Chapter 47

That night, I wake abruptly as though I’ve just escaped a nightmare. My heart is beating wildly in my chest when I sit up straight in bed. My breath comes too quick and shallow for me to calm myself. I try to grasp onto the remnants of my dream slipping away like wisps of smoke, but there aren’t any frightening images in them. I’d been dreaming of Christian and a summer day on our yacht in the middle of the sound.

A new fear moves to the forefront of my mind, and I reach down to my stomach in alarm. There isn’t any pain though, or even queasiness. I’m not bleeding. I’m not uncomfortable. I feel fine. The darkness around me is still, except for Kate breathing peacefully in the bed next to me, and nothing seems to be disturbed.

I glance over Kate to the alarm clock on Christian’s nightstand. It’s 2:37 AM, and I groan. As I fall back into the pillows, I reach over for my phone out of habit to check any notifications that might have popped up while I was sleeping. There’s a missed call and a voicemail from Christian he’d left just after 1 AM. With a cautious look at Kate, I press play on the message, and pull my phone to my ear.

It’s quiet, and it stays that way long enough that I think for a moment he must have butt-dialed me. My fingers moves to delete the message just as his voice comes through the phone and the sound is so rough and broken, it grates against my eardrums like sandpaper.

“You promised me forever,” he slurs. “All I’ve ever tried to do, all I’ve ever wanted, was to love you enough to deserve forever.  And now I’ve fucked it up and I’m going to lose you–No.” He changes direction quickly, and I can almost hear him shaking his head. “I won’t lose you. I won’t. Your heart beats, my heart beats.” Another long beat of silence. “I’ll make fucking sure of it.”

The message ends with a click and my heart starts beating violently in my chest. The morbid tone of his words lingers in my ears and brings goosebumps to the surface of my skin. I quickly dial his number and wait anxiously for him to answer, but I get his voicemail. 

I try to tell myself that’s a good thing. It means he’s gone to sleep and he’ll wake in the morning with a much clearer head. More painful, but definitely clearer. 

With a text to remind him how much I love him and a request for him to call me when he wakes up, I set my phone back on the nightstand and try to get back to sleep. It’s pointless though. The worry I feel over Christian’s voicemail plagues me through the rest of the night, pulling me down into constantly fluctuating waves of tears, until the sun comes up and the alarm clock chimes shrilly from the other side of the bed.

“Mmmm,” Kate moans, stretching her whole body before she even pries her eyes open. “Morning, Annie.” She turns to me, the ghost of pleasant dreams still present on her face. When she sees my puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks, it all melts into concern. “What’s wrong?”

I reach up to wipe the moisture from my eyes and take a misery filled breath. “Christian called last night. He didn’t sound good.”

“How not good?”

I shake my head, and she frowns.

“Well, Elliot’s with him. If there’s one person who knows how to get Christian through his bullshit, it’s him.”

“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right.” I pull back the covers and get out of bed, but stop when Kate calls my name. I turn inside the doorframe to the bathroom.

“What did he say?” she asks. 

“Nothing, it’s fine.”

But it’s not fine. Nothing about this is fine and I can’t do this anymore. This is going to end today. When Christian comes home from work, we’re going to have it out. And no matter how ugly it gets, I’m not going to run. I’m not going to back down. He’s going to see it my way if it kills him, because what we’re doing right now, is slowly killing me.

The gradual roll of my morning sickness begins to rear its ugly head, so I go to the medicine cabinet before I hop in the shower. I expect my nausea lozenges to be on the 2nd shelf waiting for me, but they’ve been replaced by an orange prescription bottle. The label tells me it’s the medication Dr. Baker prescribed for me during my visit yesterday. I’d completely forgotten about it and hadn’t called Abby to have it picked up. Christian must’ve had Andrea do it, and holding that bottle in my hand makes me only more resolved about my plans for tonight.

We can do this. We love each other. There’s nothing we can make it through.

No matter what.

After my shower, I pick one of Christian’s button down shirts from his closet and tuck it into a high-waisted pencil skirt so that it billows over the top. It smells like the cleaners, rather than my husband, but I can almost feel his touch being wrapped in the fabric. Like the empty sleeves are the same as being held in his arms. The sense of comfort I glean from it gives me a reassuring kind of certainty that keeps my head held high while I move around Kate in the bathroom, then go get Calliope ready for the day.

When we get to GEH, there’s a tiny glimmer of hope in the back of my mind that Christian might be waiting for us. He hasn’t seen Calliope in over a day and that’s always really rough on him. But the only person who greets me once we step off the elevators on the seventh floor is the receptionist who mans the desk in front of Calliope’s daycare. She smiles and greets me the same as she always does, and Calliope runs to play with her friends the moment I set her on the rug of the playroom just like it was any other morning. I watch her for a few minutes while I try to call Christian again, then call her over for a kiss goodbye when I immediately get his voicemail.

“Mary,” I say to the receptionist as I come back into the hallway.

“Yes, Mrs. Grey?”

“If my husband comes down here to see Calliope, will you let me know?”

“Sure, you’re at Grey Publishing now, right?”

My face falls. Good news travels fast, I see. “Yeah.”

She smiles, despite my less than enthused reaction, and makes a note while I head for the elevators with my security team. My Phoenix team is already assembling for the meeting that’s now become part of our daily routine, so I let them know I’ll just be a few minutes and duck into my office. Christian’s phone once again goes straight to voicemail, so I start to compose an email just in case he’s without a phone charger but is checking his email on the computer at Escala. He doesn’t respond within the five minutes I give myself to check my other emails, so before I duck out for my meeting, I pick up my phone and call upstairs.

“Good morning, Christian Grey’s office. How may I help you?” It’s Andrea who answers, instead of Oliva, and her voice is disrupted by some kind of chaos going on in the background. 

“Hey it’s Ana. Can you transfer me to my husband, please?”

