(hb; 2002: erotica anthology)
From the inside flap:
"If you're hungry for great erotic stories with a twist of the romantic, you'll love A Bite of the Apple. Each of the 24 short stories in this sensual collection is a lush, romantic gem, sure to spur you on to your own sensuous adventures. . ."
This is one of the best erotic-romantic (or, if you prefer, romantica) anthologies I've ever read. Buckley's works are perfused with an innate Frank Capra-esque humanity and warmth that most writers - myself included - (probably) wish they possessed, as well the talent to mix and match it with a variety of moods (in this anthology it's romantic, though I've read his edgier works, as well).
This humane quality, as shown by this stylistically diverse collection, is especially all-too-rare in the erotica genre, where too many authors confuse the human tangle of limbs, torsos and 'wet' orifices for emotional connection, but forget about the smaller (and just as important) actions that express love that lends itself to deeper, longer-lasting connections.
I wish I had written this anthology - something I say not with envy, but with the utmost admiration. (That's one of the highest praises I can give a book, especially one where every story 'nails it'.)
Worth owning, of course.
1.) "A Bite of the Apple": An apple grove owner (Lainey Allen) makes key decisions about her career, and a possible lover.
2.) "Forgive Me Father": Witty, world-wise trio of Catholic confessions. Still chuckling over this one.
3.) "Eating Out at Annie's": Flirty tale about a diner and two lusty-at-heart lovers.
4.) "Convenience Store": A graveyard shift minimart employee encounters some truly strange stuff in this surreal, hilarious piece.
5.) "Chance Encounter": Passionate, sweet-humored entry about a lonely librarian (Lorna Delaney) and a mourner (Alec) at a nearby grave.
6.) "Rules of Engagement": The Honeymooners meets carnal hilarity in this piece, about a loud, semi-public argument between a wife (Dannie) and her husband (Matt), which goes over-the-top in a loving, bawdy way.
7.) "Twitch": An ambush of a blind date leads to a contentious and delightfully lively coupling.
8.) "The Magic Lesbian": A bar owner (Joe Canarski) fends off an aggressive buy-out offer from a business rival. Instantly immersive, feels-like-you're-there work.
9.) "Fortune's Fool": This is an especially good, laugh-out-loud karmic tale about a hospitalized sports writer, a celebrity football player and fickle sports fans.
10.) "Portrait": A painter's portrait subject reveals more than artistic longing.
11.) "A Fare of the Heart": One of the best tales in this bunch. A cabbie (James) and his fare ( a neglected wife named Ann) have an empathetic conversation about their circumstances and her marriage.
12.) "Invisible": Gut wrench-effective story about a couple whose marriage has hit some particular damaging rocks.
13.) "The Night the Stars Fell": A sexually neglected husband wrestles with the possibility of cheating on his otherwise occupied wife. Another emotionally effective story, with some joy thrown in, as well.
"Making Her Late For Work"; "Crazy"; "Stuck"; "Imparting Wisdom"; "Mrs. Godiva"; "Corner Booth"; "The Battle of Twin Peaks"; "The Other Man"; " 'O' No"; "Infidelity"; "Backrub"