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E L James is a TV executive, wife, and mother of
two, based in West London. Since early
childhood, she dreamt of writing stories that
readers would fall in love with, but put those
dreams on hold to focus on her family and her
career. She finally plucked up the courage to put
pen to paper with her first novel, Fifty Shades of
E L James is currently working on the sequel to
FiftyShades of Grey and a new romantic thriller
with a supernatural twist.

I am indebted to the following people for their help
and support:
To my husband Niall – thank you for tolerating my
obsession, being a domestic god and doing the
first edit.
To my boss Lisa – thank you for putting up with
me over the last year or so while I indulged in this
To CCL – I’ll never tell butthank you.
To the original bunker babes – thank you for your
friendship and constant support.
To SR – thank you for all the helpful advice from
the start and for going first.
To Sue – thanks for sorting me out.
To Amanda and all at TWCS – thank you for taking
a punt.

I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.
Damn my hair – it just won’t behave, and damn
Katherine Kavanagh forbeing ill and subjecting
me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my
final exams, which are next week, yet here I am
trying to brush my hair into submission. I m ust
not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet.
Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt,
once more, to bring it under control with the
brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at

brush. I roll my eyes inexasperation and gaze at
the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big
for her face staring back at me, and give up. My
only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a
ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable.
Kate is my roommate, and she has chosen
today of all days to succumb to the flu.
Therefore, she cannot attend the interview she’d
arranged to do, with somemega-industrialist
tycoon I’ve never heard of, for the student
newspaper. So I have been volunteered. I have
final exams to cram for, one essay to finish, and
I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but
no – today I have to drive a hundred and sixtyfive miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet
the enigmatic CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings
Inc. As an exceptional entrepreneur and major
benefactor ofour university, his time is
extraordinarily precious – much more precious
than mine – but he has granted Kate an
interview. A real coup, she tells me. Damn her
extracurricular activities.
Kate is huddled on the couch in the living
“Ana, I’m sorry. It took me nine months to
get this interview. It will take another six to
reschedule, and we’ll both have graduated by
then. As theeditor, I can’t blow this off. Please,”

Kate begs me in her rasping, sore throat voice.
How does she do it? Even ill she looks gamine
and gorgeous, strawberry blonde hair in place
and green eyes bright, although now red-rimmed
and runny. I ignore my pang of unwelcome
“Of course I’ll go, Kate. You should get back
to bed. Would you like some Nyquil or Tylenol?”
“Nyquil, please.Here are the questions and
my mini-disc recorder. Just press record here.
Make notes, I’ll transcribe it all.”
“I know nothing about him,” I murmur, trying
and failing to suppress my rising panic.
“The questions will see you through. Go. It’s
a long drive. I don’t want you to be late.”
“Okay, I’m going. Get back to bed. I made
you some soup to heat up later.” I stare at her
fondly. O nly foryou, Kate, would I do this.
“I will. Good luck. And thanks, Ana – as
usual, you’re my lifesaver.”
Gathering my satchel, I smile wryly at her,
then head out the door to the car. I cannot
believe I have let Kate talk me into this. But then
Kate can talk anyone into anything. She’ll make
an exceptional journalist. She’s articulate, strong,
persuasive, argumentative, beautiful – and she’s...
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