“Uh, I wish… he’s not here. I’ve called him like 50 times but his phone is off. We’re getting bombarded with calls and he’s complete M.I.A.”

My brow furrows. “Calls about what?”

“You didn’t hear? Mr. Grey has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics for the Endurance project.”

“What?!”

“Jacqueline is trying to get a statement, Ms. Bailey has been fielding calls from government officials and scientists all morning, and I can’t get the man on the damn phone.”

I blink in shock a few times, only slightly processing what she’s said. The Nobel Prize? The words run like a ticker through my head until I can absorb them properly, and for some reason, the realization makes me think of Carrick. Of all the times Carrick bemoaned his lost legacy when his son dropped out of his alma mater. Now that son could be a Nobel Prize winner.

Talk about a fucking legacy.

“Ana?”

“Sorry… I’m just, uh… shocked a little.”

She laughs. “Is that why I can’t reach your husband?”

“Maybe. He… had a rough night last night, I think he’s probably sleeping in.”

“Well, when you hear from him, please tell him to call me. We’re drowning up here.”

“I will. And if he calls you first…”

“Oh, I’ll yell at him.”

For what feels like the first time in days, a genuine smile crosses my lips and, if I could, I would reach through the phone and hug her. “Thank you, Andrea.”

“No problem. Talk to you later, Ana.”

She hangs up the phone and I have to take a breath to stall the new giddy fluttering of my heart. The rush of pride and amazement and sheer happiness I feel over this new piece of news is almost too much for me to handle, but in a way that gives me an enormous amount of relief. It’s a stark and forceful reminder of how much I love that man and how much he means to me, and it warms me from the inside like a fire crackling merrily through a snowstorm.

I pull out my phone and start a new text.

Congratulations! I love you so much and I’m so proud I can’t even put it into words. Call me ❤

I check my phone about every 15 seconds during my Phoenix meeting, which makes it difficult to follow everything my team is telling me. The general direction we’re moving in on Hailey’s book is exactly what I want, but there’s a palpable resentment shining through the window of the conference room with each and every glance from the GP team. It seeps into the conversation surrounding Phoenix until the former GSP team is engaging in nothing but trash talk about their new co-workers.

The silence from Christian makes their catty banter grating.

“Can we stop with the tribalism, please?” I ask, looking up from my phone again. “You’re all the same team now and I need you to act like it.”

Stevens rolls his eyes, while Jacki glares through the window at the persistently antagonistic stares. “They’re the ones making this difficult.”

“No, this is just difficult. It would be less so if we could act professionally.” I glance around the table with an accusatory stare that has each of them expressing some variation of guilt. Now properly chastened, my team picks up with the conversation about edits being done on chapter three, while I turn to look at a new commotion through the window. The bitter looks from the rest of my team have turned curious and moved to reception, where Ros is speaking with Claire. A second later, the phone in the conference room beeps.

“Hey, Ana. Ms. Bailey is here to see you.”

“I’m on my way out.” I push away from the table and ask my team to continue working, then step out of the room. There’s no sense of warm greeting from Ros as I approach reception. She looks annoyed.

“Hey, what’s up?” I ask.

“Is your husband planning on coming in today? Or, you know, responding to a fucking email?”

I frown. “You haven’t heard from him yet?”

Have you?”

“No.”

She lets out an irritated huff and shakes her head with dismay. “We have an Endurance call with the Prime Minister of New Zealand in forty-five minutes and I do not know enough about the technology to step in for Christian. I need him to come into the office.”

“Okay, I’ll get ahold of him. Hold on.” Taking a few steps away, I once again pull out my phone, but this time, I call Taylor. It rings several times before finally picking up.

I’m sorry, but the person you have called has a voicemail box that has not been set up yet…”

I hang up and feel a strange sense of foreboding come over me. Ros starts to speak, but I move past her. Several questing glances come my way as I move through the office. The only thing I focus on is the man sitting at the desk next to my door.

“Evan, have you heard from Taylor?” I ask.

He glances up at me, frowning, but not looking alarmed. “Not today.”

“Have any of you?”

The other members of my security team glance between one another, the no clear on each of their faces, and a chill moves up my spine. I turn back to Evan.

“I need you to take me to Escala.”

He looks as though he doesn’t believe me. “Escala? Are you… sure?”

“Yes. Now.”

There’s no argument. He picks up his jacket and follows me to the car, along with the rest of my security team. I promise Ros I’ll call her the second I find him, then wait until we’re in the car before I call Elliot. I get his voicemail, and Kate’s, which puts me in a kind of tailspin until I finally call Luke, just to have someone to calm me down.

“Hey, hold on,” he answers in a rushed voice that gets louder as he talks to whoever he’s with. “I need you animals to keep it down while I take this super secret, private phone call with the CEO’s wife.” The joke in his voice is met with the muffled sound of laughter.

“Careful though,” I hear Welch say in the background. “I’ve known Grey for years and there’s nothing that triggers that man more than someone coming onto his wife. Did you hear about the guy who got fired because he glanced at her ass when she was walking out of his office?”

“Did you hear about the eight billion times I got fired because she can’t keep her mitts off me?” He laughs as his attention returns to me. “What’s up, Ana?”

“Why wouldn’t Taylor be answering my calls?”

The merriment in his tone disappears like a snap of his fingers, turning heavy and serious with the very next word out of his mouth. “What happened?”

It takes almost the entire drive to Escala to get him caught up on everything that’s happened since I last spoke with him. He doesn’t say anything when I give him the bad news we’d gotten from the doctor or when I tell him about Christian’s tirade through our apartment the night before. He just listens until my car dips into the shadows of the parking garage, and I let my darkest fear escape.

“You don’t think he’d hurt himself, do you?”

“No,” Luke says, emphatically.

“I keep having this horrible thought that he got into his car while he was drinking and…”

“There’s no way. He loves that car way too much.”

