Excerpt, Giveaway, & Review for COED by James Fant

Brooke Banks | 12:00 AM | | | | | | | |

COED by James Fant

Date Published: 02/14/2017
Publisher: James Fant Books, LLC
Can a man and a woman be best friends without somebody catching feelings?

Travis Barber and Sade Styles are best friends of the opposite sex. Despite what everyone thinks, they are not getting busy...yet.

Co-owners of a popular barbershop/salon in named CoEd, Travis and Sade spend the bulk of their days together. But when Sade’s apartment lease runs out and Travis offers her the spare bedroom of his newly built house, will they end up sharing more than just the utilities?

This witty, fast-paced romance seeks to answer the question: can a man and a woman be best friends without crossing that fine line into the land of lovers. Best case scenario, nothing happens. Worst case scenario, they get to know each other a little too well and end up hating each other!

Are Travis and Sade making the best move for their friendship?

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She said…

I should be ashamed of myself. I was flirting heavily with Trap and that’s not right. I know that I was just using him to get over my hurt. But he was my friend. We’ve been friends for a long time. Who better to cheer me up than Trap? The caveat is the type of cheer I wanted went way beyond kind words. I wanted him badly. I thought it was just the Peach Schnapps talking. But nah, I needed a release. I felt tense. My head was not on straight and some good ole fashioned sex would do me well.

The cool thing is Trap and I were away at Myrtle Beach. We had been drinking. We were heading to the concert hall in the lobby of the hotel. Lalah Hathaway was going to take us there. I had every intention of letting Trap hold me in his arms on the dance floor. I was going to back that thang up on him real close. And then we would retire to the room. When neither of us could stand it anymore, I was going to ride him like a prized stallion. It was going to be good. And afterwards, we could both chalk it up to the alcohol and ambiance. Then we could put it behind us. Sounds like a pretty good plan, right?

Why are you looking at me like that? I needed it. You act like you’ve never been in that position before. Heart broken, wanting desperately to break a bond that was forged by some loser. What better way to do that than by making love to my best friend?

Lalah was singing Forever, For Always, For Love. I adore her rendition of that song. Her voice is so silky and thick that it just wraps around you like a blanket. Trap was under that blanket with me. I was standing in front of him. He had his arms around me. I leaned my head back on his shoulder and he kissed me on the cheek. I chuckled at this because I had the brother right where I wanted him. I know this for a fact because I could feel his excitement on my backside. Humph! He was talking about a Charley horse. I’ve got his Charley horse. The way I came out of that bathroom wearing that dress, and the way I strutted in front of him in the hallway, I knew exactly why Trap was walking funny. It was a compliment…and it was confirmation that I would have him.

So he had another Charley horse on the dance floor. I swirled my bottom to the rhythm; the more I swayed, the more excited he became. And me? I was about to melt, thinking about how it would be. How it would feel. But I never allowed myself to think about after. I would deal with after the next morning.

Content Warning: Domestic Violence, Anger Issues, Cheating,

I liked it. It's pretty sexy, down to Earth, with a lot of characters and drama to go around. Travis is a player and Sade is rather old-fashioned, which she's defensive about.

COED starts with Sade moving into Travis's house and Travis has a bachelor party for a friend of his happening that night. It's clear that they've got tension and awkwardness from the get go. What happens next just speeds it up. It's a short tale, only 150 pages, and I wonder how it'd work out if given more room to flourish.

I call it sexy but don't get it confused with erotica. The characters are very hott and there's plenty of checking out, flirting, and thinking going around. The two sex scenes that immediately come to mind though are rather sad. It's not the right time with the right people, so of course the sex is bad. Poor Sade! The best she got in the story is an erotic dream.

  • I liked Travis and Sade's friendship. Travis was very real about the difference in emotional and psychological support received from men and women.  I'm even happier he decided to be a better friend! 
  • I love how Sade owns her sexuality
  • I'm glad those who got cheated on were mad at the cheaters, not the other innocent party.
  • I liked how Travis is on medication for his bipolar disorder.
  • I liked how Sade confronted her issues and moved forward with handling them instead of taking the easy way out.
  • I liked the scene where they're at the couple's meeting together. Sade's thought process on being a woman that gets hit by a man is so spot on, it's depressing. I remember thinking that way before I became a survivor. I just wish this idea was pushed back instead of reinforced with the Ex-Wife.
  • The Shop scenes were pretty funny, though the Silent Treatment ones were the best IMHO.
  • Travis is the most authentic sounding guy...most of the time. His childhood is spot on, those passages were amazing.
  • I don't "get" Travis's dumbass decision on a visceral level, but I know it's realistic and people, especially men, are just that fucking stupid. Stupid, stupid people.
  • I'm glad Sade got more understanding and support than just "leave his cheating ass!!". It's HARD. It HURTS. And your feelings just don't dry up automatically....
  • I'm glad The Stripper isn't slut-shamed by Travis, because nobody needs that nonsense and it would make him a hypocritical bastard. However, it feels like Travis has a Madonna-Whore complex, with her and Sade on opposing ends. With Sade's preaching of old-fashioned sensibilities, it's definitely keeping inline with the status quo of wifey material.
  • Weird that a grown man Googled why nipples got hard. (Maybe that's just me?)
  • Don't like how the Ex-Wife was portrayed. I've never met a DV victim like that and don't like how he gets help, but she doesn't. Usually it's the other way around. Everything about her is a cry for help, but instead, she's the instigator and the crazy one. Ugh. I hate how baby mama is always a problem character. This bullshit hits far too close to home.
  • I DID NOT appreciate Sade being judgmental against the Ex-Wife. (See above.)
  • I wish Travis and Sade went to therapy, separately, for their issues. It's a tad unfair that Travis gets help through Sade as a therapist stand-in but Sade has to conquer her own demons alone. Therapy would even this out and help raise awareness and normalize therapy, which is always a good thing.
  • I can do without the breaking the fourth wall moment, where Travis tell us how James Fant loves to break chapters to build suspense (paraphrasing)
  • I can totally see a series happening based off of other characters around COED the shop and think that'd be pretty cool.

Related Social Justice Reading:

  1. Why the Black Community Has a Fraught Relationship With Therapy
  2. 3 Compelling Truths About Feminism That All Black Men Should Consider
  3. Black Men and Mental Illness Can Be a Barbershop Conversation, Too

About The Author:

James Fant is an award winning author who lives in Charleston, SC with his lovely wife and two hilarious children. When he’s not reading everything from business management to mysteries or “entertaining” his family with piano solos and spoken word, James writes inspirational romance and suspense that warms the heart and hopefully makes readers laugh—in public.

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