The Layover is my first-born novella. Therefore, like a typical new parent, I’m anxious, sleep-deprived, uncontrollably happy—and ready to give my baby anything. My brilliant beta-reader, Malin got me thinking when she said she’d like more of Jamie. As a result, the whole blog tour is a short prequel to The Layover—from Jamie’s point of view—in seven parts.
The Swiss Experiment (The Layover prequel) continues below, #5.
Release day 19 July, Dreamspinner Press
Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful. Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either.
About Roe Horvat
Queer author, storyteller & graphic designer Roe was born in former Czechoslovakia and endured a miserable adolescence in the post-communist wasteland. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, they left for Germany and later, Spain. Finally, they settled in Sweden, where the weather is nasty but the freedom great. Roe works as a motion graphics artist, loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and everything in between, preferably by the fireplace with a strawberry daiquiri in hand. Roe writes contemporary romantic fiction – it conveniently balances out their real-life pragmatism. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.
Get in touch with the Roe:
The Swiss Experiment
Prequel to The Layover
(for #1-4 visit author’s website)
Jamie felt warmth rise up his neck and spread on his cheeks just as his hands and feet grew ice-cold. He felt pinned like a bug on display. The green eyes were serious, intense, unsmiling. Almost threatening. The thick eyebrows above them knotted in an irregular frown. The man was probably around thirty and tall—much taller than Jamie. His hair was buzzed short, his shoulders were wide and square, his long arms wiry in the slim-cut white dress shirt he wore. He seemed thinly dressed for the Swiss winter—probably traveling from somewhere South of here. He was tanned but not overly so and had a pronounced nose with a crooked bump, strong cheekbones, and jaw, broad mouth with deep brackets around it even though he wasn’t smiling at all. He was scowling at Jamie, unflinching.
Jamie could hear his blood pumping in his ears. Unable to react in any way, he stood and waited for something to save him from the unbearably intense scrutiny.
Suddenly, the tall man turned around and resumed talking to the uniformed woman by the service desk. Jamie let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding. The cigarette was definitely in order now.
Shaken, Jamie huddled in his parka. It wasn’t freezing outside, but almost. He exhaled the blueish smoke and stared at the night lights. What was that back there? Had he offended the guy somehow? Had he unknowingly stepped on the man’s toe in passing?
He sucked in another drag of his cigarette and let it out through his nose. He was smoking so rarely these days, the white roll of paper felt unfamiliar between his fingers. He observed it critically. Why didn’t he just quit? It wasn’t like he needed to smoke. He didn’t even like it anymore, to be honest. The only thing he enjoyed about it was the excuse to go away for a while. An opportunity to be apart and unsociable. He even secretly enjoyed the way people gave him a wide berth in public spaces when he smoked.
The sound of luggage wheels and approaching footsteps had him lowering his eyes. He expected the stranger to pass him quickly and head for the waiting taxis. He closed his eyes in annoyance and took another drag. He wanted to be left alone on his last day of this unfortunate trip.
“Did you manage to book a flight?”
Jamie’s eyes snapped open at the depth of the voice. He turned and saw the strange man from the terminal standing in front of him, his dark-grey winter coat unbuttoned over his pristine white shirt. Why his teeth didn’t chatter, Jamie couldn’t comprehend.
He wasn’t scowling anymore. If anything, he looked kind and mildly curious. His distinct, unusual features were relaxed, the traces of tiredness around his eyes faint. A word came to Jamie and ricocheted around in his head. Clean. Clean-cut, clean-shaven, his clothes were simple but a perfect fit, his shoes polished. But there was something in his eyes and the lines around his mouth. Clean. Clear. Level. Honesty? Impossible to know yet. What was the question?
“Yeah,” Jamie mumbled, unable to come with any other response without dragging out the time into weirdness.
“Where are you headed?”
Jamie huffed out a breath, suddenly nervous. Why the questions? Why the attention? Was he seriously being hit on? He’d endured almost a week of lectures, mingles, meetings and discussion panels. Not to mention his pathetic attempt to go out last night. He’d been on the road and rail-road for half a day today and got his flight canceled two hours before he was supposed to go home. Sleep-deprivation killed his ability to do small talk.
“Edinburgh,” he muttered, consciously trying to sound harsh. He didn’t want to find the man captivating. Let him go away.
To continue reading, follow: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98
The Swiss Experiment #6 coming July 22.