Some romance authors transcend time, and one of those is EL James. You might recognize her as the author of the Fifty Shades Of Grey series along with The Mister and now, The Missus.
While Fifty Shades is easily her most popular series, James has featured out into other waters although still in the romance genre. She released The Mister in 2019 as the start of a romance duet.
With the release of The Missus coming on June 20th, there are so many questions to be answered and so many stories left to be told. Thankfully, EL James and Bloom Books are giving us an early look at The Missus by sharing an excerpt I’m happy to feature on Culturess.
Whether you’re a fan of EL James, this series, or just want a look at the next book, we’ve got a sneak peek which is very rare. James is notoriously private before her upcoming releases so this is a special treat for us.
See an exclusive excerpt from The Missus by EL James before release day!
As I said, EL James is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to upcoming releases so this is so freaking exciting for me. Of course, if you’ve read the first book, you’ll know how it ended so there is still a lot of questions to be answered and tons of story still left to be told but let’s get into the excerpt first.
Penguin was also kind enough to share that same excerpt but in audio format which is below!
As I stand under the rather rudimentary shower and wash my hair, I have a complete crisis of conscience. A quick internet search on my phone has told me that it’s far more complicated to marry as a foreign national in Albania than Alessia’s father seems to think. There are forms to be completed, then translated and notarized—and that’s just a quick and dirty glance of what’s required.
What has her father organized?
How has he managed to circumvent the usual protocols? If he has, are they legal?
And if they’re not, how can I go ahead with a wedding that’s probably not legal to appease a proud, impatient old man? I know he’ll be my father-in-law, but what he’s asking is too much. All his talk of honor yesterday accounts for nothing if he treats his daughter this way.
And I’m in a bind. I can’t leave without Alessia, and I know the old bastard won’t let me take her with me. She needs a passport and a visa to return to the UK, and I have no idea where or how we get one. Probably somewhere in Tirana. I don’t know.
Though he did say she was my problem now.
Maybe I should take him at his word.
I switch off the shower, resentful and bewildered by the situation I’ve found myself in—and by the large puddle of water I’ve left on the bathroom floor. It does not speak well of Albanian plumbing. I snatch a towel and quickly dry myself, then drag on my clothes and open the door.
Alessia is standing outside, brandishing what looks like a high- tech shower-cleaning device. I laugh, surprised and pleased to see her, and I’m transported back to a time when she was in my flat, wearing her frightful nylon housecoat, and I was surreptitiously watching her… and falling in love.
She grins and places her fingers against her lips.
“Does he know you’re here?” I whisper.
She shakes her head, places her hand squarely on my chest, and pushes me back into the bathroom. She drops the mop and promptly locks the door.
“Alessia,” I warn, but she cups my face and pulls my lips to hers. Her kiss is soft and sweet but demanding—surprisingly demanding. As her tongue finds mine, she presses her body against me, and I close my eyes and wrap my arms around her, delighting in her kiss. Her fingers slide into my wet hair, and her lips become more insistent as she tugs. It’s a wake-up call to my impatient dick.
Hell. We’re going to fuck.
In an Albanian bathroom with poor plumbing.
I pull away so we can catch our breath, and Alessia’s eyes are dark and full of promise but also uncertainty.
“What is it?” I ask.
She shakes her head.
“No.” I clasp her face and gaze into her eyes. “God, as much as I want you, we’re not fucking in this bathroom. Your parents aren’t far away, and I don’t have a condom. Now tell me, what’s wrong? Is it the wedding?”
I blow out a breath in relief and release her. “Yeah. What your father’s arranged—I don’t know if it’s… legitimate.”
“I know. My parents want to discuss the, um…arrangements with us in the afternoon. I don’t know what to do. I think it’s because my father thinks I am with child. He’s managed to pull the strings.”
An image of her dad as an evil puppet master with Alessia and me as his marionettes comes to mind, making me chuckle. “We say ‘pull some strings.’”
She repeats the saying and gives me a shy smirk.
“You still don’t mind that I correct your English?”
Okay. Let’s go with Plan A. Here goes.
“Let’s leave. You don’t have to stay here. You’re an adult. You’re not beholden to your father—whatever he thinks. We can go to Tirana. Get a passport for you and arrange a visa. Then we can fly back to the UK. We’ll get married there. And your parents can join us for the wedding.”
Alessia’s eyes widen as several emotions flit across her face. Hope seems to win, and I think she’s been considering this possibility herself.
But then her face falls, so I draw her into my arms and hold her. “We’ll figure this out.” I kiss her hair.
She peers up at me, and I think she’s inwardly debating whether to ask me something.
“No. It’s okay.” “What?” I insist.
She swallows. “My mother.”
“What about your mother?”
“I can’t leave her here with him.”
“You want to bring her with you?”
Fuck. “Okay. If that’s what you want.”
Alessia looks stunned. “You are saying yes?”
She lights up like Christmas, as if she’s finally unburdened of all her woes. She flings her arms around my neck. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” she gasps between kisses and starts to laugh and cry.
“Don’t cry. I’d do anything for you. You should know that. I love you.” I wipe her tears away with my thumbs as I caress her face. “And like I said, we’ll figure this out. We’ll make a plan.”
Her eyes, dark with adoration, peek up at me as if I have all the answers to the eternal questions of the universe and a welcome warmth spreads through my chest. Her trust and faith in me are bewildering, but damn, it feels good.
And I know, for her, I’d do anything.
Text copyright © 2023 by E L James. Reprinted by permission of Bloom Books, an imprint of Sourcebooks. Audio excerpt narrated by Dominic Thorburn, production copyright ℗ 2023, Penguin Audio. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House Audio. All Rights Reserved.
Considering how The Mister ended, this is the perfect glimpse into The Missus and what we have to look forward to. I don’t know about you but I just read The Mister this year and now, I’m incredibly excited to see this wedding. I’m sure things won’t totally go off without a hitch but that’s just how romance books go sometimes.
If you’re excited about The Missus, you still have plenty of time to read The Mister or preorder it before its release on June 20th. Thank you so much to Bloom Books and Penguin Audio for sharing these excerpts along with the book’s trailer.
View this post on Instagram
What do you think of our excerpt from The Missus? Will you be picking up it on release day? Let us know.