“Luke…”

“Ana, I’m sure he’s fine. He would never do anything that would separate himself from you, no matter how low he got. He’d never leave you.”

“Yeah.” The word comes out in a breath, but it’s firm. I believe him, and I cling to that belief as we pull into a parking spot and Evan turns the key out of the ignition. “We’re here, I’ve gotta go.”

“Keep me updated, okay?”

“Yeah. Bye, Luke.” I hang up and toss my phone back into my purse as I follow my security team through the garage. Christian’s Lamborghini is parked exactly where it should be, which at the very least, assuages the worst of my fears. It’s the not knowing what I’m about to walk into that plagues me the entire ride up the elevator.

But the uncertainty turns out to be so much better than the reality.

At first, I think the scene that greets us through the opening elevator doors is just a horrible, PTSD flashback. The table in the center of the foyer has been knocked over and is now lying in a pool of water, surrounded by broken china and scattered flowers. There’s a body shaped indentation in the drywall opposite from us, and on the metal edge of the elevator, there’s a smudged, bloody handprint. As though someone had tried to cling to the wall and had been dragged inside.

The truth of what’s in front of me sinks in only when my security team starts to react. Evan shouts orders to get me back to the car and several hands reach out, either for me or for the elevator buttons. In a panic, I fight through them all and run into the apartment.

“Christian!” My voice echos through the empty foyer, but I hear a weak groan respond from the living room. My heart thuds with relief and I sprint towards the sound. The thud dies when I find it’s source is Taylor.

He’s beaten. Badly. The bruises on his face are dark enough that they have to be several hours old and the blood on his face and shirt has dried, making his appearance shockingly more gruesome. His right wrist is handcuffed to the breakfast bar, and his body lies lip against the wall.

I run to him just as the calls of alarm from my security team echo behind me. He groans when I take his battered face in my hands, but there’s life in his eyes.

“Where’s Christian?” I manage to say. He turns to look at Evan, now towering over me, moaning with pain at each movement. The word he barks out is barely recognizable.

“Cameras.”

With a nod, Evan and Smith move back into the foyer towards the security office, while Harper and Wyatt start administering first aid for Taylor. I watch them in a daze, my mind repeating the same question over and over again.

Where is he?

“Christian!” My voice doesn’t echo this time, but it sounds hollow. I scramble back to my feet and move toward our bedroom, frantically pulling back the blanket on the bed even though it’s clearly empty, before tearing through our closet and bathroom. He isn’t in his office, he isn’t in the library, he isn’t in the bathroom, or the laundry room… He isn’t anywhere. I call his name again and again as I move through the downstairs, but there’s no answer. I’m just about to start upstairs when I hear a distant call of triumph from the security office.

“Found it,” Evan says, and I start at a dead run for the foyer. I skid through the door to find Smith seated behind the main display screen for the security cameras, rewinding through the footage.

“What is it?” I ask, panting slightly as I come up behind his chair.

“Someone put the override code in at 2:26 this morning,” Evan explains, and the moment he does, the footage stops. I watch in horror as the elevator doors shown in the stream from the foyer roll open and a group of six men, all dressed in identical black with masks covering their faces, file into my apartment. We can follow them through the 2nd second camera in the living room, where they break into two groups. Three of them head upstairs, the other three are confronted by Taylor.

He’s not ready for them. He’s barefoot and dressed in a t-shirt and flannel bottoms. There isn’t a gun in his hand. Against the three hulking figures, dressed in tactical gear and fully prepared for the fight, he never stood a chance, and the fight isn’t pleasant to watch. They surround him almost immediately and the blows he takes are horrifying. The brutality continues for over a minute, until the other group rejoins the first, and they all drag Taylor to the breakfast bar where he’s currently handcuffed

Once they have him secured, the six of them move together into the hallway that leads to my bedroom.

There aren’t any cameras in our room, so I have no way of knowing what happens to Christian until several minutes have passed and they’re dragging him into the hallway. He looks dazed and unsteady as he tries to get the men off him. But once he sees Taylor, something changes in him that makes him more alert and more coordinated. Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s adrenaline, maybe it’s fury, but as Christian starts to fight the scene devolves into an absolute nightmare.

I’ve seen Christian angry. I’ve seen Christian fight. But I’ve never seen him in a rage like he is on the screen before me. The violence between him and his attackers is terrifying and almost too sickening to watch. They try to overwhelm him in the same way they did to Taylor, but he moves quicker and avoids being closed in. Somehow, he manages to maneuver in a way that keeps the match-ups one on one, and in those scenarios he has the upper hand. As they adapt though, the match-ups start becoming more and more uneven until it’s just six on one.

The harder he fights back, the harder they do. And it makes what they did to Taylor look kind.

The crack on the wall I’d seen when we came in happens when Christian grabs one of the men trying to subdue him and launches him against it. But while that man falls unceremoniously to the floor, another man comes up and grabs Christian from behind. They struggle with one another until another masked man takes advantage and punches Christian, hard, across the jaw. He stumbles into another man who shoves him roughly further into the foyer, sending him tumbling over the table I’d seen lying on the floor.

Christian rolls through the broken bits of the vase, bloodied and clearly in pain. It doesn’t stop them. Two of the men grab him by the arms and wrench him off the floor enough to drag him back to the elevator. With a last, desperate effort, he grabs hold of the metal edge on the elevator and clings to it for dear life. But his hands are slick with blood, and they slip when the men holding onto him yank harder.

Then the elevator doors close, and he disappears.

I only realize after I nearly collapse on the floor that I’d been holding my breath. 

“Mrs. Grey,” Evan says, moving to grab onto me while I wobble unsteadily in front of the monitors. I can barely feel his arms around me. Barely hear the calls he makes for someone to bring me something to drink. 

Still unsteady on my feet, I turn to Smith, and blink at him. “What do we do now?” 

“I-uh…” 

“We find out where they took him,” an unexpected voice interrupts from behind me. I turn and see Luke hovering in the doorway, looking ashen faced as his eyes practically beg for me to understand how much he feels the pain I’m still too numb to experience, and that he’s here to do whatever he can to stop it. 

“Sawyer,” Evan says, mirroring my surprise. I find my balance as Luke moves into the room, so Evan’s hands fall from my arms and we part to make room for my best friend. He looks down at Smith. 

“Get out of the way.” 

“Sawyer, you’re not–”

Get out of my fucking way.” Smith blanches under the threat in Luke’s voice, but he doesn’t move until Evan intervenes. 

“Let him in,” he says. With a slightly resentful roll of his eyes, Smith gets up from his seat and Luke slides in to replace him. He doesn’t hesitate. His fingers start to fly over the keyboard, and boxes pop-up on the screen in front of him that fill with code that he seems to understand more than I do. 

“They got the footage in the garage,” he says robotically, so focused on what’s in front of him that I can’t be certain if he’s communicating with me or just mindlessly parroting what he sees. “They had the code for the elevator, so that probably means they have access to the security systems Escala has in place. And if they do, they know she’s here right now.” 

“Then we’re in code black,” Evan says. He turns to me. “Mrs. Grey, I’m going to need you to return to the main residence immediately.” 

He waits for me to respond, but I don’t. Not even when he calls my name three more times. While Luke continues whatever he’s trying to do through our system, I stare at the paused security footage that has just unravelled my entire world. It’s not the elevators that represent the last place I saw him, or even the trail of blood that leads there that has my attention so captivated. It’s the time stamp in the bottom right hand corner.

2:37 AM.

Next Chapter

61 thoughts on “Chapter 47

  1. Oh my God!!! I’m having flashbacks to a few years ago in the scenes from Escala and sneaking into the bathroom at work reading. I don’t think I’m gonna be able to wait till next Monday!

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  2. DUDE!!!! Omg, you’re killing me, I’m dead!

    What is happening?!

    Wow. Okay, I need a regroup and a strong drink. This is all so much going on right now.

    NO ONE WRITES ANGST LIKE YOU!

    I bow down. Great update!

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  3. Oh my god. I wasn’t expecting that. At all. I don’t know what to say. I’m sure you’ll find a way out of this for them, but I only hope Ana doesn’t lose her babies over stress.
    What a chapter. I’m a little loss of words right now, but really, terrific chapter. Monday can’t come soon enough.

    Lots of love,
    Andie

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  4. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting that at all. I am speechless. This means even more stress for Ana. Poor girl. But you’ve promised a HEA. Kate said that Elliot was staying with Christian at Escala. So here is my question : Where is Elliot ???

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  5. Hmmmmm I’m not sure what to think about this one. I was really looking forward to them talking/arguing about the pregnancy, vasectomy and grey publishing, with Christian finally apologising for his wrongs (not really the pregnancy being a wrong more the fact he made an appointment for to get rid of it) and being to controlling. But I don’t think this will happen now, Ana’s just going to feel guilty and then will end up forgiving him for everything because he’s been taken.

    Hopefully still going to get a chapter of them talking about this.

    But great writing again! Can’t wait to c what happens next.

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    1. When I’d asked for an Outtake from Christian last week regarding what he was going through and wanting that before even the next chapter, Tara’s cryptic reply, in retrospect, NOW makes perfect sense! She basically “hinted” at unexpected things, which would change the direction of what was going on which COULDN’T be released prior to THIS chapter. Makes perfect sense now, as Christian’s kidnapping means intervening events to ANY conversation that can take place with Ana!

      So I’m hoping a FULL OUTTAKE would basically include CHRISTIAN’S and ELLIOT’S discussion, because unless I am mistaken Christian’s message to Ana ALMOST sounds like he was DETERMINED to put everything in place to ensure Ana’s well-being through the pregnancy. At least, that is the interpretation that I want to believe. And since that was around 1:00 a.m.-something, then I’m guessing ELLIOT was already asleep in a guest bedroom when Christian called. So the OUTTAKE would then pick up when Christian WAKES UP to the attack.

      I’m still wondering where Elliot is?? Based on the CAMERA FOOTAGE Ana viewed, it would seem that they MISSED ELLIOT ENTIRELY. So was Elliot asleep and somehow missed it all? Which would make NO sense, since there would have been MORE than enough time for him to wake up by now. So maybe he was still in the same room as Christian, was knocked out first? But NO, that does NOT make sense, as Christian would have been fighting-mad even BEFORE he saw Taylor had he known his own BROTHER had been harmed. And you would THINK that they would have taken Elliot as well for LEVERAGE, especially if he had seen them. So wondering just WHAT the deal with Elliot is????

      But yeah, I basically want an OUTTAKE from the time Christian got to Escala, including conversation(s) with Elliot and what he MEANT by his message to Ana, at least from his standpoint, to being dragged away and what happens next! WOW—Tara is going to have a LOOOONNNNGGG Outtake to write!!!! GRIN!

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      1. Yep, Tara, I agree with Tori. It would be a wonderful outtake 🥺

        It’d have Elliot and Christian, which is perfect to read, and I think that maybe some revelation for Christian about the babies (at least I also understood that behind the voice message).

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  6. Are you trying to kill us! I feel guilty for not reviewing some weeks. You leave me so confused, mixed up that I can’t cope. Well done Queen of angst.

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  7. Talk about your ptsd! I really feel nauseous but keep remembering HEA…please and thank you! Now the waiting for next week…and answers.

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  8. LOL I was speechless after my first read.

    You threw us for a loop here. The baby issue totally flew out of my mind while reading this.

    CG was a fighting machine! And where the heck is Elliot???? The 3 of them should have been able to handle 6 masked men.

    This is a joke right This?
    A March Fool’s chapter ( I know that doesn’t exist). This has to be a dream.

