The first time Alexa Martin saw Taylor Swift in that VIP box at Arrowhead Stadium to cheer on Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs back in September 2023, it felt like she’d written the romance into existence.
In her 2019 novel Fumbled, Martin predicted Kelce as the NFL’s romantic lead. The male love interest in that book, the second in her series of football-themed romance novels, is TK Moore, an enormously tall, green-eyed offensive player equally known for his easygoing nature, on-field dominance, and sharp fashion sense. Sound familiar? It should, and Martin has the Pinterest mood board she used while writing to prove it.
“People were like, ‘Who is this guy?’ I was just like, just google him in a suit,” Martin told Vanity Fair of her initial instinct that Kelce could be the NFL equivalent of a Disney prince. “That guy’s got style on him. I found pictures of him going to the games. And I was like, oh, yeah, that’s a hero. That is a romance hero. And so I just kind of used him as the inspiration behind my second book, Fumbled.”
See, Martin lived a sports romance before she started writing them: She and her husband, Derrick Martin, were high school sweethearts before getting married at 20 years old. Shortly after, in 2006, he was the sixth-round draft pick for the Baltimore Ravens, the beginning of an eight-season career as an NFL safety that saw him win two Super Bowls back to back (in 2011 with the Green Bay Packers and 2012 with the New York Giants) before retiring. In addition to those two Super Bowl rings, the Martins share their home with their four children and seven novels written by Alexa.