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BOOK TWO

Prologue

Brooklyn Hyatt, an up and coming celebrity blogger was the first to break the news that perhaps the novel Three and a Half Weeks was not the fictional tale we all were led to believe, and, of course, the way it's been touted and marketed.

In last week's blog entitled And Thereby Hangs a Single-Tail, Mr. Hyatt takes issue with author Anastasia Steele labeling her racy novel fictional and claims it's actually a true account of her meeting and having an affair with none other than her brand new husband, wealthy financier and philanthropist Christian Grey.

We at Hyatt Blogs the Question want to do a scratch and sniff to get at the nitty gritty of the rumor. Is Christian Grey the man behind the whip? Is Anastasia Steele the girl who fled his domination?

Let's look at the facts: Ms. Steele was living in Seattle while attending undergraduate school. Shortly after graduation, she left the country (or fled?) for an Oxford fellowship, studying under the eminent art historian, Charles Norwood-Finch. One year later, she's back, and again seen out and about with Mr. Grey. The facts seem to follow the novel's arc, and the characters Rafe and Gia, including their reunion one year later.

Ms. Steele's new novel, Three and a Half Weeks… Again, is another supposedly fictional novel with a similar theme and feel to it, but with a whole new raft of characters. Should we believe this one is fictional, too, Ms. Steele?

We reached out to both Mr. Grey and Ms. Steele. Their respective publicists provided us with the identical response: no comment; however, a press release was issued the following day by Ms. Steele's literary agent, Mo Jackson, of Authors' Haven Literary Agency. In it Ms. Jackson assures the reading public that both novels are fictional works of art, calling any other claims "nonsensical" and points out the author, not being clairvoyant, "couldn't possibly foretell the book's denouement a year in advance" as the novel does in fact culminate. Jackson then refocuses the press release on the imminent release of the film, reading like a… well, like a press release.

We think the sizzzlingly hot (that extra z is there on purpose) Mr. Christian Grey would make one hell of a sexy dominant. Additionally, Ms. Steele, who happens to be demurely beautiful, would look oh so good in a bit and harness.

Our response to Ms. Jackson's denial? Hyatt blogs to differ.

Chapter 1

I'm in gossip hell. Christian and I arrived home from our spectacular honeymoon only to find our names and photos plastered across all the tabloids, along with outrageous headlines, like Was Ana Steele Bound to Marry Christian Grey? Or Boardroom, Bedroom, & BDSM: The Story of Mr. and Mrs. Christian Grey.

One blogger in particular is having great fun at our expense. Somehow he was the one who figured out my book is not pure fiction and what a field day he's been enjoying. We had some indication of what was coming while still in the South of France when our respective publicists started ringing our cells like mad, creating insane symphonies of electronic music. I finally had to give Aretha a break and switch over to Amy Winehouse singing You Know I'm No Good. Here's the amazing part: Christian couldn't care less. In fact, he seems amused by the whole horse and pony show.

I'm the one who's appalled and horrified by it. I mean, what do his parents think about me now? What about my parents? Mariah? My doctor? My first-grade teacher? Oh, God, I want to crawl under a rock.

We'd just gotten back to the glass house when Jackson phoned Christian, updating him on the legal action he'd been preparing against these gossipmongers. I hear Christian chuckling throughout the conversation. By the time he's through, I'm bristling with hostility.

"What's so freaking funny, Christian?" My hands are on my hips and I'm primed for a fight. After all, we've just enjoyed three weeks of harmonious marital bliss and it's time for some down and dirty.

"Ana, what's the big deal? We're married. Besides, it's all speculation that no one could prove. It will be good for your book sales and movie.

I stomp my foot, forgetting I'm wearing spikey heels and it makes me wobble. "What do you think your parents think of me now, Christian? Huh?"

"The same thing they must think of me."

He swaggers over, his tight-ish jeans showing off his assets (please note I resisted the obvious pun), one of which is quite prominently displayed just behind the zipper. It distracts me from my snit.

"It's just gossip, Ana. My parents and yours probably think they're just targeting us because we're successful. Happens all the time, baby."

"I would think you of all people would be upset, Mr. NDA."

He shrugs. "You must have figured out by now why I use the contractual agreements. It's got little to do with my private life, Ana; it was one part of the many precautions I took after Natasha blindsided me. Not that an NDA would have stopped her in the least. Its protection is more illusory than actual, but somehow it makes me feel a measure of safety." He edges closer to me. "Now… where were we?"

