I received this book for free from Edelweiss/Publisher 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 31, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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.
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?
I fell in love with A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole last year. There was very little I didn’t love about that book. Therefore I was both excited and nervous to read the second book in the series, A Duke by Default. Obviously, I was excited because I loved the first book, but I was also nervous because my expectations were high, and I was a bit nervous about Portia as the main character. But, you guys, I totally loved A Duke by Default!
In A Duke by Default, Portia takes an apprenticeship in Scotland, helping a swordmaker. This swordmaker is Tavish McKenzie, and he’s pretty grumpy and grumbly. While Portia is in Scotland, she helps Tavish’s struggling business, and discovers that Tavish might be the heir to a dukedom. Along the way Portia is trying to get her life together, and of course Portia and Tavish fall for each other.
As I mentioned above I was nervous I wouldn’t like Portia, because she did some of my not favorite things in A Princess in Theory. But I really ended up loving Portia. There were times when I felt really bad for her, and I was so happy to see her confidence grow. I was routing for her from the beginning!
Tavish took a little warming up to. There were times when he would treat Portia like an idiot, and that didn’t endear him to me. He did eventaully realize he wasn’t being very nice to Portia, and he apologized and started acting kind and respectful to her, though. And then I got on board for Tavish. Once I started liking Tavish, I was totally shipping Portia and Tavish together!
I also really loved the supporting characters in A Duke by Default. From Tavish’s brother and sister-in-law, to Portia’s best friend Naledi. They, along with the setting, created such a rich and interesting backdrop to the romance.
What I’m saying is, if you like contemporary romance, you should totally read A Duke by Default (and A Princess in Theory). The characters are fantastic, the romance is swoony, but it also feels somewhat grounded as well. I simply cannot wait for the third book!