In Review: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) by Alyssa Cole

Posted November 18, 2018 by Kim in 5 Stars, In Review / 0 Comments

In Review: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) by Alyssa ColeA Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Dreamscape Media LLC
Format: Audiobook, Length: 12 hours and 26 minutes
Narrator: Karen Chilton
How I got it: From the library
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Reading Challenges: 2018 Audiobook Challenge, 2018 Tackle My TBR Challenge
My rating:
Heat level: One FlameOne FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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?

In Review: My Thoughts

Y’all, if you aren’t reading Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals, what even are you doing with your life? A Duke by Default was absolutely amazing. I fell in love with the cover far before I even started the story — hello, silver fox… and THAT DRESS — but what’s under the cover is just as gorgeous. Alyssa’s quickly become one of my new favorite authors this year. I’m dying to devour her backlist.

But, I digress. I should talk about Portia and Tav first, right? I loved these two. Portia was strong, spunky and relatable. I feel like we could be besties in real life. And Tav? Wowza. Who doesn’t love a hot and grumpy hero with a heart of gold? Oh, and a Scottish brogue. I say goddamn. There was just so much to love about the two of them — from their working relationship to their somewhat reluctant friendship to the chemistry that just wouldn’t stop. Their romance was a little on the slow burn side and I was totally onboard with it.

One of the things I loved most about A Duke by Default was that neither Portia nor Tav were perfect. They both had their flaws and that was totally ok. They both had a journey of sorts in this book. Tav’s was probably more exciting — you know, learning he’s a duke and all — but Portia’s was also so very important. Watching her learn about her ADHD diagnosis and how she handled it was powerful. Seeing her come to understand there’s nothing wrong with her was even more so. I got a fair few feels from all of that.

There’s nothing I didn’t love about A Duke by Default. The characters, setting, writing, overall story and diversity were all fantastic. I listened the audiobook and I’m so glad I did. It straight up made me look forward to being in my car, which is no small feat in this area and in the traffic I deal with. This book would’ve made a great dual or duet narration, but Karen Chilton did a fantastic job. She pretty much nailed Portia and did a great job voicing Tav as well.

Favorite Quotes:

“Pull out your sword,” she commanded and Tav was certain it was the sexiest thing a woman had ever uttered to him.

“… it’s just how your brain is wired. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with you.” 

“How do you like your dukes? Grumpy? Tortured? Alpha, beta, or alpha in the streets, beta in the sheets?” 

“My name is Portia Hobbs, and I’m bloody magnificent,” she murmured to herself. “I can do literally anything I put my mind to.”

About Alyssa Cole

Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and SFF romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION is the winner of the American Library Association's RUSA Best Romance for 2018. She's contributed to publications including Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, RT Book Reviews, and Heroes and Heartbreakers, and her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can often be found watching anime with her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.

Let’s Chat

Royals romances — yay or nay?
If yay, what are some of your favorites?

Kim Sig

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