I will not be so easily mollified… but then his arms wraps around my waist and he pulls me to him. "I think we need to go up to our bedroom and pretend we're still on our honeymoon."

He won't stop kissing me and his lips are so gentle, they're tickling me. I'm wriggling in his grasp but he won't let me go. Before long, I dissolve into unstoppable giggles: my husband can chase away my bad moods without even trying. When I finally get a grip on myself, he spins me around, slips his hands up my shirt pushing it right up, yanks my bra down, and attaches himself to one of my breasts. He won't let go until I beg him to take me upstairs and do me already. I think he's developed a taste for my begging and I'm only too happy to oblige.

He bends down and his shoulder dips against me mid-thigh and he tosses me up and over as if I weigh nothing. "Christian!" My fists begin to pummel his ass and he tightens it so it feels as if I'm punching steel. Damn, the man is in good freaking shape. I stop hitting him, lulling him into a false sense of security and then when I think he relaxes his guard, I bite him. Hard. Yelling, he pretends to drop me and I slip a few inches and scream. Then I hear his deep laughter and I want to kill him.

When he sets me on my feet, I'm spitting mad. "You think it's funny to pretend to drop me on my head?"

He shrugs, smiling delightedly. "Then don't bite and I won't pretend to drop you. Now get naked and get on the bed." He says it without any preamble and points toward our bed.

I suck in a huge breath, gasping loudly. "How dare you?"

His eyes turn flinty. "Oh, Ana, you know I dare. When you issue such a challenge to me, you know I will accept it with pleasure.

I huff and he merely arches his brows in response. "Now, I'd like to fuck my wife so kindly take yourself to the bed and spread your long, luscious legs."

"Are you trying to sabotage our night? Because if that's your aim, you're doing a bang-up job."

"Nooo," he says, stretching out the long vowel sound, "I'm trying to get laid in the most expeditious way possible. I give less than a shit what the tabloids say; I resent them putting you into a tailspin, though, because I want you to concentrate," he unbuttons my jeans, "on making me happy as you did on our honeymoon." He yanks down the zipper. "And I want to make you happy, too." Both of his hands reach inside my pants and sliding around, grab my rear, squeezing hard and making me feel things.

Well, when he puts it like that… I back up to the bed, taking him with me. Climbing onto it without taking my eyes off his, I pull my shirt over my head and quickly shed my jeans. He watches me, his gaze intense and heated. As soon as I'm bare, he begins to strip off his own clothing, ratcheting up the humidity inside the room by at least twenty degrees. I scramble back and lie down to await him, my heart and legs wide open.

Amy Winehouse wakes me up the next morning, telling me she's no good—I know just how she feels. I turn toward Christian's side of the bed but it's empty. I hate waking up to a Christian-less bed. Fumbling for my phone, I answer it a fraction of a second before it goes to voice mail.

"Yeah?"

And Mariah's screaming voice commences damaging my eardrum.

"It's about fucking time, Ana. I cannot believe you've been back from your honeymoon for nearly 48 hours and you haven't called me yet."

"Yes, I very much enjoyed my trip; thanks for asking, Mariah. And how are you?"

"Oh, please. I know you enjoyed your damn honeymoon. You married the richest, most gorgeous man on the planet who adores you and showers you with love, affection, and material goods. What more could a girl ask? Oh, wait! I know! He's also a sexual dominant who, with fiery eyes and a sure hand, sends you spiraling into the most incendiary orgasms, the type you never imagined were remotely possible in real life. Ana, what the fuck? Or should I call you Gia?"

In one instant my heart rockets up to my mouth and I feel a cold sweat break out all over my body: she is reciting my own purple prose back to me!

"Mariah," I say, forcing my voice down into a more natural pitch, "you shouldn't believe everything you read."

"Yeah, bullshit. It all adds up, my darling Ana, and I cannot believe I didn't figure it out for myself. Damn that SOB blogger who beat me to it."

"Why?" I ask. "Would you have published it?"

"Of course not, Ana. Do you not have any faith in me? I just feel stupid that I didn't figure it out first."

"Why would you?"

