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….
Two words…Roe. Horvat. Let’s say them together, “Roe. Horvat.”
Good. Do you need to write them down?
No. Okay, but remember them. They may be new to you, but they are important.
Why? Because they are connected to great things. And I am positive we will see them again. Actually, I am going to keep an eye out for them but if you see them first, please do me the favor of letting me know. Thanks!
So here’s the deal…there are only a hundred pages but it felt like so much more. Allow me to give you the low down…two men cross paths in the airport and then a second time at a nearby hotel due to canceled flights. Time is short. Pages are limited. So every word counts. I finished the final sentence with a sense of hope and a rush of feelings. I couldn’t believe so much happened so quickly, but it did. Ondro is our storyteller here and his tale struck me straight through the heart. I don’t want to share too much because I believe its best to hear it from him. I’m going to try to keep things brief and vague and reign in my urge to gush and babble and share all the goodness that blew me away.
I’ve never been to Europe before but I feel as though I’ve visited after reading Ondro’s story. Ondro has been a gypsy of the skies for nearly a decade. His position as a flight attendant gave him the freedom he desperately needed after his boyfriend broke his heart. I’m not going to say much about Peter. Because….well….Peter’s story broke my heart. But back to Ondro….he’s been flying high for quite some time but the shine has worn off and the face in the mirror is becoming blurry. He wants to make himself a home. He envisions the peace and comfort four walls and a roof will give him. He’s quit his job and is heading back to Slovakia. He has nothing waiting for him except his best friend. His country is in turmoil and his sexuality could literally be the death of him. His plan is to couch surf until he can find his footing and plant some roots because it’s his home and that’s where you settle yourself, right? But then…a stranger catches his eye. He wants him but once he’s allowed a taste, he discovers he wants to keep him and never let go. Ondro is jaded. He doesn’t believe in true love and he certainly doesn’t believe in love at first sight. But then this precious man in the obnoxious purple hat shatters every illusion he had and for the first time in Ondro’s life, he’s completely lost. This exploration suddenly becomes two-fold and Ondro begins a deeply personal self-discovery journey as well.
Sometimes a destination isn’t a place. Home isn’t defined by a string of digits marking it on the map. They say, “Home is where the heart is” and this tale rings truth to those words. A home is where all walls of expectations disappear, chains of doubt are released and you are free to be you and know that you are still loved…unconditionally. Ondro and Jamie are given a moment in time and see the gift they are given. They take a chance, go big, and go after what they believe is worth it. And what is worth it? For Ondro it’s pushing himself to be the very best he can be…for his own sake and for Jamie’s. And I couldn’t be more grateful to join them on their adventure. I loved Ondro. I loved Jamie. And I absolutely loved them together. I imagine you will love them too. Be prepared for potent scenes and you might want to have the tissues handy. It’s real, it’s raw, it’s remarkable.
An abundance of feels. I was amazed at how deeply I felt for these men I just met and that can only be a result of the stellar writing Horvat delivers. Politics are part of their story but it was never oppressive or suffocating. Bedroom time is limited not by lack of want but due to their situation. Also, if you’ve lost someone as a result of their own hands, this may hit harsh triggers for you.
New authors can be risky. Be brave. Take a chance like Ondro and Jamie and I promise you will be rewarded tremendously.