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As ever, she has an answer for everything. “No…but you’ve agreed, Anastasia.” Is she reneging on our deal? God, this girl has me on a roller coaster. “So they are mine to do with as I wish?” “Yes.” I thought you loved Hardy? “In that case, I’d like to give them to a charity—one working in Darfur, since that seems to be close to your heart. They can auction them.” “If that’s what you want to do.” I’m not going to stop you. You can burn them, for all I care… Her pale face colors. “I’ll think about it,” she mutters. “Don’t think, Anastasia. Not about this.” Keep them, please. They’re for you, because your passion is books. You’ve told me more than once. Enjoy them. Placing the champagne on the table, I stand in front of her and cup her chin, tipping back her head so my eyes are on hers. “I will buy you lots of things, Anastasia. Get used to it. I can afford it. I’m a very wealthy man.” I kiss her quickly. “Please,” I add, and release her. “It makes me feel cheap,” she says. “It shouldn’t. You’re overthinking it. Don’t place some vague moral judgment on yourself based on what others might think. Don’t waste your energy. It’s only because you have reservations about our arrangement; that’s perfectly natural. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” Anxiety is etched all over her lovely face. “Hey, stop this. There is nothing about you that is cheap, Anastasia. I won’t have you thinking that. I just sent you some old books that I thought might mean something to you, that’s all.” She blinks a couple of times and stares at the package, obviously conflicted. Keep them, Ana—they’re for you. “Have some champagne,” I whisper, and she rewards me with a small smile. “That’s better.” I open the champagne and fill the dainty teacups she’s placed in front of me. “It’s pink.” She’s surprised, and I haven’t the heart to tell her why I chose pink. “Bollinger La Grande Année Rosé 1999—an excellent vintage.” “In teacups.” She grins. It’s infectious. “In teacups. Congratulations on your degree, Anastasia.” We touch cups, and I drink. It tastes good, as I knew it would. “Thank you.” She raises the cup to her lips and takes a quick sip. “Shall we go through the soft limits?” “Always so eager.” Taking her hand, I lead her to the sofa—one of the only remaining pieces of furniture in the living room—and we sit, surrounded by boxes. “Your stepfather’s a very taciturn man.” “You managed to get him eating out of your hand.” I chuckle. “Only because I know how to fish.”

E l james grey  
E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey

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