Bella Andre’s sports themed books. Enjoy that the hero is usually extremely alpha and very protective of “his women”

    Great post Vanessa 🙂

  11. Yazmin Rangel says:

    It’s funny, I love to read sports romance books, but I don’t like to watch sports as much. lol. Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  12. Oh, Vanessa, these sports heroes on your covers look so hot!! 🙂
    I like sports-themed romances quite a bit — really loved Susan E. Phillips’s Chicago Stars series and will look forward to reading more of yours!

  13. Edie Ramer says:

    I love the idea of your sports-themed books. Rachel Gibson has written her hockey-themed books. I think I’ve read all of them. So has Deidre Martin. Of course, Susan Elizabeth Phillips wrote football-themed romances. I think I’ve read all of hers, too.

    I’m definitely going to try yours!

  14. Liz Kreger says:

    Hi Vanessa. Thanx for joining us here at MM. Can’t say I’m a contemporary romance fan … but I personally think there will always be a space for the unusual story … whether its a sports themed book or set during the 50s … which I understand is also poison when it comes to romances. The writing has to be good. That’s what it takes … in my opinion.

  15. donnas says:

    I havent read a lot of sports themed romances yet. But what I have read I have enjoyed. I dont think there is anything wrong with it. A good story with great characters is what is important I think.
    donnas`s last blog was …Guest Post – Shelly Holt – Tasting Fire

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