Anastasia goes out for a jog to think things over. She kinda wants to run over to his hotel and demand sex from him, but it’s five miles away and she can’t run that far. So she ponders what to do as she jogs.
My research has told me that legally it’s unenforceable (page 187).
So don’t sign it, then.
She gets back from her jog and writes Grey an email that says she’s seen enough and it was nice knowing him and sends it, as a joke. Then she worries that maybe he won’t get the joke. Anastasia sits down and starts going over the contract and making notes and suddenly Grey shows up at the doorway.
He’s just gloriously yummy, his pants doing that hanging from the hips thing (page 189).
Seriously, what the fuck does that even mean? Based on previous comments from female readers I don’t believe that anyone actually finds the way pants hang from the hips attractive, but I’m still trying to put together what James is referring to. What separates Grey’s pants from everyone else’s pants?
He says her email warranted a reply in person. Then he asks her if she’s biting her lip deliberately. God. I am getting really sick of these characters obsessing over each other’s pants and the biting of a lip. It’s getting annoying enough that I’m just going to stop talking about it, so, dear reader, please remind herself that at least once, and usually more often during every single scene together Anastasia is going to start biting her lip and Grey is going to call her on it, because apparently her biting her lip is the single most sexually attractive thing Grey has ever seen, so arousing that he can’t stop talking about or just fucking ignore it.
His fingers circle my ear, and very softly, rhythmically, he tugs my earlobe. It’s so sexual (page 190).
Let’s take a moment to examine these two sentences. They’re very short, a total of sixteen words, but they illustrate exactly why this book is so poorly written. As any novice writer knows, you’re supposed to show, not tell. James is very, very bad at this. Take the second sentence, where Anastasia tells us that it’s sexual. First of all, I think the reader can probably figure out that Grey playing with her earlobe is supposed to be sexual; since, you know, this is an erotic novel. But what is the point of Anastasia stopping to TELL the reader that this is supposed to be a sexual scene? If you’re trying to communicate to the reader what Anastasia feels about his action, there’s dozens of better ways to accomplish that. Off the top of my head, here are a few examples:
- I shivered involuntarily.
- My skin tingled at his touch.
- I caught my breath.
You get the idea. Anyway, Grey says he figured he’d come and remind her how nice it was to know him. Holy crap! Anastasia thinks it over and then tackles him and they roll over on the bed with his tongue in her mouth and her inner goddess is percolating like Folgers brand drip coffee through a brand-new filter. Grey asks if she trusts him, she says yeah, so he pulls out a silk tie that is on the cover of this novel and ties her hands together and to the headboard.
He strips her naked, tells her to be quiet, and then leaves to get a drink, returning with a tumbler with ice and wine. Ice and wine. Okay. He gets naked and sits astride her and asks if she’s thirsty. She says yes, so he spits some wine into her mouth. Really.
he leans down and kisses me, pouring a delicious, crisp liquid into my mouth as he does. It’s white wine. It’s so unexpected, so hot, though it’s chilled and Christian’s lips are cool (page 193).
Because he’s a vampire.
So they do this a couple more times and then he kisses her down her belly and leaves a bit of wine and some ice in her belly button.
“If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele.” (page 194)
Because they signed a contract saying – never mind, she actually hasn’t signed a contract yet.
There’s lots of foreplay that gets her pretty much right up to the brink but not quite. Then:
He pushes both my knees up the bed so my behind is in the air, and he slaps me hard (page 196).
Good thing she consented to being slapped – wait. I keep forgetting, she hasn’t agreed to that. Well, as long as it doesn’t hurt her too much or she doesn’t ask him to stop there’s nothing wrong with inflicting pain on her during sex, right? Right?
He slides inside and she orgasms instantly and then has a number of multiple orgasms and they finish simultaneously because, well, why not?
They talk and she says the email was just a joke and then she mentions she has issues with the contract and the conversation turns to Mrs. Robinson, the older women who seduced Grey, and it comes out that Grey still talks to her. Anastasia points out the hypocrisy of Grey being able to talk to someone about his alternative lifestyle, but she can’t. Grey offers to introduce her to one of his former subs, which Anastasia flatly turns down because that would be fucking retarded. Grey then turns it around and asks if she’s jealous, which works because Anastasia is, so she never calls him on the fact that he’s a hypocritical douchebag.
She tells him he can leave, he asks if she wants to discuss the contract now, she says no. Petulantly.
“God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better, and so would I.” (page 198)
Anything can be solved by beating your lover. Good to know.
They kiss goodbye, Grey leaves, and Anastasia starts crying. Kate comes in to the rescue and asks what he did and Anastasia explains that she doesn’t think the relationship is going anywhere. Then she asks about Elliott so Kate forgets about the whole crying thing and starts talking about how awesome he is and stuff.
Later, we get some email between Anastasia and Grey. It’s actually nice because it shows that Anastasia has a little spine. Not much of a spine, to be fair, but certainly more than Bella has. Plus, occasionally she calls Grey out on his bullshit. This email is one of those examples. I wish it was better, but I’ll take what I can get. The highlights:
- Anastasia points out that she doesn’t need a 10-page contract for her benefit, obviously this list is for Grey’s benefit. Well. Yeah. Obviously.
Of course, then we get an example of Anastasia completely missing the point:
8. I can terminate at any time if I don’t think you’re sticking to the agreed limits. Okay – I like this (page 203).
NO, YOU IDIOT. RELATIONSHIPS DO NOT HAVE CLAUSES THAT MUST BE EXERCISED TO REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THEM.
- Anastasia is not okay with obedience in all things
- Wants a one-month trial period, not three. Although what is the point of having a trial period when both parties can leave at any time?
- Anastasia refuses to commit to every weekend.
- Points out that she’s not interested in whipping, flogging, and corporal punishment.
15.10 Like loaning me out would ever be an option. But I’m glad it’s here in black and white (page 204).
If you need to sign a contract stating that your partner won’t loan you to other people as a sexual slave, then you’re probably not in a good relationship.
- Anastasia flatly refuses to eating food from a prescribed list. THANK YOU.
- Anastasia points out that they agreed on three hours of exercise, but the list still says four. Very crafty, Grey.
- Anastasia doesn’t want to be fisted.
She sends the email and get a response five minutes later, asking her why she’s still up. She hits reply and sends the following email:
I’m awake because I feel like it. As a grown woman, I can do whatever the fuck I want, including deciding when to go to bed.
At least, that’s what she would have said, my imagination. Instead, she says this:
If you recall, I was going through this list when I was distracted and bedded by a passing control freak.
Good night. (page 205)
Naturally, Grey responds appropriately:
GO TO BED, ANASTASIA. (page 206)
So Anastasia goes to bed, wondering how he can intimidate her from miles away. And this is probably beating a dead horse, but if you have to ask yourself that question…maybe it’s not a good relationship?