Behind the Scenes: Trust with Hearts (A Contemporary Summer Romance)

By Kelli A. Wilkins

This “Behind the Scenes” blog is part of a series examining my romance novels. In each blog, I’ll 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. Warning: Blogs may contain spoilers.

Hi everyone,

Here’s a look at another of my summer romances….

Trust with Hearts is an example of how a story idea can come to an author anytime, anywhere. One night I was waiting for a concert to start and a premise for a romance popped into my head: A woman falls in love with her cousin’s best friend, but doesn’t realize he’s a famous country singer. I knew I had to write it down, but the only paper I had was the envelope the concert tickets came in. (Yes, this was years ago!) I scribbled a brief outline and a character list before the concert started. And that’s how Trust with Hearts was born—but not right away.

I was in the middle of revising another romance at the time, so I took a few hours and wrote a detailed outline, snippets of dialogue, and character information about Trust with Hearts, then set it aside. About a year later, I pulled out my notes and started writing. The idea was still fresh in my head, and the book practically wrote itself. (I always advise writers to take down ideas as they appear—otherwise they might fade into oblivion.)

Trust with Hearts was an interesting book to write. The heroine, Sherrie, has left a bad relationship, and on the spur of the moment, goes to West Virginia and moves in with her cousin Dave. Unknown to her, Dave already has a houseguest—his friend Curtis. Curtis is a country boy and Sherrie is all city.

I enjoyed playing off their differences and had fun inventing vexing situations for them to get on each other’s nerves. And boy, do they! Right on page 1, Curtis and Sherrie start an on/off love/hate relationship—and soon realize there’s more to their teasing and feuding. Before long, they discover they have a lot in common, and begin a steamy summer romance.

Some of my favorite scenes are when Curtis climbs a tree to rescue a kitten, when Curtis and Sherrie realize they like each other, and the big bombshell scene when Sherrie learns Curtis’s secret. I also liked writing the scenes where Dave plays matchmaker and counselor to each of them. In his own way, he brought this unlikely couple together.

But you can’t have a good romance without drama, and the book is filled with it. Sherrie confronts her abusive ex-boyfriend, reexamines her life, and finds her purpose. Curtis is healing his wounded heart, dealing with a major family crisis, and going out of his way to keep a huge secret from Sherrie. Throughout the book Cutis and Sherrie face their pasts, work on their personal issues, and learn to love and trust again.

Trust with Hearts is not just a romance, it’s also a summer romance, so when I was writing the book I made sure to include specific details to bring out the “summer romance” theme: hot, sticky, sweaty days and nights, cool iced tea, gardening, and even heat stroke. The details pull the reader into the story and into Curtis and Sherrie’s world. And since Curtis is an expert in country music, I worked those details into the plot and even had Curtis give Sherrie a very erotic guitar lesson!

When I was writing Trust with Hearts, I fell in love with the characters and considered writing a sequel. (A few readers were interested in a sequel too!) The basic plot would have been Dave falling in love with Curtis’s girl cousin (we briefly meet her in the book). But I’ve since abandoned the project. If enough readers want a sequel, I might be persuaded to write a novella-length version of my book idea. (Readers: Let me know your thoughts about this on social media!)

Here are a few kind words from reviewers:

“4.5 stars! Beautifully written. You struggle with Sherrie as she tries to regain her footing, and Curtis’s charm is intoxicating as it flows off the pages. I am always thrilled when I get the chance to discover a new-to-me author who I can’t wait to read more from.” – Emily, Reviewer, Single Titles Reviews

“4 stars! A must read. You will laugh, cry, and in the end, you will totally fall in love with the story. It is character rich, and full of drama along with some sizzling scenes to spice it up. This book will remain on my favorites shelf for a long while, and it is a definitely recommended read from this reviewer.” – Rose, Romance At Heart

“There are family and friends, sorrow, loss, sadness, fear, anger, hurt, angst, tears, laughter, happiness, lots of loving and ultimately love. There is a nice flow to the story and I loved Curtis’ memories of growing up with his grandmother and what an important role she played in his life. Kelli Wilkins is a new to me author and I look forward to reading more of her books in the contemporary and historical romance genres.” – Romancing the Book

Trust with Hearts is a summer romance with interesting characters, an unusual storyline, and plenty of sizzling love scenes. It will make you laugh, cry, and root for love. I hope you’ll add it to your summer reading list. Here’s the summary and links:


After a bitter breakup, Sherrie Parker seeks refuge at her cousin Dave’s house in rural West Virginia. Early one morning, she runs into Dave’s other houseguest, a singer named Curtis Taylor. The last thing Sherrie wants is to share living quarters with a country music crooner – even if he is sexy, in a cowboy sort of way.

Thrown together by circumstances, Sherrie and Curtis get off to a rocky start, but soon discover they have more in common than they ever imagined. Unable to fight their growing attraction, they give in to their desires and start a sizzling summer romance.

Everything is perfect between them until Sherrie discovers that Curtis is keeping secrets from her – and his biggest secret of all will change everything. Can their newfound love survive, or will destiny keep them apart forever?

Order Trust with Hearts here:


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I created a Facebook page for my contemporary romances. Visit it here:

I hope you enjoyed this “Behind the Scenes” look at the making of this hot summer romance. I welcome questions and comments from readers and other authors. Contact me via the form on my site or on social media. You can read more “Behind the Scenes” blogs here:

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins


Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 20+ romance novels, 7 non-fiction books, and 5 horror ebooks. Her romances span many genres and settings, and she likes to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her latest novel, In Another World, was released in early 2022. This contemporary mystery/romance is set in the world of the paranormal.

She also released two horror shorts, More Than I Bargained For and Silent Sentinel in 2021.

In 2021, Kelli published Journaling Every Week: 52 Topics to Get You Writing. 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.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: and Twitter:

Visit her website/blog for a full title list and to find all her social media links.

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