    I want to cry! Please please please you’re giving us another chapter today right???

    Dang I love your writing!

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  9. LOL – I’m so shook. “Your heart beats, my heart beats.” those were CG’s words.

    His experience at 2:37am woke her up. It’s the same for her, they are connected on such a deep level, their soul ties are strong.

    Poor Ana, she doesn’t need this added stress. No Happily Ever After scenario would have this chapter resulting in CG dying so I’m going to have faith.

    And if this is CG showing Ana want it means to be without him that would be the most low down dirty thing (besides cheating) he could do to his wife who is currently dealing with a extremely high risk pregnancy with twins!

    You see how shaken I am. I can’t even respond coherently. I need a Valium, my anxiety levels are through the roof!

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    1. I’m thinking Christian’s message left for Ana was a “red herring” and NOT meant to say he “planned” this thing to scare Ana. He certainly would NOT have allowed Taylor to be beaten up OR risked Elliot and DEFINITELY wouldn’t have tried to send Ana to PTSD-land!!!

      To me, I WANT to interpret Christian’s Message to Ana as meaning that he HAD accepted that Ana was NOT going to abort the twins and that he was going to do EVERYTHING, including building his own hospital wing in the house, in order to keep Ana alive through the pregnancy. (And that eventual OUTTAKE will let us know, for sure, what he was thinking.)

      I’m just surprised Christian was able to FIGHT for so long AND so well while being intoxicated—must have been that adrenaline! And Ana’s own “reaction” of waking up and not knowing why, to me, means she somehow DID feel, on some level, what was going on with Christian—their hearts really DO beat as one!

      But I, too, am wondering how the Thugs knew EXACTLY when to attack to find Taylor AND Christian vulnerable. Obviously, they would have sent MORE than six people, presumably, had they expected to potentially encounter AT LEAST three other individuals at Escala. So they basically HAD to know Ana wasn’t there OR her security. So HOW could this “security system” be hacked YET AGAIN. It seems like a LOT of reliance is put on a security system that never seems to work when needed!

      But I am back to wondering who the “enemy” is. SOMEONE has to have a LOT of money to do this. After all, you go after the richest man on earth who is currently in the news, there has to be SERIOUS money and a SERIOUS grudge!!!

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  10. Omg I can’t believe your leaving us hanging… I wasn’t expecting that, the anxiety is killing me. Can’t wait for the next update to see what’s going on. As usual brilliant writing 🙂

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  11. My heart is pounding. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m really just speechless. On the edge of my seat and not knowing if I’ll go crazy before next Monday gets here to read the next post.

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  12. I just binge read chapter 25-47 and I just love your story, I was so happy when I saw you were back. You have an amazing talent for writing and this story is one of the best I’ve read EVER…😊

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    1. HAVE to say it—out of ALL the comments, this one HAS to be my favorite!!! HeeHeeHee!

      Thanks for making me laugh after that horrendous shock above!!! I’m fearing for these people like they are my OWN friends-and-family, so that goes to the power of Tara’s writing!!

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  13. Nooooo porque, Ana esta maldita o que? Cuando sera que pueda tener un embarazo tranquilo.
    Pobre chris y ella oh Dios se despertó porque presentía que algo le estaba ocurriendo a Chris.
    Espero y lo encuentren pronto.
    Necesito una actualizacion lo mas pronto.

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  14. Speechless, except for this. I am really going to need for next Monday to hurry up an get here or you to start updating more often 😀.

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  15. OMG! What the hell just happened. I can’t wait until next Monday to know what’s going on! Poor Christian and Ana. They are so linked to each other she woke up at the time he was taken not feeling right. Hoping the babies are okay. Who the hell is behind this? Inside job? They knew the override code!!!

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  16. Omg. I am worried about Elliot. Please don’t make him die. He is one of my favorites and I have been missing him during this book. He was so present in all the others. I love his and Christians relationship.
    I am trying to figure out if this is terrorist from another country trying to get at him because of Endurance or is it some of the dirty cops that Carrick had under investigation or is it Scott seeking revenge. Or is Kim some how involved?I am grasping lol because I’m so floored. Poor Taylor was so beat up. They knew the codes so it’s an inside job? Having faith that both Grey brothers are ok. Luke is going to find them. He’s one of Ana’s heroes. He won’t let her down.

    You can’t expect us to wait a week? Come on and throw us a bonus chapter this week please.

    You are such a good writer. Love ya girl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Considering how Ana has had such good instincts in the past, her being against Kim from Day 1 had me on edge about her, especially since she shows up at Ana’s father’s place the SAME day as Ana is accosted by someone she does NOT know at the grocery store. And that Ana felt she was FOLLOWED by someone who would obviously know where Ana was headed.

      HOWEVER, Ana made peace with Kim, and WHY would Kim have reason to go after Ana UNLESS she was a PLANT in the way that Gia was. So it is STILL possible, but I just can’t imagine Ana’s FATHER being fooled that way.

      STILL, I DO think someone was following Ana. I think she was right about that. But there are SO MANY potential enemies—AFTER ALL, Ana went after some of the lower cronies that had gone undiscovered alongside Luke, so there are MULTIPLE Lincoln co-conspirators that could be behind this.

      Carrick undoubtedly has enemies as well, PARTICULARLY since he displaced a police chief that would have HAD to be on the take, plus the OTHER guys that have since been named. AND any of the POLITICIANS that supposedly helped provide the names COULD have been worried about their OWN complicity or non-help coming to light.

      PLUS, there was that guy Christian had a grudge against and probably went after in some way because he was so dismissive and gleeful of Christian’s seeming downfall. If Christian went after HIS company, he could have been MOTIVATED to retaliate. But to THAT extreme, ESPECIALLY when being caught could mean you lose EVERYTHING????

      And I don’t see Carmen or Scott doing something like this, AGAIN for the same reasons. UNLESS one or both was crazy.

