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Fifty Shades

In: Novels

Submitted By bright9305
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E L James
Fifty Shades
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 him 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
Craig, W.J., ed. “King Lear.” The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
Scene 1, Act 1. New York: Random House Value Publishing: 1997. About the Author
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.

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 icebox 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 icebox 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 . He’s here. 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

1|P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed 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 that courses 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 will always find a way,” she whispers and her lips are on his, silencing him, bringing him back to the now.

2|P age


Chapter One
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 Fair Lady 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 . . .
“Can we marry tomorrow?” Christian murmurs softly in my ear. I am sprawled on his chest in the flowery bower in the boathouse, sated from our passionate lovemaking.
“Is that a yes?” I hear his hopeful surprise.

“A no?”

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Fifty Shades Freed
I sense his grin. “Miss Steele, are you incoherent?”
I grin. “Hmm.”
He laughs and hugs me tightly, kissing the top of my head. “Vegas, tomorrow, it is then.”
Sleepily I raise my head. “I don’t think my parents would be very happy with that.” He thrums his fingertips up and down my naked back, caressing me gently.
“What do you want, Anastasia? Vegas? A big wedding with all the trimmings? Tell me.”
“Not big . . . Just friends and family.” I gaze up at him moved by the quiet entreaty in his glowing gray eyes. What does he want?
“Okay.” He nods. “Where?”
I shrug.
“Could we do it here?” he asks tentatively.
“Your folks’ place? Would they mind?”
He snorts. “My mother would be in seventh heaven.”

“Okay, here. I’m sure my mom and dad would prefer that.”
He strokes my hair. Could I be any happier?
“So, we’ve established where, now the when.”
“Surely you should ask your mother.”
“Hmm.” Christian’s smile dips. “She can have a month, that’s it. I want you too much to wait any longer.”
“Christian, you have me. You’ve had me for a while. But okay—a month it is.”
I kiss his chest, a soft chaste kiss, and smile up at him.
“You’ll burn.” Christian whispers in my ear, startling me from my doze.
“Only for you.” I give him my sweetest smile. The late afternoon sun has shifted, and I am under its full glare. He smirks and in one swift move pulls my sun lounger into the shade of the parasol.
“Out of the Mediterranean sun, Mrs. Grey.”
“Thank you for your altruism, Mr. Grey.”
“My pleasure, Mrs. Grey, and I’m not being altruistic at all. If you burn, I won’t be able to touch you.” He raises an eyebrow, his eyes 4 | P a g e
E L JAMES shining with mirth, and my heart expands. “But I suspect you know that and you’re laughing at me.”
“Would I?” I gasp, feigning innocence.

“Yes you would and you do. Often. It’s one of the many things I love about you.” He leans down and kisses me, playfully biting my lower lip.
“I was hoping you’d rub me down with more suntan lotion.” I pout against his lips. “Mrs. Grey, it’s a dirty job . . . but that’s an offer I can’t refuse. Sit up,” he orders, his voice husky. I do as I’m told, and with slow meticulous strokes from strong and supple fingers, he coats me in sun lotion.
“You really are very lovely. I’m a lucky man,” he murmurs as his fingers skim over my breasts, spreading the lotion.
“Yes you are, Mr. Grey.” I gaze coyly up at him through my lashes.
“Modesty becomes you, Mrs. Grey. Turn over. I want to do your back.”
Smiling, I roll over, and he undoes the back strap of my hideously expensive bikini. “How would you feel if I went topless, like the other women on the beach?” I ask. “Displeased,” he says without hesitation. “I’m not very happy about you wearing so little right now.” He leans down and whispers in my ear. “Don’t push your luck.”
“Is that a challenge, Mr. Grey?”
“No. It’s a statement of fact, Mrs. Grey.”
I sigh and shake my head. Oh Christian . . . my possessive, jealous, control

freak Christian.
When he’s finished, he slaps my behind.

“You’ll do, wench.”
His ever-present, ever-active BlackBerry buzzes. I frown and he smirks.
“My eyes only, Mrs. Grey.” He raises his eyebrow in playful warning, slaps my backside once more, and sits back down on his lounger to take the call.

5|P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed
My inner goddess purrs. Maybe tonight we could do some kind of floor show for his eyes only. She smirks knowingly, arching a brow. I grin at the thought and drift back into my afternoon siesta.
“Mam’selle? Un Perrier pour moi, un Coca-Cola light p our ma femme, s’il vous plait. Et quelque chose a manger. . . laissez-moi voir la carte.”
Hmm . . . Christian speaking fluent French wakes me. My eyelashes flutter in the glare of the sun, and I find Christian watching me while a liveried young woman walks away, her tray held aloft, her high blond ponytail swinging provocatively. “Thirsty?” he asks.
“Yes,” I mutter sleepily.
“I could watch you all day. Tired?”
I flush. “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“Me neither.” He grins, puts down his BlackBerry and stands. His shorts fall a little and hang . . . in that way so his swim trunks are visible beneath.
Christian takes his shorts off, stepping out of his flipflops. I lose my train of thought. “Come for a swim with me.” He holds out his hand while I look up at him, dazed. “Swim?” he says again, cocking his head to one side, an amused expression on his face. When I don’t respond, he shakes his head slowly.
“I think you need a wake-up call.” Suddenly he pounces, reaching down and lifting me into his arms while I shriek, more from surprise than alarm.
“Christian! Put me down!” I squeal.
He chuckles. “Only in the sea, baby.”
Several sunbathers on the beach watch with that bemused disinterest so typical, I now realize, of the French as Christian carries me to the sea, laughing, and wades in.
I clasp my arms around his neck. “You wouldn’t.” I say breathlessly, trying to stifle my giggling.
He grins down at me. “Oh Ana, baby, have you learned nothing in the short time we’ve known each other?” He leans down and kisses me, and I seize my opportunity, running my fingers through his hair, 6 | P a g e
E L JAMES grasping two handfuls and kissing him back, invading his mouth with my tongue. He inhales sharply and leans back, eyes smoky but wary.
“I know your game,” he whispers and he slowly sinks into the cool, clear water, taking me with him as his lips find mine once more. The chill of the
Mediterranean is soon forgotten as I wrap myself around my husband.
“I thought you wanted to swim,” I murmur against his mouth.
“You’re very distracting.” Christian grazes his teeth along my lower lip. “But
I’m not sure I want the good people of Monte Carlo to see my wife in the throes of passion.”

I run my teeth along his jaw, his stubble tickly against my tongue, not caring a dime for the good people of Monte Carlo.
“Ana,” he groans. He wraps his wrist around my ponytail and tugs gently, tilting my head back, exposing my throat. He trails kisses from my ear down my neck.
“Shall I take you in the sea?” he breathes.
“Yes,” I whisper.
Christian pulls away and gazes down at me, his eyes warm, wanting and amused. “Mrs. Grey, you’re insatiable, and so brazen. What sort of monster have I created?”
“A monster fit for you. Would you have me any other way?”
“I’ll take you any way I can get you, you know that. But not right now. Not with an audience.” He jerks his head toward the shore. What?
Sure enough, several sunbathers on the beach have abandoned their indifference and now regard us with interest. Suddenly, Christian grabs me around my waist and launches me into the air, letting me fall into the water and sink beneath the waves to the soft sand below. I surface, coughing, spluttering and giggling.
“Christian!” I scold, glaring at him. I thought we were going to make love in the sea . . . and chalk up yet another first. He bites his lower lip to stifle his amusement. I splash him, and he splashes me right back.
“We have all night,” he says, grinning like a fool. “Laters, baby.”
He dives beneath the sea and surfaces three feet away from me, then in a fluid, graceful crawl, swims away from the shore, away from me. 7 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed
Gah! Playful, tantalizing Fifty! I shield my eyes from the sun as I watch him go. He’s such a tease . . . what can I do to get him back?
While I swim back to the shore, I contemplate my options. At the sun loungers our drinks have arrived and I take a quick sip of Coke. Christian is a faint speck in the distance.

Hmm . . . I lie down on my front and, fumbling with the straps, take my bikini top off and toss it casually onto Christian’s sun lounger. There . . . see how brazen I can be, Mr. Grey. Put this in your pipe and smoke it. I shut my eyes and let the sun warm my skin . . . warm my bones, and I drift away under its heat, my thoughts turning to my wedding day.
“You may kiss the bride,” Reverend Walsh gushes.
I beam up at my husband.
“Finally, you’re mine,” he whispers, and he pulls me into his arms and kisses me chastely on the lips.
I am married. I am Mrs. Christian Grey. I am giddy with joy.
“You look beautiful, Ana,” he murmurs and smiles, his eyes glowing with love
. . . and something darker, something hot. “Don’t let anyone take that dress off but me, understand?” His smile heats a hundred degrees as his fingertips trail down my cheek, igniting my blood.

Holy crap . . . How does he do this, even here with all these people staring at us?
I nod mutely. Jeez, I hope no one can hear us. Luckily Reverend Walsh has discreetly stepped back. I glance at the throng gathered in their wedding

finery . . . My mom, Ray, Bob, and the Greys are all applauding—even Kate, my maid of honor, who looks stunning in pale pink as she stands beside
Christian’s best man, his brother, Elliot. Who knew that even Elliot could scrub up so well? All wear huge, beaming smiles—except Grace, who weeps graciously into a dainty white handkerchief.
“Ready to party, Mrs. Grey?” Christian murmurs, giving me his shy smile. I melt. He looks divine in a simple black tux with silver waistcoat and tie. He’s so . . . dashing.

8|P age
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” I grin, a totally goofy smile on my face. Later the wedding party is in full swing . . . Carrick and Grace have gone to town. They have the marquee set up again and beautifully decorated in pale pink, silver and ivory with its sides open, facing the bay. We have been blessed with fine weather, and the late afternoon sun shines over the water. There’s a dance floor at one end of the marquee, a lavish buffet at the other.
Ray and my mother are dancing and laughing with each other. I feel bittersweet watching them together. I hope Christian and I last longer. I don’t know what I’d do if he left me. Marry in haste, repent at leisure. The saying haunts me.
Kate is beside me, looking so beautiful in her long silk gown. She glances at me and frowns. “Hey, this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life,” she scolds.
“It is,” I whisper.
“Oh Ana, what’s wrong? Are you watching your mom and Ray?”
I nod sadly.

“They’re happy.”
“Happier apart.”
“You’re having doubts?” Kate asks, alarmed.
“No, not at all. It’s just . . . I love him so much.” I freeze, unable or unwilling to articulate my fears.
“Ana, it’s obvious he adores you. I know you had an unconventional start to your relationship, but I can see how happy you’ve both been over the past month.” She grasps my hands, squeezing them. “Besides, it’s too late now,” she adds, grinning at me.
I giggle. Trust Kate to point out the obvious. She pulls me into a Katherine
Kavanagh Special Hug. “Ana, you’ll be fine. And if he does hurt one hair on your head, he’ll have me to answer to.” Releasing me, she grins at whoever is behind me.
“Hi, baby.” Christian puts his arms around me, surprising me, and kisses my temple. “Kate,” he acknowledges. He’s still cool toward her even after six weeks. “Hello again, Christian. I’m off to find your best man, who happens to be my best man, too.” With a smile to us both, she heads over to Elliot, who is drinking with her brother Ethan and our friend José.
“Time to go,” Christian murmurs.

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Fifty Shades Freed
“Already? This is the first party I’ve been to where I don’t mind being the center of attention.” I turn in his arms to face him.

“You deserve to be. You look stunning, Anastasia.”
“So do you.”
He smiles down at me, his expression heating. “This beautiful dress becomes you.”
“This old thing?” I flush shyly and pull at the fine lace trim of the simple, fitted wedding dress designed for me by Kate’s mother. I love that the lace is just off the shoulder; demure, yet alluring, I hope. He bends and kisses me. “Let’s go. I don’t want to share you with all these people anymore.”
“Can we leave our own wedding?”
“Baby, it’s our party, and we can do whatever we want. We’ve cut the cake.
And right now, I’d like to whisk you away and have you all to myself.”
I giggle. “You have me for a lifetime, Mr. Grey.”
“I’m very glad to hear that, Mrs. Grey.”
“Oh, there you two are! Such lovebirds.”
I groan inwardly . . . Grace’s mother has found us.
“Christian, darling—one more dance with your grandma?”
Christian’s lips purse slightly.
“Of course, Grandmother.”
“And you, beautiful Anastasia, go and make an old man happy— dance with Theo.”

“Grandpa Trevelyan.’
“Oh, I think you can call me Grandma. Now, you two seriously need to get working on my great-grandkids. I won’t last too much longer.” She gives us both a simpering smile. Christian blinks at her in horror.
“Come, Grandmother,” he says, hurriedly taking her hand and leading her to the dance floor. He glances back at me, practically pouting, and rolls his eyes. “Laters, baby.”
As I walk toward Grandpa Trevelyan, José accosts me.
“I won’t ask you for another dance. I think I monopolized too much of your time on the dance floor as it is . . . I’m happy to see you happy, but I’m serious, Ana. I’ll be here . . . If you need me.”

10 | P a g e
“José, thank you. You’re a good friend.”
“I mean it.” His dark eyes burn bright with sincerity.
“I know you do. Thank you, José. Now if you’ll please excuse me—
I have a date with an old man.”
He blinks at me in incomprehension.
“Christian’s grandfather,” I clarify.
He grins. “Good luck with that, Annie. Good luck with everything.”
“Thanks, José.”

After my dance with Christian’s ever-charming grandfather, I stand by the
French doors, watching the sun sink slowly over Seattle, casting bright orange and aquamarine shadows across the bay.
“Let’s go,” Christian urges.
“I have to change.” I grasp his hand, meaning to pull him through the French windows and upstairs with me. He frowns, not understanding, and tugs gently on my hand, halting me.
“I thought you wanted to be the one to take this dress off,” I explain. His eyes light up.
“Correct.” He gives me a lascivious grin. “But I’m not undressing you here.
We wouldn’t leave until . . . I don’t know . . .” He waves his long-fingered hand, leaving his sentence unfinished but his meaning quite clear.
I flush and let go of his hand.
“And don’t take your hair down either,” he murmurs darkly.
“No buts, Anastasia. You look beautiful. And I want to be the one to undress you.” Oh. I frown.
“Pack your going-away clothes,” he orders. “You’ll need them. Taylor has your main suitcase.”
“Okay.” What has he got planned? He hasn’t told me where we’re going. In fact, I don’t think anyone knows where we’re going. Neither Mia nor Kate has managed to inveigle the information out of him. I turn to where my mother and
Kate are hovering nearby.

“I’m not changing.”
“What?” my mother says.
“Christian doesn’t want me to.” I shrug as if this should explain everything.
Her brow furrows briefly.

