Fifty Shades Darker is a 2012 erotic romance novel by British author E. L. James. It is the second installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. The first and third volumes, Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Freed, were published in 2011 and 2012. The novel is published by Vintage Books and reached #1 on the USA Today best seller list.
Three days since leaving Christian, Anastasia “Ana” Steele has begun her job as personal assistant to Jack Hyde, and editor at Seattle Independent Publishing (SIP). He continually asks Ana out, making her uneasy, but writes it off. Christian emails her to see if she needs a ride to her friend Jose Rodriguez’s gallery exhibit in Portland, which she had forgotten about until Christian emailed her. The pair attend the show together and reconcile their relationship by kissing in an alley and visiting a restaurant together. Christian buys José’s portraits of Ana for selfish reasons, one is to prevent random people from buying them, and the second is for his own amusement.
Christian reveals to Ana that he has bought SIP, but the deal must stay secret for another month. Ana is furious that Christian is interfering in her career, especially after he freezes the company’s accounts preventing her from going on an overnight business trip to New York with Jack. Christian insists it was for her own protection, because Jack is a “known philanderer”, as he apparently harassed his last five assistants. Those suspicions prove correct when Jack corners Ana after hours and blackmails her, demanding sexual favors. Ana’s self-defense training allows her to escape. Christian has Jack fired and confiscates his work computer.
While attending a masquerade ball at Dr. and Mr. Grey’s residence, Ana meets Elena Lincoln (whom Ana nicknames Mrs. Robinson) for the first time and discovers that Elena and Christian own a salon business together. Later, Ana is auctioned off and Christian bids $100,000 for the first dance with her. Ana is disgusted that Christian continues to be friends with the woman who seduced him when he was only 15 years old, and initially introduced him to the BDSM lifestyle. When Elena realizes that Christian sees Ana as a girlfriend and not a submissive, she becomes antagonistic towards Ana, trying to sow discord in the budding relationship.