Spotlight & Giveaway: The Good Ones Are Taken by Taj McCoy

Posted April 22nd, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 10 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Taj McCoy to HJ!

Hi Taj and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Good Ones Are Taken!


To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:

The Good Ones Are Taken is a best friends-to-lovers romance featuring Maggie Jones. It’s a companion novel to my debut, Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell, which allows readers the chance to see updates about the friend group and also follow Maggie as she recovers from a break-up only to be challenged by her besties to find a date to their weddings. The pickings are slim, but she meets a handsome surgeon at the gym with dating potential until her college best friend Garrett surprises her by admitting he’s been harboring feelings for a long time. Now Maggie has to decide whether to play it safe or risk it all.

Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:

“Cute should be reserved for children and pets. I’m a grown-ass woman, G.”

“Ew, no. I could never.” Maggie peered over Garrett’s shoulder at a profile of a man leering into the camera with a look that made her shudder. “I’m looking for a relationship, not a grown man looking for a second mama.”

“Maggie weighed one hand beside the other. “Very vanilla. He finished, I didn’t. He’s a good kisser. I don’t know… It was fine?”
“Jesus. Getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist is fine,” Joanie scoffed. “Getting an oil change is fine…”

“A knot twisted in Maggie’s stomach. Out with it. “Garrett, do you have feelings for me?” She looked in his eyes and waited, her heart pounding in her chest and sounding in her ears. She held her breath, afraid of the answer. What if he says no? What if I was right but I’m the one who actually has feelings? What if I’ve just ruined everything and he never speaks to me again? “I just need to know.” Her lungs screamed until she inhaled, her heart ready to explode into a thousand pieces.”

“You make my day better. You make me better. I know everything there is to know about you—even the things you like to hide from me.” Garrett smiled. “Like when you hit my car and pretended not to know anything had happened.”

“I don’t know about this one, Savs.” Maggie stared into the mirror, the blue taffeta itching her skin. “What in the exfoliation is this? It feels like—”


What inspired this book?

I received a lot of love for Maggie when readers initially read Savvy’s book, and Maggie is such a boisterous character. I wanted to lift the veil to show some of the behind-the-scenes on her badassery. She stands on business, but she also has moments of uncertainty, just like everyone else.


How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?

I’ve known Savvy, Joan, Beth, and Maggie for years, so I really just had to get to know Garrett and Ben. I wanted to make them both good guys––reasonable options––and depending on priorities, either could be a solid choice. But being friends-to-lovers, there can only be one, and so I built Garrett to be that partner that could anticipate needs without needing to be asked––one that just wanted to breathe the same air with the woman he loved and would spoil her rotten even though she wasn’t asking for anything but his love and friendship. Maggie is an independent woman who puts on a hard exterior, but she is soft and gooey on the inside. She has to be with someone who makes her feel safe enough to show her gooey side. I think the only surprise for me was Garrett’s stage fright. I don’t know where that idea came from, but I loved it once it was on the page.


What was your favorite scene to write?

I have a few, but one of my favorite scenes to write was Maggie’s first date with Garrett––their nerves got the better of them and they both decided to use some liquid courage to help them relax. Ultimately, they realized that they just needed to be their usual selves, but it made for a great comedic opportunity after something sweet and steamy.


What was the most difficult scene to write?

The toughest scene to write was when things come to a head and Blake and Garrett almost fight. I went back and forth on how I wanted to execute that scene and what I wanted Blake to say to Maggie in the heat of that moment. It took several revisions for it to feel right.


Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?

I’d say this book is a progression of my writing style. I’m really trying to lean into the balance of romance and comedy with even more intention. I continue to learn and grow as a writer, building my craft, and my hope would be that the books only get stronger as we move forward.


What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

I hope that this book leaves the reader with a whole lot of feelings at the end. It closes the loop on Maggie’s love story, yes, but it also gives a glimpse of closure for readers familiar with Savvy and Joan’s relationships. I’ve had people reaching out to me tell me that they had been looking at one of their friends differently and were trying to muster up the courage to have a little of what Maggie has. Sometimes love is right in front of us.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?

I’m working on my next novel, which will release in 2025. The title is still being finalized, but it is a brother’s best friend romance with some Prohibition era themes and is set primarily in DC.


Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: One copy of The Good Ones Are Taken (US/Canada only)


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Excerpt from The Good Ones Are Taken:

“HERE WE GO AGAIN, BACK ON THE DATING MERRY-GOround.” Maggie sighed into her bourbon old-fashioned. “I can’t believe I’m back on this bullshit.”
Savvy squeezed her shoulder. “It’s going to be okay, sis. Don’t even sweat this. Honestly, I’m surprised you’re still harping about this dude. It’s a minor setback.”
“How is this minor?” She flailed her arms around. “I thought we were gonna move in together, and instead he dumps me. On our anniversary.” Her hands moved to her hair, which she
pulled back into a ponytail puff secured by a thick hair band she kept around her wrist. “He was going to be the one.”
“Mmmkay.” Joanie Kotter pulled Maggie’s cocktail across the table and out of reach. “You can’t make someone the one if they don’t actually want that for themselves. Better you know now than after years of marriage and kids. You deserve someone who’s sure.”
Maggie reached across the table for her drink, her long limbs working to her benefit. She squeezed her belly against the edge of the table, her heavy breasts resting on its surface. “I know that, logically, you’re right.” She pouted, her face scrunching up as she began to whine. “Rob wasn’t the one. I can see that now. I just want to wallow for a while anyway.”
“But, ma’am, what’s a while? It’s already been months, Mags,” Savvy emphasized. Her heart-shaped face was framed by a freshly cut bob with textured waves. “It’s time to get
over it.”
“And how do you propose that I do that?” Everyone acts like that part is so easy, but it isn’t.
“Get under someone else, Counselor. It wasn’t that long ago that you were pressing me to get over a certain someone, you know.” Savvy’s thick lashes framed her widened eyes. A
sarcastic smile spread across her face. “If my memory serves me correctly, I barely had a week before you were trying to get me to create an online profile.”
“Ugh, don’t even think about it. I’m not going to do that.” Maggie gagged at the thought. “I believe in meeting people organically. I am not equipped to handle the nonsense that
frolics online.”
Savvy raised an index finger. “And I was? Remember the lizard tongue guy? Spencer still won’t let me live that down.” She curled her fingers around the collar of her blouse and shuddered. “You were the one that talked me into going out with someone from the app so that I could feel like I’d ‘explored my options.’” She used her fingers to quote that last bit, and dammit if she wasn’t right.
“See, but you’re the one percent who had a positive experience. You’re with Spencer now. And stop right there—you didn’t actually meet online, but the fact that you matched online after meeting in real life was like confirmation that it was meant to be.” Maggie shrugged, willing anyone in earshot to pivot the conversation from her love life.
“I thought you said you weren’t going to be about the bullshit?” Savvy’s arched brow indicated her refusal to drop the conversation.
Joanie chuckled, looking between her two best friends, her fiancée, Beth, sitting quietly at her side, enjoying the show. When Savvy and her ex had their falling-out, she’d hired Beth
as her personal trainer for some get back, and as their friendship grew and Joanie and Maggie showed support, romance ignited quickly between Beth and Joanie. Joanie only needed a few months to feel certain that Beth was her forever.
Playfully, Joanie raised a fist to the side of her face, pointing her thumb toward her ear and her pinkie to her mouth in a makeshift hand phone. “Hello, Karma? Is that you?” She nodded, as if someone on the other line responded. “Okay, I’ll tell her.” Holding the phone toward Maggie, she grinned. “It’s Karma. She wanted to let you know she’s come back around.”
Maggie slapped her friend’s hand, fighting the urge to smile. “Ha-fucking-ha. Shut up, heffa. This wasn’t supposed to happen! I don’t need to explore my options. I just need ‘the one’ to show up on my front door ready to start our new life. Is that so much to ask?” Realizing her friends were mouthing every word that she said, Beth included, she shifted in her seat.
“What, now y’all are psychic?”
“No, bitch, you’ve literally made this speech the last six Fridays in a row.” Joanie took a sip of her peaty scotch. “Frankly, you need a little more flourish, because that soliloquy is getting a bit stale.”
Savvy hid a smile. “And either way, you’re going to start dating.”
Maggie shook her head. If pouting had been an Olympic sport, she’d have a medal. She pouted her way out of tickets, working on the weekends and giving head. Surely Maggie could pout her way out of online dating. “Nope, I refuse.” Her lips pursed, and she hoped her friends could read the words hell no written across her forehead.
“I thought you might say that,” her friend said with a grin. “That’s why I took the liberty of creating a profile for you. Consider this payback for when Jason and I broke up.”
“No.” Maggie faked a tantrum, whining nasally and imitating Kevin Hart’s stand-up. “Please! No. I’m not readyyy.”
“Sorry, babe, we took it to a vote.” Beth rubbed Maggie’s shoulder.
“You voted without me?” She couldn’t decide which offense was worse—that they’d voted on what to do about her
love life or that they’d done so without her present.
“Of course we did. You weren’t going to see reason, so we had to do this on your behalf. You’ll thank us later.” Savvy raised her gin and tonic.
“I’ll thank you from hell,” she muttered.
“Phone.” Savvy held out her hand.
“No.” Maggie shielded it from her, but Joanie was too fast.
Snapping up the phone, Joanie tossed it to Savvy. “Seriously, you didn’t give Savvy a choice. What makes you think that you’re any different?”
Maggie’s eyes explored the ceiling. “When are y’all going to accept that I simply know what’s best? For all of us?”
Her friends burst out laughing. Joanie patted the corners of her eyes with her napkin as she tried to catch her breath. “Good one.”
“Chile, please. You better get it together, too, because you’ve got two weddings to attend this year, and we expect you to bring a date for both of them,” Savvy added.
Ugh, can they stop reminding me? She rolled her eyes and pretended to gag. “Yes, yes. By all means, please paint the picture for me again of your fairy-tale love lives. You give me so much hope that I’ll find love again,” she droned, staccato embellishing each syllable.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