11 | P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed
“You didn’t promise to obey,” she reminds me tactfully. Kate tries to disguise her snort as a cough. I narrow my eyes at her. Neither she nor my mother have any idea of the fight Christian and I had about that. I don’t want to rehash that argument. Jeez, can my Fifty Shades sulk . . . and have nightmares. The memory is sobering.
“I know, Mom, but he likes this dress, and I want to please him.”
Her expression softens. Kate rolls her eyes and tactfully moves away to leave me alone with my mother.
“You look so lovely, darling.” Carla gently tugs at a loose tendril of my hair and strokes my chin. “I am so proud of you, honey. You’re going to make
Christian a very happy man.” She pulls me into a hug. Oh Mom! “I can’t believe how grown-up you look right now. Beginning a new life . . . Just remember that men are from a different planet, and you’ll be fine.”
I giggle. Christian is from a different universe, if only she knew.
“Thanks, Mom.”
Ray joins us, smiling sweetly at both Mom and me.
“You made a beautiful baby girl, Carla,” he says, his eyes glowing with pride.
He looks so dapper in his black tux and pale pink waistcoat. Tears prick the

back of my eyes. Oh no . . . so far I have managed not to cry.
“And you watched her and helped her grow up, Ray,” Carla’s voice is wistful.
“And I loved every single minute. You make one hell of a bride, Annie,” Ray tucks the same loose strand of hair behind my ear.
“Oh, Dad . . .” I stifle a sob, and he hugs me in his brief, awkward way.
“You’ll make one hell of a wife, too,” he whispers, his voice hoarse. When he releases me, Christian is back at my side.
Ray shakes his hand warmly. “Look after my girl, Christian.”
“I fully intend to, Ray. Carla.” He nods at my stepdad and kisses my mom.
The rest of the wedding guests have formed a long human arch for us to travel through, leading round to the front of the house.
“Ready?” Christian says.

12 | P a g e
Taking my hand, he leads me under their outstretched arms while our guests shout good luck and congratulations and shower us with rice. Waiting with smiles and hugs at the end of the arch are Grace and Carrick. In turn they hug and kiss us both. Grace is emotional again as we bid them hasty goodbyes. Taylor is waiting to whisk us away in the Audi SUV. As Christian holds the car door open for me, I turn and toss my bouquet of white and pink roses into the crowd of young women that has gathered. Mia triumphantly holds it aloft,

grinning from ear to ear. As I slide into the SUV laughing at Mia’s audacious catch, Christian bends to gather the hem of my dress. Once I’m safely in, he bids the waiting crowd a farewell.
Taylor holds the car door open for him. “Congratulations, sir.”
“Thank you, Taylor,” Christian replies as he seats himself beside me.
As Taylor pulls away, the vehicle is showered with rice by our wedding guests. Christian grasps my hand and kisses my knuckles.
“So far so good, Mrs. Grey?”
“So far so wonderful, Mr. Grey. Where are we going?”
“Sea-Tac,” he says simply and smiles a sphinxlike smile. Hmm . . . what is he planning?
Taylor does not head for the departure terminal as I expect but through a security gate and directly on to the tarmac. What? And then I see her—
Christian’s jet . . . Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. in large blue lettering across her fuselage.
“Don’t tell me you’re misusing company property again!”
“Oh, I hope so, Anastasia.” Christian grins.
Taylor halts at the foot of the steps leading up to the plane and leaps out of the Audi to open Christian’s door. They have a brief discussion, then
Christian opens my door—and rather than stepping back to give me room to climb out, he leans in and lifts me.

“What are you doing?” I squeak.

“Carrying you over the threshold,” he says.
“Oh.” Isn’t that supposed to be at home?
He carries me effortlessly up the steps, and Taylor follows with my small suitcase. He leaves it on the threshold of the plane before 13 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed returning to the Audi. Inside the cabin, I recognize Stephan, Christian’s pilot, in his uniform.
“Welcome aboard, sir, Mrs. Grey.” He grins at us both. Christian puts me down and shakes Stephan’s hand. Beside Stephan stands a dark-haired woman in her what? Early thirties? She’s also in uniform.
“Congratulations to you both,” Stephan continues.
“Thank you, Stephan. Anastasia, you know Stephan. He’s our captain today, and this is First Officer Beighley.”
She blushes as Christian introduces her and blinks rapidly. I want to roll my eyes. Another female completely captivated by my toohandsome-for-hisown-good husband.
“Delighted to meet you,” gushes Beighley. I smile kindly at her. After all—he is mine.
“All preparations complete?” Christian asks them both as I glance around the cabin. The interior is all pale maple wood and pale cream leather. It’s lovely.
Another young woman in uniform stands at the other end of the cabin—a very pretty brunette. Who the hell is that?
“We have the all clear. Weather is good from here to Boston.”


“Not before Boston. There’s a weather front over Shannon that might give us a rough ride.”

Shannon? Ireland?
“I see. Well, I hope to sleep through it all,” says Christian matter-offactly.

“We’ll get underway, sir,” Stephan says. “We’ll leave you in the capable care of Natalia, your flight attendant.” Christian glances in her direction and frowns, but turns to Stephan with a smile.
“Excellent,” he says. Taking my hand, he leads me to one of the sumptuous leather seats. There must be about twelve of them in total.
“Sit,” he says as he removes his jacket and undoes his fine sliver brocade vest. We sit in two single seats facing each other with a small, highly polished table between us.
“Welcome aboard, sir, ma’am, and congratulations.” Natalia is at our side, offering us both a glass of pink champagne. 14 | P a g e
“Thank you,” Christian says, and she smiles politely at us and retreats to the galley. “Here’s to a happy married life, Anastasia.” Christian raises his glass to mine, and we chink. The champagne is delicious.
“Bollinger?” I ask.
“The same.”

“The first time I drank this it was out of teacups.” I grin at him.
“I remember that day well. Your graduation.”
“Where are we going?” I’m unable to contain my curiosity any longer.
“Shannon,” Christian says, his eyes alight with excitement. He looks like a small boy.
“In Ireland?” We’re going to Ireland!
“To refuel,” he adds, teasing.
“Then?” I prompt.
His grin broadens and he shakes his head.
“London,” he says, gazing intently at me, trying to gauge my reaction.
I gasp . Holy cow. I thought maybe we’d be going to New York or Aspen or maybe the Caribbean. I can hardly believe it. My lifetime ambition has been to visit England. I’m lit up from within, incandescent with happiness.
“Then Paris,” he adds.

“Then the South of France.”
“I know you’ve always dreamed of going to Europe,” he says softly.
“I want to make your dreams come true, Anastasia.”

“You are my dreams come true, Christian.”
“Back at you, Mrs. Grey,” he whispers.

Oh my . . .
“Buckle up.”
I grin and do as I’m told.
As the plane taxis out on to the runway, we sip our champagne, grinning inanely at each other. I can’t believe it. At twenty-two years 15 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed old, I’m finally leaving the United States and going to Europe—to London of all places
Once we’re airborne, Natalia serves us yet more champagne and prepares our wedding feast. And what a feast it is—smoked salmon, followed by roast partridge with a green bean salad and dauphinoise potatoes, all cooked and served by the ever-efficient Natalia.
“Dessert, Mr. Grey?” she asks.
He shakes his head and runs his finger across his bottom lip as he looks questioningly at me, his expression dark and unreadable.
“No, thank you,” I murmur, unable to break eye contact with him. His lips curl up in a small, secret smile and Natalia retreats.
“Good,” he murmurs. “I’d rather planned on having you for dessert.”

Oh . . . here?
“Come,” he says, rising from the table and offering me his hand. He leads

me to the back of the cabin.
“There’s a bathroom here.” He points to a small door then leads me on down a short corridor and through a door at the end. Jeez . . . a bedroom. The cabin is cream and maple wood and the small double bed is covered in gold and taupe cushions. It looks very comfortable.
Christian turns and pulls me into his arms, gazing down at me.
“I thought we’d spend our wedding night at thirty-five-thousand feet. It’s something I’ve never done before.”

Holy cow . . . another first. I gape at him, my heart pounding. . .the mile high club. I’ve heard about this.
“But first I have to get you out of this fabulous dress.” His eyes glow with love and something darker, something I love . . . something that calls to my inner goddess. He takes my breath away.
“Turn around.” His voice is low, authoritative, and sexy as hell. How can he infuse so much promise into those two words? Willingly I comply and his hands move to my hair. Gently he pulls out each hairpin one at a time, his expert fingers making short work of the task. My hair falls in swathes over my shoulders, one lock at a time, covering my back and down to my breasts. I try to stand still and not squirm, but I’m aching for his touch. After our long, tiring but exciting day, I want him—all of him.

16 | P a g e
“You have such beautiful hair, Ana.” His mouth is close to my ear and I feel his breath, though his lips don’t touch me. When my hair is free of pins, he runs his fingers through it, gently massaging my scalp . . . oh my . . . I close my eyes and savor the sensation. His fingers travel on down, and he tugs, tilting my head back to expose my throat.

“You’re mine,” he breathes and his teeth tug my ear lobe. I groan.
“Hush now,” he admonishes. He sweeps my hair over my shoulder and trails a finger across the top of my back from shoulder to shoulder following the lace edge of my dress. I shiver in anticipation. He plants a tender kiss on my back above the first button on my dress.
“So beautiful,” he says as he deftly undoes the first button. “You have made me the happiest man alive today.” With infinite slowness, he unfastens each one, all the way down my back. “I love you so much.” Trailing kisses from the nape of my neck to the edge of my shoulder. Between each kiss he murmurs,
“I. Want. You. So. Much. I. Want. To. Be. Inside. You. You. Are. Mine.”
Each word is intoxicating. I close my eyes and tilt my head, giving him easier access to my neck, and I fall further under the spell that is Christian Grey, my husband. “Mine,” he whispers once more. He peels my dress down my arms so that it pools at my feet in a cloud of ivory silk and lace.
“Turn around,” he whispers, his voice suddenly hoarse. I do so and he gasps.
I’m dressed in a tight, blush-pink satin corset with garter straps, matching lacy briefs, and white silk stockings. Christian’s eyes travel greedily down my body, but he says nothing. He just gazes at me, his eyes wide with want.
“You like?” I whisper aware of the shy blush creeping across my cheeks.
“More than like, baby. You look sensational. Here.” He holds out his hand and taking it, I step out from my dress.
“Keep still,” he murmurs and without taking his darkening eyes off mine, he runs his middle finger over my breasts, following the line of my corset. My breath shallows and he repeats the journey over my breasts once more, his tantalizing finger sending tingles down my 17 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed spine. He stops and twirls his index finger in the air, indicating that he wants me to turn around. For him, right now, I’d do anything.
“Stop,” he says. I’m facing the bed, away from him. His arm encircles my waist, pulling me against him, and he nuzzles my neck. Gently he cups my breasts, toying with them, while his thumbs circle over my nipples so that they strain against the fabric of my corset.
“Mine,” he whispers.
“Yours,” I breathe.
Leaving my breasts bereft he runs his hands down my stomach, over my belly, and down to my thighs, his thumbs skimming my sex. I stifle a moan.
His fingers skate down each garter, and with his usual dexterity, he simultaneously unhooks each one from my stockings. His hands travel around to my behind.
“Mine,” he breathes as his hands spread across my backside, the tips of his fingers brushing my sex.
“Hush.” His hands travel down the backs of my thighs, and once more he unclips my garters.
Leaning down, he pulls back the cover on the bed. “Sit down.”
I do as I’m told in his thrall, and he kneels at my feet and gently tugs off each of my white bridal Jimmy Choos. He grasps the top of my left stocking and slowly peels it off, running his thumbs down my leg . . . Oh my. He repeats the process with my other stocking.

“This is like unwrapping my Christmas presents.” He smiles up at me through his long dark lashes.
“A present you’ve had already . . .”
He frowns in admonishment. “Oh no, baby. This time it’s really mine.”
“Christian, I’ve been yours since I said yes.” I scoot forward, cupping his beloved face in my hands. “I’m yours. I will always be yours, husband of mine.
Now, I think you’re wearing too many clothes.” I bend to kiss him, and suddenly he leans up, kisses my lips, and grasps my head with his hands, his fingers threading into my hair.
“Ana,” he breathes. “My Ana.” His lips claim mine once more, his tongue invasively persuasive.

18 | P a g e
“Clothes,” I whisper, our breath mingling as I push back his vest and he struggles out of it, releasing me for a moment. He pauses, gazing at me, eyes wide, eyes wanting.
“Let me, please.” My voice is soft and cajoling. I want to undress my husband, my Fifty.
He sits back on his heels, and leaning forward I grasp his tie—his sliver-gray tie, my favorite tie—and slowly undo it and pull it free. He raises his chin to let me tackle the top button of his white shirt; then once it’s undone, I move on to his cuffs. He’s wearing platinum cufflinks—engraved with an entwined A and
C—my wedding present to him. When I’ve removed them, he takes the cufflinks from me and fists them in his hand. Then he kisses his fist and shoves them into his pants pocket.
“Mr. Grey, so romantic.”

“For you Mrs. Grey—hearts and flowers. Always.”
I take his hand, and glancing up through my lashes, I kiss his plain platinum wedding ring. He groans and closes his eyes.
“Ana,” he whispers and my name is a prayer.
Reaching up to his second shirt button, and mirroring him from earlier, I plant a soft kiss on his chest as I undo each of them and whisper between each kiss, “You. Make. Me. So. Happy. I. Love. You.”
He groans, and in one swift move he clasps me around the waist and lifts me on to the bed, following me down on to it. His lips find mine, his hands curling around my head, holding me, stilling me as our tongues glory in each other.
Abruptly Christian kneels up, leaving me breathless and wanting more.
“You are so beautiful . . . wife.” He runs his hands down my legs then grasps my left foot. “You have such lovely legs. I want to kiss every inch of them.
Starting here.” He presses his lips against my big toe and then grazes the pad with his teeth. Everything south of my waistline convulses. His tongue glides up my instep and his teeth skim my heel and up to my ankle. He trails kisses up the inside of my calf; soft wet kisses. I wriggle beneath him.
“Still, Mrs. Grey,” he warns, and suddenly he flips me on to my stomach and continues his leisurely journey with his mouth up the back of my legs, to my thighs, my behind, and then he stops. I groan. 19 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed
“Please . . .”
“I want you naked,” he murmurs and slowly unhooks my corset, one hook at a time. When it’s flat on the bed beneath me, he runs his tongue up the length

of my spine.
“Christian, please.”
“What do you want, Mrs. Grey.” His words are soft and close to my ear. He’s almost lying on top of me . . . I can feel him hard against my behind.
“And I you, my love, my life . . . ,” he whispers, and before I know it, he’s flipped me on to my back. He stands swiftly and in one efficient move dispenses with his pants and boxer briefs so that he’s gloriously naked and looming large and ready over me. The small cabin is eclipsed by his dazzling beauty and his want and need of me. He leans down and peels off my panties then gazes down at me.
“Mine,” he mouths.
“Please,” I beg and he grins . . . a salacious, wicked, tempting, allFifty grin.
He crawls back onto the bed and trails kisses up my right leg this time . . . until he reaches the apex of my thighs. He pushes my legs wider apart.
“Ah . . . wife of mine,” he murmurs and then his mouth is on me. I close my eyes and surrender to his oh-so-adroit tongue. My hands fist in his hair as my hips swing and sway, slave to his rhythm, then buck off the small bed. He grabs my hips to still me . . . but doesn’t stop the delicious torture. I’m close, so close.
“Christian,” I moan.
“Not yet,” he breathes and he moves up my body, his tongue dipping into my navel. “No!” Damn! I sense his smile against my belly as his journey continues north. “So impatient, Mrs. Grey. We have until we touch down on the Emerald Isle.”
Reverentially he kisses my breasts and tugs my left nipple between his lips.
Gazing up at me, his eyes are dark like a tropical storm as he teases me.