"Because it all makes sense… especially after I found out your Christian was a member of that naughty club. Okay, so whatever. Now I understand why you were so weird about the book going viral. Don't fret: my lips are crazy-glued shut. So…"

Discarding the hot topic for shopping, Mariah completely takes me by surprise.

"…can you go shopping with me this week? Preferably sooner rather than later?"

"Um, yeah, I guess so," I say warily, wondering if she has ulterior motives.

"Good. I need your help picking out a formal dress. Me and Taylor, Ana. Hot. And. Heavy."

"Really? Why do you need a formal dress?"

"Does one need a reason? I want to feel sexy so I'm buying a dress. Not really formal but sort of cocktail-ish. That's it."

"Okay. How does Thursday sound?"

"Perfect. Meantime, can you squeeze me in right away for a quick lunch?"

Could I? Christian always gets annoyed when I make plans without checking with him first. "Yes, no prob at all. How does tomorrow sound?"

"How about today?

"Today? I don't know what we're doing."

"Isn't Mr. CEO back at work?"

"Actually, I'm not sure. I just woke up. I'll say one o'clock but if there are any changes, I'll give a holler."

"Good. Come prepared to spill your guts, Ana, fair warning."

"Oh, I just remembered I have an appointment today. Rain check?"

"Oh, no you don't. I'll see you at one-ish. Ta ta."

I go in search of my pretty new husband. On the kitchen island is a note scribbled in his handwriting: To my darling and beautiful wife, I had to go into the office today. Alas, our honeymoon has drawn to its close. Don't despair for absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'll be home before you know it. Enjoy your day, lovely girl. Signed, your husband."

I scrounge around for my phone to send him a text. Finding it on the console in the entry, I send him a message: "What does absence do for the body while the heart is growing fonder? What about out of sight, out of mind? How can we tell which adage will apply? Love, your wife."

"It had better be the former or else. I'm going into a meeting. Will call as soon as I'm out. Text me and let me know what you're doing today. Love you."

I sigh. Guess it's lunch with Mariah and all that it entails. Ugh.

Just as I go to greet Mariah after James, one of our security men, lets her in the door, my phone starts to sing. Normally, I screen all my calls but today I just snatch the phone and hit the button. "Hello?"

"Ana? Ana Steele?"

"Yes, this is Ana. Who's calling please?"

"Ana, you don't know me but I was given your name as a reference."

"A reference?"

"Yes, a character reference. I'm starting work on a film project with Lucien Phillips? He told me you were helping him with research for a while and that I could check with you to get information on him. Do you mind?"

Outwardly I remain calm; inwardly, I'm raging at the unmitigated audacity of that man. Does his nerve know no bounds?

Collecting myself from the sudden fury, I choke out the words, "I'll have to call you back, Ms…?"

"Henry. Caroline Henry."

"Fine. Can I reach you at the same number?"

"Yes… please. Thank you."

Our lunch turns out to be heaps of fun. Mariah can be forgiving and the fact that she now knows my book is nonfiction is thrilling her to no end.

"No wonder you didn't want us to lend it around, Ana. It all makes so much sense. Why I didn't figure it out is the big mystery."

"I thought you did. So… what are you going to order?" I'm trying to divert her attention back to the menu and away from my sex life. But it's a no go. This is Mariah, after all, and she's like a bulldog hanging onto a meaty bone.

"Probably the chicken tortilla salad. So, tell me, is everything true or did you embellish?"

"Have you ever had that salad here? I mean, it's not a Mexican restaurant so will the ethnic food be up to par?"

"Ana! Stop trying to change the subject. I will not leave it until you satisfy my curiosity and let's face it," she says, wagging her drink stirrer at me, "I deserve it for the long delay it was in coming."

I purse my lips in frustration. "Mariah, I'm not comfortable sharing salacious details of my sex life with Christian."

"Oh, so you won't share with me but you will with the world?"

Forgetting I'm in public and in a fairly quiet café at that, I shout, "I didn't share it with the world; you fuckers did!"

And every single other diner's head swivels around to stare at me. It feels as if every ounce of blood in my body rushes to my face and in that moment I want to try killing Mariah with my fork. Will it be slow and painful enough?

Mariah leans back and laughs—loudly.

"You're dead to me now, Mariah."

She can't respond because she's laughing too hard. I narrow my eyes and give her the kill stare that I learned from Christian. I don't do it nearly as well, alas.

