Chapter 39


Google Alert: Christian Grey

The Seattle Times, August 23rd 2012. Seven Officers Arrested on Charges of Conspiracy […], Seattle billionaire Christian Grey, the target of the conspiracy, has already poured over a million dollars into the city’s prosecuting attorney’s office.


Google Alert: Christian Grey

Forbes Magazine, August 23rd 2012. Christian and Anastasia Grey: American Royalty. Christian Grey is nowhere to be seen when we arrive at his palatial mansion on Lake Washington. Instead, it’s Anastasia who runs the household, much in the way she runs her bi-coastal publishing company…


Google Alert: Christian Grey

Business Insider, August 23rd 2012. Bill Gates is No Longer the Richest Man in the World. The announcement of Grey Enterprises Holdings partnership with the Pentagon Thursday comes with a hefty payday for CEO Christian Grey. A $50 billion payday.


My phone won’t shut up while I sit at the breakfast table, so I’m forced to turn it off.  Jacqueline has been working overtime. Now we’re in the middle of a perfect media storm and the sudden onslaught of press has actually managed to completely drown out any mention of Calliope, once again proving Christian is the man behind the curtain in almost every situation.

Congratulatory bouquets, cards, and assorted baskets of treats have been arriving since dawn from the people who turned on Christian while he was down, and now are desperately trying to get back on his good side. Kate left me an angry voicemail over us letting the Seattle Times break the police conspiracy story instead of Kavanagh Media, and, in response to the article from Business Insider, Elliot has been blowing up both our phones asking for exorbitant amounts of money to fund an impressively ridiculous string of business ideas he’s been coming up with all morning.

I ignore all of it. I’m too engrossed in watching Christian cutting up blueberry pancakes and feeding our daughter each syrupy bite. I still feel like I haven’t fully recovered from my sleepless night in New York, which is probably because I spent another sleepless night last night going three rounds with the incredibly sexy man now sitting across the table from me. I bite down on my lip, thinking it’s a shame he has to wear clothes at the breakfast table.

“You better watch those eyes you’re giving me, Anastasia,” he says, somehow catching me in the middle of checking him out, even though he’s entirely wrapped up in our daughter. He stabs another small piece of pancake and gives me a pointed look as he guides the fork to her mouth. “I have the self-control of a man, not a saint.”

 “Mmm!” Calliope squeaks, holding her fists in the air excitedly as she chews. Christian looks back at her and laughs, then drags the silicone edge of the fork he’s holding across her bottom lip to clean away a drip of maple syrup. I watch them both with rapt interest over my breakfast, smiling like an idiot.

“Do you like pancakes?” Christian asks, still grinning.

“Mo’, Daddy.”

“More?” He spears another bite and swirls it around as he brings it to her mouth. She laughs, then clamps her mouth down on the fork like a turtle. I giggle this time, and the sound once again catches Christian’s attention.

“Mmm, that’s lovely. Much more of that, please.”

I beam back at him. “Giggling, or adoring you?”

“Why make me choose?”

I let out another laugh, then turn to my right as Gail approaches with a vanilla latte she made with our brand new, very fancy espresso machine. There’s a leaf drawn on the top in foamy milk.

“I’m not quite perfect at it yet,” she tells me as she sets the full mug on the table in front of me, though her excitement and pride color every word of the sentiment. I turn to her, hoping how impressed I am with her handiwork is there in my smile. 

“Are you kidding me? It’s gorgeous!” I look at Christian. “We’re not paying her enough.”

Christian laughs before turning his attention back to the insistent cries of our baby. She has her hands reached out towards the half-eaten omelette on his plate.

“You want my breakfast?” he asks, skeptically. Even I wrinkle my nose. She strains her hands further, so he cuts a bit off the corner of the folded eggs and holds it out for her. She takes the bite eagerly, but only chews it a few times before she spits it back out on her tray.

Gail gasps from the kitchen and places a hand over her chest.

“You see,” Christian says sternly to Calliope, nodding to our housekeeper. “Now you’ve offended your cook.”

“It’s not Gail’s fault your breakfast is gross,” I interject, looking down at the monstrosity resting on his plate. “Who whisks whey protein into their eggs?”

“Someone who is going to get some serious gains when they work out with their trainer later.”

I lean closer to him, resting my elbows on the table. “But, for God’s sake, at what cost?”

He smiles, a genuine, breathtaking smile that makes my head swoon and leans the rest of the way in. His lips are a mere breath away from mine when we’re interrupted by one of my new security guards.

“Mrs. Grey?”

I sigh and turn to him. “Uh… Smith, right?”

“Wyatt.” He gives me a patient smile, then holds out a cell phone to me. “Your assistant is asking for you.”

My eyes shift down to the mirror black screen on my iPhone and I frown. So much for an uninterrupted breakfast.

