Welcome to today’s spotlight for one of Harlequin’s bestselling category lines: Harlequin Desire! At Desire, we publish reads that are emotional, dramatic, sexy, and romantic. Because Desire novels are category romances, we need to see character and plot tropes, but what you do with them is up to you!
We want juicy, soap opera plots.
Think dramatic family sagas, strong external conflicts, and a sense of the bigger world surrounding the characters, even though the story focuses primarily on the hero and heroine. The setting is almost always in North America, although vacation settings are exceptions. In Kat Cantrell’s TRIPLETS UNDER THE TREE, the hero comes home over a year after he was presumed dead in a car accident that stole his memory, and finds his sister-in-law raising his triplets. In PREGNANT BY THE RIVAL CEO by Karen Booth, the heroine’s fling with her older brother’s former best friend turned rival results in an unexpected pregnancy. Brenda Jackson’s BREAKING BAILEY’S RULES has a hero that has absolutely none of the qualities the heroine ever wanted in her man… but making amends when she wrongs him forces her out of her comfort zone.
Give us that sensual undercurrent, the wicked wordplay and the undeniable seduction of the senses.
Desire doesn’t have explicit sex scenes (although we certainly refuse to close the bedroom door!) but we highly prize crackling, electric, non-stop sexual tension between the hero and the heroine.
The hero must always be alpha, wealthy, and have a heart of gold.
Yes, he’s rich, be it through family wealth or career success, but he’s still down to earth. Yes, he often dominates the scene and likes to be in control, but we know he does so with the only the best of intentions….
The heroine should have her own agenda.
She’s not solely there to be the love interest! In HIS FOREVER FAMILY, by Sarah M. Anderson, the heroine must protect not only the abandoned baby she finds when out on a run with her off-limits boss, but the secrets the baby’s discovery might uncover about her own past. The heroine in BIDDING ON HER BOSS by Rachel Bailey is determined to win her boss at a charity auction in order to prove she has the design skill to take his company to the next level.
So to get more specific, here are some things we want to see when we read submissions:
Rich ranchers and wealthy cowboys!
Babies, be they secrets or surprises!
Powerful CEOs and tycoons!
Any other sort of career you can think of (as long as he’s rich and successful)!
A heroine with a storyline we haven’t seen before (as long as she falls for a wealthy alpha hero)!
Here are some things we’re not looking for right now:
No royalty or sheikhs! We’d be happy to take the pregnancy or baby angle, but no crowns, please.
No romantic suspense, young adult or vampires. Sorry, Angel and Spike, contemporary adult romance only, please!
If Desire sounds like the line for you, send us your manuscript! Please remember that we love to see characters that embody the real-life diversity we experience in our day-to-day lives. And, until March 31st, we’re running a special call for submissions with a quick turnaround and guaranteed feedback. So run, don’t walk, to your keyboard and send us those clever plot twists and sexy heroes.
The Desire Editorial Team