A publisher of adult fiction is giving literary classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride And Prejudice an erotic makeover.
The company said that it was "100% convinced" that there was a market for the racy versions of the 19th century novels by authors Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen and that the spicing up of the much-loved books will introduce the classics to "a new generation of readers".
Other titles to be published under the Clandestine Classics collection include Austen's Northanger Abbey and Arthur Conan Doyle's stories featuring Sherlock Holmes.
The announcement comes following the phenomenal success of EL James's "mummy porn" title Fifty Shades Of Grey, which is said to be the fastest-selling book of the year.
Some original fans of Jane Eyre might be unhappy to discover that the female protagonist has "explosive sex with Mr Rochester" in the publisher's erotic edition.
In Wuthering Heights, heroine Catherine Earnshaw "enjoys bondage sessions" with Heathcliff while sleuth Sherlock Holmes has a sexual relationship with his sidekick Dr Watson in the new e-book.
Claire Siemaszkiewicz, founder of Total-E-Bound Publishing, which is releasing the titles from July 30 in digital format, said: "We're not rewriting the classics. We're keeping the original prose and the author's voice. We're not changing any of that.
"But we want to enhance the novels by adding the 'missing' scenes for readers to enjoy.
"People are going to either love it or hate it. But we're 100% convinced that there's a market there.
"We'll be bringing the classics to a new generation of readers as well as to people who love the classics but would like to see what we have done with them."
She added: "I've often wondered whether the Bronte sisters, if they were alive today, would have gone down the erotic romance route. There's a lot of underlying sexual tension in their stories.
"Charlotte Bronte was a bold, forward-thinking lady for her time. There's so much sexual tension and eroticism there."
The adult scenes will be penned by some of the 250 authors on the publisher's books who write erotic romance.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The sexual tension between Mr Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet sizzles without any explicit suggestion in Austen’s beloved classic. But imagine if instead of showing her around the grounds at Pemberley, Darcy had brought Lizzy into his playroom? OK, so that doesn’t actually happen in the Clandestine Classic reworking, but it’s still pretty steamy. Here’s an extract:
Elizabeth trailed kisses along his throat and neck until she reached his earlobe and took it between her teeth. “Please take me,” she whispered. “I need it. I ache for it.” Her words were met with only a grunt of approval by Darcy.
He pulled back from her and checked their surroundings, partly to assure they were alone, but also to discover a hiding place for them that was away from the road. He took hold of Elizabeth’s hand and pulled her away from the lane to the trees beyond. They walked on for a short time until they came to a small clearing and without another word, he pulled her to the ground, laying her down on the grass and covering her body with his.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
To begin perfect happiness at the respective ages of twenty-six and eighteen, is to do pretty well, Catherine Morland surmises at the end of this early Austen classic. But what if she and Henry had found some, er happiness prior to his proposal? Here's an extract:
[Catherine] began to wish for Henry Tilney to find his way secretly to her room to help allay her nervousness. When the door to her room opened slowly she searched frantically for something with which to defend herself, not knowing if it was ghost of human who trespassed.
When she saw Henry slip into the room, fingers to his lips, she poofed out a sigh of relief. Had just thinking of him conjured him up? “What are you doing here?” she whispered as softly as she could, noticing that he had divested himself of all his clothes save a thin pair of breeches and a loose shirt. “I feared the storm would disturb you and wanted to ease you through it.”
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The dominating/subservient dynamic of Bronte's novel might even make readers of the "Fifty Shades" series blush. Imagine if mousy governess Jane had told her "master" Mr Rochester exactly what she wanted to do to him? At the novel's close she finds her voice. Here's what might have happened:
At once I saw he meant to kiss me once again. His lips would be relentless and ruthless; and the taste of him—the smokiness of his cigar combined with his uncivilised power—would render me helpless.
“Surrender, sweet Jane.”
“Nay, sir, I cannot; I will not.”
His thick brows furrowed above those eyes. Though the sun had been swallowed by eve, the intent was as clear as a spring brook. Mr Rochester would have me. Any further protest was swallowed by his lips. I knew I could have turned away; he held my hands—thus my upper body—imprisoned at the small of my back. My head was free.
“Kiss me,” he commanded, moving closer.