A Duke by Default

A Duke by Default

Book - 2019
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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. Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?
Publisher: New York : Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition, Print edition.
ISBN: 9780062685568
Branch Call Number: Fic Cole
Characteristics: 376 pages ; 17 cm.


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ReadingAdviser_Sally Aug 12, 2020

A cute take on the historical romance trope of 'Dukes' in this contemporary highland romance. I enjoyed the diversity included alongside the fun romantic bits.

Dec 06, 2019

This has got to be the literal SLOWEST BURN I have ever encountered in a romance novel. But it was for real and understandable narrative reasons, which were done super thoughtfully. There’s also a lot that Portia’s grappling with emotionally, which Cole handles with such care and nuance. Also, she has a great sense of humor and skillfully reveals each character’s horniness in truly delightful ways.

JCLStefanieE Aug 03, 2019

I enjoyed this second installment in the Reluctant Royals series as much as the first. Set in Scotland with wonderful characters with intriguing diverse backgrounds. Word of caution: skip the audiobook version- the narrator cannot person a Scottish accent to save her life and it was so distracting I had to stop listening and pick up the book.

RandomLibrarian Jul 25, 2019

Review excerpt: "The book has plenty of plot but the plot is pretty much there so that the characters can react in different ways. Also, the novel ends abruptly as soon as the protagonists resolve their feelings towards one another. The novel is a little overstuffed with people’s issues but all the issues are important and all are handled well. I liked the settings – a gentrifying urban area that’s pushing out long term residents, the armory with its forge, shop, and school, the Ren Faire, and Holyrood Palace as a change of scene. It’s a great combination of gritty, historical, and glamorous. I also liked that the characters demonstrated that urban Scotland is an economically and ethnically diverse place."


JCLHebahA Jul 11, 2019

Another great Reluctant Royals installment from Alyssa Cole. Portia was such an easy character to root for as she tried to get her life back on track. Her network of friends was lovely, both the ones she already had and the ones she made through her time with Tavish. My complaint keeping it from a full five stars is a paper-thin villain and rushed resolution, but otherwise, I loved this one.

Jun 11, 2019

A fun romp, although I wish there had been more actual forging action. I read this book prior to reading more of the Cole's Reluctant Royals books (A Princess in Theory, Can't Escape Love). I appreciated that Portia didn't dither and dawdle and revisit the same issues repeatedly with the object of her affections. Upon reading more of Cole's books, this trait in protagonists seems to be characteristic of her writing, huzzah! Portia was otherwise strong, yet flawed, character intent on bettering herself, making it easy to root for her. A good, easy read.

Dec 14, 2018

Portia's apprenticeship to a Scottish swordsmith gets off to a rocky beginning when she misjudges a situation and accidentally maces(!) him. This may be the most original introduction to a contemporary romance novel's hero and heroine! Kudos to author Alyssa Cole: Portia and Tavish's chemistry and realistic, playful banter is so refreshing compared with a lot of other writing out there. The last 10% of the book turned out to be underwhelming for me, but it was overall a fun read.

JessicaGma Sep 12, 2018

I agree with the other commenter here; it was good but ended abruptly. I wanted further resolutions with her family and diagnosis.....please fill in those bits as Portia became so much more than a party girl but no one else save her friends sees the change. The setting was aces, and the other characters were fabulous.

Aug 30, 2018

Sword making, a sexy biracial Highlander, a social-media savvy heroine - what's not to like!?

Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Jul 19, 2018

I still love A Princess in Theory more, but this book is so wonderful! I actually want to re-read it because I liked it so much, and that is rare. I love how Alyssa Cole takes some common tropes and turns them into something completely new and even better. In general, I dislike grumpy men characters, but Tav actually made me like him so much because he grows and changes and becomes better. I loved the way that diverse characters are included every step of the way--even the minor side characters have special things about them--and the way common experiences like ADHD, divorce, and the struggle to find a career you love, are integral to the story line, which makes it so relatable and therefore much more enjoyable.

My one complaint is that it ends kind of abruptly--I wanted more detail! I want to know what happened next! My consolation is that we still have one more in the series coming in Spring 2019 so I might get some hints there.


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ReadingAdviser_Sally Aug 12, 2020

People focused so much on the prince slipping on Cinderella’s lost shoe that they didn’t realize the real happily ever after was the moment she realized she was brave enough to go to the damned ball alone in the first place. “I’m not waiting around for some f***boy to bring me a shoe. I’m here, working for you. I’m finding my own shoe."

ReadingAdviser_Sally Aug 12, 2020

How do you like your dukes? Grumpy? Tortured? Alpha, beta, or alpha in the streets, beta in the sheets?


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