I reach out for the phone Wyatt’s holding, but pause just before my fingers wrap around it. “Wait isn’t this Luke’s phone?”

“Yes, ma’am. When your assistant got your voicemail, she reached out to your head of security.”

“So, where is he?”

“In the office.” His eyes shift to Christian. “He’s working on something for  Mr. Grey, I believe.”

Oh… right. 

I take the phone and try to express an apology to Christian for the interruption. He’s not paying attention to me. Once again, he and Calliope are in their own little world together.

“Hello?”

“I’m really sorry to bother you, Ana…” Abby starts. “Since you’re not leaving the country anymore, are you coming into the office today? And, most importantly, if you’re not, could you?” 

My stomach drops. I spent all day yesterday playing with Calliope, soaking her in while I dealt with the residual emotions from the confrontation with my dad. I haven’t even glanced at The Greenwich Library’s numbers.

“Uh oh, what’s wrong?” I ask, dreading the answer.

“Nothing, we’re just… a little in over our heads here.” 

“What do you mean?”

“Uh… I don’t know if I can express it correctly over the phone. I think you need to see it yourself.”

My brow furrows, but I decide that if she thinks I need to see it to understand the worry in her voice, there’s no reason to keep her on the phone asking pointless questions. “Okay, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

“Thanks, boss.”

I hang up the phone and sigh as I push what’s left of my own blueberry pancakes a few inches away from me. Christian turns in my direction, frowning.

“Everything, alright?”

“I don’t know. Abby’s freaking out about something, so I’ve got to go into the office and deal with it.”

“No, you don’t. Quit. Come work for me. I’ll have an office at Grey Publishing cleared out and ready for you within the hour.”

I snicker, then come around the table to kiss him. “After all the work I’ve put into ringing you dry with my new subscription service? Not a chance in Hell, Grey.”

“It was worth a shot.” He once again turns the gorgeous smile that makes my knees weak on me in full force, then pulls my lips down to his. It’s not a quick, goodbye kiss like I’d thought it would be. He presses his lips deeply into mine and pushes his tongue into my mouth. I suck the tip of it and he groans. “Just a man, Ana… If you think you’re leaving for work, you better get the fuck out of here.”

His hands clench tightly around the armrests of his chair, and I know it’s the only warning I’m going to get.

“Have a good day,” I tell him, and he grumbles slightly as I walk away. That is until Calliope captures his attention again, which doesn’t even take as long as it takes me to leave the room. I start towards the security office to return Luke’s phone, but it rings before I get there. When I look down at the name across the screen it stops me in my tracks.

Jade.

I pick up the pace, nearly knocking Mackensie over at the bottom of the stairs as I sprint to the security office. Luke is inside, looking intently at a document open on his computer screen.

“Luke!” He turns to me, eyebrows furrowed at my urgent tone. I toss the phone to him. “It’s her!

His eyes widen as he looks down at the screen, then harden as he reads the name. There’s a tick in his jaw that throbs like a heartbeat when he presses his finger into the button to reject the call, and shoves the phone roughly in his pocket. I’m shocked, because it’s the exact opposite of the reaction I was expecting.

“Okay… so are we in the hating her guts phase now?”

“We’re not in any phase,” he grumbles. “I’m over it.”

“Well, you’ve got me convinced.” He narrows his eyes at the sarcastic bite to my words, but I ignore him and take the seat at the workspace next to his. “Are you fighting?”

“No.”

“Did she find out about your whorish ways?”

“Why do you always assume I’m being a whore?” I’d meant it as a joke, but he actually sounds a little indignant.

“I’m sorry. I don’t really think that, Luke. I was just kidd–” And then it hits me. I don’t know if it’s the look in his eyes or some kind of best friend intuition, but suddenly, I know what’s been so different about him these past few weeks. As certainly as I know the color of the shirt he’s wearing right now. “Holy shit. You’re seeing someone!”

His face falls, his cheeks pink, and he turns to face the computer again. “I don’t want to talk about it, Ana.”

“Oh my god, you are!”

He shakes his head. “I’m not allowed to be seeing someone, remember? Serious relationships take more time than this job gives me, and romantic connections are compromising.”

“Like that’s ever stopped you before.”

When was I in a serious relationship before?”

“You know, that one girl that you dated while I was still in school…”

That one girl. Sounds serious.”

I glare at him. “Her name was Leah.”

“And I fucked her like three times and then I dumped her.”

I cringe at his ugly tone. It’s not like Luke to be so defensive with me, not after this much instigating. I know what I know, and the fact that he won’t admit it to me actually hurts a little. Maybe even more than a little.

“You’re kind of being an asshole, you know that?” I snap at him. He rounds on me, ready to launch into a tirade, but I jump in first. “You know every single thing about me. You know what time I wake up in the morning, you know what I eat for breakfast, what time I go to work, what meetings I have, how many times a day I talk to my husband… hell, you know when we have sex. This job means that you get a very personal look into my life. So if this thing between you and me is really a friendship, you can’t have a secret life that I don’t know about. That doesn’t put us on equal footing, and if we’re not on equal footing, then you’re just Big Brother.”

