Just Too Good to Be True

( 62 )


A New York Times Bestseller Brady Bledsoe and his mother, Carmyn, have a strong relationship. A single mother, faithful churchgoer, and the owner of several successful Atlanta beauty salons, Carmyn has devoted herself to her son and his dream of becoming a professional football player. Brady has always followed her lead, including becoming a member of the church's "Celibacy Circle." Now, in his senior year at college, the smart and very handsome Brady is a lead contender for the Heisman Trophy and a spot in the ...
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Just Too Good to Be True

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A New York Times Bestseller Brady Bledsoe and his mother, Carmyn, have a strong relationship. A single mother, faithful churchgoer, and the owner of several successful Atlanta beauty salons, Carmyn has devoted herself to her son and his dream of becoming a professional football player. Brady has always followed her lead, including becoming a member of the church's "Celibacy Circle." Now, in his senior year at college, the smart and very handsome Brady is a lead contender for the Heisman Trophy and a spot in the NFL. As sports agents hover around Brady, a beautiful and charming cheerleader named Barrett enters the picture. Barrett is set on seducing Brady and getting a piece of his multimillion-dollar future. But is that all she wants from him? Is she acting alone? In a story that combines football, family, faith and secrets, Just Too Good to Be True is a sweeping novel that proves once and again why E. Lynn Harris is a bestselling author.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Steamy, funny, and real.”
The News & Observer

“Harris is a great storyteller who knows how to tug on the heartstrings with wit and sensitivity.”
USA Today

“Harris's books are hot, in more ways than one.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“[E. Lynn Harris] tucks in plot twists bound to keep his readers turning pages late at night.” —The Washington Post

“The storyline involving the exploitation of star athletes—a hot-button topic to be sure—is excellent.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Electrifying.... Widely entertaining and heartwarming.”
Urban Reviews

“What's got audiences hooked? Harris's unique spin on the ever-fascinating topics of identity, class, intimacy, sexuality, and friendship.”

“Harris is a wonderful writer. His romantic scenes...are always touching.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“From naked cocktail parties to religious conundrums, Harris gives you just the right amount of raunchiness and redemption.”

“E. Lynn Harris is the Beach Read King. All hail.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Harris has stimulated a dialogue within the African-American community desperately needed for so long about the complicated issues of sexuality.”
Southern Voice

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739366356
  • Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/15/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Sales rank: 1,450,490
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

E. Lynn Harris
E. LYNN HARRIS is a nine-time New York Times bestselling author. His work includes the memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, and the novels I Say a Little Prayer, A Love of My Own, Just as I Am, Any Way the Wind Blows, If This World Were Mine, and the classic Invisible Life. Harris divides his time between Atlanta, Georgia, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, home of his beloved college football team The Razorbacks.


Jackie Collins has kept the literary romance world well stocked with claws-out, upper-crust melodramas. But until E. Lynn Harris came along, the genre lacked a little ... diversity. Harris brought diversity and then some, with his now-trademark "buppie" characters, questions about sexuality, and hopelessly (but deliciously) complicated relationships.

Written from both male and female points of view and featuring recurring characters, Harris's books can be read as a veritable soap opera. The cycle begins with Invisible Life, the story of Raymond Winston Tyler Jr. -- a character Harris has acknowledged bears many similarities to himself. Raymond grapples with his sexuality, developing a relationship with a man he meets in law school and jeopardizing one with his girlfriend. His coming-of-age continues over the next two novels in the trilogy, Just As I Am and Abide with Me, as he struggles with losses of friends to AIDS, the ending of a relationship with an actress, and the beginning of a new one with a man.

Another recurring Harris character, Basil Henderson, is the man readers love to hate. An arrogant, badass football player-turned-sports agent, Basil beds both women and men until he meets up with his female (and later, male) counterparts. His story is mainly told in Not a Day Goes By and Any Way the Wind Blows.

