Review: A Duke by Default

A Duke by Default

Alyssa Cole

Reluctant Royals #2

Publisher: Avon
Publication date: 31-Jul-2018
Date Started: 7-Mar-2019
Date Finished: 11-Mar-2019
Format: PB
Pages: 374
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780062685568
Source: Best Friend


“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?”



Introduced in “A Princess in Theory,” Portia Hobbs was definitely deserving of a novel of her own. This story brims with embracing one’s self and that one should ignore critics and forgive and love their self.

This novel follows Portia’s path to reinvention, starting with an apprenticeship with a swordsmith in Scotland (because that makes sense). After many conflicts and adventures with her attractive boss turned Duke, the two fall in love.

Portia is a growing individual who begins to understand herself and her past behavior through remaining sober and avoiding her past vices. Tavish is a handsome Scotsman who strives to help his community in any way he can, he also discovers, with Portia’s research, that he is a Duke.

This novel was an easy, addictive read with funny and witty dialogue. The characters were beautifully written with humanity and flaws. While this could technically be a stand-alone, I recommend reading “A Princess in Theory” before this one as it illustrates Portia’s ‘old self’. The only flaw I could find in this entire novel is the lack of strict security around the Queen of England, aside from that this book was gold.

About the Author

“Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC and island-paced life in the Caribbean.

In addition to writing, she has hosted a romance book club and taught romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching cat videos on the Internet with her real-life romance hero.”


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