Authors: E. L. James
Tags: #Romance, #drama, #erotic, #BDSM, #romantica
First published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop, 2012
Copyright © E L James, 2012
The right of E L James to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her under the
Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced, copied, scanned, stored in a retrieval system, recorded or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Writer’s Coffee Shop
(Australia) PO Box 2013 Hornsby Westfield NSW 1635
(USA) PO Box 2116 Waxahachie TX 75168
Paperback ISBN- 978-1-61213-060-6
E-book ISBN- 978-1-61213-061-3
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the US Congress Library.
Cover image by: © Photo-Dave
Cover design by: Jennifer McGuire
New York: Random House, 1971.
E L James is a TV executive, wife and mother of two, based in West London. Since early childhood, she dreamt of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those dreams on hold to focus on her family and her career. She finally plucked up the courage to put pen to paper with her first novel,
Fifty Shades of Grey
. E L James is currently working on a new romantic thriller with a supernatural twist.
Thanks to: Niall, my rock;
To Kathleen for just being a great sounding board, friend, confidante and a technical wiz;
To Bee for endless moral support;
To Taylor (also a technical wiz), Susi, Pam and Nora for showing a girl a good time.
And for their advice and tact I’d really like to thank:
Dr. Raina Sluder for help with all matters medical;
Anne Forlines for the financial advice;
Elizabeth de Vos for her kind counsel regarding the American adoption system.
Thanks to Maddie Blandino for her exquisite, inspirational art.
And to Pam and Gillian for Saturday morning coffee and hauling me back to real life.
Also thanks to my editing team Andrea, Shay and the ever lovely and only occasionally frothing Janine, who tolerates my frothing with patience, fortitude and a great sense of humour.
And lastly to Amanda and all at The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House—Thank you.
Mommy! Mommy! Mommy is asleep on the floor. She has been asleep for a long time. I brush her hair because she likes that. She doesn’t wake up. I shake her. Mommy! My tummy hurts. It is hungry. He isn’t here. I am thirsty. In the kitchen I pull a chair to the sink, and I have a drink. The water splashes over my blue sweater. Mommy is still asleep. Mommy wake up! She lies still. She is cold. I fetch my blankie, and I cover Mommy, and I lie down on the sticky green rug beside her. Mommy is still asleep. I have two toy cars. They race by the floor where Mommy is sleeping. I think Mommy is sick. I search for something to eat. In the freezer I find peas. They are cold. I eat them slowly. They make my tummy hurt. I sleep beside Mommy. The peas are gone. In the freezer is something. It smells funny. I lick it and my tongue is stuck to it. I eat it slowly. It tastes nasty. I drink some water. I play with my cars, and I sleep beside Mommy. Mommy is so cold, and she won’t wake up. The door crashes open. I cover Mommy with my blankie
Fuck. What the fuck happened here? Oh, the crazy fucked up bitch. Shit. Fuck
Get out of my way, you little shit.
He kicks me, and I hit my head on the floor. My head hurts. He calls somebody and he goes. He locks the door. I lay down beside Mommy. My head hurts. The lady policeman is here. No. No. No. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. I stay by Mommy. No. Stay away from me. The lady policeman has my blankie, and she grabs me. I scream. Mommy! Mommy! I want my Mommy. The words are gone. I can’t say the words. Mommy can’t hear me. I have no words.
“Christian! Christian!” Her voice is urgent, pulling him from the depths of his nightmare, the depths of his despair. “I’m here. I’m here.”
He wakes and she’s leaning over him, grasping his shoulders, shaking him, her face etched with anguish, blue eyes wide and brimming with tears.
“Ana,” His voice is a breathless whisper, the taste of fear tarnishing his mouth. “You’re here.”
“Of course I’m here.”
“I had a dream . . .”
“I know. I’m here, I’m here.”
“Ana.” He breathes her name, and it’s a talisman against the black choking panic coursing through his body.
“Hush, I’m here.” She curls around him, her limbs cocooning him, her warmth leeching into his body, forcing back the shadows, forcing back the fear. She is sunshine, she is light . . . she is his.
“Please let’s not fight.” His voice is hoarse as he wraps his arms around her.
“The vows. No obeying. I can do that. We’ll find a way.” The words rush out of his mouth in a tumble of emotion and confusion and anxiety.
“Yes. We will. We’ll always find a way,” she whispers and her lips are on his, silencing him, bringing him back to the now.
I stare up through gaps in the sea grass parasol at the bluest of skies, summer blue, Mediterranean blue with a contented sigh. Christian is beside me, stretched out on a sun lounger. My husband—my hot, beautiful husband, shirtless, and in cut-off jeans—is reading a book predicting the collapse of the Western banking system. By all accounts, it’s a page-turner. I haven’t seen him sit this still, ever. He looks more like a student than the hotshot CEO of one the top privately owned companies in the United States.
On the final leg of our honeymoon, we laze in the afternoon sun on the beach of the aptly named Beach Plaza Monte Carlo in Monaco, although we’re not actually staying in this hotel. I open my eyes and gaze out at the
anchored in the harbor. We are staying, of course, on board a luxury motor yacht. Built in 1928, she floats majestically on the water, queen of the all the yachts in the harbor. She looks like a child’s wind-up toy. Christian loves her—I suspect he’s tempted to buy her. Honestly, boys and their toys.
Sitting back, I listen to the Christian Grey mix on my new iPod and doze in the late afternoon sun, idly remembering his proposal. Oh his dreamy proposal in the boathouse . . . I can almost smell the scent of the meadow flowers . . .