It's true that in the Basil Henderson books, Harris is taking a saucy cue or two from his female romance novel predecessors; but the author claims to be more heavily influenced by writers such as Maya Angelou and Terry McMillan, and it would be misleading to pigeonhole his books as purely guilty pleasures. Particularly in his earlier books, Harris brought to a mainstream readership the issues that many gay and bisexual men face, and added a new voice to the portrayal of black, upwardly mobile characters. And in books such as If This World Were Mine and the young adult novel Diaries of a Light-Skinned Colored Boy, he has addressed issues of race and self-realization.

Given his themes, it may seem surprising that the majority of Harris's readers are straight women; but it's also a testament to his ability to write about love and self-discovery with humor, not to mention a little steaminess.

Good To Know

Harris worked as a salesman for IBM, and earned a following by self-publishing Invisible Life before getting a book deal.

He was tapped to write the screenplay for an update of the 1976 movie Sparkle, to be produced by Whitney Houston's production company. But with the death of Aaliyah, who was attached to star, the project's future is uncertain.

He lived most of his adult life in Chicago, Illinois.

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    1. Hometown:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 20, 1955
    2. Place of Birth:
      Flint, Michigan
    1. Date of Death:
      July 23, 2009
    2. Place of Death:
      Los Angeles, California

Read an Excerpt


Brady Drops the Ball

Yeah, I guess I am almost too good to be true, I thought as I read the SPORTS: The Magazine cover story for the third time. That is, if you believe the hype. But the truth is I almost ruined my life one night, but I somehow managed to right a wrong and come out basically unscathed.

It was a cool October night and my football team, the Central Georgia University Jaguars, had just recorded our biggest victory in CGU school history over the Louisiana State University (LSU) Tigers. It was a beautiful night for football, with a crowd of over 80,000 fans. I remember the smell of the grass and how great my teammates and I looked in our green and gold uniforms under the lights in a nighttime atmosphere that only college football can provide. It was an incredible feeling when the team raced from the tunnel to the field surrounded by a thunderous roar from the CGU fans.

I was a redshirt freshman, and in this my first start I gained over 150 yards against a tough LSU defense.
After the game, I decided to join my childhood best friend, Delmar, and some of my teammates for some postgame festivities. In the past, for me that would have meant reviewing film of that night’s game. But I was getting tired of all my teammates ribbing me and saying, “Brady can’t hang” and “Brady ain’t down with that,” so I surprised them and myself by going to drink my first beer with them at senior Teddy Miles’s apartment.

After a couple of beers, I decided to call it a night and trek back to campus on foot. When I got to the parking lot of Teddy’s apartment building, I saw a girl getting out of a car in a white dress and white stockings. When the headlights hit her face, I realized I knew her. Naomi Brasswell. A girl from the church I attend in Scarlet Springs.

Naomi was one of several people who said they were interested in being a part of Saving Ourselves when I tried to start the group at the church, but she was the only one who showed up for the first meeting. So I gave up the idea of starting the celibacy club, but still talked with Naomi several times about how tough it was playing football and trying to stay celibate.

Naomi was a local girl, was majoring in nursing at CGU, and lived with her mother and little sister near campus. Sometimes we attended Bible study on Wednesday nights and went to the movies on Sunday after church. A couple of times she invited me to her house for Sunday dinner. I always accepted that invitation, because her mother could throw down with the pots and pans.

I liked Naomi a lot, but I was trying to follow my mother’s advice and stay focused on football and my studies. Still, I thought my mother might like Naomi because she was a virgin and went to church three times a week.

I approached Naomi, and she appeared nervous until she realized it was me. She flashed a beautiful smile and said, “Oh, it’s you, Brady. What are you doing over here?”

“Hanging with some teammates, celebrating the big win,” I said. “What are you doing?”

“Apartment-sitting for one of my friends who went home this weekend,” she said.

“What apartment does she live in?” I asked.

“Up there,” Naomi said as she pointed toward an apartment on the third floor, almost directly over my teammate’s place.

“Why don’t I walk you up? Make sure nobody messes with you,” I said, realizing that several of my teammates were now most likely drunk and ready to hit the prowl.