He lets out a harsh breath, then gets out of his chair and moves to close the door. Once we’re blocked off from anyone who might come up the hallway, he moves to flip a switch on the control panel to the security system. The light on the camera in the corner goes dark, and Luke’s shoulders rise and fall with the deep breath he takes. When he rounds on me, he no longer looks irritated. There’s a vulnerability spelled out across his face that I only ever get to see, when he isn’t trying to act like my CPO.

“Ana, I really don’t want to talk about this.”

“Why?”

“Because you go to bed with my boss every night and I’m not trying to get fired. There are rules about this.”

“Oh.” That actually makes me pause. “Well… I won’t tell him. It’ll be our secret.” 

He leans back, sitting on the edge of the desk, and folds his arms over his chest. “Think about what you just said. You really want more secrets between you and me? How do you think your husband will feel about that?” 

“Uh…” I hesitate, because I’m not exactly sure how to respond. No matter how long I stare at him, the answer never comes. Probably because he’s right. “Fine, but you are, though,” I reply, stubbornly. “I know you are. I can read you like a book, Sawyer.”

He grins and walks towards me, bending over and resting his hands on each of the arm rests of my chair. “I don’t want to talk about it, Ana.”

I don’t want to talk about it, Ana.” I mock his words in a very childish voice as I get out of the chair, but it only makes him laugh. He flips on the camera again and follows me out of the office while I grumble about how I don’t even really want to know her anyway, and that she’s probably terrible, and that we definitely wouldn’t be best friends, and I don’t even want to be… I have enough friends so it doesn’t even bother me not being close to the people that he loves. Not even a little.

By the time we pull out of the garage and start towards GSP, he’s shaking with silent laughter.

Twenty minutes later, I pull up in front of my office expecting the worst. I spent the entire drive here thinking of every doomsday scenario that could’ve happened in the last 24 hours. The app has crashed and all our data has disappeared. The paywall isn’t working and people are downloading our entire collection for free. Christian has found some magical loophole in the contract he made me sign for my app design that means all the profits from the Greenwich Library go to GEH. That last one is ridiculous, I know, but after the whole Hailey Lewis/Phoenix debacle, I’m not taking my eye off him for a second.

Instead of being greeted by disaster though, I walk through the front doors to a round of applause. Everyone in the office is on their feet clapping, beaming at me. Jacki looks almost on the edge of tears.

“What’s going on?” I ask, so taken aback that I actually do step backwards into Luke.

“Have you seen the numbers for the library?” Abby squeals.

I feel the apprehension leave my face, leaving me completely blank. “No, we were dealing with a… uh…” I swallow to get myself to stop babbling. “Are they good?”

“Good?” Stevens barks from his desk. He picks up a folder and starts towards me, thrusting it into my hands the moment he’s close enough. I glance down and skim through the information until I see the number.

180,000.

Holy shit.” The words escape before I can pull them back, but when I shoot guilty eyes up at my employees they all laugh jubilantly. On Monday we were praying for 50,000 subscribers. 180,000 is so far out of the realm of what I thought was possible that, looking at it now, I have to focus on the thundering beat of my heart just to make sure I’m not dreaming.

Numbers like these aren’t just survival. This means growth. This means freedom and flexibility. This means that I really do know what I’m doing after all.

“It’s been insane here since yesterday,” Stevens says. “Our inboxes have been flooded from literary agents we’ve never worked with and hundreds of self-published authors who are interested in getting their work into the premium content side of the library. New York has been calling for hours complaining that they’re getting emails they send you pinged back because your inbox is full.”

“What? Full?” I push past him and start at a quick pace for my office, hearing good natured calls for me to get to work so they can. I turn back to look at them as I open the door to my own office, just so I can roll my eyes, but Luke stops me before I step inside.

“Uh, Ana…” He gestures awkwardly to Smith.

“Oh, right. Abby, this is Collin Smith. He’s joining my security team. Can you find a place for him?”

She glances around the room of completely occupied desks, then answers me the same way people speak to their senile grandparents. “Sure thing, Ana.”

I ignore her tone and nod to them as I move into my office, bracing myself while I take the seat behind my computer. It’s just as bad as my employees said. The moment I open my email, I’m met with all kinds of error messages about the emails I can’t receive until I delete what’s already in my inbox. I start in, planning on doing nothing but reading all day, but it becomes clear very quickly that I can’t keep up with the workload and manage the branch at the same time. Since no one can email me, I’m hounded with phone calls the entire day. Every fifteen minutes, someone is knocking on my door with some fire that needs to be put out. Eventually, I have to have Penny help me work the manuscript submissions, but even with her help, my inbox is still gridlocked until the very end of the day.

 “A new email!” she cheers in triumph when she deletes a submission from Rogers and an unread email appears in its place. I return an absolutely exhausted smile that morphs into surprise when I look up and see the message sitting at the top of my inbox.


To: Anastasia Grey

Date: August 23rd 2012 08:24 AM

Subject: GP/GSP Writers Conference

From: Elizabeth Morgan

Attachment: GP New Author Contract Template.pdf

Hey, Ana!

I’ve been thinking about this all week and I’ve got some great new ideas to talk to you about. Have you had time to review your schedule for a standing meeting yet? Wednesdays work best for me but I’ve got some time on Tuesdays and Fridays too. Oh, and I’ve attached the contract template you requested– sorry it took me so long to get it to you. I swear I’m losing my mind sometimes.

Best,

Elizabeth Morgan

Editor-in-Chief, Grey Publishing, Inc.


I don’t remember the last time I moved so fast. The second the contract is open on my screen, I start to read. The table of contents guides me to the sections of the document that talk about GP’s responsibilities and what the author is agreeing to. Christian hasn’t broken a single provision, of course. Mr. Careful has certainly dotted all of his Is and crossed every single T.

I fall back in my chair, nearly defeated, until I scroll to the very last section of the document and find a termination clause buried in a big block of legal speak.

10. (a) VOLUNTARY TERMINATION. This contract may be terminated voluntarily for any reason, by either party, upon thirty (30) days prior written notice detailing causes for termination and sent via certified mail.

10. (b) Unless his or her authority is revoked pursuant to clause three (3), after termination, the author will be financially liable for the services administered by the publisher including, but not limited to: editing fees, printing costs, literary agent commissions, marketing materials, and other miscellaneous expenses detailed by the publisher. The publisher shall have sixty (60) days from the date of termination to report any financial liabilities related to a voluntary termination to the author.

I re-read the section several times, making sure there isn’t any double meaning to what’s written that might come back and bite me in the ass. On the surface, the consequences of this termination clause seem astronomical. There’s no way an author could afford to reimburse their publishing company for business costs. Especially a young, first time author like Hailey.

But for the publishing company who is desperate to sign her and who is currently experiencing a massive wave of success from their subscription service…

A smile crosses my lips and I start to calculate the possible cost of a contract termination in my head. She’s only been signed for a week and a half, so they’ve still got to be in the beginning phases of the editing process. Christian will gouge me over that, I’m sure, since editing is so difficult to bill anyway. But they won’t have sent anything to the printers, they won’t have marketing materials, and Hailey didn’t use an agent to get to Grey Publishing. I think I could get her out of this for less than ten grand, and for a release that I’m certain will create hundreds of thousands, if not a million, in revenue, that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Quickly, I open my email and start composing a message to Abby, asking her to make me lunch reservations for Monday afternoon. Before I hit send though, my phone rings and it’s Christian’s name that greets me when I look down at the screen. It makes my stomach drop.

He’s on to me.

“Hello?” I answer, nervously.

“You’re late,” comes his easy reply. I let out a sigh of relief and look down at the clock in the bottom corner of my screen.

“I’m not late, it’s only six.”

“It’s 6:03,” he corrects me, and when I huff back he laughs. “Are you finished for today?”

I hit send on my email to Abby, then close the screen on my laptop. “Yep, just powered down my computer. I’m on my way home now.”

“Good, I love you.”

“I love you too, see you soon.” I hang up the phone and gather my things. Most of the office is empty already, except for Penny and my security team, who help me close down before we lock up and make our way down the elevators. I wave good-bye to my receptionist, thanking her again and again for the invaluable help she’s given me all day. She tells me for probably the hundredth time that she’s happy to help, then smiles as she starts down the street for the train station. I turn my attention to the car waiting for me on the curb, but it’s not Smith who is standing there waiting to open the door for me.

“So this is why you were so impatient,” I say, smiling as I step into Christian’s arms. He doesn’t respond. He pulls me into him and kisses me deeply, eliciting a few flashes from the bushes that Luke has to chase away.

“Come on,” Christian says, opening the passenger’s door to the Maybach for me. I glance in the backseat and frown.

“Where’s Calliope?”

“With Taylor and Mackensie. I thought you and I could have a date night tonight.”

I hum softly and let my eyes sparkle with love at him. “Did you?”

“Mhm. I have a surprise for you.”

“Well then, take me away, Mr. Grey. I’m your willing prisoner.”

“Don’t give me any ideas, now.” His eyes crinkle with mirth at the corners, and I lean up and steal a quick kiss before ducking into the front seat of the car. He appears next to me seconds later, then pulls out into traffic, taking my hand over the center console as he expertly weaves in and out of the lanes packed too tightly with cars.

“How was your day?” I ask.

“Productive. I wrapped up negotiations and signed a $65 billion deal with China today.”

I actually choke over my own breath. “Billion?”

“Dollars.” He grins, then turns to look at me. “Do you want an island? I’m thinking about buying an island.” I stutter for a few moments, having difficulty summoning words while my brain tries to rationalize sixty-five billion dollars. The look of amusement on his face never falters. “How was your day?”

It takes me a minute to shake away my shock before I can answer him. “Good. Very good, actually.”

“You got your numbers back from the Greenwich Library?”

“Mhm.”

“And?”

“I’m not telling you that. You’re the competition, and you’ve made it very clear that it’s war between us.”

“War between Grey Publishing and Greenwich Small Press,” he corrects me. “Never between us.”

“Semantics.” I brush his remarks away with a casual wave of my hand, but he just once again grabs ahold of it and brings each of my fingers to his lips. 

“It’s not semantics, it’s important to me. Never between us.” He kisses each of my fingers again. “Will you at least tell me if I should be worried?”

“Only if you plan on keeping your publishing company.” This time, I turn and give him a look that is exactly as smug and satisfied as I feel. He doesn’t falter one bit.

“And I do. Remember who you’re dealing with, Anastasia.”

“You don’t scare me.”

“I should. This is my game, baby. I write the rules, and I enforce them.”

“We’ll see.” I turn away, looking out the window. His hand tightens around mine in a gesture of warm affection and I smile to myself. There’s a part of me that loves stepping into this ring with Christian, and I think he feels the same. But the only way we can fight each other in business is to never let it seep into the deep bond we share with one another. And he doesn’t. Not even when he’s losing.

  It’s strange that he turns for the freeway and takes it south, rather than to any of the restaurants in the city. My confusion only deepens when he hits the turn signal, and we pull through the gate at Boeing airfield. His jet is there, waiting for us.

“What exactly does this date night entail?” I ask.

He grins. “We’re just going up. Come on. I’ll show you around.”

I give him a confused look as I step out of the car and look up at the familiar jet. Except, as my eyes start picking out small details, it isn’t familiar at all. The wings and the tail are the wrong color, electric blue instead of deep gray. So is the giant GREY painted on the side of the fuselage.

“Wait, what is this? Did you buy a new plane?”

“Not exactly. It’s the flagship of the new Endurance fleet I’m building with Boeing. We have contracts with every major airline, but I wanted the very first one to be yours.”

My eyes widen at the word, and I peel my eyes away from the plan to gawk at him. “Mine?”

He shrugs. “You travel as much as I do anymore. This way I can control when, where, and who you’re flying with, and Ros can stop bitching at me for the plane never being available.”

“But… but…”

“Come on.” He takes my hands and looks at me adoringly as he pulls me towards the stairs. “You’re going to love it.”

From the outside, the plane looks almost identical to Christian’s. On the inside, the differences are immediately apparent. Christian’s jet has enough seating for our entire family and security team. As I look around at the small cluster of chairs around the table, one long sofa, and a few regular seats, I find myself counting bodyguards to determine whether or not they can all be accommodated.

“I know it looks small, but it isn’t,” Christian says, once again answering my thoughts instead of my words like he’s some kind of wizard. “We’ve made a few editions to make travel easier for you.”

Leading me to the back, I start to notice what he means. Christian’s plane, with its ample seating, has one bedroom at the back. Mine, has two. A small room that’s already been transformed into a nursery for Calliope and a larger room for Christian and I. They’re connected by a small hallway that is lined with cots that fold down.

“For your security team,” he tells me, lifting a cot back up into it’s holding place on the wall. There’s a bathroom back here that’s much larger than the closet-sized one on Christian’s jet, and an actual closet in the master bedroom. “Well, what do you think?”

I blink at him. “You bought me a plane.”

“No, I built you a plane, and you haven’t seen the half of what makes it so special.” He leads the way back to the main cabin, which has been closed up as if we’re preparing for take off. Natalia is standing over the table near the front, laying out dishes and place settings.

“We’re having dinner here?”

Christian nods. “I want you to feel it, so I’m taking you to Portland and back. It’ll take a couple hours. I thought we’d share a candlelight dinner.”

“That sounds wonderful.”

“Good.” He turns to Natalia. “Let Stephan know we’re ready to take off.”

“Yes, Mr. Grey.” Natalia places the last fork on the table and scurries up the aisle toward the cockpit. Once we’re alone, Christian sweeps me into his arms and kisses me like he’s been waiting for it for ten years. We fall back on the sofa, letting our hands roam the other’s body like we need to get reacquainted. It’s a ridiculous concept, because every inch of muscle my fingertips trace is bone-achingly familiar. There is a small degree of exhaustion, and not just from my busy day, that lingers persistently in the back of my mind. It’s very easy to ignore though when he groans into my mouth and grinds his erection against my thigh. We probably would have started stripping right then and there if I didn’t suddenly start sliding down the couch.

