I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Published by Avon on July 31st, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon
Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way
New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.
Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.
Earlier this year, I read and fell head over heels for A Princess in Theory. It was definitely one of my top reads of the year and when I dove into A Duke by Default, I expected to love it but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to love it more than A Princess in Theory.
For someone who has been reviewing for six years, it is quite baffling how easily words can escape me when it comes to a truly good book but you know, there you have it.
A Duke by Default is probably THE romance novel of the year for me. The one that has swept me off my feet and even a month after reading it, I cannot stop thinking about it.
If you remember Portia from A Princess in Theory, you will know that she is kind of a hot mess. At the end of the book, she makes a vow to herself to not only be a better to her friends but also to be better to herself because as she slowly starts to realize, she is worth it. A Duke by Default starts off with that. Portia accepts an apprenticeship at an armory in Scotland for her new start and when she lands in Edinburgh, she finds a world vastly different from her life as a socialite in New York.
Also, she finds Tavish waiting for her. SO. TAVISH. He is basically one of my fav love interest tropes. GRUFF BUT WITH A HEART OF GOLD. Smart, witty and always willing and wanting to fight for those less fortunate. ANYWAY, basically a lump of softness and 110% swoonworthy.
Their romance is both pleasantly angsty but also incredibly sweet. They aren’t entirely sure a romance is what either needs at this point in their lives but as their reluctant friendship turns into something more, it becomes really hard to avoid the direction in which their relationship is heading. The great thing is that sexual tension inside, they are also just really good together as a team. I love how both of them are able to throw themselves into the work they do and how passionate they are. The work they do is important and I love that.
Also clearly, Alyssa Cole has put in a lot of effort to research medieval Scottish weapons and armories in general because it really does come to life and I can definitely imagine life there.
If you are a romance reader, you need A Duke by Default in your life, no questions asked. Portia is such a painfully relatable heroine as she navigates the world and also comes to terms with her ADHD. If you haven’t read A Princess in Theory that’s okay, you can read this book, you should read this book (and then you should go back and read A Princess in Theory.) So basically, moral of the review is that if you are a living human being who occasionally fancies a good romance, READ THE FUCKING BOOK.
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