Oh my . . . I’d forgotten. Europe.
“Husband, I want you. Please.”

20 | P a g e
He looms up over me, his body covering mine, resting his weight on his elbows. He runs his nose down mine, and I run my hands down his strong, supple back to his fine, fine backside.
“Mrs. Grey . . . wife. We aim to please.” His lips brush. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Eyes open. I want to see you.”
“Christian . . . ah . . . ,” I cry, as he slowly sinks into me.
“Ana, oh Ana,” he breathes and he starts to move.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Christian shouts, waking me from my very pleasant dream. He’s standing all wet and beautiful at the end of my sun lounger and glaring down at me.
What? What have I done? Oh no . . . I’m lying on my back . . . Crap, crap, crap and he’s mad. Shit. He’s really mad.

21 | P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed

Chapter Two
I blink up at him, suddenly very awake after my sleep, my erotic dream forgotten. “I was on my front. I must have turned over in my sleep.” I whisper weakly in my defense.
His eyes blaze with fury. He reaches down, scoops up my bikini top from his sun lounger, and tosses it at me.
“Put this on!” he hisses.
“Christian, no one is looking.”
“Trust me. They’re looking. I’m sure Taylor and the security crew are enjoying the show!” he snarls.

Holy shit! Why do I keep forgetting about them? I grasp my breasts in panic, hiding them. Ever since Charlie Tango’s sabotaged demise we are constantly shadowed by damned security.
“Yes,” Christian snarls. “And some sleazy fucking paparazzi could get a shot of you, too. Do you want to be all over the cover of Star magazine? Naked this time?”

Shit! The paparazzi! Fuck! As I hurriedly scramble into my top, all fingers and thumbs, the color drains from my face. I shudder. The unpleasant memory of being besieged by the paparazzi outside SIP after our engagement was leaked comes unwelcome to mind—all part of the
Christian Grey package.
“L’addition!” Christian snaps at the passing waitress. “We’re going,” he says to me.

“Yes. Now.”
Oh shit, he’s not to be argued with.
He pulls on his shorts, even though his trunks are dripping wet, then his gray
T-shirt. The waitress is back in a moment with his credit card and the check.
Reluctantly, I wriggle into my turquoise sundress and step into my flip-flops.
Once the waitress has left, Christian snatches up his book 22 | P a g e
E L JAMES and BlackBerry and masks his fury behind mirrored aviator glasses. He’s bristling with tension and anger. My heart sinks. Every other woman on the beach is topless—it’s not that big of a crime. In fact I look odd with my top on. I sigh inwardly, my spirits sinking. I thought Christian would see the funny side . . . sort of . . . maybe if I’d stayed on my front, but his sense of humor has evaporated.
“Please don’t be mad at me,” I whisper, taking his book and BlackBerry from him and placing them in my backpack.
“Too late for that,” he says quietly—too quietly. “Come.” Taking my hand, he signals up to Taylor and his two sidekicks, the French security officers
Philippe and Gaston. Weirdly, they are identical twins. They have been patiently watching us and everyone else on the beach from the verandah.
Why do I keep forgetting about them? How? Taylor is stony-faced behind his dark glasses. Shit, he’s mad at me, too. I’m still not used to seeing him so casually dressed in shorts and a black polo shirt.
Christian leads me into the hotel, through the lobby, and out onto the street.
He remains silent, brooding, and bad-tempered, and it’s all my fault. Taylor and his team shadow us.

“Where are we going?” I ask tentatively, gazing up at him.
“Back to the boat.” He doesn’t look at me.
I have no idea of the time. I think it must be about five or six in the afternoon.
When we reach the quayside, Christian leads me onto the dock where the motorboat and Jet Ski belonging to the Fair Lady are moored. As Christian unties the Jet Ski, I hand my backpack to Taylor. I glance nervously up at him, but like Christian, his expression gives nothing away. I flush, thinking about what he’s seen on the beach.
“Here you go, Mrs. Grey.” Taylor passes me a life vest from the motorboat, and I dutifully put it on. Why am I the only one who has to wear a life jacket?
Christian and Taylor exchange some kind of look. Jeez, is he angry with
Taylor, too? Christian then checks the straps on my life jacket, cinching the middle one tightly.
“You’ll do,” he mutters sullenly, still not turning to look at me. Shit. He climbs gracefully on to the Jet Ski and holds out his hand for me to join him.
Grasping it tightly, I manage to throw my leg over the seat behind him without falling into the water, while Taylor and the twins 23 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed clamber into the motorboat. Christian kicks the Jet Ski away from the quay, and it floats gently into the marina.
“Hold on,” he orders, and I put my arms around him. This is my favorite part of traveling by Jet Ski. I hug him closely, my nose nuzzling into his back, marveling that there was a time when he would not have tolerated me touching him this way. He smells good . . . of Christian and the sea. Forgive

me, Christian, please?
He stiffens. “Steady,” he says, his tone softer. I kiss his back and rest my cheek against him, looking back toward the quay where a few holidaymakers

have gathered to watch the show.
Christian turns the key and the motor roars to life. With one twist of the accelerator, the Jet Ski bucks forward and speeds across the cool dark water, through the marina and out to the center of the harbor toward the Fair
Lady. I hold him tighter. I love this—it’s so exciting. Every muscle in
Christian’s lean frame is evident as I cling to him. Taylor pulls alongside in the motorboat. Christian glances at him then accelerates again, and we shoot forward, whipping over the top of the water like an expertly tossed pebble. Taylor shakes his head in resigned exasperation and heads straight to the yacht, while Christian shoots past the Fair Lady and heads out toward the open sea. The sea spray is splashing us, the warm wind buffeting my face and flaying my ponytail crazily around me. This is so much fun. Maybe the thrill of this ride will dispel Christian’s bad mood. I can’t see his face, but I know he’s enjoying himself—carefree, acting his age for a change.
He steers in a huge semicircle and I study the shoreline—the boats in the marina, the mosaic of yellow, white and sand-colored offices and apartments, and the craggy mountains behind. It looks so disorganized—not the regimented blocks that I am used to—but so picturesque. Christian glances over his shoulder at me, and there’s the ghost of a smile playing on his lips.
“Again?” he shouts over the noise of the engine.
I nod enthusiastically. His answering grin is dazzling, and he opens the throttle and speeds around the Fair Lady and on out to sea once more . . . and I think I’m forgiven.

24 | P a g e
“You’ve caught the sun,” Christian says mildly as he undoes my life vest. I anxiously try to assess his mood. We are on deck aboard the yacht, and one

of the stewards is standing quietly nearby, waiting for my life vest. Christian passes it to him.
“Will that be all, sir?” the young man asks. I love his French accent. Christian glances at me, takes off his shades, and slips them into the collar of his Tshirt, letting them hang.
“Would you like a drink?” he asks me.
“Do I need one?”
He cocks his head to one side.
“Why would you say that?” His voice is soft.
“You know why.”
He frowns as if weighing something up in his mind. Oh, what is he thinking?
“Two gin and tonics, please. And some nuts and olives,” he says to the steward, who nods and quickly vanishes.
“You think I’m going to punish you?” Christian’s voice is silky.
“Do you want to?”
“I’ll think of something. Maybe when you’ve had your drink.” And it’s a sensual threat. I swallow, and my inner goddess blinks up from her sun lounger where she’s trying to catch rays with a silver reflector fanned out at her neck.
Christian’s frowns once more.
“You want to be?”

How does he know?
“Depends,” I mutter, flushing.
“On what?” He hides his smile.
“If you want to hurt me or not.”
His mouth presses into a hard line, humor forgotten. He leans forward and kisses my forehead.
“Anastasia, you’re my wife, not my sub. I don’t ever want to hurt you. You should know that by now. Just . . . just don’t take your clothes off in public. I don’t want you naked all over the tabloids. You don’t want that, and I’m sure your mom and Ray don’t want that either.”

25 | P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed
Oh! Ray. Holy shit, he’d have a coronary. What was I thinking? I mentally castigate myself.
The steward appears with our drinks and snacks and places them on the teak table.
“Sit,” Christian commands. I do as he says and settle into a director’s chair.
Christian takes a seat beside me and passes me a gin and tonic.
“Cheers, Mrs. Grey.”
“Cheers, Mr. Grey.”
I take a welcome sip. It’s thirst-quenching, cold, and delicious. When I gaze at him, he’s watching me carefully, his mood unreadable. It’s very frustrating .

. . I don’t know if he’s still mad at me. I deploy my patented distraction technique. “Who owns this boat?” I ask.
“A British knight. Sir Somebody-or-Other. His great-grandfather started a grocery store. His daughter’s married to one of the Crown Princes of
Oh. “Super-rich?”
Christian looks suddenly wary. “Yes.”
“Like you,” I murmur.
“And like you,” Christian whispers and pops an olive into his mouth. I blink rapidly . . . a vision of him in his tux and silver waistcoat comes to mind . . . his eyes burning with sincerity as he gazes down at me during our wedding ceremony. “All that is mine is now yours,” he says, his voice ringing out clearly reciting his vows from memory.

All mine? Holy cow.
“It’s odd. Going from nothing to”—I wave my hand to indicate our opulent surroundings—“to everything.”
“You’ll get used to it.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”

Taylor appears on deck. “Sir, you have a call.” Christian frowns but takes the proffered Blackberry.
“Grey,” he snaps and rises from his seat to stand at the bow of the yacht.

26 | P a g e
I gaze out at the sea, tuning out his conversation with Ros—I think—his number two. I am rich . . . stinking rich. I have done nothing to earn this money
. . . just married a rich man. I shudder as my mind drifts back to our conversation about prenups. It was Sunday after his birthday and we were seated at the kitchen table enjoying a leisurely breakfast . . . all of us, Elliot,
Kate, Grace, and I were debating the merits of bacon versus sausage, while
Carrick and Christian read the Sunday paper . . .
“Look at this,” squeals Mia as she sets her netbook on the table before us on the kitchen table. “There’s a gossipy item on the Seattle Nooz website about you being engaged, Christian.”
“Already?” Grace says in surprise. Then her mouth purses as some obviously unpleasant thought crosses her mind. Christian frowns. Mia reads the column out loud. “Word has reached us here at The Nooz that Seattle’s most eligible bachelor, the Christian Grey, has finally been snapped up and wedding bells are in the air. But who is the lucky, lucky lady? The Nooz is on the hunt. Bet she’s reading one helluva prenup.”
Mia giggles then stops abruptly as Christian glares at her. Silence descends, and the atmosphere in the Grey kitchen plunges to below zero.

Oh no! A prenup? The thought has never crossed my mind. I swallow, feeling all the blood drain from my face. Please ground, swallow me up now!
Christian shifts uncomfortably in his chair as I glance apprehensively at him.

“No,” he mouths at me.
“Christian,” Carrick says gently.
“I’m not discussing this again,” Christian snaps at Carrick who glances at me nervously and opens his mouth to say something.
“No prenup!” Christian almost shouts at him and broodingly goes back to reading his paper, ignoring everyone else at the table. They look alternately at me then him . . . then anywhere but at the two of us. 27 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed
“Christian,” I murmur. “I’ll sign anything you and Mr. Grey want.”
Jeez, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s made me sign something. Christian looks up and glares at me.
“No!” he snaps. I blanch once more.
“It’s to protect you.”
“Christian, Ana—I think you should discuss this in private,” Grace admonishes us. She glares at Carrick and Mia. Oh dear, looks like they’re in trouble, too.
“Ana, this is not about you,” Carrick murmurs reassuringly. “And please call me Carrick.”
Christian narrows cold eyes at his father and my heart sinks. Hell . . . He’s

really mad.
Everyone erupts into animated conversation, and Mia and Kate leap up to clear the table.

“I definitely prefer sausage,” exclaims Elliot.
I stare down at my knotted fingers. Crap. I hope Mr. and Mrs. Grey don’t think
I’m some kind of gold digger. Christian reaches over and grasps both my hands gently in one of his.
“Stop it.”
How does he know what I’m thinking?
“Ignore my dad,” Christian says so only I can hear him. “He’s really pissed about Elena. That stuff was all aimed at me. I wish my mom had kept her mouth shut.”
I know Christian is still smarting from his “talk” with Carrick about Elena last night. “He has a point, Christian. You’re very wealthy, and I’m bringing nothing to our marriage but my student loans.”
Christian gazes at me, his eyes bleak. “Anastasia, if you leave me, you might as well take everything. You left me once before. I know how that feels.”

Holy Fuck! “That was different,” I whisper, moved by his intensity.
“But . . . you might want to leave me.” The thought makes me sick.
He snorts and shakes his head with mock disgust.
“Christian, you know, I might do something exceptionally stupid— and you . . .” I glance down at my knotted hands, pain lancing through me unable to finish my sentence. Losing Christian . . . fuck. 28 | P a g e

“Stop. Stop now. This subject is closed, Ana. We’re not discussing it any more. No prenup. Not now—not ever.” He gives me a pointed give-it-up-now look, which silences me. Then he turns to Grace.
“Mom,” he says. “Can we have the wedding here?”
And he’s not mentioned it again. In fact at every opportunity he’s tried to reassure me about his wealth . . . that’s it mine, too. I shudder as I recall the crazy shopping fest Christian demanded I go on with Caroline Acton—the personal shopper from Niemans—in preparation for this honeymoon. My bikini alone cost five hundred and forty dollars. I mean, it’s nice, but really— that’s a ridiculous amount of money for four triangular scraps of material.
“You will get used to it,” Christian interrupts my reverie as he resumes his place at the table.
“Used to it?”
“The money,” he says rolling his eyes.

Oh, Fifty, maybe with time. I push the small dish of salted almonds and cashews toward him.
“Your nuts, sir,” I say with as straight a face as I can manage, trying to bring some humor to our conversation after my dark thoughts and my bikini top faux pas.
He smirks. “I’m nuts about you.” He takes an almond, his eyes sparkling with wicked humor as he enjoys my little joke. He licks his lips. “Drink up. We’re going to bed.”

“Drink,” he mouths at me, his eyes darkening.

Oh my, the look he gives me could be solely responsible for global warming. I pick up my gin and drain the glass, not taking my eyes off him. His mouth drops open, and I glimpse the tip of his tongue between his teeth. He smiles lewdly at me. In one fluid move, he gets up and bends over me, resting his hands on the arms of my chair.
“I’m going to make an example of you. Come. Don’t pee,” he whispers in my ear. I gasp. Don’t pee? How rude. My subconscious looks up from her book—
The Complete works of Charles Dickens, Vol. 1—with alarm. 29 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed
“It’s not what you think.” Christian smirks, holding his hand out to me. “Trust me.” He looks so sexy and genial. How can I resist?
“Okay.” I place my hand in his, because quite simply, I’d trust him with my life.
What has he got planned? My heart starts pounding in anticipation.
He leads me across the deck and through the doors into the plush, beautifully appointed main salon, along a narrow corridor, through the dining room, and down the stairs to the main master cabin. The cabin has been cleaned since this morning and the bed made. It’s a lovely room. With two portholes on both the starboard and port sides, it’s elegantly decorated in dark walnut furniture with cream walls and soft furnishings in gold and red.
Christian releases my hand, pulls his T-shirt off over his head, and tosses it onto a chair. He steps out of his flip-flops and removes his shorts and trunks in one graceful move . Oh my. Will I ever tire of looking at him naked? He is utterly gorgeous, and all mine. His skin glows—he’s caught the sun, too, and his hair is longer, flopping over his forehead. I am one lucky, lucky girl.
He reaches forward and grasps my chin, pulling slightly so that I stop biting my lip and runs his thumb along my lower lip.

