On the left cheek and part of the right, hewn from the sacred earth of the flesh and the flesh of that earth and so forth, the sun’s rays came down. The rays were warming, the sky muted.

The woman was naked, belly against the grass of her suburban lawn. She was slightly too long for the blanket. Tall hedges blocked her exposed body from the surrounding yards. The dog licked beads of sweat from her forehead as she stretched one arm back, rotating herself like a one-winged angel, to make contact with her own ass, to confirm it was still there. It was still there. What was a spine, she thought, but a city with hills in the distance?

She called her husband’s name. He was on the porch, reading yesterday’s newspaper. He sighed and pushed down on his knees as he rose to get the grapes. The grapes were fresh and still chilled in their bowl. One by one, her husband hurled those eyeballs-of-the-vine at his wife’s plump hindquarters where, at the moment of contact between fruit flesh and lady flesh, they bounced into the mouth of the dog.

“He likes it,” said the woman, head turned to the ground, half talking to the dog, half talking to no one.

behind the steam

cover stars shira and rick antonoff

Who doesn't love an Oedipal nightmare?! Just tickled (sorry) to be kicking off our Romance Novel Book Club with my very own parents, in heat and under the title Grapes of Ass. These poor, sweet suckers have been modeling for me since the inception of this company and I have yet to find the line they will not cross. They let me dress them up and parade them around, barely staying within an inch of their dignity (berets in Paris, I'm a gremlin) and I adore them for it. You've seen them as themselves at home, you've seen them re-cast with actors, you've even seen a reenactment of their origin story narrated by them-truly. When they're not in front of the camera, they are working tirelessly behind the camera, in the office and on shoots.So now, please enjoy them as romance novel cover stars, starring in an imaginary book, written by the great Sloane Crosley

"Thanks to team RA for fulfilling our shared life-long dream of being the subject of a Sloane Crosley piece, even if it had to be like this" - Rachel's Parents

author sloane crosley

Sloane is the author of The New York Times bestselling essay collections, I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Numberas well as Look Alive Out There and the bestselling novels, The Clasp and Cult Classic. She served as editor of The Best American Travel Writing series and is featured in The Library of America's 50 Funniest American Writers,The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Phillip Lopate’s The Contemporary American Essay and others. Her next nonfiction book, Grief Is for People, will be published in February 2024."Grapes of Ass" is her first erotic excerpt.

the real star: gabbe