You never know where the love of your life might turn up.
When Matt Connelly suggests to his best buddy Cody Mook that they head to downtown Seattle to audition for the gay reality TV show Husband Hunters, both agree the experience might be a lark and a chance to grab their fifteen minutes of fame. What they don’t know is that the show, modeled after HGTV’s House Hunters, will open doors of longing neither expected. For Matt, the secret love he has long harbored for Cody might be thrust into the spotlight. Cody might realize his search for his perfect-forever-man extends no farther than the man who’s always been at his side.
Husband Hunters promises laughter, tears, and, just maybe, a happy ever after. Will Cody and Matt’s story be one of best-friends-to-lovers—or an outright disaster?
Cody couldn’t believe the man sitting across the small bar-height table from him was actually his date. Sure, Cody was a good-looking guy, but this guy, man, this guy was so out of his league that Cody didn’t even feel a twinge of shame in thinking it. This god belonged with some pro athlete or a model or movie star. He was that hot.
And that familiar.
When Cody was introduced to Diesel Hunter, he remembered him right away from the auditions. Diesel was probably the man he had admired the most that day that now seemed so long ago. He was the one who looked like the actor Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy. Cody, almost breathless from Diesel’s good looks, thought the actor was more of a pale imitation of this guy than the other way around. Jesse Williams, one might say, was actually a poor man’s Diesel Hunter.
Even his name was sexy! It sounded like a porn star.
Cody could not believe his good fortune as he hopped up on the chair opposite Diesel. “Hi,” he said shyly.
Diesel was warm, though, reaching across the table to grab his hand, squeeze it, and hold it tightly for longer than the usual handshake. While they shook hands, Cody peered into Diesel’s eyes. They were so pale, standing out in contrast to his caramel-colored skin. They looked even more remarkable since Diesel had shaved his head since Cody had last seen him. The lack of hair made his eyes somehow stand out even more, which Cody wouldn’t have believed possible. What color were those eyes? Gray? Blue? They fell somewhere in between. They were like icy water. They were cold and mesmerizing all at once.
“Excuse me for staring.” Cody pulled his hand away reluctantly, forgetting the cameras all around, the boom microphone over his head, the extra lighting the crew had brought in. “But your eyes.”
Diesel smiled. “I know. They’re weird. Spooky.”
“Not at all! They’re gorgeous.”
Cody could see a blush rise to Diesel’s cheeks even under his dark complexion. He’s modest too? Should I just propose now? Cody grinned.
Diesel waved his hand to brush the compliment away. “Some people think they’re too intense.”
Diesel cast his gaze around the room, and Cody realized the guy was nervous. Of course he was. Cody was fawning over him like a little schoolgirl over a puppy. But he wanted to fuck this puppy, so bad. For the first time since he was maybe thirteen, he had a champion boner that he doubted would go down anytime soon. He shook his head and laughed out loud.
“What?” Diesel asked.
“Just a funny thought.”
“Not gonna share?” Diesel stuck out a pouting lower lip fetchingly.
“Not right now.” A change of subject was definitely in order. With a trembling hand, Cody snatched up the menu before him. “What looks good?” He began furiously scanning the type, which suddenly seemed to be hieroglyphics. He hoped his shaking hand was not visible in the camera’s lens.
“Cut! Cut! Cut!” Martha’s gravelly voice sounded from behind the lights. She appeared suddenly at Cody’s side, smelling of Chanel N° 5 and, already, vodka. “What’s wrong with you?”
“What?” Cody asked.
“You’re acting like a nutcase. All jittery.” She looked off to her left. “Someone get this boy a drink. Bring him one of those Moscow Mules. The copper mug will look good on camera.”
Immediately, a frosted copper mug was set before him by the waiter. He was an adorable boy, something of a twink, with a shock of black hair that fell over one eye, Cupid’s bow lips, and a tall, lanky frame. Cody wondered if he was hired for the shoot for set decoration or if he actually worked at the restaurant.
“What’s in it?” he asked the waiter, looking up into his dark eyes. He noticed the boy wore a little mascara.
“Vodka, lime, and ginger beer.”
Cody took a sip. It was delicious, making him think of diving into a cool lake on a hot summer’s day.
“Drink up,” Martha commanded. “Bring him another.”
“But—” Cody said.
“Down it,” Martha said.
And Cody did.
The waiter brought him another one. Cody looked up at Martha. “Can I go slower on this one?”
“Sure.” She walked away, muttering what sounded like, “Lightweight.”
Cody, relaxed a bit by the vodka coursing through him—it was, after all, early morning, and he was, after all, a lightweight—turned back to Diesel, who wore a smirk on his perfectly chiseled face.
“Oh come on!” Cody cried. “You can’t blame me for being nervous. Aren’t you scared?”
Martha called from the sidelines, “Guys, let’s not talk about the show, okay? You’re on a date. People generally don’t discuss stage fright on a date.”
Cody thought this was going to be harder than than he’d anticpated. This would be the first time he had ever been on a date with a camera crew recording his every move.
He drew in a deep breath and tried to center himself. He smiled. Diesel smiled back. “So, Diesel, what’s your story?”
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Amazon Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Husband-Hunters-Rick-R-Reed/dp/1632162342/
About the Author
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”