Mia Watts on Wrong Number, Right Guy
I’ve always been rather fascinated by the idea of a phone call opening the door to something unexpected. When I was a kid, I made the requisite prank calls—“Sir, is your refrigerator running? Well, go catch it!” and “Is Cinderella home. This is an out of work mouse.”—like most kids do. As you can see from my examples, I wasn’t very creative. Mostly, I panicked and threw something out there. The Cinderella call resulted in an older man playing along with me. As a kid, I was disappointed. As an adult, I think that man was pretty awesome.
When you make a call to a wrong number, intended or not, you never know what kind of conversation you’re going to have. It was that kind of mystery that sparked the idea of the first book in the Hollywood Hotties series with Totally Bound. I knew I wanted to write a story about an odd couple. I wanted a hometown boy to sweep a famous lime-lighter off his feet. For me, a wrong number was a natural choice. It was the potential for a fate-filled fantasy of what ifs (say that ten times fast).
What would it be like for a man who has learned not to trust anyone, to find his soul-mate accidentally? What if that “regular guy”, caught up in the absolutely normal, gets access to a famous personality? Would it change him? Would the jaded star find peace?
I also found that having explored this relationship, I didn’t want to stop! I wanted to break down perceptions, explore trust and betrayal in a way I hadn’t before. I wanted those sexy, elite, Hollywood men to beg for the love of a regular guy. My regular guys. Fortunately for me, I’m an author and I can make them beg in exactly the right way.
In Wrong Number, Right Guy, my rereleased novel, Dar is a hard-to-impress small-town Michigan guy. Ryan Pierce is one of Hollywood’s sexiest sons, and he’s in town on a shoot. But to anyone in the know, Ryan Pierce is as straight as they come. When Dar misdials his friend’s phone number, he’s all about the flirtatious teasing that marks their usual conversations, but there’s something different this time. The voice on the other end doesn’t sound quite right to be his friend’s. Still, whoever he is, Dar likes the direction the conversation is going. To Dar’s surprise, the guy on the other end says he’s working on the local shoot and offers him a chance for a walk-on role and a meeting with the Ryan Pierce. Now it’s Ryan who’s nervous about meeting a regular guy he might want to know better, but will opening his heart ruin his career?
EXCERPT FROM WRONG NUMBER, RIGHT GUY:
He had been with exactly one man in his life, before Ryan had been discovered. Now there was no chance of hooking up with another man. It would ruin him.
Women had never done it for him. Ryan loved men. He loved the way they looked, the way they moved, smelled, talked. He loved the way men thought. Men were sexy. But looking into the unclear future of Hollywood, Ryan couldn’t see a point where coming out would be acceptable.
Jack had buried Ryan’s one relationship with misdirection and pay-offs. Stuff like that hemmed him in completely. There was no going back now.
“Does all this gay talk make you uncomfortable?” Dar asked suddenly. “You got really quiet there for a minute.”
Ryan smiled at the way Dar had been able to read his silence over the phone. A total stranger and yet surprisingly on target. “No.”
“Are you gay?”
“No!” Ryan shot back, too quickly.
“Uh-huh. Not out yet, are ya?” Dar’s voice exuded understanding and sympathy.
Ryan didn’t answer. He would have barked a protest, but he didn’t feel like lying to this man he’d never met. His job was a series of lies he was paid for at the box office. That moment when he’d—used, he confessed to himself—Dar to get off, he felt like he owed him something. Namely, the truth. Yet he couldn’t make himself confess being gay when his career would end if Ryan’s identity was discovered.
“I gotta go,” Ryan said suddenly. Without allowing himself to think about it too long, he hung up.
He looked at the handset, feeling a moment of transparency he’d never felt before. The whole conversation had been surreal. How was it a man could go through life, working, living, eating, sleeping, seeing thousands of nameless faces of people doing the same thing? People in crowds, in streams along sidewalks, in photographs? People who saw things and had emotions that were completely real to them, yet were no more real to another person than walking or moving cardboard?
Today, life had breathed into one of those two-dimensional lives all because of a misdialed number. The invisible wall of fame had been breached and it wasn’t until that moment Ryan realized just how much he missed being normal.
What he would give to walk a day in Dar’s shoes. To be out and open with a relationship of his choosing and not one designed to attract publicity for a movie.
God, it must be nice.
Ryan reached past the phone to the notepad and pen on the table. He checked the caller ID his agent had installed on the line, and scribbled down the Unknown Caller’s number. Then carefully, making sure the block letters were clear, he wrote out Dar Phillips’ name. He was definitely someone Ryan wanted to remember, if only to hang onto that slim thread to the outside world.