“That would be nice,” Naomi said as she locked her car door. As we walked toward the apartment, I took notice of her beautiful bright eyes and black hair tumbling over her shoulders. The evening light accentuated her white uniform and outlined her body, making her look like a sexy, naughty nurse and not the church girl I was used to.

When we got to the apartment, I realized I was a little tipsy, so I asked Naomi if I could come in for a while, get some water and rest. She said yes, and minutes later I crashed on the sofa and fell asleep.

A couple hours later, I woke up and Naomi was standing in front of me holding a bottle of water and wearing an oversized white T-shirt with no bra. I could see the shadow of her nipples pushing into the cotton, the soft, heavy curves of her breasts standing out perkily in front of her. An image flashed through my head of me raising up her shirt, getting on my knees, and sucking those breasts. I felt a twinge in my jeans, but I tried to ignore it.

“I thought you might need this,” she said as she handed me the water, leaning toward me as her overpowering but welcoming feminine scent washed over me. I found myself breathing deeply, wondering what her skin would taste like.

I took a sip of water, then put the bottle on the floor, stood up, and just looked at her. She stared back. I was nervous, and the bulge in my jeans grew tighter.

“Would it be all right if I kissed you?” I asked.

“Yes,” she whispered.

I leaned in, put my arms around her waist, and pressed my lips softly against hers. They were sweet, like I always thought they would be.

Her body was tense at first, but then I parted her lips, slid my tongue into her mouth. She closed her lips around my tongue, and a shiver ran through my body.

I leaned out of the kiss. “Where’s the bedroom?”

“Back there,” Naomi said, pointing behind her. “What about your celibacy vow?” she asked.

I thought about the question for a moment, then said, “We don’t have to go all the way.”

“Are you sure?”

“We can just . . . you know . . . dry grind.”

“Okay. I think that’ll be okay.”

I followed Naomi into the dark room. It took my eyes a minute to adjust before I saw that there wasn’t a bed, just a mattress on the floor, a flower-print bedspread over it.

“What should we do first?” Naomi said.

“Take off your clothes,” I said.

“No. You go first.”

“Let’s do it together.”

We slowly took off our clothes. I pulled off my sweater and she pulled her T-shirt over her head. I pushed down my jeans. I took off my boxer briefs, and she slid off her ivory panties.

Naomi lay across the mattress on her back.

I stood over her, my erection sticking out and slightly curving up.

“It’s so big,” Naomi said.

“It’s not that big,” I said.

“It looks so big and hard,” Naomi said, gently touching the tip.

I moaned, “You got me so brick, girl.”

I lowered my body onto hers. Her skin was soft, her hips wide; her nipples, pointing up, were thick and hard like ripe cherries. Her body seemed to cradle mine as I lay fully on top of her.

“I’m nervous, Brady.”

“I know. Me, too,” I said.

“I’m so wet, Brady. Do you want to feel me?”


She took my penis in her hand, rubbed it softly over her vagina.

I moaned.

“Do you feel it?” She moaned, too.


“Does it feel good?”

“Yeah,” I said as I started to push myself into her opening.

“We can’t do anything. We don’t have protection.”

“I know. We aren’t going all the way,” I said sincerely. But it was feeling so good, better than I ever thought it would. The tip of me was throbbing, pulsating. I started to glide in and out in short strokes. Then I went a little deeper with each one, and I felt like I was losing control.

“Brady, maybe we should stop,” Naomi said.

“I’m sorry!” I said, pulling out. “I’m sorry. We can stop.”

Naomi looked up at me, her thighs still open, her eyelids low. She looked so beautiful right then.

“I . . . I . . . don’t want you to stop. I like the way it feels,” Naomi stammered.

“Are you sure?”

Naomi didn’t say anything, just nodded and grabbed me between the legs. She started stroking me, making my head spin. Then she put my tip back inside of her and said, “Don’t push too hard and don’t come inside me.”

“Okay,” I said, already starting slowly to grind on top of her. I moaned, and I heard her, too. She wrapped her arms around me, clawing my back.

“Oh, Brady,” she whispered.

