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It's been nearly eight years since author E L James released the erotic romance novel that launched her career, as well as a five-book and three-film franchise.
But now, for the first time, the writer behind "Fifty Shades of Grey" is taking a break from characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in favor of a new steamy story — with a new couple at the heart of it.
As James announced exclusively on TODAY Thursday, her upcoming novel is called "The Mister," and it follows the tale of a handsome and moneyed Brit named Maxim Trevelyan and the enigmatic woman he falls for, Alessia Demachi.
"It's a 21st century Cinderella," she told TODAY correspondent Keir Simmons.
A press release about the book calls it "a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page." The book will be released on Apr. 16, but fans of James don't have to wait for its release to get a sample of that breathless action. We have an excerpt right here.
"The Mister," by E L James, $17, Available for Pre-order on Amazon
Alessia opens the door but freezes on the threshold of the room.
Fast asleep facedown and sprawled naked across the large bed. She stands, shocked and fascinated at once, her feet rooted to the wooden floor as she stares. He’s stretched across the length of the bed, tangled in his duvet but naked . . . very naked. His face is turned toward her but covered by unkempt brown hair. One arm is beneath the pillow that supports his head, the other extended toward her. He has broad, defined shoulders, and on his biceps is an elaborate tattoo that is partially hidden by the bedding. His back is sun-kissed with a tan that fades as his hips narrow to dimples and to a pale, taut backside.
His long, muscular legs disappear beneath a knot of gray duvet and silver silk bedspread, though his foot sticks out over the edge of the mattress. He stirs, the muscles in his back rippling, and his eyelids flicker open to reveal unfocused but brilliant green eyes. Alessia stops breathing, convinced he’ll be angry that she’s woken him. Their eyes meet, but he shifts and turns his face away. He settles down and goes back to sleep.