“What the—” I grip the cream leather that covers the sofa and glance in a panic out the window. We’re already off the ground, and I didn’t notice. The plane is completely silent, and as I stare around in confusion at what the hell is going on, Christian gives me a cocky grin.

“No combustion, remember? Without the chemical reactions and burning of fossil fuels, the engines are only as loud as wind hitting the propeller blades. We built the fuselage with insulated, reinforced steel to keep it as silent as possible.”

I stare out the window, watching the propellers inside the engines spinning in a blur on the wings. Marveling at how silent they are, like we’re in a car driving 35 miles an hour down an empty road with all the windows up.

“It’s almost unsettling,” I tell him.

“But think of how much better we’ll sleep on the way to our new private island. Did you prefer the Indian ocean, or French Polynesia?” I roll my eyes and turn away from him, but he captures my wrist and pulls me back into his lap, kissing me deeply the moment I’m engulfed in his arms. We stay that way until we reach cruising altitude and Natalia returns with covered dishes in her hands and lays them on the table.

“Can I get you anything else, Mr. Grey?” she asks. Christian shakes his head and dismisses her, before pulling out a chair for me and settling down himself on the other side of the table. I lift the cover from my plate and find a pasta tossed with clams. Mmm.

“Mia’s home, by the way,” Christian says, casually throwing a clam shell into the dish resting on the table between us. “Her flight came in late this afternoon. I thought maybe we’d give her a few days to get back on local time, then we could have a family dinner at our house on Sunday? She leaves for Harvard next week.”

“Already?” I ask, genuinely baffled. He nods, eyes widening like he can’t believe it either. I agree that we need to get everyone together before she goes, especially if she’s planning on being anything like Christian. He didn’t come home for anything except major holidays when he was at school. I’ve decided I won’t be able to wait until November for the Yale game anyway, so we start making plans to visit Mia in October, after Carrick’s birthday. The entire time we’re talking, he keeps my flute of champagne full.

“Are you trying to get me drunk?” I hiccup. He smiles and shakes his head.

“No, I’m trying to christen this damn plane.”

“I think you’re supposed to do that before take off,” I tell him, picking up my glass. “And I think you’re supposed to break the champagne on the ship, not force feed it to your wife.”

“That would be true if that’s what I meant.” He leans into me, his eyes brimming with a dark, lustful promise. “And that is most certainly not what I fucking meant.”

My mouth goes dry, and I’m instantly craving him. The taste of his lips, of his skin, of his cock… it’s all so much more appealing to me than the food on my plate. I push away from the table and crawl into his lap. He accepts me with open arms, then pulls my lips down to his.

I’m naked in under a minute, and grinding on him while he’s still fully dressed in an expensive and immaculately cut suit does things to me that make rational thought very difficult. It’s an unequal feeling of power, reminding me that I’m submissive to his desires and his wants. That reminder is the only thing that keeps me from dragging him out of his chair and into the bedroom.

“Please,” I beg against his lips, the lone word trembling with my need for him. He groans and utters a filthy obscenity under his breath, then lifts me in his arms and starts toward the bedroom. I’m slammed against a wall before we make it there and once again assaulted by his lips. I can feel the bruising starting, but that only makes me more ravenous for his kiss. The harder he grabs me, the more brutal his lips are against mine, the more intense my need for him burns. By the time he tosses me onto our new bed, I can’t even force myself to lie there and wait for him. I bounce back up and immediately start climbing him again, disrupting his attempts to unravel his tie. My unexpected weight throws him off balance slightly, and he topples over onto the bed, pinning me beneath him. I grind my clit against the fly of his slacks.

“Fuck me, Christian. Please, fuck me.”

“Fuck you?” He reaches for my wrists and pins them over my head, then leans down and gently nuzzles each of my breasts. It sends a torturous wave of tingles through me that resound painfully at the junction of my legs. “I brought you up here to make love.”

I pant and arch my breasts up more insistently against his face, silently begging for his tongue. He doesn’t comply.

“All day I’ve been thinking about laying you over this bed and treating you like the goddess you are. There wasn’t an inch of your gorgeous body that I wasn’t going to touch. Kiss. Worship. I was going to take you slow and deep and tell you over and over again just how much I fucking love you.”

I whimper and lick my lips.

“But if you’d rather be fucked…” I hadn’t noticed him pulling out his cock until he thrusts it inside of me. Hard. Without any pretense of gentility or even concern. If I hadn’t been as absolutely soaked as I am right now, he would have ripped right through me. As it is, he bottoms out with hardly any resistance and I let out a pleasure-laced scream that echoes throughout the room around us. He fills me over and over again in exactly the way I need him to, each hammering thrust chipping away my composure until I’m sweating, shaking, and panting beneath him. As every one of my muscles tenses in anticipation of release, I start to tremble. He looks deep into my eyes, reveling in my dizziness. He’s got me exactly where he wants me and I can see the satisfaction burning behind the pleasure so obviously displayed on his face. So when I finally come apart, I scream his name as loudly as I can to intensify all of it.

“Fuck, baby,” he growls into my ear while my orgasm pulses around his cock again and again. “So fucking tight. So fucking good.” His hands tighten on me, digging into my skin so roughly I know I’ll be left with bruises. Fuck, I hope I’m left with bruises.  

As my orgasm subsides, he kisses me and the way his tongue moves in my mouth is almost enough to make me come again. His pace slows and with every push and pull he stretches his torso over mine, brushing the beautifully sculpted muscles on his chest across my hardened nipples.

“Oh, fuck,” I breathe. My entire body shivers. He lets out a single, sexy laugh and softly nuzzles my neck.

“Have you had enough?”

“No.”

“Good.” The hand around my wrists vanishes and lands on my hip. With a harsh tug, he tosses me across the bed so I land on my stomach, then yanks my hips into the air. I expect another ruthless onslaught from his cock, but it’s his tongue I feel next. He licks me over and over again, starting at my clit, then dipping inside of me. I push back on his face, moving against his tongue in exactly the way I need it. Any second, I expect some form of castigation, but it doesn’t come. He lets me ride his face right until…

“That’s enough.”

Fuck. “No, Christian….” The words come out so needy, I don’t even sound like myself. The cold air that breezes over my wetness in his absence feels cruel when the heat had been so, so close…

He grabs two handfuls of my ass and spreads me open, watching me clench in desperation for him until all promise of an orgasm has subsided. Then he pushes his thumb deep inside of me, moving it in and out, keeping me right on the edge. It’s a challenge, because I’m not allowed to come for his fingers. So I moan and push into the mattress beneath me, but I refuse to let the pleasure overwhelm me. After a minute, he pulls out, drags his thumb through my dripping lips, and starts to circle the entrance of my ass.

“So wet for me,” he whispers, dipping into me and dragging his finger up again. His thumb pushes through my tightly pleated muscles at the same time his cock slides through my lower lips. I buck against the intrusion, but his free hand comes down on my hips and holds me in place.

“Slow this time,” he says, pulling back all the way to his tip and then inching back into me. His thumb moves in unison with his cock for a few seconds, until it’s gone and replaced with two fingers. They work together, building me to an impossible high. As the third starts to tickle my entrance, I realize he’s not playing with me. He’s preparing me. The stretch comes just as his cock pushes right against the place I need it most, and I lose whatever shred of control I was holding on to.

He continues his slow, measured cadence while I call out more and more garbled versions of his name. The waves of pleasure that radiate from each and every deep thrust go on and on until I find myself clawing at the blankets, trying to crawl away from them. He doesn’t let me. He holds me in place and fucks me until I’m limp. My head is swimming with euphoria, so I hardly notice him move me onto my side or pull my leg all the way up to my chest. I do notice though when the wide crown of his cock presses against my ass.

“Relax,” he says, wrapping a gentle, loving arm around me. I do, and, slowly, he pushes into me. I gasp, then whimper. He starts to suck the tip of my earlobe. “Real slow, baby.”

“Okay.” I swallow the pitiful sounds clawing their way up my throat and focus on breathing. Each breath in, pulls him in deeper. Each breath out makes it more bearable. One hand reaches up to run soft circles around my sensitive nipples, while his mouth leaves a trail of sweet kisses up the curve of my throat. With a small grunt, I take what’s left of him and he lets out a satisfied moan.

“Fuck, you feel incredible.”

I reach my chin over my shoulder and meet his lips. Once again, he kisses me like it would kill him to stop. Our lips seem to melt together, and our tongues move in a choreographed dance that’s taken years to master. He groans as he starts to move again. I tighten at first, but accept him absolutely once he reaches around and starts massaging my clit.

“I love you,” he whispers in my ear, pacing his thrusts with the intonation of his words. “So much. Every day, I fall in love with you all over again.”

I feel an urgent heat start to flame between my legs, and I reach down to Christian’s forearm, his initials on my finger pressing down into my name scrawled across his skin.

“Oh, god… I’m close.”

“Good. I want you to feel how much you turn me on.” He thrusts into me, harder than he was before, and I let out a tortured cry that merely feeds his hunger. “How hard I am for you. How much I want you. How much I fucking need you.”

“Yes! Yes! Oh, god, yes!”

“You’re mine, Anastasia. You’re fucking mine, and there’s not a goddamn thing in the universe that means more to me than that.”  