“That’s better.” He turns and strides over to the impressive armoire that houses his clothes. He produces two pairs of metal handcuffs and an airline eye mask from the bottom drawer.

Handcuffs! We’ve never used handcuffs. I glance quickly and nervously at the bed. Where the hell is he going to attach those? He turns and gazes steadily at me, his eyes dark and luminous.
“These can be quite painful. They can bite into the skin if you pull too hard.”
He holds up one pair. “But I really want to use them on you now.”

Holy fuck. My mouth goes dry.
“Here.” He stalks gracefully forward and hands me a set. “Do you want to try them first?”
They feel solid, the metal cold. Vaguely, I hope I never have to wear a pair of these for real.
Christian is watching me intently.
“Where are the keys?” My voice wavering.

30 | P a g e

He holds out his palm, revealing a small metallic key. “This does both sets. In fact, all sets.”

How many sets does he have? I don’t remember seeing any in the museum chest. Reaching up, he strokes my cheek with his index finger, trailing it down to my mouth. He leans in as if to kiss me.
“Do you want to play?” he says, his voice low, and everything in my body heads south as desire unfurls deep in my belly.
“Yes,” I breathe.
He smiles. “Good.” He plants a featherlight kiss on my forehead.
“We’re going to need a safe word.”

“Stop won’t be enough because you will probably say that, but you won’t mean it.” He runs his nose down mine—the only contact between us.

What does he mean? My heart starts pounding. Shit . . . How can he do this with just words?
“This is not going to hurt. It will be intense. Very intense, because I am not going to let you move. Okay?”

Oh my. This sounds so hot. My breathing is too loud. Fuck, I am panting already. My inner goddess has her sequins on and is warming up to dance the rumba. Thank heavens I’m married to this man, otherwise this would be embarrassing. My eyes flick down to his arousal.
“Okay.” My voice is barely audible.
“Choose a word, Ana.”

Oh . . .
“A safe word,” he says softly.

“Popsicle.” I say, panting.
“Popsicle?” he says, amused.
He grins as he leans back to gaze down at me. “Interesting choice. Lift up your arms.”
I do as I’m told, and Christian grasps the hem of my sundress, lifts it over my head, and tosses it on the floor. He holds out his hand, and I give him back the handcuffs. He places both sets on the bedside table 31 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed along with the blindfold and yanks the quilt off the bed, letting it fall to the floor. “Turn round.”
I turn, and he undoes my bikini top so that it falls to the floor.
“Tomorrow, I will staple this to you,” he mutters and tugs on my hair tie, freeing my hair. He gathers it into one hand and yanks gently so I step back against him. Against his chest. Against his erection. I gasp as he pulls my head to one side and kisses my neck.
“You were very disobedient,” he murmurs in my ear, sending delicious shivers through me.
“Yes,” I whisper.
“Hmm. What are we going to do about that?”
“Learn to live with it,” I breathe. His soft languid kisses are driving me wild.
He grins against my neck.

“Ah, Mrs. Grey. You are ever the optimist.”
He straightens. Taking my hair, he carefully parts it into three strands, braids it slowly, and then fastens my hair tie to the end. He tugs my braid gently and leans down to my ear.
“I am going to teach you a lesson,” he murmurs.
Moving suddenly, he grabs me by the waist, sits down on the bed, and yanks me across his knee so that I feel his erection pressed against my belly. He smacks my backside once, hard. I yelp, then I’m on my back on the bed and he’s gazing down at me, his eyes molten gray. I’m going to combust.
“Do you know how beautiful you are?” He trails his fingertips up my thigh so that I tingle . . . everywhere. Without taking his eyes off me, he gets up from the bed and gathers both sets of handcuffs. He grasps my left leg and snaps one cuff around my ankle. Oh!
Lifting my right leg, he repeats the process so I have a pair of handcuffs attached to each ankle. I still have no idea where he’s going to attach them.
“Sit up,” he orders and I comply immediately.
“Now hug your knees.”
I blink at him then draw my legs up so they are bent in front of me and wrap my arms around them. He reaches down, lifts my chin, and plants a soft wet kiss on my lips before slipping the blindfold over my 32 | P a g e
E L JAMES eyes. I can see nothing, all I can hear is my rapid breathing and the sound of the water lapping against the sides of the yacht as she bobs gently on the sea. Oh my. I am so aroused . . . already.
“What’s the safe word, Anastasia?”
“Good.” Taking my left hand, he snaps a cuff around my wrist then repeats the process with my right. My left hand is tied to my left ankle, my right hand to the right leg. I cannot straighten my legs. Holy fuck.
“Now,” Christian breathes, “I’m going to fuck you till you scream.”

What? And all the air leaves my body.
He grasps both of my heels and tips me back so that I fall backward on to the bed. I have no choice but to keep my legs bent. The cuffs tighten as I pull against them. He’s right . . . they cut into me almost to the point of pain . . .
This feels weird—being trussed up and helpless— on a boat. He pulls my ankles apart, and I groan.
He kisses my inner thigh, and I want to squirm beneath him, but I can’t. I have no purchase to move my hips. My feet are suspended. I cannot move. Holy

“You’re going to have to absorb all the pleasure, Anastasia. No moving,” he murmurs as he crawls up my body, kissing me along the edge of my bikini bottoms. He pulls the strings on each side, and the scraps of material fall away. I am now naked and at his mercy. He kisses my belly, nipping my navel with his teeth.
“Ah,” I sigh. This is going to be tough . . . I had no idea. He traces soft kisses and little bites up to my breasts.
“Shhh . . . ,” he soothes. “You are so beautiful, Ana.”

I groan, frustrated. Normally I’d be grinding my hips, responding to his touch with a rhythm of my own, but I cannot move. I moan, pulling on my restraints.
The metal bites into my skin.
“Argh!” I cry. But I really don’t care.
“You drive me crazy,” he whispers. “So I am going to drive you crazy.” He’s resting on me now, his weight on his elbows, and he turns his attention to my breasts. Biting, sucking, rolling my nipples between his fingers and thumbs, driving me wild. He doesn’t stop. It’s maddening. Oh. Please. His erection pushes against me.
“Christian,” I beg.

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I feel his triumphant smile against my skin.
“Shall I make you come this way?” He murmurs against my nipple, causing it to harden some more. “You know I can.” He suckles me hard and I cry out, pleasure lancing from my chest directly to my groin. I pull helplessly on the cuffs, swamped by the sensation.
“Yes,” I whimper.
“Oh baby, that would be too easy.”
“Oh . . . please.”
“Shh.” His teeth scrape my chin as he trails his lips to my mouth, and I gasp.
He kisses me. His skilled tongue invades my mouth, tasting, exploring, dominating, but my tongue meets his challenge, writhing against his. He tastes of cool gin and Christian Grey, and he smells of the sea. He grasps my chin, holding my head in place.

“Still, baby. I want you still,” he whispers against my mouth.
“I want to see you.”
“Oh no, Ana. You’ll feel more this way.” And agonizingly slowly he flexes his hips and pushes partway into me. I would normally tilt my pelvis up to meet him but I can’t move. He withdraws.
“Ah! Christian, please!”
“Again?” he teases, his voice hoarse.
He pushes fractionally into me again then withdraws while kissing me, his fingers tugging at my nipple. It’s pleasure overload.
“Do you want me, Anastasia?”
“Yes,” I beg.
“Tell me,” he murmurs, his breathing harsh, and he teases me once more—in
. . . and out.
“I want you,” I whimper. “Please.”
I hear his soft sigh against my ear.
“And have me you will, Anastasia.”
He rears up and slams into me. I scream, tilting my head back, pulling on the restraints as he hits my sweet spot, and I am all sensation, everywhere—a sweet, sweet agony, and I cannot move. He stills then circles his hips, and the motion radiates deep inside me.

“Why do you defy me, Ana?”
“Christian, stop . . .”

34 | P a g e
He circles deep inside me again, ignoring my plea, easing out slowly and then slamming into me again.
“Tell me. Why?” he hisses, and I’m vaguely aware that it’s through gritted teeth. I cry out in an incoherent wail . . . this is too much.
“Tell me.”
“Christian . . .”
“Ana, I need to know.”
He slams into me again, thrusting so deep, and I’m building . . . the feeling is so intense—it swamps me, spiraling out from deep within my belly, to each limb, to each biting metal restraint.
“I don’t know!” I cry out. “Because I can! Because I love you!
Please, Christian.”
He groans loudly and thrusts deep, again and again, over and over, and I am lost, trying to absorb the pleasure. It’s mind blowing . . . body blowing . . . I long to straighten my legs, to control my imminent orgasm, but I can’t . . . I’m helpless. I’m his, just his, to do with as he wills . . . Tears spring to my eyes.
This is too intense. I can’t stop him. I don’t want to stop him . . . I want . . . I

want . . . oh no, oh no . . . this is too . . .
“That’s it,” Christian growls. “Feel it, baby!”
I detonate around him, again and again, round and round, screaming loudly as my orgasm rips me apart, scorching through me like a wildfire, consuming everything. I am wrung ragged, tears streaming down my face—my body left pulsing and shaking.
And I’m aware that Christian kneels, still inside me, pulling me upright onto his lap. He clutches my head with one hand and my back with another, and he comes violently inside me while my insides continue to tremble with aftershocks. It’s draining, it’s exhausting, it’s hell . . . it’s heaven. It’s hedonism gone wild.
Christian tears off the blindfold and kisses me. He kisses my eyes, my nose, my cheeks. He kisses away the tears, clutching my face in between his hands. “I love you, Mrs. Grey,” he breathes. “Even though you make me so mad—I feel so alive with you.” I don’t have the energy to open either my eyes or my mouth to respond. Very gently, he lays me back on the bed and eases out of me. 35 | P a g e
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I mouth some wordless protest. He climbs off the bed and undoes the handcuffs. When I’m free, he gently rubs my wrists and ankles, then lies down beside me again, pulling me into his arms. I stretch out my legs. Oh my, that feels good. I feel good. That was, without doubt, the most intense climax I have ever endured. Hmm . . . a Christian Grey fifty shades punishment fuck.
I really must misbehave more often.

A pressing need from my bladder wakes me. When I open my eyes, I’m disorientated. It’s dark outside. Where am I? London? Paris? Oh—the boat.
I feel her pitch and roll, and hear the quiet hum of the engines. We’re on the move. How odd. Christian is beside me, working on his laptop, casually dressed in a white linen shirt and chino trousers, his feet bare. His hair is still wet, I presume from a shower. I can smell his body wash and his Christian smell . . . Hmm.
“Hi,” he murmurs, gazing down at me, his eyes warm.
“Hi.” I smile, feeling suddenly shy. “How long have I been asleep?”
“Just an hour or so.”
“We’re moving?”
“I figured since we ate out last night and went to the ballet and the Casino that we’d dine on board tonight. A quiet night à deux.”
I grin at him. “Where are we going?”
“Okay.” I stretch, feeling stiff. No amount of training with Claude could have prepared me for this afternoon.
I rise gingerly, needing the bathroom. Grabbing my silk robe, I hastily put it on. Why am I so shy? I feel Christian’s eyes on me. When I glance at him, he returns to his laptop, his brow furrowed. Why’s he frowning?
As I absentmindedly wash my hands at the vanity unit, recalling last night at the Casino, my robe falls open. I stare at myself in the mirror, shocked.

Holy fuck! What has he done to me?
36 | P a g e


Chapter Three
I gaze in horror at the red marks all over my breasts. Hickeys! I have hickeys!
I am married to one of the most respected businessmen in the United States, and he’s given me goddamn hickeys. How did I not feel him doing this to me? I flush. The fact is I know exactly why—Mr. Orgasmic was using his finemotor sexing skills on me. My subconscious peers over her half-moon specs and tuts disapprovingly, while my inner goddess slumbers on her chaise longue, out for the count. I gape at my reflection. My wrists have a red welt around them from the handcuffs. No doubt they’ll bruise. I examine my ankles
—more welts. Holy hell, I look like I’ve been in some sort of accident. I gaze at myself, trying to absorb how I look. My body is so different these days. It’s changed subtly since I’ve known him . . . I’ve become leaner and fitter, and my hair is glossy and well cut. My nails are manicured, my feet pedicured, my eyebrows threaded and beautifully shaped. For the first time in my life, I’m well groomed— except for these hideous love bites.
I don’t want to think about grooming at the moment. I’m too mad. How dare he mark me like this, like some teenager. In the short time we’ve been together, he’s never given me hickeys. I look like hell. I know why he’s done this. Damn control freak. Right! My subconscious folds her arms beneath her small bosom—he’s gone too far this time. I stalk out of the en suite bathroom and into the walk-in closet, carefully avoiding even a glance in his direction.
Slipping out of my robe, I pull on my sweatpants and a camisole. I undo the braid, pick up a hairbrush from the small vanity unit, and brush out my tangles. “Anastasia,” Christian calls and I hear his anxiety. “Are you okay?”
I ignore him. Am I okay? No, I am not okay. After what he’s done to me, I doubt I’ll be able to wear a swimsuit, let alone one of my ridiculously

expensive bikinis, for the rest of our honeymoon. The thought is suddenly so infuriating. How dare he? I’ll give him are you okay. I seethe as fury spikes through me. I can behave like an 37 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed adolescent, too! Stepping back into the bedroom, I hurl the hairbrush at him, turn, and leave—though not before I see his shocked expression and his lightning reaction as he raises his arm to protect his head so that the brush bounces ineffectively off his forearm and onto the bed. I storm out of our cabin and run upstairs and out on deck, stomping toward the bow. I need some space to calm down. It’s dark and the air is balmy. The warm breeze carries the smell of the Mediterranean and the scent of jasmine and bougainvillea from the shore. The Fair Lady glides effortlessly through the calm cobalt sea as I rest my elbows on the wooden railing, gazing at the distant shore where tiny lights wink and twinkle. I take a deep, healing breath and slowly begin to calm. I’m aware of him behind me before I hear him.
“You’re mad at me,” he whispers.
“No shit, Sherlock!”
“How mad?”
“Scale of one to ten, I think I’m at fifty. Apt, huh?”
“That mad.” He sounds surprised and impressed at once.
“Yes. Pushed to violence mad,” I say through gritted teeth. He stays silent as I turn and scowl at him, watching me with wide and wary eyes. I know from that expression and that he’s made no move to touch me that he’s out of his depth. “Christian, you have to stop unilaterally trying to bring me to heel. You made your point on the beach. Very effectively, as I recall.”