      So it leaves the potentially POWERFUL lower-level police individuals OR politicians who stand to lose EVERYTHING should Christian get ALL the intel regarding Lincoln. OR IT COULD BE POWERFUL COMPETITORS.

      But this seems the act of someone desperate and with EVERYTHING to lose who ALSO has the CAPITAL to pull this off and secure THAT kind of muscle. AND there is either a plant OR really good HACKER in there somewhere in order to get the kind of security data.

      I still feel like I’m missing something here. There has to be a REASON why this is happening now. Or maybe someone HAS been abiding their time, HOPING that some sort of division between Ana and Christian would mean that the security force was divided. BUT THAT MEANS THAT IT HAS to be SOMEONE that would know what was going on, personally, between Ana and Christian.

      Will need to think on this.

      Like

      1. I’m kind of thinking it’s bigger than Lincoln. Like maybe one of the foreign governments seeking Endurance or even the US Government wanting more control over the technology. Those are groups who could hack anything. I could see Kim as an agent….

        Like

    1. SERIOUSLY!!! (Although from what Ana learned from Luke, someone had made it over the wall of the HOUSE as well, which was why Luke got to beat the guy while Ana and Calliope were in the pool!) But DEFINITELY think Escala holds WAY too many BAD MEMORIES at this point to EVER want to go back there!!!!

      Like

  17. OMG! We didn’t expect this! How did the kidnappers know the elevator code to get into the penthouse?! A mole?! Seeing Taylor so attacked isn’t comforting. What about Christian? So glad Luke is on top of the game searching and helping. Can’t wait to find out where and what is happening to Christian and Elliot. Amazing and chilling chapter. Thanks so much, Tara. Look forward.

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  18. OMG who the hell has Christian? Strange that Ana woke up at the exact time that everything was going down at Escala. That’s freaky. I’m glad that Taylor from what its sounds like will be fine. Christian getting a Nobel Prize for his work with Endurance is awesome. BUT now who has him and why?

    Like

    1. And they clearly want him ALIVE, so that makes REVENGE seem less a motive. And there would have to be a LOT easier ways to perform corporate sabotage to get intel rather than kidnapping the CEO! So basically, it would seem like the PRIMARY motive for Christian’s kidnapping would be 1) corporate sabotage/trade secrets, 2) kidnapping for substantial ransom, 3) Revenge, with wanting to get as much out of Christian BEFORE killing him so get the money as well, 4) the Political Angle, or 5) any combination of the ABOVE.

      If Taylor had recognized ANYONE, he would have said. But he said “CAMERA” so that the FOOTAGE could possibly tell them something. And Luke OBVIOUSLY knows something about the embedded possibilities in the footage which are important enough to go to RIGHT AWAY or he would be trying to comfort Ana.

      (And HOW has KATE not been concerned with Elliot by now? You’d think she would have tried to check in with him to see whether he was remaining by Christian’s side or what.)

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Oh hell no! I think i stop breathing for a couple minutes. My eyes were not moving fast enough. You sure know how to leave us on the edge of the cliff ready to jump! This was intense! Now who the heck is after them? Can we skip the rest of the week and pretend tomorrow is Monday again! It’s going to be freaking long ass week! 😩

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  20. Well, that was unexpected. You certainly keep us on our toes. But I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this. I’ve known a lot of military and 9/11 bystanders who have dealt with PTSD forever. I’m not sure it’s realistic to come back from this and be legally sane. First the stalker massacre at Harvard, the Lincoln torture and massacre and now this. It’s too much. I also would have sold Escala a long time ago, as it’s clearly not secure and how is it that his security is so inept? These things don’t happen to Elon Musk, Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. It’s a lot to take in after a trilogy of despair and tragedy. I’m sure you have a plan…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow Tara you have out done yourself with this book. The drama the angst the anticipation is killing me right now. I want so much more now. I have to wait until next week for more huh! Good job with this story

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  22. You are a wicked wicked woman. There is no way I can hold on until Monday. I love you, but I really hate you right now.

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  23. Ana was surrounded with guards but Christian only had Taylor, and with the success of Endurance there would be plenty of enemies who would want to get hold of the technology. What country wouldn’t want to acquire it. Poor Taylor all battered then how will they locate Christian. They could have taken him anywhere in or outside of the country. I am hoping maybe he wears a locator device. Time is critical. Waiting for more, Tara. What a spin!

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  24. I’ve been trying to comment forever and it doesn’t work!!!! R u trying to kill us?! How r we supposed to do anything but wonder wth is going on until next Monday?! 2:37!!!!!!!

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  25. Whew! Now that I’ve sort-of processed my initial emotional reaction to this chapter, I’m thinking about what has been going on in the last several angsty chapters. I said earlier about how it bugged me that Security only answers to Christian, not Ana, when they’re supposed to be her employees, too. I really just meant that I was annoyed that Christians controlling tendencies gave him extra power in their relationship, which is how he was able to get a vasectomy behind her back and disappear for a week when he perfected Endurance, but Ana can’t even walk across the street to get a pastry without the security team knowing, and therefore Christian knowing. I was just annoyed by that. It didn’t occur to me that it means Christian is in far more danger than Ana. If Ana, or at the very least, Ana’s team, had been regularly reported to by Christian’s team, (which consists of just Taylor, which is not okay), then they would have known something had happened within minutes or even seconds, instead of the many hours Ana went around wondering when Christian would call her back. The abductors have HOURS on them. They could be hundreds of miles out at sea or the middle of Canada by now.

    I’m glad Luke’s taking charge. The rest of them are idiots. They didn’t think it was unusual that Taylor hadn’t spoken to them since the night before? And Smith is a freaking bully, and I want him gone. When they get Christian back, (you said this was HEA!!) Ana better have a talk with Christian about having HIS security answer to her, the way HER security answers to him. And she still needs to ream him out about the vasectomy and taking over her career. They’ve really barely touched on that.

