Mallard Hall plays host to games of submission and Dominance for one unique couple, but do the secrets of the past threaten the new bonds being forged?
India Grace, a respected journalist, is assigned to the estate for a behind the scenes look at how it runs. It is the last place in the world she wants to be. Back when she was young and naïve she took a photo of old Lord Mallard, which led to her success and his downfall. She carries the guilt with her to the location and it’s constantly in the back of her mind when she meets the hall’s latest owner, Xander Patrick.
Xander’s father died when he was only thirteen, and he doesn’t hold many good memories of him. He helped his mum build Mallard Hall back up, and since her death struggles to keep it going single-handedly. The last thing he needs is a meddling journalist poking into estate business, especially when the meager profits are mysteriously disappearing.
The two try to keep their distance but find themselves drawn together in many unexpected ways. A meal leads to an investigation of secret passageways and from that India and Xander explore their attraction, using different rooms of the hall for their kinky games.
In the end India’s secret will have to come out, but will it bring the couple closer together or tear them apart?
Review: India Grace has learned the hard way that not all types of journalism is the same. After a bad experience in tabloid journalism, she finds her niche working for a magazine that sends her to country homes where she brings them to life with her prose. When she gets assigned Mallard Hall, that is the one place she had hoped to leave in the past.
Author Victoria Blisse writes a fresh installment in the What’s Her Secret? series with Good Manors. Obviously, India Grace has a secret that eventually is brought to the surface, but there are plenty of twists and turns before that happens.
The story switches back and forth, giving first-person narratives from both India and Xander Patrick. There is also plenty of historical data as the writer fills in the storyline with glimpses into the past. The characters are well developed, providing a good connection for readers. I was especially amused by Mary, who always seemed to know what to say.
The journalistic aspect of the story is entertaining for readers because it delves deeply into the operations of Mallard Hall rather than simply touching the surface. It is easy for readers to understand what life is like on this country estate.
As for the romantic side, there is plenty of chemistry between India and Xander. She breathes fresh air into Xander’s life, which had up to this point been very lonely. Who knew that these two would turn out to have a kinky side in common? I would characterize it as light BDSM, but the couple has a lot of fun exploring each other within Mallard Hall.
There’s also a bit of a whodunit added to the story because things are disappearing from the estate. I don’t know that this was an essential piece to the storyline, but the author integrated it fairly well. It almost served as a distraction from the focal point which was India’s secret.
I found this to be an entertaining story with good characters, hot chemistry and a secret that finally works its way to the surface. The fall-out added a solid dynamic to the storyline.