He shrugs minutely. “Well, you won’t take your top off again,” he murmurs petulantly. What? And this justifies what he’s done to me? I glare at him. “I don’t like you leaving marks on me. Well, not this many, anyway. It’s a hard limit!” I hiss at him. “I don’t like you taking your clothes off in public. That’s a hard limit for me,” he growls. “I think we’ve established that,” I hiss through my teeth. “Look at me!” I pull down my camisole to reveal the top of my breasts. Christian gazes at me, his eyes not leaving my face his expression wary and uncertain. He’s not used to seeing me this mad. Can’t he see what he’s done? Can’t he see how ridiculous he is? I want to shout at him, but I refrain—I don’t want to push him too far. Heaven knows what he’d do. 38 | P a g e
Eventually, he blinks and holds his palms up in a resigned, conciliatory gesture. “Okay,” he says his voice placating. “I get it.”

He runs his hand through his hair. “I’m sorry. Please don’t be mad at me.”
Finally, he looks contrite—using my own words back at me.
“You are such an adolescent sometimes,” I scold him, mulishly, but the fight has gone out of my voice, and he knows it. He steps closer and tentatively raises his hand to tuck my hair behind my ear.
“I know,” he acknowledges softly. “I have a lot to learn.”

Dr. Flynn’s words come back to me . . . Emotionally, Christian is an

adolescent, Ana. He bypassed that phase in his life totally. He’s channeled all his energies into succeeding in the business world, and he has beyond all expectations. His emotional world has to play catch- up.
My heart thaws a little.
“We both do.” I sigh and cautiously raise my hand, placing it over his heart.
He doesn’t flinch like he used to, but he stiffens. He rests his hand over mine and smiles his shy smile.
“I’ve just learned that you’ve a good arm and a good aim, Mrs. Grey. I would never have figured that, but then I constantly underestimate you. You always surprise me.”
I arch my eyebrow at him. “Target practice with Ray. I can throw and shoot straight, Mr. Grey, and you’d do well to remember that.”
“I will endeavor to do that, Mrs. Grey, or ensure that all potential projectile objects are nailed down and that you don’t have access to a gun.” He smirks at me.
I smirk back, narrowing my eyes. “I’m resourceful.”
“That you are,” he whispers and releases my hand to circle his arms around me. Pulling me into an embrace, he buries his nose in my hair. I wrap my arms around him, holding him close, and feel the tension leave his body as he nuzzles me.
“Am I forgiven?”
“Am I?”
I feel his smile. “Yes,” he answers.


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We stand holding each other, my pique forgotten. He does smell good, adolescent or not. How can I resist him?
“Hungry?” he says after a while. I have my eyes closed and my head against his chest.
“Yes. Famished. All the . . . er . . . activity has given me an appetite. But I’m not dressed for dinner.” I’m sure my sweatpants and camisole would be frowned upon in the dining room.
“You look good to me, Anastasia. Besides, it’s our boat for the week; we can dress how we like. Think of it as dress down Tuesday on the Cote D’Azur.
Anyway, I thought we’d eat on deck.”
“Yes, I’d like that.”
He leans down and kisses me—an earnest forgive-me kiss—then we wander hand in hand toward the bow where our gazpacho soup awaits.
The steward serves our crème brulée and discreetly retires.
“Why do you always braid my hair?” I ask Christian out of curiosity. We’re sitting adjacent to each other at the table, my lower leg curled around his. He pauses as he’s about to pick up his dessertspoon and frowns.
“I don’t want your hair catching in anything,” he says quietly, and for a moment he’s lost in thought. “Habit, I think,” he muses. Suddenly he frowns and his eyes widen, his pupils dilating with alarm. Holy shit! What’s he remembered? It’s something painful, some early childhood memory, I guess.
I don’t want to remind him of that. Leaning over, I put my index finger over his

“No, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to know. I was just curious.” I give him a warm, reassuring smile. His look is wary, but after a moment he visibly relaxes, his relief evident. I lean over to kiss the corner of his mouth.
“I love you,” I murmur, and he smiles his heart-achingly shy smile, and I melt. “I will always love you, Christian.”
“And I you,” he says softly.
“In spite of my disobedience?” I raise my eyebrow.
“Because of your disobedience, Anastasia.” He grins at me. 40 | P a g e
I crack my spoon through the burnt sugar crust of my dessert and shake my head. Will I ever understand this man? Hmm—this crème brulée is delicious.
Once the steward has cleared our dessert plates, Christian reaches for the bottle of rosé and refills my glass. I check that we’re alone and ask,
“What’s with the no going to the bathroom thing?”
“You really want to know?” He half smiles, his eyes alight with a salacious gleam. “Do I?” I gaze at him through my lashes as I take a sip of my wine.
“The fuller your bladder, the more intense your orgasm, Ana.”
I flush. “Oh. I see.” Holy cow, that explains a lot. He grins at me, looking far too knowing. Will I always be on the back foot with Mr. Sexpertise?
“Yes. Well . . .” I desperately hunt around for a change of subject. He takes

pity on me.
“What do you want to do for the rest of the evening?” He cocks his head to one side and gives me his lopsided grin.

Whatever you want, Christian. Put your theory to the test again? I shrug.
“I know what I want to do,” he murmurs. Grabbing his glass of wine, he rises and holds his hand out to me. “Come.”
I take his hand and he leads me into the main salon. His iPod is in the speaker dock on the bureau. He switches it on and selects a song.
“Dance with me.” He pulls me into his arms.
“If you insist.”
“I insist, Mrs. Grey.”
A slinky, cheesy melody starts. Is this a Latin rhythm? Christian grins down at me and starts to move, sweeping me off my feet and taking me with him round the salon.
A man with a voice like warm melted caramel croons. It’s a song I know but can’t place. Christian dips me low, and I yelp in surprise and giggle. He smiles down at me, his eyes filled with humor. Then he scoops me up and spins me under his arm.
“You dance so well,” I say. “It’s like I can dance.”

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He gives me a sphinxlike smile but says nothing, and I wonder if it’s because he’s thinking of her . . . Mrs. Robinson, the woman who taught him how to

dance—and how to fuck. She hasn’t crossed my mind for a while. Christian has not mentioned her since his birthday, and as far as I’m aware, their business relationship is over. Reluctantly though, I have to admit—she was some teacher.
He dips me low again and plants a swift kiss on my lips.
“I’d miss your love,” I murmur, echoing the lyrics.
“I’d more than miss your love,” he says and spins me once more. Then he sings the words softly in my ear making me swoon.
The track ends and Christian gazes down at me, his eyes dark and luminous, all humor gone, and I’m suddenly breathless.
“Come to bed with me?” he whispers and it’s a heartfelt plea that tugs at my heart. Christian, you had me at I do —two and half weeks ago. But I know this is his way of apologizing and making sure all is well between us after our spat.
When I wake, the sun is shining through the portholes and the water reflects shimmering patterns onto the cabin ceiling. Christian is nowhere to be seen.
I stretch out and smile. Hmm . . . I’ll take a punishment fuck followed by makeup sex any day. I marvel what it is to go to bed with two different men— angry Christian and sweet let-memake-it-up-to-you-in-any-way-I-can
Christian. It’s tricky to decide which of them I like the best. I rise and head for the bathroom. Opening the door, I find Christian inside shaving, naked except for a towel wrapped around his waist. He turns and beams at me, not fazed that I am interrupting him. I have discovered that Christian will never lock the door if he is the only person in the room—the reason why is sobering, and not one I want to dwell on.
“Good morning, Mrs. Grey,” he says, radiating his good mood.
“Good morning yourself.” I grin back as I watch him shave. I love watching

him shave. He pulls up his chin and shaves beneath it, taking long deliberate strokes, and I find myself unconsciously mirroring his actions. Pulling my upper lip down just as he does, to shave his 42 | P a g e
E L JAMES philtrum. He turns and smirks at me, one half of his face still covered in shaving soap.
“Enjoying the show?” he asks.

Oh, Christian, I could watch you for hours. “One of my all-time favorites,” I murmur, and he leans down and kisses me quickly, smearing shaving soap on my face.
“Shall I do this to you again?” he whispers wickedly and holds up the razor.
I purse my lips at him. “No,” I mutter, pretending to sulk. “I’ll wax next time.” I remember Christian’s joy in London when he’d discovered that during his one meeting there, I’d shaved off my pubic hair out of curiosity. Of course I hadn’t done it to Mr. Exacting’s high standards . . .
“What the hell have you done?” Christian exclaims. He cannot keep his horrified amusement to himself. He sits up in bed in our suite at Browns
Hotel near Piccadilly, switches on the bedside light and gazes down at me, his mouth a startled O. It must be midnight. I blush the color of the sheets in the playroom and try to pull down my satin nightdress so he can’t see. He grabs my hand to stop me.
“I—err . . . shaved.”
“I can see that. Why?” He’s grinning from ear to ear. I cover my face with my

hands. Why am I so embarrassed?
“Hey,” he says softly and pulls my hand away. “Don’t hide.” He’s biting his lip so that he won’t laugh. “Tell me. Why?” His eyes dance with merriment. Why does he find this so funny?
“Stop laughing at me.”
“I’m not laughing at you. I’m sorry. I’m . . . delighted,” he says.
“Oh . . .”
“Tell me. Why?”
I take a deep breath. “This morning, after you left for your meeting, I took a shower and was remembering all your rules.”
He blinks. The humor in his expression has vanished, and he regards me cautiously. 43 | P a g e
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“And I was ticking them off one by one and how I felt about them, and I remembered the beauty salon, and I thought . . . this is what you’d like. I wasn’t brave enough to get a wax.” My voice disappears into a whisper.
He stares at me, his eyes glowing—this time not with mirth at my folly, but with love.
“Oh Ana,” he breathes. He leans down and kisses me tenderly.
“You beguile me,” he whispers against my lips and kisses me once more, clasping my face in both his hands.

After a breathless moment, he pulls back and leans up on one elbow. The humor is back.
“I think I should do a thorough inspection of your handiwork, Mrs. Grey.”
“What? No.” He has to be kidding! I cover myself, protecting my recently deforested area.
“Oh no you don’t, Anastasia.” He grasps my hands and pries them away, moving nimbly so he’s between my legs, pinning my hands to my sides. He gives me a burning look that could light dry tinder, but before I combust, he bends and skims his lips down my naked belly directly to my sex. I squirm beneath him, reluctantly resigned to my fate.
“Well, what have we here?” Christian plants a kiss where, until this morning, I had pubic hair—then scrapes his bristly chin across me.
“Ah!” I exclaim. Wow . . . that’s sensitive.
Christian’s eyes dart to mine, full of salacious longing. “I think you missed a bit,” he mutters and tugs gently, right underneath.
“Oh . . . Damn,” I mutter, hoping this will put an end to his frankly intrusive scrutiny. “I have an idea.” He leaps naked out of bed and heads to the bathroom.

What on earth is he doing? He returns moments later, carrying a glass of water, a mug, my razor, his shaving brush, soap, and a towel. He puts the water, brush, soap, and razor on the bedside table and gazes down at me, holding the towel.

Oh no! My subconscious slams down her Complete Works of Charles
Dickens, leaps up from her armchair, and puts her hands on her hips.
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“No. No. No,” I squeak.
“Mrs. Grey, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Lift your hips.” His eyes glow, summer storm gray.
“Christian! You are not shaving me.”
He tilts his head to one side. “Why ever not?”
I flush . . . isn’t it obvious? “Because . . . It’s just too . . .”
“Intimate?” he whispers. “Ana, I crave intimacy with you—you know that.
Besides, after some of the things we’ve done, don’t get all squeamish on me now. And, I know this part of your body better than you do.”
I gape at him. Of all the arrogant . . . true, he does—but still. “It’s just wrong!”
My voice is prissy and whiney.
“This isn’t wrong—this is hot.”

Hot? Really? “This turns you on?” I can’t keep the astonishment out of my voice. He snorts. “Can’t you tell?” He glances down at his arousal. “I want to shave you,” he whispers
Oh, what the hell. I lie back, throwing my arm over my face so I don’t have to watch. “If it makes you happy, Christian, go ahead. You are so kinky,” I mutter, as I lift my hips, and he slips the towel beneath me. He kisses my inner thigh.
“Oh baby, how right you are.”

I hear the slosh of water as he dips the shaving brush in the glass of water, then the soft swirl of the brush in the mug. He grasps my left ankle and parts my legs, and the bed dips as he sits between my legs.
“I’d really like to tie you up right now,” he murmurs.
“I promise to keep still.”
I gasp as he runs the lathered brush over my pubic bone. It’s warm. The water in the glass must be hot. I squirm a little. It tickles . . . but in a good way.
“Don’t move,” Christian admonishes and applies the brush again.
“Or I will tie you down,” he adds darkly, and a delicious shiver runs down my spine. “Have you done this before?” I ask tentatively when he reaches for the razor.

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“Oh. Good.” I grin.
“Another first, Mrs. Grey.”
“Hmm. I like firsts.”
“Me, too. Here goes.” And with a gentleness that surprises me, he runs the razor over my sensitive flesh. “Keep still,” he says distractedly, and I know he’s concentrating hard.

It only takes a matter of minutes before he grabs the towel and wipes all the excess lather off me.
“There—that’s more like it,” he muses, and I finally lift my arm to look at him as he sits back to admire his handiwork.
“Happy?” I ask, my voice hoarse.
“Very.” He grins wickedly and slowly eases a finger inside me.
“But that was fun,” he says his eyes gently mocking.
“For you maybe.” I try to pout—but he’s right . . . it was . . . arousing.
“I seem to recall the aftermath was very satisfying.” Christian returns to finishing his shave. I glance quickly down at my fingers. Yes, it was. I had no idea that the absence of pubic hair could make such a difference.
“Hey, I’m just teasing. Isn’t that what husbands who are hopelessly in love with their wives do?” Christian tips my chin up and gazes at me, his eyes suddenly filled with apprehension as he endeavors to read my expression.
Hmm . . . payback time.
“Sit,” I mutter.
He blinks at me, not understanding. I push him gently toward the lone white stool in the bathroom. He sits down, gazing at me puzzled, and I take the razor from him.
“Ana,” he warns as he realizes my intention. I lean down and kiss him.
“Head back,” I whisper.

He hesitates.
“Tit for tat, Mr. Grey.”

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He stares at me with wary, amused disbelief. “You know what you’re doing?” he asks, his voice low. I shake my head slowly, deliberately, trying to look as serious as possible. He closes his eyes and shakes his head then tilts his head back in surrender. Holy shit, he’s going to let me shave him. My inner goddess flexes and stretches her arms outward, her fingers interlocked, palms out, limbering up. Tentatively I slide my hand into the damp hair at his forehead, gripping tightly to hold him still. He clenches his eyes closed and parts his lips as he inhales. Very gently, I stroke his razor up from his neck to his chin, revealing a path of skin beneath the lather. Christian exhales.
“Did you think I was going to hurt you?”
“I never know what you’re going to do, Ana, but no—not intentionally.”
I run the razor up his neck again, clearing a wider path in the lather.
“I would never intentionally hurt you, Christian.”
He opens his eyes and circles his arms around me as I gently drag the razor down his cheek from the bottom of his sideburn.
“I know,” he says, angling his face so I can shave the rest of his cheek. Two more strokes and I’ve finished.
“All done, and not a drop of blood spilt.” I grin proudly. He runs his hand up my leg so that my nightdress rides up my thigh and pulls me on to his lap so that I’m astride him. I steady myself with my hands on his upper arms. He’s really very muscular.

