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?
There was a sign in the lobby of the Westin, directing aspiring Husband Hunters TV hopefuls upstairs to the Elliott Bay ballroom, where auditions were being held.
Cody clutched his friend's arm. "This is real." Cody's heart beat a little faster. "Let's just go get a Bloody Mary up on the Hill instead. Come on, we'll make fools of ourselves if we stay here." Cody tugged Matt toward the revolving doors through which they had just arrived.
Matt jerked his arm away. "Mattie is with you. Don't be scared." And he walked away from Cody, toward the escalator. This left Cody a choice -- to dash out the door and leave his friend behind or to follow. He chose the latter, in spite of the powerful beat of a whole army of butterflies that had spontaneously taken flight in his gut.
The ballroom was a hive of activity. Cody was surprised to see there were men of all different sizes, shapes, and colors milling about the room, each of them holding a piece of paper similar to what runners wear at a race. Each piece of paper bore a large red number.
Cody was stunned that there were older men (some looking septuagenarian), heavyset guys, even men in wheelchairs. He mentally chastised himself, wondering why, if he had imagined this scene at all, he had visualized a room full of gorgeous, young, muscular hunks -- like a casting call for underwear models. Wishful thinking, maybe? Still, he felt a burn of shame for being surprised at the variety of men present. No matter what we look like or what life saddles us with, we all want to be loved, right? That guy in the wheelchair over there who bore an uneasy resemblance to scientific genius Stephen Hawking? He probably had the same hopes and dreams Cody did when it came to finding someone special. And, as he knew from his own experience, there were people out there for everyone here, regardless of how he perceived their attractiveness.
That wasn't to say, though, that there were not a lot of very attractive guys here, by anyone's standards. There were. And these came in every conceivable hair color, height, age, and ethnicity.
The prospect of all these gorgeous men was daunting. Cody clutched Matt's arm. "Do you see how many of these guys here are model-worthy? We don't stand a chance!" Cody whispered desperately.
Matt snatched his arm back. "Number one, don't get a big head, but you are just as hunky as any guy here -- and I'm not just saying that because you're my pal. Number two, you haven't watched the show. It's not a runway. It's not about the best-looking guy hooking up with some mirror image. Sure, there are lots of good-looking guys on the show, probably more than occur percentagewise in real life, but that's just TV. But there are also lots of regular guys, like me. We need love too. And husbands! And the show reflects that. And three, and most important, I will tell you once again, false modesty is never cute. If I had half your good looks, I'd be contented."
Matt stared at him, and Cody felt uncomfortable because the frank admiration in his friend's eyes let Cody know he was being truthful. And that did not make him feel good; it made him kind of sad.
Matt had a lot to offer. In his own way, he was very sexy and had the advantage of probably getting more so as he aged, rather than the opposite, which was the case with most people.
"Let's just get in line," Matt said out of the corner of his mouth as a tall African American guy stepped in front of them to check in at the table set up at the ballroom's entrance. He looked a bit like Jesse Williams of Grey's Anatomy. He had the same warm skin tones and amazing eyes.