You may very well recognize the book cover for Inside The Lines by Ally Bishop – that’s because we read and reviewed it here on ESRR and loved it so much that it was awarded 5 stars! Now you can cast your eyes upon an excerpt and see why we loved it so much.
A debut novel from Ally Bishop…
What happens when a Dominatrix realizes she wants something more for her life…and her heart?
About Inside the Lines
What happens in love might destroy you…
Or remake you altogether.
I make a living offering men and women their ultimate fantasies…as submissives of the mysterious Mistress Hathaway.
I’ve never surrendered to anyone. That’s not the way it works. Or rather, not the way I operate.
But when the gorgeous Fin MacKenzie shows up in my life, he throws everything out of balance.
Now I’m not sure who I am anymore, and I’m questioning everything.
What woman can turn away from a gorgeous Scotsman, especially when he sets her body on fire and her heart ablaze?
I have to stop it…us. I can’t keep going like this. It will ruin everything I’ve worked so hard to build.
Who am I if I surrender to him? Worse yet, who am I if I don’t?
Special sneak peek:
Ch 3: When Lux meets Fin
[Lux has a female client for whom she’s orchestrated a fantasy. Her friend, Stephen, a well-known escort, is supposed to be the “help,” but he ends up sending someone in his place…]
The candescence of pink light softens the room. The hazy glow turns the blood red decor into a deep maroon. This hotel made a splash because of its “red suites;” they’re swanky and beautifully styled. And for this evening’s pleasure, they seemed like the perfect fit. I’ve remade the suite’s bedroom with the softer bulbs, draping scarves, red boas, and a few well- placed, cotton restraints.
Someone knocks, and I hope it’s Stephen. But when I open the door, it’s Ari.
“Oh, God, am I too early?” Her blue eyes go round as she takes in my cut-up t-shirt that falls artfully, exposing my shoulder, and stops just shy of my wine-colored skinny jeans.
“Well, it’s not quite—” I check my phone for the time but also see a missed text, which makes me frown. “What the…” Apparently, I nudged the ringer off, and with setting up and moving around, I missed the vibration of a new text. One that says Stephen can’t make it. “Un-fucking-believable. You asshole.”
Ari stares at me, wide-eyed. Her white-blond hair shimmers in a short, wispy cut that frames her heart-shaped face. A professional dancer, Ari has the slight build of a ballerina, but with more softness and curve.
I shake my head. “Not you, love. Come in. You’re about a half hour early, so I haven’t changed yet. Come in,” I say again when she pauses at the door. One of the ongoing problems with Ari is her hesitance. It’s taken me nearly six months to get her to this point. I’m going to kill Stephen for ruining it.
I check the text so I can read the whole thing.
Sry, dove, I’m sick. And u don’t want my snot ruining a sexy scene. Found a replacement, tho. Fin. Trust me, u will luv him. xoxo.
I receive a second text as I’m standing there.
Hi. It’s Fin. Stephen sent me. I’m here at the hotel. What room?
Un-fucking-believable. I text him the floor and say I’ll meet him. Then I return Stephen’s message: you better die of this illness. Or I promise, you’ll wish you did.
“Ari, I’ll be right back. Make yourself comfortable. Remember what we talked about. Deep breaths, center yourself—”
“Envision, and repeat mantra.” Ari’s light voice finishes for me. “I know.” She smiles, but the corners of her mouth flicker with nerves.
Inwardly, I sigh. Then I shower her with smiling confidence and step into the hallway, closing the door snugly.
When the elevator opens, another couple gets off, wheeling luggage behind them. The doors start to shut, but then a strong hand holds them open. The man that steps off is very tall, well over six feet, and when his aquamarine eyes meet mine, he grins.
“Lux, I take it?” His deep voice holds a heavy Scottish burr. He wears jeans and a nondescript black t-shirt under a black leather jacket, and if I weren’t so mad, I’d be swooning. Dear God. His shoulders and chest are broad, but not thick. He’s built more like a soccer player, with wavy auburn hair with hints of chestnut. He has a crooked smile, and when I stand there staring for a moment, I get a glimpse of perfectly straight teeth and a dimple.
Holy Christ, Stephen sent me an underwear model.
“I know you. You’re the guy from that ad. Th-the new Monsieur line. You’re on the goddamn billboard in Times Square in bikini briefs.” Monsieur is a male clothing boutique on Fashion Avenue; they’ve been making quite a stir with their advertising of everyday men—e.g. not celebrities or models, though you’d be hard-pressed to find one that isn’t ripped— wearing their new underwear line.
His cheeks blush, which on him, is highly attractive, and I get more of that uneven grin. “Aye, well, that might’ve been me.” He scratches the back of his neck. “Stephen said ye needed a bit of help tonight.”
