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.



#SmutAThon Round 3 Wrap Up

Okay, here’s what I managed to read for round 3 of #SmutAThon which is hosted by Lainey and Riley over on the bookish corner of Youtube.


First I listened to Wednesday by Kendall Ryan on audiobook. It is available on the Audible Romance package.


I rated this one 3/5 stars. It was a quick, sexy read that deals with some heavy grief issues. I really liked it.

My next read was Imperfect Match by Corinne Michaels and Melanie Harlow.

Imperfect Match

I rated Imperfect Match 4/5 stars. This was a fun, sexy, friends to lovers romance and I loved it, so much.

Next I finished A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole!

A Duke by Default

I rated this one 4/5 stars. It was another wonderful interracial romance delivered to us from Alyssa Cole with issues that need working through, friendships, familial crap and a few sizzling moments all wrapped up into one really awesome story.

I literally finished my next pick in one sitting..in the car.


Smooth-Talking Cowboy by Maisey Yates is book 1 in her Gold Valley series. This is another series I have read completely out of order but at this point that’s to be expected. *shrug* This was a pretty sexy enemies to lovers romance following a girl who recently broke up with her boyfriend and comes up with this plan to pretend date this guy she’s never really cared for..with the hopes that this will persuade her ex to get his crap together. In true romance fashion, things don’t turn out the way she intended and there is a happy ever after. I loved it.

My last read is also part of a series. It is the second book in Alisha Rai’s Forbidden Hearts series which I read book one to literally a year ago.

Wrong to Need You

Wrong To Need You while reading feels so wrong, so forbidden yet you want Jackson and Sadia to just freaking go for it already because it’s very apparent that these two have basically always been made for each other and never got their chance. A very serious vibe to it. Kind of dark and emotional yet so sexy. I really liked it.


So yeah, those are the books I managed to read for round 3 of #SmutAthon. I didn’t manage to get to my Sierra Simone pick or Emma Hart but there is another romance readathon coming up in June..so you never know! We’ll see what my picks are for it.