    Also, there is no way she’d be able to survive this high-risk pregnancy without Christian by her side, so they need to find him pronto, and he needs to get his head out of his butt.

    You’re torturing us, girl. TORTURING!

    Like

    1. I couldn’t have said it better. I totally agree with you! It’s not normal (neither equal) the way Ana has four security members following her 24/7 and Christian only has Taylor. Ana must set her foot and make that change.

      Like

    2. When I posted my Comment, I hadn’t read any of the OTHER Comments yet. You said some of the exact same things I did—HOW does TAYLOR, who is supposed to head EVERYTHING, go 10 to 12 hours WITHOUT CONTACT with other security people and NO ONE questions this???? ESPECIALLY when CHRISTIAN is a NO-SHOW on a day when he would be expected to be at work????

      Such a real lapse in security means that the people that have Christian had ALL the time in the world to get somewhere holed-off for whatever they have planned. I complained MORE below about just how many security “holes” there obviously are. I mean, HOW DID SOMEONE GET ALL THE CODES and there be NOTHING in place to safeguard anyone if those codes ARE hacked or gotten from an insider, WHICH HAS PREVIOUSLY HAPPENED, so you would THINK they would thought to have put a few more things in place!!

      And I am assuming that JUST CHRISTIAN was supposed to be a target, as Ana had so many MORE security personnel. BUT SOMEONE seems to have KNOW Christian and Ana were separated right now which would leave Christian unprotected.

      And I am ASSUMING, again, that this is about Lincoln. HOWEVER, since the LINCOLN stuff would have been HIGHLY PUBLICIZED, if someone wanted a “RED HERRING,” then making it LOOK like Lincoln’s fellow co-conspirators would be a great way to throw off suspicion! AFTER ALL, we KNOW Christian has ticked off MULTIPLE COMPETITORS, especially going after those who so gleefully rejoiced at his apparent “downfall” when his original project didn’t seem to go well.

      And SO GLAD LUKE IS TAKING CHARGE as well!!! It seems there is no one else anywhere NEAR competent otherwise!

      Like

  26. 😲 inesperado giro en la historia. Necesitaba una activación de advertencia para cardíacos. Casi me da un soponsio. Mi presión debe ser controlada.

    Y si Elliot estaba arriba como no oyó el escándalo y la batalla que hubo en la sala. ¿Por qué Jason estaba solo como seguridad? Jamás dudaré de Elliot, pero no logro entender porqué no bajó a luchar? ¿Por qué a esta hora del día no ha encontrado a Taylor en la sala? Por favor, que no le hayan hecho nada malo a Elliot. Angustia y desespera aquí. 😵😵😵😵😵

    Por qué Welch no intervino o sospechó cuando ni a Taylor podían conseguir. Deben ser terroristas o posiblemente los secuaces de los policías acusados.

    Ana necesita estar en paz para lograr su embarazo y ya va por la misma angustia de Callie. Pero, Luke está a cargo, lo encontrará. No puedo esperar.

    Wally

    Like

  27. Okay, was NOT expecting that. I freely admit it. I mean, I expected the OTHER shoe to drop any moment now. After all, although I KNOW it has now been deleted, the Covid-19 Outtake always DID make me think that LUKE had had to risk his life, and most likely died second-time around, to have warranted getting the FIRST name of one of the twins. So I kind of figured former enemies OR new enemies had crawled out of the woodwork.

    First question, where is CALLIOPE now? If she is still at daycare, presumably she is somewhat safe, given JUST how many people are around.

    Second question: where is ELLIOT? Presumably, since he wasn’t taken, he is upstairs somewhere. Which leads to. . . .

    Third question: WHY leave Taylor and Elliot alive?

    Fourth question: HOW DID CHRISTIAN BEING MISSING, NO ONE BEING ABLE TO CONTACT ELLIOT OR TAYLOR go SO LONG UNNOTICED????? I mean, aren’t we about 10 OR 12 HOURS behind the kidnappers now????? Didn’t Taylor have MANDATORY daily check-ins at least with his OTHER security professionals??? How does Ana have a small army of people and Christian ONLY Taylor????? WHY wasn’t there some automatic ALERT that should go out when SO MANY hours go by without contact with these individuals? ESPECIALLY when Christian was expected at work, etc.?

    No offense, but Christian’s security team and precautions stink. I mean, with his recent successes, he would OBVIOUSLY be a TARGET. And HOW did someone have all the codes??? That makes NO sense, given how the Gia-factor would mean that there should have been something more than JUST Taylor and Elliot around Christian. And HOW did the SIX MEN know that ONLY six of them would be enough??? AND WHY LEAVE ALL THOSE SECURITY CAMERAS on and people alive????

    Granted, I had figured there would absolutely HAVE to be fallout from “the purge” that Christian arranged when he got the remaining Names of those still-undiscovered co-conspirators. Those POLITICIANS that he got the INTEL from would work for ANYONE that made it worth their while.
    So you are dealing with people that would almost HAVE to have had protections in order to have gone unnamed and unpunished for so long.

    AND Christian’s very “attitude” at going after ANYONE he considered a “former enemy” or current enemy meant he made even MORE enemies. BUT THE TIMING of this suggests LINCOLN REMNANTS rather than an unknown enemy.

    And what could be the purpose of kidnapping Christian??? I mean, a HIGH PROFILE kidnapping of THAT type brings in the Feds and other forces that the former Lincoln supporters would have no chance of bribing or keeping silent. If this was about REVENGE, then you would have expected deaths. If it is about MONEY, then it would have been smarter to get Christian to transfer money rather than to try to find somewhere to hole-up for a Ransom.

    I feel like I am missing a MAJOR puzzle piece here.

    Still in shock here. Although really, SHOULD we have been, given some of Christian AND Ana’s actions since Lincoln was killed?

