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Darker (Fifty Shades as Told by Christian #2)
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0385543913 (ISBN13: 9780385543910)
E L James revisits the world of Fifty Shades with a deeper and darker take on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the globe.
Their scorching, sensual affair ended in heartbreak and recrimination, but Christian Grey cannot get Anastasia Steele out of his mind, or his blood. Determined to win her back, he tries to suppress his darkest desires and his need for complete control, and to love Ana on her own terms.
But the horrors of his childhood still haunt him, and Ana’s scheming boss, Jack Hyde, clearly wants her for himself. Can Christian’s confidant and therapist, Dr. Flynn, help him face down his demons? Or will the possessiveness of Elena, his seducer, and the deranged devotion of Leila, his former submissive, drag Christian down into the past?
And if Christian does win Ana back, can a man so dark and damaged ever hope to keep her?
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WE LAND ON PORTLAND’S downtown helipad fifteen minutes later. As I bring Charlie Tango’s engines to idle and switch off the transponder, fuel, and radios, the uncertainty I’ve felt since I resolved to win her back resurfaces. I need to tell her how I feel, and that’s going to be hard—because I don’t understand my feelings toward her. I know that I’ve missed her, that I’ve been miserable without her, and that I’m willing to try a relationship her way. But will it be enough for her? Will it be enough for me?
Talk to her, Grey.
Once I’ve unbuckled my harness I lean across to undo hers and catch a trace of her sweet fragrance. As ever, she smells good. Her eyes meet mine in a furtive glance—revealing an inappropriate thought? What exactly is she thinking? As usual I’d love to know, but have no idea.
“Good trip, Miss Steele?”
“Yes, thank you, Mr. Grey.”
“Well, let’s go see the boy’s photos.” I open the door, jump down, and hold my hand out for her.
Joe, the manager of the helipad, is waiting to greet us. He’s an antique: a veteran of the Korean War, but still as spry and acute as a man in his fifties. Nothing escapes his notice. His eyes light up as he gives me a craggy smile.
“Joe, keep her safe for Stephan. He’ll be along around eight or nine.”
“Will do, Mr. Grey. Ma’am. Your car’s waiting downstairs, sir. Oh, and the elevator’s out of order. You’ll need to use the stairs.”
“Thank you, Joe.”
As we head for the emergency stairwell, I eye Anastasia’s high-heeled boots and remember her less-than-dignified fall into my office.
“Good thing for you this is only three floors—in those heels.” I hide my smile.
“Don’t you like the boots?” she asks, looking down at her feet. A pleasing vision of them hooked over my shoulders springs to mind.
“I like them very much, Anastasia.” I hope my expression doesn’t betray my lascivious thoughts. “Come. We’ll take it slow. I don’t want you falling and breaking your neck.” I’m thankful that the elevator is out of order—it gives me a plausible excuse to hold her. Putting my arm around her waist, I pull her to my side and we descend the stairs.
In the car on the way to the gallery my anxiety doubles; we’re attending the opening of an exhibition by her so-called friend. The man who, last time I saw him, was trying to push his tongue into her mouth. Perhaps over the last few days they’ve talked. Perhaps this is a long-anticipated rendezvous between them.
Hell, I hadn’t considered that before. I sure hope it’s not.
“José is just a friend,” Ana explains.
What? She knows what I’m thinking? Am I that obvious? Since when?
Since she stripped me of all my armor and I discovered that I needed her.
She stares at me and my stomach tightens. “Those beautiful eyes look too large in your face, Anastasia. Please tell me you’ll eat.”
“Yes, Christian, I’ll eat.” She sounds less than sincere.
“I mean it.”
“Do you, now?” Her voice is laced with sarcasm, and I almost have to sit on my hands.
It’s time to declare myself.
“I don’t want to fight with you, Anastasia. I want you back, and I want you healthy.” I’m honored with her shocked, all-eyes look.
“But nothing’s changed.” Her expression shifts to a frown.
Oh, Ana, it has—there’s been a seismic shift in me.
We pull up at the gallery and I have no time to explain before the show. “Let’s talk on the way back. We’re here.”
Before she can say she’s not interested, I exit the car, walk around to her side, and open the door. She looks mad as she climbs out.
“Why do you do that?” she exclaims, exasperated.
“Do what?” Shit—what’s this?
“Say something like that and then just stop.”
That’s it—that’s why you’re mad?
“Anastasia, we’re here. Where you want to be. Let’s do this and then talk. I don’t particularly want a scene in the street.”