And with that, I remember how pissed I am. “Stephen is a goddamn asshole. Do you even know what you’re doing here tonight? Did he give you the details?” If there is one thing I’m sensing, it’s a distinct lack of kink. Fin looks like he should have a blonde wife, 2.5 kids, and a house with a white picket fence.
“Well, he wasna very specific with details, but he did mention that ye needed a cock.” His eyes crinkle even more at his bald language, his face turning brighter pink. “Seein’ as which I have one of those, I should be able to help ye.” His brogue thickens with his embarrassment.
“Christ. I’m glad Stephen narrowed the whole evening down to a male organ.” I glare at Fin. “Men.” I turn and storm away, leaving Fin to follow. I feel like I have an enormous shadow behind me, and I realize I have to have this conversation away from the room’s door, or Ari will hear it. So I turn on my heel and confront him mid-hallway.
I crane my neck to make eye contact. “Never mind. Just go home. I’m canceling this nightmare before it gets out of hand.”
He lays a hand on my shoulder as I turn away, his heat searing my bare skin. “Wait, now. Look.” He drops his hand and stops a beat until I meet his gaze. “I ken I’m not the charmer Stephen is, but I ken a fair bit about what he does. I think I can handle it. And he mentioned that ye were a Dominatrix, and that ye’d be runnin’ things, so ye can just tell me what to do.” He bites the inside of his lip. “I’ll do it.”
The cheer in his eyes pisses me off. “This is a joke to you. You can barely keep from laughing.” I shake my head at him, my temper undoubtedly turning my own skin pink. “This is not funny. The woman on the other side of that door,” I point down the hallway, “is terrified of letting herself go. She has a hard time enjoying sex because of assholes who ridiculed and abused her rather than making her feel beautiful and aroused. I will be damned if I will let you anywhere near her. Not when you think this is some kind of goddamn joke. You are—”
“Lux, I’m sorry. I wasna laughing at ye or anything about this.” He steps closer, and I get a whiff of some kind of creamy, spicy cologne mixed with… him, probably. And it’s delicious. “But ye have a feather here,” his hand reaches towards my hair and plucks something from it. “And it wiggles, the angrier ye get.”
I glare at the offending feather and snatch it from him. It’s from one of the props I brought with me, and the delicate fringe crushes easily in my palm. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. If I cancel this, Ari will be heartbroken. I’ve fielded half a dozen texts from her already this week, thanking me for doing this and asking nervous questions. After six months of meeting with her, we’re finally at the point of fulfilling her deepest fantasy. And there are worse-looking men to have in your fantasy than this one.
“You cannot, I repeat, cannot fuck this up. You listen to me, you do exactly what I say, and you never step a toe out of line. Am I clear?” Even to my ears, I sound like a total ass, but surprisingly, Fin only nods.
“You will call me Mistress Hathaway, as none of my clients know my real name.”
“You’ll strip down to your underwear when we get inside, and you will not approach the bedroom or Ari until I say so. Got it?”
He nods, his face solemn, though I can still see the laughter in his eyes. “After ye, Mistress,” he says with a small bow.
The Cast of Inside the Lines
While I don’t listen to music with words while I’m writing, I listen to it all the time when I’m thinking about how to create an emotionally relevant tale. 🙂 A few of these songs were featured in Inside the Lines!
About Ally Bishop
When you do something effortlessly and people commend you continuously, you have found your gift.
I get story. I always have. I started writing when I was 8 on a Smith Corona (the electronic kind — I’m not THAT old). I wrote stories in every spiral notebook I had. Eventually, I graduated to a Mac (yes, I’m one of THOSE people). I imagined new worlds, emotional conflicts, and HEAs while I waited at stoplights or wandered the grocery store. But here’s the thing: I didn’t just dream it up and write it down — I critiqued what I read. I knew when ideas were good, and when they stunk. I ran writing groups, judged creative contests, and eventually got two graduate degrees in writing. That’s right: I love it that much.
So here I am, years later, writing kickass heroines and devastating good guys, along with some mystery and vampires thrown in (I promise: THEY’RE COMING). And what’s really cool? I do what I love. Wanna write a success story for your life: I promise you, that’s it. Do what you love. And hopefully, you can make a living at it too. That’s the golden ticket, Charlie.
And chocolate doesn’t hurt, either…
The serious stuff:
I have an M.A. in creative writing, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing with a focus in publishing. I produce two podcasts, host one, and am a freelance editor and publicist over at Upgrade Your Story. In my free time (what is that, exactly?), I read, workout, game, and converse. I’m a high introvert despite my extroverted behaviors, so you’ll find me behind my computer most days. I’m married to the wild and brilliant Billy Crash, have two dogs who are filing to change their species designation to “human,” and can often be found wandering Manhattan in search of the perfect writing spot.