“Can I take you somewhere today?”
“No sunbathing?” I arch a caustic brow at him.
He licks his lips nervously. “No. No sunbathing today. I thought you might prefer that.”
“Well, since you’ve covered me in hickeys and effectively put the kibosh on that, sure, why not?”
Wisely he chooses to ignore my tone. “It’s a drive, but it’s worth a visit from what I’ve read. My dad recommended we visit. It’s a hilltop village called
Saint Paul de Vence. There are some galleries there. I thought we could pick out some paintings or sculptures for the new house, if we find anything we like.” Holy crap. I lean back and gaze at him. Art . . . he wants to buy art. How can I buy art?

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“What?” he asks.
“I know nothing about art, Christian.”
He shrugs and smiles at me indulgently. “We’ll only buy what we like. This isn’t about investment.”

Investment? Jeez.
“What?” he says again.
I shake my head.

“Look, I know we only got the architect’s drawings the other day— but there’s no harm in looking, and the town is an ancient, medieval place.”
Oh—the architect, he had to remind me of her . . . a good friend of Elliot’s,
Gia Matteo. During our meetings, she’d been all over Christian like a rash.
“What now?” Christian exclaims. I shake my head. “Tell me,” he urges.
How can I tell him that I don’t like Gia? My dislike is irrational. I don’t want to come across as the jealous wife.
“You’re not still mad about what I did yesterday?” He sighs and nuzzles his face between my breasts.
“No. I’m hungry,” I mutter, knowing full well that this will distract him from this line of questioning.
“Why didn’t you say?” He eases me off his lap and stands.
Saint Paul de Vence is a medieval fortified hilltop village, one of the most picturesque places I have ever seen. I stroll arm in arm with Christian through the narrow cobbled streets, my hand in the back pocket of his shorts. Taylor and either Gaston or Philippe—I can’t tell the difference between them—trail behind us. We pass a tree-covered square where three old men, one wearing a traditional beret in spite of the heat, are playing boules. It’s quite crowded with tourists, but I feel comfortable tucked under Christian’s arm.
There is so much to see— little alleys and passageways leading to courtyards with intricate stone fountains, ancient and modern sculptures, and fascinating little boutiques and shops. In the first gallery, Christian gazes distractedly at the erotic photographs in front of us, sucking gently on the arm of his aviator 48 | P a g e

E L JAMES specs. They are the work of Florence D’elle—naked women in various poses. “Not quite what I had in mind,” I mumble disapprovingly. They make me think of the box of photographs I found in his closet, our closet. I wonder if he ever did destroy them.
“Me neither,” Christian says, grinning down at me. He takes my hand and we stroll to the next artist. Idly, I wonder if I should let him take photos of me after all. My inner goddess nods frantically with approval.
The next display is by a female painter who specializes in figurative art—fruit and vegetables super close up and in rich, glorious color.
“I like those.” I point to three paintings of peppers. “They remind me of you chopping vegetables in my apartment.” I giggle. Christian’s mouth twists as he tries and fails to hide his amusement.
“I thought I managed that quite competently,” he mutters. “I was just a bit slow, and anyway”—he pulls me into an embrace—”you were distracting me.
Where would you put them?”
Christian is nuzzling my ear. “The paintings—where would you put them?” He bites my earlobe and I feel it in my groin.
“Kitchen,” I murmur.
“Hmm. Nice idea, Mrs. Grey.”
I squint at the price. Five thousand euros each. Holy shit!
“They’re really expensive!” I gasp.

“So?” He nuzzles me again. “Get used to it, Ana.” He releases me and saunters over to the desk where a young woman dressed entirely in white is standing gaping at him. I want to roll my eyes, but turn my attention back to the paintings. Five thousand euros . . . jeez.
We have finished lunch and are relaxing over coffee at the Hotel Le Saint
Paul. The view of the surrounding countryside is stunning. Vineyards and fields of sunflowers form a patchwork across the plain, interspersed here and there with neat little French farmhouses. It’s such a clear, beautiful day we can see all the way to the sea, glinting faintly on the horizon. Christian interrupts my reverie.

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“You asked me why I braid your hair,” he murmurs. His tone alarms me. He looks . . . guilty.
“Yes.” Oh shit.
“The crack whore used to let me play with her hair, I think. I don’t know if it’s a memory or a dream.”

Whoa! His birth mom.
He gazes at me, his expression unreadable. My heart leaps into my mouth.
What do I say when he says things like this?
“I like you playing with my hair.” My voice is gentle and hesitant. He blinks, his eyes wide, and fearful.
“Do you?”
“Yes.” It’s the truth. Reaching over I grasp his hand. “I think you loved your

birth mother, Christian.” His eyes widen even more and he stares at me impassively, saying nothing.

Holy shit. Have I gone too far? Say something, Fifty—please. But he remains resolutely mute, gazing at me with fathomless gray eyes while the silence stretches between us.

What are you thinking, husband of mine? He looks lost. He glances down at my hand on his and he frowns.
“Say something,” I whisper, because I cannot bear the silence any longer.
He blinks then shakes his head, exhaling deeply.
“Let’s go.” He releases my hand and stands. His expression guarded. Have I overstepped the mark? I have no idea. My heart sinks and I don’t know whether to say anything else or just let it go. I decide on the latter and follow him dutifully out of the restaurant. In the lovely narrow street, he takes my hand. “Where do you want to go?”

He speaks! And he’s not mad at me—thank heavens. I exhale, relieved, and shrug. “I am just glad you’re still speaking to me.”
“You know I don’t like talking about all that shit. It’s done. Finished,” he says quietly .

No, Christian, it isn’t. The thought saddens me, and for the first time I wonder if it will ever be finished. He’ll always be Fifty Shades . . . my Fifty Shades.
Do I want him to change? No, not really— only insofar as I want him to feel loved. Peeking up at him, I take a moment to admire his captivating beauty . . . and he’s mine. And it’s 50 | P a g e

not just the allure of his fine, fine face and his body that has me spellbound.
It’s what’s behind the perfection that draws me, that calls to me. . . his fragile, damaged soul. He gives me that look, down his nose, half amused, half wary, wholly sexy then tucks me under his arm, and we make our way through the tourists toward the spot where Philippe/Gaston has parked the roomy
Mercedes. I slip my hand back into the back pocket of Christian’s shorts, grateful that he isn’t mad at my presumption. But, honestly, what four-year-old child doesn’t love his mom, no matter how bad a mom she is? I sigh heavily and hug him closer. I know behind us the security team lurks, and I wonder idly if they’ve eaten.
Christian stops outside a small boutique selling fine jewelry and gazes in the window, then down at me. He reaches across, grasps my free hand, and runs his thumb across the faded red line of the handcuff mark, inspecting it.
“It’s not sore.” I reassure him. He twists so that my other hand is freed from his pocket. He clasps that hand, too, turning it gently over to examine my wrist. The platinum Omega watch he gave me at breakfast on our first morning in London obscures the red line. The inscription still makes me swoon. Anastasia
You are my More
My Love, My Life
In spite of everything, all his fiftyness, my husband can be so romantic. I gaze down at the faint marks on my wrist. Then again, he can be savage sometimes. Releasing my left hand, he tilts my chin up with his fingers and scrutinizes my expression, his eyes wide and troubled.
“They don’t hurt,” I repeat. He pulls my hand to his lips and plants a soft

apologetic kiss on the inside of my wrist.
“Come,” he says and leads me into the shop.

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Fifty Shades Freed
“Here,” Christian holds open the filigree platinum bracelet he’s just purchased. It’s exquisite, so delicately crafted, the filigree in the shape of small abstract flowers with small diamonds at their heart. He fastens it around my wrist. It’s wide and cuff-like and hides the red marks. It is also cost around fifteen thousand euros, I think, though I couldn’t really follow the conversation in French with the sales assistant. I have never worn anything so expensive.
“There, that’s better,” he murmurs.
“Better?” I whisper, gazing into luminous gray eyes, conscious that the stickthin sales assistant is staring at us with a jealous and disapproving look on her face.
“You know why,” Christian says uncertainly.
“I don’t need this.” I shake my wrist and the cuff moves. It catches the afternoon light streaming through the boutique window and small sparkling rainbows dance off the diamonds all over the walls of the store.
“I do,” he says with utter sincerity.
Why? Why does he need this? Does he feel guilty? About what?
The marks? His birth mother? Not confiding in me? Oh, Fifty.
“No, Christian, you don’t. You’ve given me so much already. A magical honeymoon, London, Paris, the Cote D’Azur . . . and you. I’m a very lucky

girl,” I whisper and his eyes soften.
“No, Anastasia, I’m a very lucky man.”
“Thank you.” Stretching up on tiptoes, I put my arms around his neck and kiss him . . . not for giving me the bracelet, but for being mine.
Back in the car he’s introspective, gazing out at the fields of bright sunflowers, their heads following and basking in the afternoon sun. One of the twins—I think it’s Gaston—is driving and Taylor is beside him up front.
Christian is brooding about something. Reaching over, I clasp his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze. He turns to look at me, before releasing my hand and caressing my knee. I’m wearing a short, full, blue and white skirt, and a blue, fitted, sleeveless shirt. Christian hesitates, and I don’t know if his hand is going to travel up my thigh or down my leg. I tense with anticipation at the gentle touch of his fingers 52 | P a g e
E L JAMES and my breath catches. What’s he going to do? He chooses down, suddenly grasps my ankle and pulls my foot on to his lap. I swivel my backside so I am facing him in the back of the car.
“I want the other one, too.”

Oh! Why? I glance nervously toward Taylor and Gaston, whose eyes are resolutely on the road ahead, and place my other foot on his lap. His eyes cool, he reaches over and presses a button located in his door. In front of us, a lightly tinted privacy screen slides out of a panel, and ten seconds later we are effectively on our own. Wow . . . no wonder the back of this car has so much legroom.
“I want to look at your ankles,” Christian offers his quiet explanation. His gaze is anxious. What now? The cuff marks? Jeez . . . I thought we’d dealt with this. If there are marks, they are hidden by the sandal straps. I don’t recall

seeing any this morning. Gently, he strokes his thumb up my right instep, making me wriggle. A smile plays on his lips and deftly he undoes one strap, and his smile fades as he’s confronted with the darker red marks.
“Doesn’t hurt,” I murmur. He glances at me and his expression is sad, his mouth a thin line. He nods once as if he’s taking me at my word while I shake my sandal loose so it falls to the floor, but I know I’ve lost him. He’s distracted and brooding again, mechanically caressing my foot while he turns away to gaze out the car window once more.
“Hey. What did you expect?” I ask softly. He glances at me and shrugs.
“I didn’t expect to feel like I do looking at these marks,” he says. What?
Reticent one minute and forthcoming the next? How . . . Fifty! How can I keep up with him?
“How do you feel?”
He gazes at me, his eyes bleak. “Uncomfortable,” he murmurs. Oh no. I unbuckle my seatbelt and scoot closer to him, leaving my feet in his lap. I want to crawl into his lap and hold him, and I would, if it were just Taylor in the front. But knowing Gaston is there cramps my style in spite of the glass. If only it were darker. I clutch his hands.
“It’s the hickeys I don’t like,” I whisper. “Everything else . . . what you did”—I lower my voice even further—“with the handcuffs, I 53 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed enjoyed that. Well, more than enjoyed. It was mind-blowing. You can do that to me again anytime.”
He shifts in his seat. “Mind-blowing?” My inner goddess looks up startled from her Jackie Collins.
“Yes.” I grin. I flex my toes into his hardening crotch and see rather than hear

his sharp intake of breath, his lips parting.
“You should really be wearing your seat belt, Mrs. Grey.” His voice is low, and
I curl my toes around him once more. He gasps and his eyes darken, and he clasps my ankle in warning. Does he want me stop? Continue? He pauses and scowls.

What now?
He fishes his ever-present BlackBerry out of his pocket to take an incoming call and glances at his watch. His frown deepens.
“Barney,” he snaps.

Crap. Work interrupting us again. I try to remove my feet but his hand tightens on my ankle.
“In the server room?” he says in disbelief. “Did it activate the fire suppression system?” Fire! I take my feet off his lap and this time he lets me. I sit back in my seat, buckle my seat belt, and fiddle nervously with the fifteenthousand-euro bracelet. Christian presses the button in his door armrest again and the privacy glass slides down. I realize that this is for Taylor’s benefit.
“Anyone injured? Damage? I see . . . When?” Christian glances at his watch again then runs his hand through his hair. “No. Not the fire department or the police. Not yet anyway.”
Holy crap! A fire? At Christian’s office? I gape at him, my mind racing. Taylor shifts so he can hear Christian’s conversation.
“Has he? Good . . . Okay. I want a detailed damage report. And a complete rundown of everyone who had access over the last five days, including the cleaning staff . . . Get hold of Andrea and get her to call me . . . Yeah, sounds like the argon is just as effective, worth its weight in gold.”

Damage report? Argon? What the hell? It rings a distant bell from chemistry class—an element, I think.

54 | P a g e
“I realize it’s early . . . E-mail me in two hours . . . No, I need to know. Thank you for calling me.” Christian hangs up, then immediately punches a number into the BlackBerry.
“Welch . . . Good . . . When?” Christian glances at his watch yet again. “An hour then . . . yes . . . Twenty-four-seven at the off-site data store . . . good.”
He hangs up.
“Philippe, I need to be onboard within the hour.”
“Monsieur. ”
Shit, it’s Philippe, not Gaston. The car surges forward. Christian glances at me, his expression unreadable.
“Anyone hurt?” I ask quietly.
Christian shakes his head. “Very little damage.” He reaches over and clasps my hand, squeezing it reassuringly. “Don’t worry about this. My team is on it.”
And there he is, the CEO, in command, in control and not flustered at all.
“Where was the fire?”
“Server room.”
“Grey House?”

His responses are clipped, so I know he doesn’t want to talk about it. Why

“Why so little damage?”
“The server room is fitted with a state-of-the-art fire suppression system.”
Of course it is.
“Ana, please . . . don’t worry.”
“I’m not worried,” I lie.
“We don’t know for sure that it was arson,” he says, cutting to the heart of my anxiety. My hand clutches my throat in fear. Charlie Tango, and now this?

What next?
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Chapter Four
I’m restless. Christian has been holed up in the onboard study for over an hour. I have tried reading, watching TV, sunbathing—fully dressed sunbathing!—but I can’t relax and I can’t rid myself of this edgy feeling. After changing into shorts and a T-shirt, I remove the ludicrously expensive bangle and go to find Taylor.
“Mrs. Grey,” he says, startled from his Anthony Burgess novel. He’s sitting in the small salon outside Christian’s study.
“I’d like to go shopping.”
“Yes ma’am.” He stands.

“I’d like to take the Jet Ski.”
His mouth drops open. “Erm.” He frowns, lost for words.
“I don’t want to bother Christian with this.”
He flushes. “Mrs. Grey . . . um . . . I don’t think Mr. Grey would be very comfortable with that, and I’d like to keep my job.”

