The Layover by Roe Horvat
Cover Artist: Roe Horvat
Released July 19, 2017
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be a part of Roe Horvat’s new release tour for her story, The Layover. She’s brought the last part of the prequel, The Swiss Experiment for our readers. To get caught up, click on the link provided and then it’s onto The Layover!
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 #1-5 visit https://www.roehorvat.com)
The stranger didn’t go away—quite the opposite. He just stood there and calmly observed as Jamie flailed and floundered. Jamie held onto his cigarette and stared at the orange tip glowing in the night as if it could suddenly equip him with magical conversational skills or even better, teleport him miles away in a flash.
“Then back to the US?” the guy asked continuing his inquiry about Jamie’s final destination, confident and undeterred.
“No, I live in Scotland,” Jamie elaborated, grimaced, and sighed. The stranger’s interest had Jamie knotting up inside. His stomach clenched, and he felt a shadow of a headache pass behind his eyes. He needed to get to the hotel and lie down. Don’t look at him. “I’m sorry, man. I’m not in the mood,” Jamie lied, trying to appear uninterested.
He was very interested. It frustrated and scared him. He pressed the cigarette in the ashtray with more force than necessary and braved one more, quick glance at the man. And felt immediately naked. The sight of those unusual, almost exotic features, the intense focus of those slanted, green eyes…it accelerated his heartbeat and not in a pleasant way. Abort. Disengage.
Several seconds went by. Jamie could feel the man’s gaze on his profile. Like lightning from a clear sky, an idea appeared, unexpected but very real. With absolute clarity, Jamie knew he could hook up with the guy tonight. The fantasy was so vivid, Jamie shuffled from foot to foot, needing to expel the sudden excess of energy. He could do it. A part of him wanted to. A tiny, muddled, beaten-up part of him grabbed at the thought like a starving man at the last half-eaten muffin on the tray. Just as the rest of him cringed at the audacity of having sex with a total stranger he’d just met at the airport. He was so not that kind of person.
“Sorry, I’m really tired.” That was true. Please, go away.
“I’m disturbing you.” The man nodded once as if agreeing with himself. His foreign accent was unfamiliar. Jamie couldn’t place it. It was something European, but not Mediterranean, nor Eastern Europe, nothing Germanic either. His r was distinct. Maybe Finnish? Or something Baltic?
“I should be apologizing, and you should continue scowling,” the stranger continued, a smile in his voice.
That was… What? Jamie laughed briefly, surprising himself with the sound. The tall, wiry stranger was clever. From the corner of his eye, Jamie noticed a tanned hand with clean, neatly cut nails, elegant fingers and protruding veins. No jewelry. Just practicality, capability and masculine strength. There was character in those hands.
Focus! Cab. Hotel. Bed. Home tomorrow.
“I should get a cab,” Jamie mumbled. Go, just go. Don’t think about it.
He nodded to himself and tugged on his luggage with force. It rolled forward, straining the muscles in his arm and shoulder. Jamie almost stumbled on the curb but kept going. He couldn’t look at the man’s face anymore. “It was nice meeting you,” he blurted, reaching for anything normal to say. There was no answer.
The taxi driver greeted him half-heartedly, reluctantly helping with Jamie’s bags. All the time, Jamie could feel the green-eyed stranger watching him.
Unable to stop himself, he looked back once more. The tall figure in the white shirt and dark grey coat stood directly under a bright white light. In the misty drizzle, with the water-stained glass walls of the terminal behind him, looming and watching… he looked like a noir villain. Jamie banged the car door shut.
To continue reading, follow: https://www.facebook.com/roe.horvat.98
The Swiss Experiment #7 concludes July 25.
*The blog tour is a short prequel to The Layover, in 7 parts, titled The Swiss Experiment. This guest post is part 6 of the prequel.