After a bad breakup, Maggie wants to find her Prince Charming, but all she’s finding are frogs. When her best friends, Savvy and Joan, apply pressure and demand she find a date worthy of attending their respective weddings, she agrees to take her own advice and try online dating. Since she’s the maid of honor for both weddings, her bridal party duties are massive, but both brides insist that Maggie prioritize finding a date. After an onslaught of maybes, noes and hell noes, she’s close to giving up, when she meets a handsome doctor at the gym who just might be the one.

Meanwhile, her college bestie, Garrett, throws salt in everyone’s game. At every turn, he points out the red flags and tells Maggie to keep looking. Things come to a head when Maggie demands that Garrett be happy for her, and he finally admits that he can’t. Not when he’s not with her. When he blurts out his feelings, Maggie’s world is turned upside down. Now she must choose between the perfect guy and a friendship that is the foundation for everything she’s ever wanted.

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo |

Meet the Author:

Oakland-born law grad Taj McCoy is committed to championing stories that include Black and multiracial women of color, plus-size protagonists, Black love, Black joy, and strong senses of sisterhood and familial bonds. Taj started writing as a small child, enjoying her first publications in elementary school. When she’s not writing, Taj may be on Twitter boosting other marginalized writers, practicing yoga, sharing recipes, or cooking private supper club meals for close friends.
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10 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Good Ones Are Taken by Taj McCoy”

  1. erahime

    For certain people, it’s a solid base for a romantic relationship. And for others, it isn’t a good one. The mutual respect and knowledge of each other can be beneficial. It’s also a different way to start a romantic relationship.

  2. psu1493

    Friendship should play a part in a romantic relationship because lust fades over time. It’s important to have things in common so that you have a well-rounded relationship.

  3. Glenda M

    Absolutely, Yes! If you are friends you already have figured out a lot of the little complicated parts of the other person and know how to communicate and work out differences. At least you should

  4. janinecatmom

    I do believe friendship is a good foundation for a relationship. If lets you know how well you will get along if you choose to make the friendship more.

  5. Amy R

    Is friendship the best foundation for romantic relationships? Depends Why/why not? I believe it up to each individual relationship nothing is the same for everybidy.

  6. Nancy P

    I think so. But some men are unwilling to treat women they’re with romantically as a friend. Quite the opposite.