Oh, for heaven’s sake! I want to roll my eyes at him, but I narrow them instead, sighing heavily and expressing, I think, the right amount of frustrated indignation that I am not mistress of my own destiny. Then again, I don’t want
Christian mad at Taylor—or me, for that matter. Striding confidently past him,
I knock on the study door and enter. Christian is on his BlackBerry, leaning against the mahogany desk. He gazes at me.
“Andrea, hold please,” he mutters down the phone, his expression serious.
He gazes at me, politely expectant. Shit. Why do I feel like I’ve entered the principal’s office? This man had me in handcuffs yesterday. I refuse to be intimidated by him, he’s my husband damn it. I square my shoulders and give him a broad smile.
“I’m going shopping. I’ll take security with me.”
“Sure, take one of the twins and Taylor, too,” he says. And I know that whatever’s happening is serious because he doesn’t question me further. I stand staring at him, wondering if I can help.
“Anything else?” he asks. He wants me gone. Crap. 56 | P a g e
“Can I get you anything?” I ask. He smiles his sweet shy smile.
“No, baby, I’m good,” he says. “The crew will look after me.”

“Okay.” I want to kiss him. Hell, I can—he’s my husband. Strolling purposefully forward, I plant a kiss on his lips, surprising him.
“Andrea, I’ll call you back,” he mutters. He puts the BlackBerry down on the desk behind him, pulls me into his embrace, and kisses me passionately. I am breathless when he releases me. His eyes are dark and needy.
“You’re distracting me. I need to sort this, so I can get back to my honeymoon.” He runs an index finger down my face and caresses my chin, tilting my face up.
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
“Please don’t apologize, Mrs. Grey. I love your distractions.” He kisses the corner of my mouth.
“Go spend some money.” He releases me.
“Will do.” I smirk at him as I exit his study. My subconscious shakes her head and purses her lips. You didn’t tell him you were going on the Jet Ski, she chastises me in her singsong voice. I ignore her . . . Harpy.
Taylor is patiently waiting.
“That’s all cleared with high command . . . can we go?” I smile, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. Taylor doesn’t hide his admiring smile.
“Mrs. Grey, after you.”
Taylor patiently talks me through the controls on the Jet Ski and how to ride it.
He has a calm, gentle authority about him; he’s a good teacher. We are in the motor launch, bobbing and weaving on the calm waters of the harbor beside the Fair Lady. Gaston looks on, his expression hidden by his shades, and one of the Fair Lady’s crew is at the controls of the motor launch. Jeez— three people with me, just because I want to go shopping. It’s ridiculous.

Zipping up my life jacket, I give Taylor a beaming grin. He holds out his hand to assist me as I climb onto the Jet Ski.
“Fasten the strap of the ignition key around your wrist, Mrs. Grey. If you fall off, the engine will cut out automatically,” he explains. 57 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed
I nod enthusiastically.
“Press the ignition when you’ve drifted about four feet away from the boat.
We’ll follow you.”
He pushes the Jet Ski away from the launch, and it floats gently into the main harbor. When he gives me the okay sign, I press the ignition button and the engine roars into life.
“Okay, Mrs. Grey, easy does it!” Taylor shouts. I squeeze the accelerator.
The Jet Ski lurches forward then stalls. Crap! How does Christian make it look so easy? I try again, and once again, I stall. Double crap!
“Just steady on the gas, Mrs. Grey,” Taylor calls.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I mutter under my breath. I try once more, very gently squeezing the lever, and the Jet Ski lurches forward—but this time it keeps going. Yes! It goes some more. Ha ha! It still keeps going!
I want to shout and squeal in excitement, but I resist. I cruise gently away from the yacht into the main harbor. Behind me, I hear the throaty roar of the motor launch. When I squeeze the gas further, the Jet Ski leaps forward, skating

across the water. With the warm breeze in my hair and a fine sea spray on either side of me, I feel free. This rocks! No wonder Christian never lets me drive. Rather than head for the shore and curtail the fun, I veer around to do a circuit of the stately Fair Lady. Wow—this is so much fun. I ignore Taylor and the crew behind me and speed around the yacht for a second time. As I complete the circuit, I spot Christian on deck. I think he’s gaping at me, though it’s difficult to tell. Bravely, I lift one hand from the handlebars and wave enthusiastically at him. He looks like he’s made of stone, but finally he raises his hand in the semblance of a stiff wave. I can’t work out his expression, and something tells me I don’t want to, so I head to the marina, speeding across the blue water of the Mediterranean that shimmers in the late afternoon sun. At the dock, I wait and let Taylor pull up ahead of me. His expression is bleak, and my heart sinks, though Gaston looks vaguely amused. I wonder briefly if something has happened to chill GallicAmerican relations, but deep down I suspect the problem is probably 58 | P a g e
E L JAMES me. Gaston leaps out of the motorboat and ties it to the moorings while
Taylor directs me to come alongside. Very gently I ease the Jet Ski into position beside the boat and line up beside him. His expression softens a little. “Just switch off the ignition, Mrs. Grey,” he says calmly, reaching for the handlebars and holding out a hand to help me into the motorboat. I nimbly climb aboard, impressed that I don’t fall in.
“Mrs. Grey,” Taylor blinks nervously, his cheeks pink once more.
“Mr. Grey is not entirely comfortable with you riding on the Jet Ski.”
He’s practically squirming with embarrassment, and I realize he’s had an irate call from Christian. Oh my poor, pathologically overprotective

husband, what am I going to do with you?
I smile serenely at Taylor. “I see. Well, Taylor, Mr. Grey is not here, and if he’s not entirely comfortable, I’m sure he’ll give me the courtesy of telling me himself when I’m back on board.”
Taylor winces. “Very good, Mrs. Grey,” he says quietly, handing me my purse. As I climb out of the boat, I catch a glimpse of his reluctant smile, and it makes me want to smile, too. I cannot believe how fond I am of Taylor, but I really don’t appreciate being scolded by him—he’s not my father or my husband. Crap, Christian’s mad—and he has enough to worry about at the moment.
What was I thinking? As I stand on the dock waiting for Taylor to climb up, I feel my BlackBerry vibrate in my purse and fish it out. Sadé’s “Your Love is
King” is my ring tone for Christian—only for Christian.
“Hi,” I murmur.
“Hi,” he says.
“I’ll come back on the boat. Don’t be mad.”
I hear his small gasp of surprise. “Um . . .”
“It was fun, though,” I whisper.
He sighs. “Well, far be it for me to curtail your fun, Mrs. Grey. Just be careful.

Oh my! Permission to have fun! “I will. Anything you want from town?”
“Just you, back in one piece.”

“I’ll do my best to comply, Mr. Grey.”

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“I’m glad to hear it, Mrs. Grey.”
“We aim to please,” I respond with a giggle.
I hear his smile in his voice. “I have another call—laters, baby.”
“Laters, Christian.”
He hangs up. Jet Ski crisis averted, I think. The car is waiting, and Taylor holds the door open for me. I wink at him as I climb in, and he shakes his head in amusement.
In the car, I fire up the e-mail on my BlackBerry.

From: Anastasia Grey
Subject: Thank You
Date: August 17, 2011 16:55
To: Christian Grey
For not being too grouchy.
Your loving wife xxx From: Christian Grey

Subject: Trying to Stay Calm
Date: August 17, 2011 16:59
To: Anastasia Grey
You’re welcome.
Come back in one piece.
This is not a request. x Christian Grey
CEO & Overprotective Husband, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
His response makes me smile. My control freak.

60 | P a g e
Why did I want to come shopping? I hate shopping. But deep down I know why, and I walk determinedly past Chanel, Gucci, Dior, and the other designer boutiques and eventually find the antidote to what ails me in a small, overstocked, touristy store. It’s a little silver ankle bracelet with small hearts and little bells. It tinkles sweetly and it costs five euros. As soon as I’ve bought it, I put it on. This is me—this is what I like. Immediately I feel more comfortable. I don’t want to lose touch with the girl who likes this, ever. Deep down I know that I’m not only overwhelmed by Christian himself but also by his wealth. Will I ever get used to it?
Taylor and Gaston follow me dutifully through the late afternoon crowds, and I soon forget they are there. I want to buy something for Christian, something

to take his mind off what’s happening in Seattle. But what do I buy for the man who has everything? I pause in a small modern square surrounded by stores and gaze at each one in turn. When I spy an electronics store, our visit to the gallery earlier today and our visit to the Louvre come back to me. We were looking at the Venus de Milo at the time . . . Christian’s words echo in my head, “We can all appreciate the female form. We love to look whether

in marble or oils or satin or film.”
It gives me an idea, a daring idea. I just need help choosing the right one, and there’s only one person who can help me. I wrestle my BlackBerry out of my purse and call José.
“Who . . . ?” he mumbles sleepily.
“José, it’s Ana.”
“Ana? Do you have any idea what time it is?” he says grumpily. Holy crap— I thought I had a better handle on the time zones.
“Where are you? You okay?” He sounds more alert now, concerned.
“I’m in Cannes in the South of France, and I’m fine.”
“South of France, huh? You in some fancy hotel?”
“Um . . . no. We’re staying on a boat.”
“A boat?”
“A big boat.” I clarify, sighing.

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“I see.” His tone chills. . . Shit, I should not have called him. I don’t need this right now.
“José, I need your advice.”
“My advice?” He sounds stunned. “Sure,” he says, and this time he’s much more friendly. I tell him my plan.
Two hours later, Taylor helps me out of the motor launch onto the steps up to the deck. Gaston is helping the deckhand with the Jet Ski. Christian is nowhere to be seen, and I scurry down to our cabin to wrap his present, feeling a childish sense of delight.
“You were gone some time.” Christian startles me just as I am applying the last piece of tape. I turn to find him standing in the doorway to the cabin, watching me intently. Holy shit! Am I still in trouble over the Jet Ski? Or is it the fire at his office?
“Everything in control at your office?” I ask tentatively.
“More or less,” he says, an annoyed frown flitting across his face.
“I did a little shopping,” I murmur, hoping to lighten his mood, and praying his annoyance is not directed at me. He smiles warmly, and I know we’re okay.
“What did you buy?”
“This,” I put my foot up on the bed and show him my ankle chain.
“Very nice,” he says. He steps over to me and fondles the tiny bells so that they jingle sweetly around my ankle. He frowns again at the mark left by the cuffs and runs his fingers lightly along the line, sending tingles up my leg.
“And this.” I hold out the box, hoping to distract him.
“For me?” he asks in surprise. I nod shyly. He takes the box and shakes it

gently. He grins his boyish, dazzling smile and sits down beside me on the bed. Leaning over, he grasps my chin and kisses me.
“Thank you,” he says with shy delight.
“You haven’t opened it yet.”
“I’ll love it, whatever it is.” He gazes down at me, his eyes glowing.
“I don’t get many presents.”
“It’s hard to buy you things. You have everything.”
“I have you.”
“You do.” I grin at him. Oh, you so do, Christian. 62 | P a g e
He makes short work of the wrapping paper. “A Nikon?” He glances up at me, puzzled.
“I know you have your compact digital camera but this is for . . . um . . . portraits and the like. It comes with two lenses.”
He blinks at me, still not understanding.
“Today in the gallery you liked the Florence D’elle photographs. And I remember what you said in the Louvre. And of course, there were those other photographs.” I swallow, trying my best not to recall the images I found in his closet.
He stops breathing, his eyes widening as realization dawns, and I continue hurriedly before I lose my nerve.
“I thought you might, um . . . like to take pictures of . . . me.”

“Pictures. Of you?” He gapes at me ignoring the box on his lap. I nod, desperately trying to gauge his reaction. Finally he gazes back down at the box, his fingers tracing over the illustration of the camera on the front with fascinated reverence.

What is he thinking? Oh, this is not the reaction I was expecting, and my subconscious glares at me like I’m a dumb domesticated farm animal.
Christian never reacts the way I expect. He looks back up at me, his eyes filled with what, pain? Shit . . . what now?
“Why do you think I want this?” he asks, bemused.

No, no, no! You said you’d love it . . .
“Don’t you?” I ask, refusing to acknowledge my subconscious who is questioning why anyone would want erotic photographs of me. Christian swallows and runs a hand through his hair, and he looks so lost, so confused.
He takes a deep breath.
“For me, photos like those have usually been an insurance policy, Ana. I know I’ve objectified women for so long,” he says and pauses awkwardly.

What? Where the fuck is this going?
“And you think taking pictures of me is . . . um, objectifying me?
Oh.” All the air leaves my body, and the blood drains from my face. He scrunches up his eyes. “I am so confused,” he whispers. When he opens his eyes again, they are wide and wary, full of some raw emotion.

Shit. What has brought this on—Me? My questions earlier about his birth mom? The fire at his office?

63 | P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed

“Why do you say that?” I whisper, panic rising in my throat. I thought he was happy. I thought we were happy. I thought I made him happy. I don’t want to confuse him. Do I? My mind starts racing. What’s brought about this sea change? He hasn’t seen Flynn in nearly three weeks. Is that it? Is that the reason he’s unraveling? Shit, should I call Flynn? And in a possibly unique moment of extraordinary depth and clarity, it comes to me—the fire, Charlie
Tango, the Jet Ski . . . He’s scared, he’s scared for me, and seeing these marks on my skin must bring that home. He’s been fussing about them all day, confusing himself because he’s not used to feeling uncomfortable about inflicting pain. The thought chills me.
He shrugs and once more his eyes move down to my wrist where the bangle he bought me this afternoon used to be. Bingo!
“Christian, these don’t matter.” I hold up my wrist, revealing the fading welt.
“You gave me a safe word. Shit—yesterday was fun. I enjoyed it. Stop brooding about it—I like rough sex, I’ve told you that before.” I flush scarlet as
I try to quash my rising panic. He gazes at me intently, and I have no idea what he’s thinking. Maybe he’s measuring my words. I stumble on.
“Is this about the fire? Do you think it’s connected somehow to Charlie
Tango? Is this why you’re worried? Talk to me, Christian— please.” He stares at me, saying nothing and the silence expands between us again like it did this afternoon. Holy fucking crap! He’s not going to talk to me, I know. “Don’t overthink this Christian,” I scold quietly, and the words echo, disturbing a memory from the recent past—his words to me about his stupid contract. I reach over, take the box from his lap, and open it. He watches me passively as if I’m a fascinating alien creature. Knowing that the camera is prepped by the overly helpful salesman in the store, and ready to go, I fish it out of the box

and remove the lens cap. I point the camera at him so his beautiful anxious face fills the frame. I press the button and keep it pressed, and ten pictures of
Christian’s alarmed expression are captured digitally for posterity.
“I’ll objectify you then,” I murmur, pressing the shutter again. On the final still his lips twitch almost imperceptibly. I press again, and this time he smiles . . . a small smile, but a smile nevertheless. I hold 64 | P a g e
E L JAMES down the button once more and see him physically relax in front of me and pout—a full-on, posed, ridiculous, “blue steel” pout, and it makes me giggle.
Oh, thank heavens. Mr. Mercurial is back—and I’ve never been so pleased to see him.
“I thought it was my present,” he mutters sulkily, but I think he’s teasing.
“Well, it was supposed to be fun, but it’s ended up as a symbol of women’s oppression.” I snap away, taking more pictures of him, and watch the amusement grow on his face in super close-up. Then his eyes darken, and his expression changes to predatory.
“You want to be oppressed?” he murmurs silkily.
“Not oppressed. No,” I murmur back, snapping again.
“I could oppress you big time, Mrs. Grey,” he threatens, his voice husky.
“I know you can, Mr. Grey. And you do, frequently.”
He blinks at me as his face falls. Shit. I lower the camera and stare at him.
“What’s wrong, Christian?” My voice oozes frustration. Tell me!
He says nothing. Gah! He’s so infuriating. I lift the camera to my eye again.

“Tell me,” I insist.
“Nothing,” he says and abruptly disappears from the viewfinder. In one swift, smooth move, he reaches over, sweeps the camera box onto the cabin floor, and grabs me, pushing me down onto the bed. He sits astride me.
“Hey!” I exclaim and take more photographs of him, smiling down at me with dark intent. He grabs the camera by the lens, and the photographer becomes the subject as he points the Nikon at me and presses the shutter down. “So, you want me to take pictures of you, Mrs. Grey?” he says, amused. All I can see of his face is his unruly hair and a broad grin on his sculptured mouth. “Well, for a start, I think you should be laughing,” he says, and he tickles me ruthlessly under my ribs, making me squeal and giggle and squirm beneath him until I grasp his wrist in a vain attempt to make him stop. His grin widens, and he renews his efforts while snapping pictures.
“No! Stop!” I scream.

65 | P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed
“Are you kidding?” he growls and puts the camera down beside us so that he can torture me with both hands.
“Christian!” I splutter and gasp my laughing protest. He has never, ever tickled me before. Fuck—stop! I thrash my head from side to side, trying to wiggle out from under him, giggling and pushing both of his hands away, but he’s unrelenting—grinning down at me, enjoying my torment.
“Christian, stop!” I plead and he stops suddenly. Grabbing both of my hands, he holds them down on either side of my head while looming over me. I am panting and breathless with laughter. His breathing mirrors mine, and he gazes down at me with . . . what? My lungs stop functioning. Wonder? Love?

Reverence? Holy cow. That look!
“You. Are. So. Beautiful,” he breathes.
I stare up at him, at his dear, dear divine face; bathed in the intensity of his gaze, and it’s as if he’s seeing me for the first time. Leaning down, he closes his eyes and kisses me, enraptured. His response is a wake-up call to my libido . . . seeing him like this, undone, by me. Oh my. He releases my hands and curls his fingers around my head and into my hair, holding me gently in place, and my body rises and fills with my arousal, responding to his kiss.
And suddenly the nature of his kiss alters, no longer sweet, reverential and admiring, but carnal, deep and devouring—his tongue invading my mouth, taking not giving, his kiss possessing a desperate needy edge. As desire courses through my blood, awakening every muscle and sinew in its wake, I feel a frisson of alarm.

Oh Fifty, what’s wrong?
He inhales sharply and groans. “Oh, what you do to me,” he murmurs, lost and raw. He moves suddenly, lying down on top of me, pressing me into the mattress—one hand cupping my chin, the other skimming over my body, my breast, my waist, my hip, and around my behind. He kisses me again, pushing his leg between mine, raising my knee, and grinding against me, his erection straining against our clothes and my sex. I gasp and moan against his lips, losing myself to his fervent passion. I dismiss the distant alarm bells in the back of my mind, knowing that he wants me, that he needs me, and that when it comes to communicating with me, this is his favorite form of self66 | P a g e
E L JAMES expression. I kiss him with renewed abandon, running my fingers through his hair, fisting my hands, holding tight. He tastes so good and smells of
Christian, my Christian.

Abruptly, he stops, stands up, and pulls me off the bed so that I am standing in front of him, dazed. He undoes the button on my shorts and kneels quickly, yanking them and my panties down, and before I can breathe again, I am back on the bed beneath him and he’s unbuttoning his fly. Holy cow, he’s not taking off his clothes or my T-shirt. He holds my head and with no preamble whatsoever he thrusts himself inside me, making me cry out—more in surprise than anything else— but I can still hear the hiss of his breath forced through his clenched teeth.
“Yessss,” he breathes close to my ear. He stills, then swivels his hips once, pushing deeper, making me groan.
“I need you,” he growls, his voice low and husky. He runs his teeth along my jaw, nipping and sucking, and then he’s kissing me again, hard. I wrap my legs and arms around him, cradling and holding him hard against me, determined to wipe out whatever’s worrying him, and he starts to move . . . move like he’s trying to climb inside me. Over and over, frantic, primal, desperate, and before I lose myself in the insane rhythm and pace he’s setting, I briefly wonder once more what’s driving him, worrying him. But my body takes over, obliterating the thought, climbing and building so I am awash with sensation, meeting him thrust for thrust. Listening to his harsh breathing, labored and fierce at my ear. Knowing that he’s lost in me. . . I groan loudly, panting. It’s so erotic—his need, his need for me. I am reaching
. . . reaching . . . and he’s driving me higher, overwhelming me, taking me, and I want this. I want this so much . . . for him and for me.
“Come with me,” he gasps, and he rears up over me so I have to break my hold around him.
“Open your eyes,” he orders. “I need to see you.” His voice is urgent, implacable. My eyes flicker open momentarily, and the sight of him above me—his face taut with ardor, his eyes raw and glowing with need. His passion and his love is my undoing, and on cue I come, throwing my head back as my body pulses around him.

“Oh, Ana,” he cries and he joins my climax, driving into me, then stilling and collapsing onto me. He rolls over so that I’m sprawled on 67 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed top of him, and he’s still inside me. As I surface from my orgasm and my body steadies and calms, I want to make some quip about being objectified and oppressed, but hold my tongue, uncertain of his mood. I glance up from
Christian’s chest to examine his face. His eyes are closed and his arms are wrapped around me, clinging tight. I kiss his chest through the thin fabric of his linen shirt.
“Tell me, Christian, what’s wrong?” I ask softly and wait anxiously to see if even now, sated by sex, he’ll tell me. I feel his arms tighten around me further, but it’s his only response. He’s not going to talk. Inspiration hits me.
“I give you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, to stand by your side in good times and in bad, to share your joy as well as your sorrow,” I murmur.
He freezes. His only movement is to open wide his fathomless eyes and gaze at me as I continue my wedding vows.
“I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals and dreams, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, to share my hopes and dreams with you, and bring you solace in times of need.” I pause, willing him to talk to me. He watches me, his lips parted, but says nothing.
“And to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.” I sigh.

“Oh, Ana,” he whispers and moves again, breaking our precious contact so that we’re lying side by side. He strokes my face with the back of his knuckles. “I solemnly vow that I will safeguard and hold dear and deep in my heart our union and you,” he whispers, his voice hoarse . “I promise to love you faithfully, forsaking all others, through the good times and the bad, in sickness or in health, regardless of where life takes us. I will protect you, trust you, and respect you. I will share your joys and sorrows and comfort you in times of need. I promise to cherish you and uphold your hopes and dreams and keep you safe at my side. All that is mine is now yours. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love from this moment on for as long as we both shall live.” Tears spring to my eyes. His face softens as he gazes at me.
“Don’t cry,” he murmurs, his thumb catching and dispatching a stray tear.
“Why won’t you talk to me? Please, Christian.”

68 | P a g e
He closes his eyes as if in pain.
“I vowed I would bring you solace in times of need. Please don’t make me break my vows.”
He sighs and opens his eyes, his expression bleak. “It’s arson,” he says simply, and he looks suddenly so young and vulnerable. Oh fuck.
“And my biggest worry is that they are after me. And if they are after me—”
He stops, unable to continue.

“. . . They might get me,” I whisper. He blanches and I know that I have finally uncovered the root of his anxiety. Reaching up, I caress his face.
“Thank you,” I murmur.
He frowns. “What for?”
“For telling me.”
He shakes his head and a ghost of a smile touches his lips. “You can be very persuasive, Mrs. Grey.”
“And you can brood and internalize all your feelings and worry yourself to death. You’ll probably die of a heart attack before you’re forty, and I want you around far longer than that.”
“Mrs. Grey, you’ll be the death of me. The sight of you on the Jet Ski—I nearly had a coronary.” He flops back on the bed and puts his hand over his eyes, and I feel him shudder.
“Christian, it’s a Jet Ski. Even kids ride Jet Skis. Can you imagine what you’ll be like when we visit your place in Aspen and I go skiing for the first time?”
He gasps and turns to face me, and I want to laugh at the horror on his face.
“Our place,” he says eventually.
I ignore him. “I’m a grown-up, Christian, and much tougher than I look. When are you going to learn this?”
He shrugs and his mouth thins. I decide to change the subject.
“So, the fire. Do the police know about the arson?”
“Yes.” His expression is serious.

“Security is going to get tighter,” he says matter-of-factly. 69 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed
“I understand.” I glance down his body. He’s still wearing his shorts and his shirt, and I still have my T-shirt on. Jeez—talk about wham, bam, thank you ma’am. The thought makes me giggle.
“What?” Christian asks, bemused.
“Yes. You. Still dressed.”
“Oh.” He glances down at himself, then back at me, and his face erupts into an enormous smile.
“Well, you know how hard it is for me to keep my hands off you, Mrs. Grey— especially when you’re giggling like a schoolgirl.”
Oh yes—the tickling. Gah! The tickling. I move quickly so that I’m straddling him, but immediately understanding my evil intent, he grabs both of my wrists. “No,” he says and he means it.
I pout at him but decide that he’s not ready for this.
“Please don’t,” he whispers. “I couldn’t bear it. I was never tickled as a child.”
He pauses and I relax my hands so he doesn’t have to restrain me.
“I used to watch Carrick with Elliot and Mia, tickling them, and it looked like

such fun, but I . . . I . . .”
I place my index finger on his lips.
“Hush, I know,” I murmur and plant a soft kiss on his lips where my finger has just been, then curl up on his chest. The familiar painful ache swells inside me, and the profound sadness that I hold in my heart for Christian as a little boy seizes me once more. I know I would do anything for this man because I love him so.
He puts his arms around me and presses his nose into my hair, inhaling deeply as he gently strokes my back. I don’t know how long we lie there, but eventually I break the comfortable silence between us.
“What is the longest you’ve gone without seeing Dr. Flynn?”
“Two weeks. Why? Do you have an incorrigible urge to tickle me?”
“No.” I chuckle. “I think he helps you.”
Christian snorts. “He should; I pay him enough.” He pulls my hair gently, turning my face to look up at him. I lift my head and he gazes at me.
“Are you concerned for my well-being, Mrs. Grey?” he asks softly. 70 | P a g e E L JAMES
“Every good wife is concerned for her beloved husband’s wellbeing, Mr.
Grey,” I admonish him teasingly.
“Beloved?” he whispers, and it’s a poignant question hanging between us.
“Very much beloved.” I scoot up to kiss him, and he smiles his shy smile.
“Do you want to go ashore to eat, Mrs. Grey?”

“I want to eat wherever you’re happiest.”
“Good.” He grins. “Aboard it is where I can keep you safe. Thank you for my present.” He reaches over and grabs the camera, and holding it at arm’s length, he snaps the two of us in our post tickling, postcoital, post confessional embrace.
“The pleasure is all mine,” I smile and his eyes light up.
We wander through the opulent, gilt splendor of the eighteenth century
Palace of Versailles. Once a humble hunting lodge, it was transformed by the
Roi Soleil into a magnificent, lavish seat of power, but even before the eighteenth century ended it saw the last of those absolute monarchs.
The most stunning room by far is the Hall of Mirrors. The early afternoon light floods through windows to the west, lighting up the mirrors that line the east wall and illuminating the gold leaf décor and the enormous crystal chandeliers. It’s breathtaking.
“Interesting to see what becomes of a despotic megalomaniac who isolates himself in such splendor,” I murmur to Christian as he stands at my side. He gazes down and cocks his head to one side, regarding me with humor.
“Your point, Mrs. Grey?”
“Oh, merely an observation, Mr. Grey.” I wave my hand airily at the surroundings. Smirking, he follows me to the center of the room where I stand and gawk at the view—the spectacular gardens reflected in the looking glass and the spectacular Christian Grey, my husband, reflected back at me, his gaze bright and bold.
“I would build this for you,” he whispers. “Just to see the way the light burnishes your hair, right here, right now.” He tucks a strand of 71 | P a g e

Fifty Shades Freed hair behind my ear. “You look like an angel.” He kisses me just below my earlobe, takes my hand in his, and murmurs, “We despots do that for the women we love.”
I flush at his compliment, smiling shyly, and follow him through the vast room.
“What are you thinking about?” Christian asks softly, taking a sip of his afterdinner coffee.
“Ostentatious, wasn’t it?” He grins. I glance around the more understated grandeur of the Fair Lady’s dining room and purse my lips.
“This is hardly ostentatious,” Christian says, a tad defensively.
“I know. It’s lovely. The best honeymoon a girl could want.”
“Really?” he says, genuinely surprised. And he smiles his shy smile.
“Of course it is.”
“We’ve only got two more days. Is there anything you’d like to see?
Anything you’d like to do?”
“Just be with you,” I murmur. Rising from the table, he comes around and kisses me on the forehead.
“Well, can you do without me for about an hour? I need to check my e-mails, find out what’s happening at home.”

“Sure,” I say brightly, trying to hide my disappointment that I’ll be without him for an hour. Is it freaky that I want to be with him all the time? My subconscious presses her lips into a narrow, unattractive line and nods vigorously. “Thank you for the camera,” he murmurs and heads for the study.
Back in our cabin I decide to catch up on my correspondence and open my laptop. There are e-mails from my mom and from Kate, giving me the latest gossip from home and asking how the honeymoon is going. Well, great, until someone decided to burn down GEH Inc. . . . As I finish my response to my mom, an e-mail from Kate hits my inbox.

72 | P a g e

From: Katherine L. Kavanagh
Date: August 17, 2011 11:45 PST
To: Anastasia Grey
Subject: OMG!!!!
Ana, just heard about the fire at Christian’s office. Do you think it’s arson?
K xox
Rose is online! I jump on to my newfound toy—Skype messaging— and see that she’s available. I quickly type a message.

Ana: Hey are you there?
Kate: YES, Ana! How are you? How’s the honeymoon? Did you see

my e-mail? Does Christian know about the fire?
Ana: I’m good. Honeymoon’s great. Yes, I saw your e-mail. Yes,
Christian knows.
Kate: I thought he would. News is sketchy on what happened. And
Elliot won’t tell me anything.
Ana: Are you fishing for a story?
Kate: You know me too well.
Ana: Christian hasn’t told me much.
Kate: Elliot heard from Grace!
Oh no—I’m sure Christian doesn’t want this broadcast all over Seattle. I try my patented distract-tenacious-Kavanagh technique. Ana: How are Elliot

and Ethan?
Kate: Ethan has been accepted into the psych course at Seattle for his master’s degree. Elliot is adorable. Ana: Way to go, Ethan.
Kate: How’s our favorite ex-dom?
Ana: Kate!
Kate: What?
Kate: K. Sorry
73 | P a g e
Fifty Shades Freed

Ana: He’s fine. More than fine.
Kate: Well, as long as you’re happy, I’m happy.
Ana: I’m blissfully happy.

I have to run. Can we talk later?

Ana: Not sure. See if I am online. Time zones suck!
Kate: They do. Love you, Ana.
Ana: Love you, too. Laters. x
Kate: Laters.

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