Finally her laughter subsides and she wipes the tears from the corners of her eyes. "Okay, all done. Sorry but that was hilarious. So what—"

The waiter interrupts us. "Are you ladies ready to order?"

I look up at the man. Or should I say boy? He's got such a baby face but his body screams that he's all man. Must be a struggling actor or model. "I think so," I reply.

"Good. My name is Jamie and I'll be your server today. What can I get you to start?"

The food is excellent and I end up enjoying myself tremendously. After Mariah gets her fill of dirt at my expense, she opens up about Taylor.

"Things are going really well but I can't get him to fuck me, Ana. Is it at all possible he's gay?"

"No," I say positively, shaking my head. "I've caught him ogling women on the street—he's not gay. But I thought you said things were hot and heavy?"

"In my imagination they are. Maybe he doesn't find me attractive."

I look at my friend who happens to be smokin' hot. She is tall and thin. Granted her boobs aren't that big but she's got an ass that many men would risk life and limb to have in their hands. Her face is quite pretty, too. Most importantly, she has a great sense of humor and is kind to a fault. What's not to like? "That cannot be it. Mariah, it's got to be something else."

She shakes her head. "I can't think what and I've spent a lot of time trying to figure it out."

"How far have you gotten with him?" I ask the question, not entirely wanting to know. It's hard for me to picture the stoic Taylor in any kind of compromising clinch.

"Not far at all. One or two deep kisses and maybe a grab or two. He always seems to stop himself as if he's doing something wrong."

"Maybe he feels as if it's a breach of his professional code or something… since you're a friend of mine and he works for my husband? I don't know but I'd give it more time, if I were you."

"So says the girl who gets tied up and sexed on a nightly basis. Easy for you to say." She grumbles but I can easily see the twinkle in her eyes.

"Touché. So… have you seen Sarah or Kayla lately?"

Later that day, I'm on my laptop answering emails and wondering what I should say to Caroline Henry when Christian comes sailing into the room. He comes up behind me and leans over the couch long enough to kiss my cheek.

"By the way, I've been meaning to remind you that Saturday is the fundraiser that Excalibur is sponsoring. My parents are donating a week at their place in Napa. What do you think we should donate for the cause? I was supposed to let them know before we left for our honeymoon but it must have slipped my mind." He smirks. "They've been promoting it as the surprise

"Your parents own a place in Napa? I had no idea. Why?"

"Why what?" He asks with amusement etched into his expression. Why does Ian find everything I say funny?

"Why do they have a place in Napa?"

His eyes are shining with good humor. "Why not? How can I answer that, Ana? I suppose they like wine… and it's beautiful country. Now… back to my question."

"Hmm. How about the use of your corporate jet for a weekend?"

He raises his brows. "That's an excellent idea." He shakes his head, still smiling. "Sometimes I really wish I had you on my team at Excalibur, Ana. You'd be very helpful, methinks."

"Well, forget it," I grumble goodnaturedly. "I'm not about to answer to my husband."

His hands lightly land on my shoulders and he starts massaging me. His fingers are so strong; I just lean into them as he says, "Oh, but you already do answer to me. What's the difference?"

I choose not to respond. Instead I close my eyes and enjoy his touch. Christian knows my body so well, better than I do, I think. His hands are therapeutic for me in more ways than one.

"Well?"

"What should I wear to the fundraiser?"

"Would you like me to select your dress?"

"Yes."

"May I choose everything then? Undergarments and accessories?"

I nod my head—this could be fun.

"Oh, baby, you just made my day." He wraps his arms around my neck from behind and gives me a loud, sloppy kiss on the temple. "Are you hungry?"

"Mmm. Yes. But not for food."

"Ooh, Ana, what's gotten into you today? You're so frisky."

"I don't know what's gotten into me but I do know what I want to get into me, Christian. Are you game?"

He throws his head back and laughs and I turn my head around to watch—what a beautiful sight. He looks so young and boyish when he's carefree and I don't see it nearly enough.

"Am I game? Is the pope Catholic?" He reaches down and grasps both my thighs just above the knee and pulling up, he upends me. I find myself doing a backward somersault off the couch and right into his arms. "Let's see just how game I am," he whispers, his voice deep and sexy as hell. He turns me around in his arms and I quickly wrap my arms and legs around him, praying we don't run into any staff on our way to the bedroom. What must they think of us?

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