And then I started to feel what I never felt before. Like an impending explosion, racing through my body toward my groin. My muscles tightened, my head spinning. “I . . . I . . .”

It was too much. I couldn’t handle it. And before I knew it, I was gripped so tightly by a pleasure so overwhelming that I couldn’t move. My back arched, I cried out and pushed farther into Naomi and then started to explode while I tried to pull out. But I couldn’t. I rolled off her onto my side, feeling exhausted. My first time, and I didn’t even last two minutes.

All I could think about was how much better this was than my palms and Palmer’s cocoa butter lotion.

A cloud of guilt followed both of us during the weeks that followed. I thought how disappointed my mother would be, but I couldn’t forget how off the chain the sex had felt, and I now knew why sex was all my teammates thought or talked about. I called Naomi a couple of times, but our conversations were weird, like we knew that we both wanted to do it again but we couldn’t live with the remorse.

At the end of the season, Naomi called me and said she needed to see me. It sounded like she was crying, and when I asked her what was wrong she asked me to meet her in the reading room at the school’s library.

When I got there, I saw Naomi dressed in a green sweater and blue jeans, looking beautiful but nervous.

We exchanged polite hugs, and Naomi whispered, “I’m pregnant.”

For minutes I maintained a stony silence before finally muttering to myself, “Damn, son.”

In the days that followed, I spent long hours in my apartment thinking about God and how pissed off at me He must be. Still, that would be nothing compared to my mother’s disappointment and sadness.

I spent a lot of time praying. I spent a lot of time telling myself that I wasn’t ready to be a father. The one thing my mother had warned me about, I’d gone out and done. Even though she didn’t talk a lot about my father, she’d admitted that they were both too young when I was conceived.

I chastised myself for ever thinking I was better than my friends and some of my teammates because I wore a celibacy ring.

I thought about how this was going to affect something that I truly loved—playing football, which had always been a part of my life since the first time I put on my #2 jersey. Even though my mom wasn’t in favor of my playing at first, I convinced her at age six that it was a part of my DNA. Something I had to do to feel whole. I remember putting on a helmet for the first time when I was playing Pee Wee football and how it made me feel important. I remember the first time I touched a football on a kickoff return and how I outraced all of the other guys for a touchdown.

Maybe God answers prayers after He gets your attention. A day before finals started, Naomi came to my apartment and told me she decided to get an abortion and transfer to Savannah State, but that she would need my help.

I didn’t know how I felt about abortion, but I definitely did not want to become another statistic, a young African American man who’d become a father before he escaped his teens. I made a promise that if I could come out of this situation free and clear I would reclaim my vow of celibacy and maybe only God, Naomi, and I would know what I’d done.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 62 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    A Wonderful Story

    I have been a fan of E. Lynn Harris for a very long time. I really enjoy reading all of his books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    The life and times of Brady Bledsoe and his mother, Carmyn, could have been a fascinating tale in the hands of the talented E. Lynn Harris. Unfortunately, it was not. Unlike Harris' previous work, I was disappointed with JUST TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. While easily readable, I found it to be rather predictable and lackluster. Still one of my favorites, I look forward to his next novel. <BR/><BR/>Reviewed by: Tracy

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Nice light reading enjoyment.

    Its an enjoyable read for passing the time.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Read

    At first this book started off kind of slow. I didnt think that I would like it. After I got through the 1st couple of chapters, I was so into it that I couldn't put it down. I like the way Basil seem to pop in the book. He is my fav character.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2009


    This book was recommended for me to read by a co-worker, and let me tell you, I was so into this book from the moment I read the first page. This book truly grabs your attention with the first page and keeps it until the very last page which is page 319. This book is suspensful, dramatic, funny, emotional.. everything you want it to be. I give this book an A+++++++++. It is well worth your money, and I definitely recommend everyone buy it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2009

    Got to read

    This E. Lynn Harris best work! You must read it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

    It's OK

    Carmyn was a trip and overbearing as a mom and needed to stay in deep therapy with her delusions.<BR/><BR/>Darkness come to light... is what I think about when this is all said and done. <BR/>Good read.. Just not believable.. but it is fiction.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    Just to Goooood.....!

