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hope she’ll find her hand in mine reassuring. “Talk to me. I don’t want to lose you. This last week—” Has been the best in my life. “I still want more,” she breathes. Oh no, not this again. What does she need me to say? “I know. I’ll try.” I clasp her chin. “For you, Anastasia, I will try.” I’ve just taken you to meet my parents, for heaven’s sake. Suddenly she unbuckles her seatbelt, and before I know it she’s scrambled into my lap. What the hell? I sit immobile as her arms slip around my head, and her lips find mine, and coax a kiss from me before the darkness has a chance to stir. My hands slide up her back until I’m cradling her head and returning her passion, exploring her sweet, sweet mouth, trying to find answers…Her unexpected affection is utterly disarming. And new. And confusing. I thought she wanted to leave, and now she’s in my lap and turning me on, again. I’ve never…never…Don’t go, Ana. “Stay with me tonight. If you go away, I won’t see you all week. Please,” I whisper. “Yes,” she murmurs. “And I’ll try, too. I’ll sign your contract.” Oh, baby. “Sign after Georgia. Think about it. Think about it hard.” I want her to do this willingly—I don’t want to force this on her. Well, part of me doesn’t. The rational part. “I will,” she says, and nestles against me. This woman has me tied up in knots. Ironic, Grey. And I want to laugh because I’m relieved and happy, but I hold her, breathing in her redolent and comforting scent. “You really should wear your seatbelt,” I scold, but I don’t want her to move. She stays wrapped in my embrace, her body slowly relaxing against mine. The darkness inside me is quiet, contained, and I’m confused by my warring emotions. What do I want out of her? What do I need out of her? This is not how we should be progressing, but I like her in my arms; I like cradling her like this. I kiss her hair, and lean back and enjoy the ride into Seattle. Taylor stops outside the entrance to Escala. “We’re home,” I whisper to Ana. I’m reluctant to release her, but I lift her onto her seat. Taylor opens her door and she joins me at the entrance to the building. A shiver runs through her. “Why don’t you have a jacket?” I ask as I slip mine off and drape it over her shoulders. “It’s in my new car,” she says, yawning. “Tired, Miss Steele?” “Yes, Mr. Grey. I’ve been prevailed upon in ways I never thought possible today.” “Well, if you’re really unlucky, I may prevail upon you some more.” If I get lucky. She leans against the wall of the elevator as we travel up to the penthouse. Under my jacket she

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey