A Duke by Default

A Duke by Default

Paperback - 2018
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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?
Publisher: New York : Avon Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062685568
Branch Call Number: PBK/ROMANCE C
Characteristics: 376 pages ; 17 cm


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Jun 11, 2019

A fun romp, although I wish there had been more actual forging action. I read this book prior to reading more of the Cole's Reluctant Royals books (A Princess in Theory, Can't Escape Love). I appreciated that Portia didn't dither and dawdle and revisit the same issues repeatedly with the object of her affections. Upon reading more of Cole's books, this trait in protagonists seems to be characteristic of her writing, huzzah! Portia was otherwise strong, yet flawed, character intent on bettering herself, making it easy to root for her. A good, easy read.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 31, 2019

I liked the first book in this Reluctant Royals series, A Princess in Theory, a decent amount, but I liked this one a whole lot more – in part because it’s set in Scotland, which is like catnip for me, but also in large part because I think the heroine, Portia, is so interesting. She’s a good example of an “unlikable” (read: complicated) heroine, something I adore in romance, and it was extremely enjoyable and emotionally satisfying to watch her character arc over the course of this book, both in terms of her romance and in terms of her own self-discovery.

Dec 14, 2018

Portia's apprenticeship to a Scottish swordsmith gets off to a rocky beginning when she misjudges a situation and accidentally maces(!) him. This may be the most original introduction to a contemporary romance novel's hero and heroine! Kudos to author Alyssa Cole: Portia and Tavish's chemistry and realistic, playful banter is so refreshing compared with a lot of other writing out there. The last 10% of the book turned out to be underwhelming for me, but it was overall a fun read.

JessicaGma Sep 12, 2018

I agree with the other commenter here; it was good but ended abruptly. I wanted further resolutions with her family and diagnosis.....please fill in those bits as Portia became so much more than a party girl but no one else save her friends sees the change. The setting was aces, and the other characters were fabulous.

Aug 30, 2018

Sword making, a sexy biracial Highlander, a social-media savvy heroine - what's not to like!?

Chapel_Hill_MaiaJ Jul 19, 2018

I still love A Princess in Theory more, but this book is so wonderful! I actually want to re-read it because I liked it so much, and that is rare. I love how Alyssa Cole takes some common tropes and turns them into something completely new and even better. In general, I dislike grumpy men characters, but Tav actually made me like him so much because he grows and changes and becomes better. I loved the way that diverse characters are included every step of the way--even the minor side characters have special things about them--and the way common experiences like ADHD, divorce, and the struggle to find a career you love, are integral to the story line, which makes it so relatable and therefore much more enjoyable.

My one complaint is that it ends kind of abruptly--I wanted more detail! I want to know what happened next! My consolation is that we still have one more in the series coming in Spring 2019 so I might get some hints there.


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