With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s timely that I’ve just finished reading Sex and Candy: 22 Succulent Stories, one of the latest luscious anthologies edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. It is indeed a double scoop of sweetness (to paraphrase Sage Vivant’s “Two Scoops of Gelato”)--delicious sex and luscious food porn to make both of your mouths water!
The lineup of writers is impressive. Some are familiar favorites like Sage, Shanna Germain, Catherine Lundoff and R. Gay. Some I’m keeping company with for the first time in an anthology like Jen Dziura, Jolene Hui and BAE regular Tsaurah Litzky. All are well known for hot erotica, but I was deliciously surprised at how well they write about sweets. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been. As a regular reader of foodie magazines, I’m well aware of the power of the word as well as the image to provoke hungers of all kinds—and indeed it seems the talent translates across the appetites.
The book gives you plenty of sex and lots of food, but you’ll also get some wonderful writing as well. Some of my favorites include SekouWrites’ “Time Release Dessert,” which was smart and lyrical and mesmerizing. Here’s a sampling from a favorite passage:
“When his lips first touch her shoulder, she moans and he experiences a jolt of pleasure. He has always been partial to moans, the first moan in particular. To him, even more than the first hug or the first kiss, the first moan is a signal and a warning—it is the sound of the heavy door that protects a woman’s passion easing itself open at his bidding. And the thrill of unearthing this particular woman’s passionate nature runs deep fro some reason he doesn’t quite understand yet.
“He continues down her arm with soft kisses and slow licks. Remarkably, her flavor is even better than her scent—powerful and sugary, and he finds himself fantasizing about eating her as both his meal and his dessert at the beginning and end of every day….”
This passage struck me because the first moan really is a very important moment in a relationship and it’s gotten such short shrift in our discussion of romance. Thank you SW for the epiphany—the first moan is to be celebrated!
I also enjoyed Salome Wilde’s “Forbidden Fruit and Honey” for its historical setting, the simmering tension throughout, and the sexual-political twist of an ending. In Sex and Candy, sweet things can sometimes be very bad for your health....
Other favorites that offer as much well-crafted story as sensual delight are R. Gay’s “Other Girls,” (who knew cotton candy could get so creative?) Shanna Germain’s “Kneading,” (tiered tiramisu and bittersweet lovers!) Catherine Lundoff’s “Phone, Sex, Chocolate,” (not what you think) and Sacchi Green’s “Sugar on Snow” (can I stay at that cabin and eat those meals?) and Sage’s “Two Scoops of Gelato” (the perfect treat for gelato lovers and Italian carnival mask collectors like me). Wait, there’s more on my list, but it looks like I’ll be mentioning every story in the book. Still—I’m wondering if Jolene Hui will give me that banana cupcake recipe and I thank Dominic Santi and Michelle Houston for introducing interesting things to do with candy canes.
Jeez, I’m getting so worked up, I think it’s time to go make some homemade fudge—I’ll blame you, Tsaurah, for the extra pounds. And hey, if I had a maid, I might try out the tricks in Rachel’s “Sugar Mama” or Stan Kent’s “Cupcake.” Oh, and do check out my story “Six Layers of Sweetness” for an introduction to my signature homemade cookie and its power to seduce even the most reserved suitor… and if you're really nice, I'll make you a batch someday!