Bodice-rippers with braces

Harlequin is shifting its attention from grown women to teen girls

Published July 17, 2009 10:15AM (EDT)

The infamous publisher of soft-core Fabio porn has turned its eyes from adult women to their daughters. Thanks to the out-of-this-world success of Stephenie Meyers' "Twilight" series, the editors at Harlequin have realized that grown women aren't the only ones with a hunger for sexy fiction. What's more, they have learned that grown women are willing to read sexy young adult fiction, too. One book, two audiences! So, the Canadian publisher is dipping its toes into the rising pool of sexy sci-fi novels for young adults by way of Harlequin Teen. Instead of lords and warriors, think paranormal paramours and regular ol' high school kids.

The first books slated for release this summer and fall include "My Soul to Take," about a girl who can sense "when someone near her is about to die," which forces her to scream bloody murder -- even when the hottest guy in school is watching. Next up is "Intertwined," about a 16-year-old guy with "four human souls living inside of him" who "must embark on a dangerous journey for forbidden love" -- perhaps self-love? Finally, there is "Elphame's Choice," which includes a "far-off castle," "a sense of destiny, "great evil" and stuff. These don't exactly sound like the most compelling or original reads. Then again, neither did the book jacket summary for "Twilight," and it sold so well it's inspired copycat books and, now, a Harlequin imprint.

For any parents scandalized by the idea of Harlequin targeting their adolescent and teen daughters, let it be known that when it comes to steamy stories, the bodice-ripping brand has nothing on the young adult books, not to mention X-rated online fan fiction, that's already out there. Being forewarned is being forearmed ... for when your 10-year-old asks where baby vampires come from.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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