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?

Processed with VSCO with ss1 preset

“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.

Processed with VSCO with g6 preset

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.



Spring Reading Faves

Here in South Texas, Spring is a mixture of cool breezes out of nowhere, the occasional thunder storm which causes people to forget how to drive a motor vehicle and days that feel like it’s mid August already. Despite that I wanted to squeeze the most out of this Spring because I won’t get a redo and I wanted my reading to reflect that. I had a few duds but overall this Spring, reading wise was great. Here are my favorites:

spring reading faves

I loved Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole, so much!

Processed with VSCO with ke1 preset

Can’t Escape Love is Reggie and Gus’s romance and I adored it. I rated it 5/5 stars and would’ve gave it 100 stars if I could. Reggie is a woman of color. She is a blogger. She is a self-proclaimed nerd. She does all of the incredible things while living in a wheel chair. She was a subscriber to Gus’s youtube channel before he stopped making videos, and his voice is the only thing that helped with her insomnia. She tracks him down and basically they come to agreement of if Gus helps her, then Reggie will help him with a project he has going on.  The representation in this book felt so natural and real. It didn’t feel overdone or like the author was trying too hard. I don’t know how Alyssa Cole does it, but this was perfection.

My next fave should come as no surprise because it is basically still all over the place. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

The Unhoneymooners is Olive and Ethan’s enemies to lovers romance. Long story short, Olive and Ethan end up taking Olive’s sister and Ethan’s brothers honeymoon and find themselves in situations where they have to fake a marriage. Every single thing that could possibly go wrong with the scenario of a fake marriage, happens for these two. I loved the banter between the two. Olive’s family is hilarious. There is some total screwball stuff going on behind the scenes. It was just so good!

My last but not least fave was The Imperfect Match by Melanie Harlow and Corinne Michaels.

Processed with VSCO with au5 preset

Oh Willow and Reid! The Imperfect Match reminded me of how good a friends to lovers romance can be. I loved this book and to be honest, it frustrated the heck out of me at times. Reid is absolutely smitten with Willow yet I understood why she was hesitant with taking their friendship to the next level. It was funny. It was sexy. It made me swoon. I adored it and highly recommend checking out the audiobook if you can!

Okay, I’d like to do 2 honorary mentions. These are two books that aren’t romances but I read them and loved. Both of these I rated 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

First is With The Fire on High by the force that is Elizabeth Acevedo.


Go go go read this book! It is a very quick read, especially If you snag the audiobook. It is told in short little vignettes that lead up to the ending. It works. This is Emoni’s story. She is a mixed race, aspiring chef, teenage Mom who lives in Philadelphia with her Puerto Rican grandmother. Emoni is the heroine I’d recommend to any young girl looking for a bad ass heroine to read. I liked her cool, casualness. She had goals and fought for them against the odds.

And my second honorary mention is The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart.


Coyote’s story is a middle grade novel about her and her Dad, Rodeo. They live in an old school bus and just drive across the country. Coyote speaks to her Grandmother one day and learns that a park she used to frequenters with her Mom and sisters is being torn down and turned into something else. She concocts this plan to get her dad to drive her back home and they meet this cool cast of characters along the way. I loved this book so much. I loved Coyote. She reminded me of being a young girl and believing in the goodness in people. Kindness, she was kind to everyone she met and I liked how this book showcased grief, how some choose to deal with it and that effects that the way they choose to deal with it may have on someone else. So so good! Go to your library and haul it if you can! I listened to the audiobook and it was fantastic!


What was your favorite read this spring? let me know. until next time, take care of yourselves.