Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

After waiting for what felt like forever (probably a good month in reality) my library hold for the audiobook for A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole came through and I can finally say I’m ‘on track’ with this series. The most recent release, A Prince On Paper, is the only title I have left to read and I’m very excited to continue on with this series.

A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

Published July 31, 2018 by Avon

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.94 Stars

My Rating: 4/5 Stars



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?

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“I’m not waiting for some fuckboy to bring me a shoe. I’m here, working for you. I’m finding my own shoe.”


My Thoughts:

It is no secret at this point that I’ve been reading the Reluctant Royals series completely out of order. I began with Once Ghosted, Twice Shy then read A Princess In Theory, followed by Can’t Escape Love. I enjoyed the snippets of Portia I got in Can’t Escape Love, but honestly, it was the bits and pieces of her in A Princess In Theory that really made me want more of her. She was such a hot mess and even I needed a bit of a break from her, but she was written in such a way that wanted to understand why.

The crazy dynamics of family are explored in this book really well. Portia has parents who are still together but oh man, they suck. Portia and her sister Reggie have the type of parents who do a fantastic job of making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. While her love interest/boss, Tav, has an amazing Mother and Stepfather and learns throughout the course of the book that he is basically a duke due to who is real father was. I am the first to admit that I love it when a story has a family and everything about their relationship is all cozy, sweet and loving but I totally see the value in writing one that isn’t. If I had Portia’s parents, I would’ve taken an apprenticeship in Scotland as well!

Portia as a heroine was written really well and flushed out really well. You as the reader really see her character growth and evolvement throughout the story.

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There was something about Tav that I found sexy almost immediately. There is just something so sexy about a rough around the edges kind of guy. He gave me such old school, mannish vibes. 

Honestly for a long time, I was wondering when the hell anything intimate was going to happen. The build up had me on the edge of my seat but when It came,  I was not disappointed. By the time it happened, there was no denying that there was something between the two. I love seeing two characters try their damndest to remain professional because they work together but there comes a point where it’s impossible!

I am also a big fan of family secrets..where you’ve lived your life and think you know all there is to know and then Bam! You learn that just about everything you know is wrong. The secret in this book is no real big secret because hello! the title! But there is so much backstory  that was a mixture of heartbreaking and full of so much strength when you think of the decisions a mother will make for her child.

I could go on and on about this book but it is yet another installment to the series. I’m adoring it, and I think if you’re a contemporary romance lover who also has a thing for royalty romances..you’re going to enjoy as well.



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Hi I'm Bree, an Air Force Veteran turned Stay At Home Mom, full time college student and lover of romance.

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