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Spring Fever: A Novella by Madeline McEwen is a Binge-Worthy Book Festival Pick #mmromance #romcom #



Genre: LGBT Erotic Romantic Comedy Caper

Book Blurb:

Spurned by the love of his life, Herbert, a blubbery, middle-aged Brit, meets his very own American idol, but can he grasp the dream? After many years, Herbert Hugely still hankers after his unobtainable first crush, John Thompson, who is determined to lead a straight life. When friends hear of John's engagement to Felicity, and party to celebrate their union, they band together to expose John's hypocrisy publicly. Herbert, who is honorable, honest, and loyal, is horrified by their plan, but is he powerless to protect John? How can Herbert prevent John's come-uppance? What does Herbert have to live for and hope for without John in his life?


Herbert Hugely, overweight, undernourished, and approaching forty years-of-age, went to the Prime Time Fitness Gym in the high street with his brand new membership card tucked in the breast pocket of his polo shirt. He had driven his mother's minivan which she had lent him for the morning.

"Get it back here by noon," she had barked, a thin whippet of a woman without a sliver of fat on her five-foot frame. She had stubbed out her cigarette in the grate and threw the butt into the sitting room fireplace. "Can't be late for my shift at the Bingo Hall. Some of us have to work, you know? How else am I going to pay the rent?" Turning her back on him, she called over her shoulder, "stop at the petrol station on your way home. Take ten pounds from the kitty jar, and clean yourself up before your interview, you look like a tramp."

Parking the minivan carefully in front of the Gym's entrance, Herbert dithered, flooded with guilt from his lie to Mum. He didn't dare tell her about the gym membership and instead, when cornered, made up the excuse of a job interview. How would he explain later? She'd be bound to give him the third degree and a lecture about sloth, lack of manliness, and indolence. Could he do this? What if they made fun of him? Would everyone be thin, and young, and good-looking, everybody except him? He sat up straight in the seat and gripped the steering wheel. Maybe they would and maybe they wouldn't. All that mattered was that he meet his goal--gym every day for a whole year starting now--the first day of January.

A watery sun hung low in the grey sky just before nine in the morning when he hoped the gym would be open. He should have phoned, should have checked, should have started another day. If only he had one of those smartphones instead a lonely landline. Technology had got away from him during the last few year's of Gran's life, tucked away in private world of Alzheimer's and her pain medications towards the end. Was that only six months ago?

Patches of dark, muddy, puddles pockmarked the lot, and piles of dirtier, week-old snow lay banked against the building. A sharp wind buffeted the bare trees and blew trash over the concrete slabs. A shadow fell across his window as a black, monster truck, pulled up to the curb. A few seconds later he heard a sharp rap on the roof of his minivan.

"You got a disabled sticker mate?"

Herbert rolled down the window and felt a rush of cold, foggy air, "Sorry?"

"You will be."

Herbert shrank in his seat but the man, built like a bus with a head like a cue ball, continued his onslaught.

"You're parked in the disabled bay. People like you should have to spend a day in a wheelchair. Then see how you move your cheap, lazy, lard arse around."

Why did Cue Ball think he was cheap? Herbert took in the biceps, ballooning like bubble gum, and the stripped down body of the man glaring at him through his open window. He must be a weight-lifter or possibly a movie star with his tanned and glistening skin. How could he walk about in nothing but a skimpy pair of shorts and a singlet with the temperatures falling faster than his dwindling bank balance?

"What are you looking at, mate?"

"Me? Nothing." Maybe his delivery job kept him fit and warm.

"I know your type. Catch you checking me out again, matey," he drew up his arm and slashed his knife-hand across his neck, "and it'll be checkmate for you."

Herbert opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out.

Grabbing a trolly, Cue Ball moved away, pushing six, stacking cartons of mineral water in glass bottles. He strode through the double doors. They swung open automatically for him, juddering and straining to remain in position, as if they knew he was in command. Cue ball propelled the trolly forward with a single bearclaw hand on the push-bar, and disappeared into the gym.

Herbert's sucked in his gut and wondered if that was what people meant about girding their loins? Where was his loin? Did he have one or should he have two? His throat felt dry. He didn't drink soda but he longed for a milky cup of weak tea with two sugars. He swallowed and felt his Adam's apple bob gently beneath his soft jowls and unshaven chin. Maybe he might buy one of those bottles from the vending machine after his work-out if he survived that long.

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What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeywell is a must-read for the fun and poignant pain.

What makes this a binge-worthy book?

Impressive as a first novel, this book delivers page-turning hilarity.


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Open internationally

Runs August 1 – 31

Drawing will be held on September 1.

Author Biography:

Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer's. In her free time, she walks the canines and chases the felines with her nose in a book and her fingers on a keyboard.

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