    E.Lynn has done it again! I loved this book it was very exciting and it took me all of two days just to read it . The characters were off the chain, he knows just how to get any woman's attention with his book, he always knows just what to write about. To all E.Lynn fans this is a must read and I am just waiting on his next book that is coming out in January.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved It!

    I loved this book. Great change of pace. Basil Henderson, I must say, I liked him in this book. He is the character you love to hate. <BR/><BR/>This book is about love, honesty, celibacy and shame. This mom gave up so much to raise her son. Amazing how she stayed motivated and accomplished so much. She literally started her life over and remained strong. <BR/><BR/>Proof that with God, we can accomplish all things.<BR/><BR/>E. Lynn Harris you go!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008


    This book was amazing, I could'nt put it down! I HIGHLY suggest this book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2008

    It's Never Prefect'

    To Good To Be True 'TGTBT' I¿m done with the reading but how about a better title: ¿It¿s Never Prefect¿ but this book was so different than any other of E Lynn¿s productions. Book was enjoyable until everyone, almost everyone receives a ¿¿¿.well don¿t want to spoil the books ending. Therefore, I¿ll leave my comment to - it was different than any other production coming from Ee. There was the inclusion of love, suspense, drama and comedy but the ending of TGTBT made me say, ¿________.¿ But I still need to give it up for the information about football agents. The awareness is always what makes Art shine. Well¿ go ahead Ee shine - shine - shine¿¿. PS: Save that library card for the clear books ¿ I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    E. Lynn Harris does it again!

    Once again we're let into the world of E. Lynn Harris with his nack for twist, turns and plots.  I really enjoyed this one because it wasn't his usual genre.  It was a great summer read.  I want more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    This Book Couldn't Be True!!!

    I am avid reader and I love me some E. Lynn Harris, however this is not his best work. the characters were not fully developed, the story did not trsnsition smoothly from character to character and overall in my opinion this book is not of the quality Mr. Harris is known for in previous books. I am football fanatic and the story line does not make the cut. Sorry, don't waste your money and pick it up from your nearest library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008


    I just finished reading another Harris masterpiece and it did not disappoint. I love the vamps used in many of the novels, they have a Betty Davis appeal about them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2008

    Simply Beautiful!

    Mr. E. Lynn Harris, you have once again enhanced my life with your family of characters. I have so enjoyed this excellent read over the last 2 evenings. Thank you! I see myself and my son in Brady and Camryn. Than you for once again discussing the realties of this wonderful experience called life. I laughed, I cried, I got yelled. Excellent.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2008

    4.5 Stars

    Brady Bledsoe is the star athlete on Central Georgia University's football team. He's a senior, gorgeous, up for the Heisman trophy and is saving himself for marriage. Barrett Elizabeth Manning is the new gorgeous cheerleader that has caught Brady's eye. She plays hard to get, but eventually starts dating Brady. Is she really into him or up to something? Carmyn is Brady's mother. She has raised him to be 'the perfect gentleman' and expects him to stay focused, work hard and remain a virgin until marriage. Little does Brady know, his mother has secrets of her own. This novel addresses how secrets and lies can torment our lives and forces us to take an honest look at who we are, what motivates us to make the choices we do and to realize it's never too late to become who we really want to be. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008


    Mr. Harris has done it again even though this is not his typical story line. I must say this story was excellent when finished the book I was in tears.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Simply Stated: EXCELLENT WORK

    E. Lynn Harris has shown us that he's not only a gay writer, but he's a GREAT writer. Keep broadening your horizons, Mr. Harris. The sky is the limit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2008

    Well worth the time!

    I have read several of E. Lynn Harris' books and have enjoyed them all, but this one is my favorite. I have to admit that I am not an avid reader. I start lots of books and finish a few. This book was my vacation reading. It's filled with great characters and some interesting twists to the story, making it hard to put down. It's pure entertainment for a casual reader. Excellent job!

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