A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #2
Published by Harper Collins, Avon on July 31, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
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?
I got this book for review and was looking forward to digging into the story because it was receiving so many great reviews all over the place. Add on top of all that, it was a diverse romance and I was all in.
Portia Hobbs is on her way to Scotland for an apprenticeship with a swordsman that will hopefully make her grow into the kind of person that has her shit together. She wants to stop being such a disappointment to her family, to her friends and most importantly, to herself. It’s long past the time that she grew up and started making her own way in life and she’s hoping that her thirst for knowledge, along with helping this struggling armory will help her with that plan.
Meeting Tavish McKenzie, getting to know Tav and helping him through a life change that she brought about took Portia by surprise. Never in a million years did she think she’d fall head over heels in love with a brutish Scotsman who overwhelmed her senses at every turn but that’s what happened and boy did I enjoy watching Portia grow and fall in love with the man that would end up being her forever person.
Tavish knows full out that he’s not the easiest person to get along with and his attraction to the apprentice he didn’t even want is a thorn in his side but hell if he knows how to get out from under all of the desire he has for Portia. He’s a small town lad who wants to do all that he can for the people in his town so when Portia finds out that he’s the actual Duke of Edinburg, his life takes on even more complications that have far-reaching consequences. Learning all that he can so that he can protect those that mean the world to him has become his biggest priority and boy did I love the hell out of him for that.
Tavish is my book boyfriend of the week because holy hell, he was the bomb. On top of the fact that he was super sexy with a Scottish accent that melted me at the knees? He was also a really stand up guy who was loved and who loved hard. He was also the kind of guy that was quick to try to make up for being a dumbass and I really appreciated his thought processes when he realizes how big a bonehead he is. There was no long ass separation that made me want to pull my hair out and when Tavish realizes he is in love with Portia, the way that he went about making sure she knew made my heart melt.
I absolutely adored the way that he declared his love for her and the way that he apologized for being an asshole. He was a great Duke and I loved the changes he was making in the modern aristocracy.
This is who I pictured when casting Tavish in the movie of this book (because of course I think there should be a movie for this book)…I think it’s pretty damn perfect.
Overall, this book was a great introduction into Alyssa Cole’s work and I’m pretty stoked to read more books by her. I enjoy her writing style and the way that I connected with her characters. I loved Portia just as much as I loved Tav and I also really loved her sister and friends. They were a great support system and Johan? Gah, I can’t wait for him and Nya to meet.
The only thing that I wished we got from this book before it ended was more of a resolution with Portia and her parents. I wish we had gotten a scene where she told her parents off about how they made her feel instead of just Reggie but other than that, this book is a great book and I definitely recommend.
4.25 out of 5
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Reluctant Royals Series