“YOURS!” I come like a spectacular show of fireworks. My body shakes, my mind is reeling. The extent of the pleasure rippling through me feels impossible in its magnitude, and yet it scorches through me until I can feel fire. Somewhere on the edge of my periphery, I hear the increasing urgency behind Christian’s grunts, but he’s lost in the stars dancing before my eyes until he leans in and announces very clearly that he’s coming inside of me. After that, a second wave comes crashing over me and it drowns all of my senses until Christian collapses on the bed next to me and the fasten seatbelt light over the door blinks on.

Somehow, we’re already home.

“Next time,” he says, still breathing heavily as he turns to look at me. “We’ll fly to LA.”

Next Chapter

21 thoughts on “Chapter 39

  1. I’m glad everything’s working out for Ana with the Publishing Company. I wish Christian would back off and let her have this little corner of the world. Talk about romantic a little trip to Portland and back on your very own jet with your gorgeous husband. Christian and Ana are in such a wonderful place right now. They fought hard to get to this they’ve never given up. This chapter was just warm and cozy and warm, romantic, and just plain wow! Love is story

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  2. I REALLY want to have a chat with Natalia. I mean, don’t we ALL want to hear what that woman has to say. God, the stories. She must own a great pair of ear plugs. 😆

    I see Ana is gaining an empire of her own, her publishing gains are adding up. Cushion for her husbands fall at some point?????

    AIrplane sex is just as hot as car sex, office sex, in front of the fireplace sex. It’s just perfect everywhere they make it. Or……is the writer just good at writing these characters. You win Tara, you know who to write these two to perfection. ❤️

    AJ Mackey

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  3. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
    It’s hot in here!

    I love the Ana and Luke back and forth.

    I ALAWAY love Christian and Ana time!

    Great chapter, thank you for the update!

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  4. Very, very, very🔥🔥🔥, Tara! I love how much Christian loves and puts Ana first. Custom-built the plane for her! I love how strong and deep they’re. Both are enjoying their hard work and successes. They deserve because they’re the most working and never give up and it pays off. They’re super affluent and wealthy. This book is full of Christian’s expressions of love for Ana and I love it very much. Thank You, Tara, for amazing chapter💯❤

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  5. I will never ever ever get tired of happy Christian and Ana. Will also never get tired of any form of Christian and Ana….

    Would also love to jump on the Ana is pregnant train but I feel like maybe that’s a hasty conclusion….

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  6. That was an amazing chapter and it was just so sweet and loving and romantic and just happy and I love when Ana and Christian are just happy and in sync but sometimes happy chapters make me nervous because im like 👀 what’s the catch and I’m highly curious who Luke is dating I had my suspicions of who it was but the more the chapter progressed I threw my little suspicions to the side not completely out just to the side and last thing this endurance (I hope I spelled it right) thing is really interesting I never would have thought it would be for a plane/jet I thought it was still just for cars but,duh it’s clean energy it’s replacing fossil fuels it’s but anyway it was an amazing chapter you’re a really really really good writer!!!

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  7. The newspapers are certainly having a field day with Christians new wealth. Poor Kate wasn’t very pleased that she missed a scoop.

    I do believe that Ana is thrilled with their new jet. LOL They did christen it. 🙂

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  8. Christian is reminding Ana again that everything he does, his successes are made because of her and for her. That is how much he loves her and he sure never gave up on her when she was disappointedly angry and ignored him for two years. Can Ana do more for Christian to match the intensity of his love for her. They have Calliope now the product of their love for each other. He still would like her to run Grey Publishing but she has been resisting and wants to be independent of Christian so they are in competition instead. So will see how the future works out as long as her work will not interfere with their personal lives as a young couple. He even landed the $65 billion deal with China without leaving Seattle. Thank you very much, Tara.

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  9. They’re so cute together, and when you throw Callie on the mix, that is a total combustion of love.
    I’m super excited to know how this war between GSP and GP is going to end… I have a feeling that Christian isn’t going to stop until Ana works with him, but I doubt that would happen before Ana tastes a little success of her own (like she’s doing now). However, it isn’t like they need the money, and this way they can spice things a little between them.

    What an amazing chapter to start the year ❤

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  10. Omg I would love if Luke was with Mia. Christian would lose his mind. Lol How awesome would that be. Maybe it’s the writer that Ana is trying to get back from GP. I really want Callie to have a sibling. Hint hint.

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  11. Carter and Mee-yah, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. (LOL)

    Great chapter. I too can’t get enough of the sappy happy love fest between those two.

    I sense an Isle Ana in their future. 🏝

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  12. Why do I feel nervous about Ana deceiving Elizabeth at Grey Publishing? She already thought Christian had booby trapped the link to the GP contract. Ana, your E Library has 180,000 subscriptions. Find another author.

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  13. Hot hot hot! Also, wanted to jump in and maybe check a little spoiler/plot point you might have dropped. Didn’t Ana have pasta and clams the LAST time she was pregnant? But I’m also doing some math about your future outtake. I think you said to forget that outtake existed when you picked this story back up, but maybe not.

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