    (P.S. —And on a completely unrelated topic to the present chapter. Tara, did you see JAMIE on James Cordun on Monday night???)

    Like

    1. I feel like it’s more sinister than Linc. Like one of the foreign governments looking to take the technology or even the US Government looking for more control of Endurance. Either would be able to override the security systems. Maybe Kim is a covert?

      Like

  28. I feel like I should binge read from the beginning to pull out the Easter Eggs, Tara you’re better than Marvel movies…burying eggs along the way.

    Chapter 2 – “I’m going to rule the world, Miss Steele,” He says, his smile broadening.

    I know you’ve given us the clue, it’s just figuring out how to find it.

    Do you really plan out that far in advance? You should teach Writing Master classes!

    Like

  29. Maybe I’m a little late commenting but I was too shocked before to think properly about anything, but after reading the chapter three times, I need to express some of my ideas –at least to relieve some of this tension until the next weeks while this new plot resolves–.

    First of all, I don’t know what to think about Christian’s kidnapping. Well I’m calling it a kidnapping because it’s what makes the most sense, although nobody asked for a ransom yet, so I’m not sure, it could be someone trying to take revenge against him. I thought about some kind of attack against them at some point because you hinted too much the fact that Ana was feeling like she was being followed (or things like the guy at the store at Lake Sylvia) or the threats sent to GEH, but I didn’t make much of it because it could be related to the growing popularity of Endurance (yep, I know rich people are always targets). However, even like it feels somehow it could be a random kidnapping (let’s keep calling it that even if it isn’t) made by random people, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to the equation. Just a good hacker that happened to attack at the best moment, when Christian was at Escala intoxicated and Taylor was alone with the extra help of Ana’s security? Mmm, it’s difficult to think it was a coincidence.

    So, that brings me to another point. If whoever ploted this is someone close enough to know the override code of the security system, even after trying to understand her, Kim would be my top suspect. I always felt there was something wrong with her and the fact that she decided to “casually” come to Ray’s house when Ana was there… I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I can’t help but feel something wrong with it, but it’s true that I don’t believe in big coincidences. Although I also find it difficult to fool Ray that way, so I have lots of doubts about this one, crap.

    And another point, one that I know it’ll be resolved in the next chapter but… what the hell happened to Elliot? It’s impossible that he doesn’t know about what took place in Escala. Even if he was aslept at the time, he’d have figured it out after waking up. You didn’t show the exact amount of time that the intruders spent upstairs, so maybe they took care of Elliot first and then they went to Christian. But something about it also feels kinda wrong (or it could be that you, Tara, make possible too many possibilities that I can’t be sure about any of the alternatives).

    Just one thing I know for sure is that Christian must have a bigger security team. Yeah, I know he knows how to fight and he can mostly defend himself, but how did that help in this case? I find it difficult to believe that he never hired more CPOs after Endurance when Ana has four people with her. And also, I remember that at some point you mentioned that Ana’s wereables (jewelry, watches and some clothes) had a tracking device that, I don’t know why, but think that Christian doesn’t have in any of his items. Talk about equality… I totally understand him but it’s a little hypocritical of him telling Ana that “your heart beats, my heart beats” when he doesn’t take his security that serious (even after receiving threats). I mean… it’s that normal for you to be disappeared more than 10 hours and nobody goes mad looking for you? Dude, if you’d be devasted if losing Ana, what makes you think that she’d be any better the other way around? Men… 😪

    Oh, and finally, I know that after the new events this isn’t “top priority” right now but… after that voice message that he left in the early moorning, I feel like he just made his mind about the babies and he was trying to tell Ana that he’d made everything he could to ensure that the three of them would be okay *me swooning*.

    I apologize for the long review but really, it’s already Thrusday and I’m still going around the last chapters 24/7, that’s how much I connect with your characters and this story, I almost feel like I know them and suffer for them.

    Can’t wait until Monday! But I’ll try to enjoy it too because I know there isn’t too many chapters left. I know for sure that I’ll miss the excitement of every new Monday but I’ll hope that when you publish your original (if you do it here) I’ll feel also so connected with the story in order not to lose this amazing feeling that comes with every new chapter!

    Lots of love,
    Andie

    PS: Love the fact that Luke is taking care of everything 😉

    Like

  30. Friday night, and I’m just turning to your outstanding story. Ack! Eek! WTF? I’ve got PTSD just reading this chapter, and the previous storyline of Lincoln, Gia and company.

    It’s definitely an inside job as all the entry codes were used to break in, and leaving the cameras running was deliberate. So a very loud message was being sent. My first thought was the dirty cops coming back for revenge. Someone should do a deep background check all new security quickly to see if they have any relation to any of the police suspects. I don’t like the obsequious Kim, but I don’t suspect her of anything at this time.

    Luke, please get help for Taylor. He’s been beaten and handcuffed up for hours. Contact Gail, the Seattle police, and the FBI and CIA as this is a kidnapping of the richest man in the world. Government resources have avenues of investigation that can locate Christian quickly and handle his return. The GEH insurance company no doubt has Kidnap and Ransom Insurance, as well as agents who are highly trained in rescuing important or wealthy insurers. For pity sakes, get this thing rolling. It’s been 10 hours since this assault began. And yeah, GEH security sucks.

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  31. Wow. Wow. Wow. Ok so I’ve thought about this all week – the people responsible for the kidnapping have to be related to the Seattle Police officers that were being investigated for their connection with Lincoln, right? Or maybe one of the politicians that were at the fancy dinner trying to secure the Endurance contract. And like everyone else, I’m really worried about Elliot. He has to be still inside the penthouse – probably tied up? You mentioned half the kidnappers only were upstairs for a short time, but Ana didn’t see Elliot’s car in the garage (or didn’t think to look for it). Someone better get Ray to Seattle to help Luke out ASAP! I cannot wait to read what you have in store for our beloved characters

    Like

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