Read Darker Online

Authors: E L James

Darker (57 page)

She gasps at the sight that greets her.

The florists have gone to town. There are wild meadow flowers everywhere, in pinks and whites and blues, all lit by tiny fairy lights and soft pink lanterns.

Yes. This will do.

Ana is stunned. She whips around and gapes at me.

“You wanted hearts and flowers.”

She stares at me in disbelief.

“You have my heart.” And I wave at the room.

“And here are the flowers,” she murmurs. “Christian, it’s lovely.” Her voice is hoarse and I know she’s close to tears.

Plucking up my courage, I lead her farther into the room. In the center of the arbor, I sink onto one knee. Ana catches her breath, and her hands fly to her mouth. From my inside jacket pocket, I pull out the ring and hold it up for her.

“Anastasia Steele. I love you. I want to love, cherish, and protect you for the rest of my life. Be mine. Always. Share my life with me. Marry me.”

She is the love of my life.

It will only ever be Ana.

Her tears start to fall in earnest but her smile eclipses the moon, the stars, the sun, and all the flowers in this boathouse.

“Yes,” she says.

Taking her hand, I slip the ring on her finger; it fits perfectly.

She looks down at it in wonder. “Oh, Christian,” she sobs, her legs buckle and she falls into my arms. She kisses me, offering me everything, her lips, her tongue, her compassion, her love. Her body is pressed to mine. Giving, like she always does.

Sweet, sweet Ana.

I kiss her back. Taking what she has to offer, and giving in return. She’s taught me how.

This woman who has dragged me into the light. This woman who loves me in spite of my past, in spite of my wrongdoings. This woman who’s agreed to be mine for the rest of her life.

My girl. My Ana. My love.

E L James

After twenty-five years working in TV, E L James decided to pursue her childhood dream, and set out to write stories that readers would fall in love with. The result was the sensuous romance
Fifty Shades of Grey
and its two sequels,
Fifty Shades Darker
Fifty Shades Freed
, a trilogy that went on to sell more than 150 million copies worldwide in 52 languages. In 2015 she published the best seller
, the story of
Fifty Shades of Grey
from the perspective of Christian Grey.

In 2012, E L James was named one of
magazine’s “Most Influential People in the World,” one of Barbara Walters’s “Ten Most Fascinating People of the Year,” and
Publishers Weekly
’s “Person of the Year.” She went on to work as a producer on the film adaptations of her trilogy for Universal Pictures;
Fifty Shades of Grey,
the film, broke box-office records all over the world in 2015. Its 2017 sequel,
Fifty Shades Darker,
proved equally popular with fans of Ana and Christian’s story, and the concluding film,
Fifty Shades Freed,
will be released in 2018.

E L James lives with her husband, the novelist and screenwriter Niall Leonard, their two sons, and their two dogs in West London, where she is working on new novels and movie projects.

The Fifty Shades Trilogy is available in paperback, eBook, Spanish-language, and audio formats and in deluxe hardcover editions.

Available wherever books are sold.

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