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The Layover by Roe Horvat

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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 continues below, #3.




The Layover

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.



Dreamspinner Press:





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 and #2 visit

Jamie closed his mouth and opened it again staring at the man in front of him. No words came out. But then, there was no need to speak. No talk, the guy had said. Even if they could hear each other without puncturing their eardrums, they wouldn’t understand each other. Jamie’s knowledge of German was barely on a beginner’s level. And these people spoke Swiss German which was a nightmare. The man’s lips twitched at Jamie’s obvious discomfort, and he leaned in once more.

“I like you! Dance?” he shouted, and Jamie winced at the volume.

Oh hell. Whatever. Step four of the Experiment on his mind, Jamie downed the rest of his rum and coke, coughing discreetly at the freezing temperature of the drink. He put the glass on the bar counter and followed Bearded Swiss Guy to the dancefloor.

At the edge of the small space distinguished by light fixtures in the flooring, Bearded Swiss Guy turned and reached for Jamie’s waist immediately. Before Jamie could even catch the rhythm, a large palm landed on his ass and kneaded. Jamie’s spine grew stiff, his muscles locked.

He couldn’t do it.

Jamie felt vaguely ashamed for his hasty exit. The cold seeped under his parka, the tiredness settled in his bones, and the disappointment curled his lips into a sneer. The Experiment had failed.

He knew how to appear like he was having a good time. On a rational level, he was fully capable of letting loose. He knew how other people enjoyed being young and single. He could mimic them perfectly in actions and reactions. Except he felt nothing that could come close to genuine enjoyment.

He could dress up, go out, have a drink, meet people, talk to them, laugh at their jokes and make some of his own. He could do the dating app thing. He could touch and be touched. But it was all…alien. Forced.

It wasn’t that he never felt sad or lonely. He did, quite often. But what was the point in not being alone physically when in his head, he was still the last man on Earth?

Thanks to his exhaustion, he couldn’t overthink the failure of the Experiment. As soon as he arrived in his hotel room, he rushed through his evening routine. Finally in bed, he fell into blissful oblivion within minutes.

The next day, though, on the afternoon train to Basel, Jamie had all the time in the world to analyze his situation in mood-killing detail. David moved out almost a year ago. It took Jamie maybe a week to get over him. Cold? Maybe. Smart? Definitely. No reason to dwell on something that had felt empty and meaningless long before David’s inept request to open up their relationship.

It was Ginny’s idea. A week ago, she’d tossed the purple hat and the small tote with condoms, lube and (seriously?!) a turquoise butt plug on Jamie’s kitchen table. She ordered him to try, go out and possibly, get laid. “This way, you won’t bump into someone you know. It’s perfect!” she’d said. Well, it had been very imperfect. With the first brush of the guy’s beard on Jamie’s neck, he’d been stepping back, palms in the air in an apologetic gesture, and he’d been out of the club within seconds.


To continue reading, follow:

The Swiss Experiment #4 coming July 20.


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