Reviews

A Duke by Default, by Alyssa Cole

ruthie_wk's review against another edition

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3.0

The lovebirds were definitely great, and the story was absolutely marvelous. But the rushed ending of the last chapter

loverofromance's review against another edition

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4.0

This review was originally posted on Addicted To Romance

*May Contain Spoilers*

A Duke By Default is the second book in the reluctant royals series and man this book was just as good as the first one and it kicked butt!! This book was so wonderful and of course, I was expecting it with Alyssa Cole at the helm, but man bring me a sexy scot (no matter the century) and I cave. But it was so much more depth than I was really expecting and I loved getting to see a more personal view to Portia. This is a story that features a heroine that is the "knight in shining armor" for her Duke and seeing Portia being such a strong rock for our hero was so heart felt and really get to your emotions in all the right ways.

Our lovely book starts our when our heroine, Portia Hobbs, accepts an internship in Edinburgh, Scotland to learn to be a swordmaker and work along side the man that started a medieval martial arts center. At first, she is a bit disappointed when he promises to come pick her up from the airport, only to one of his associates pick her up. Portia is wanting a fresh start with this job where she takes a step back from drinking and the one night stands she has made a habit of.

But unfortantely her goal to have this new job start off without a hitch, doesn't exactly go according to plan here. 
SpoilerWhen she arrives, she hears a sound of a woman struggling and sees a tall big man attacking her, and thinking the woman is in danger, she attacks him with her pepper spray--and yeah they were training so no attack :P
not exactly the best way to greet your new boss for sure so yeah he isn't happy and now Portia is feeling a bit down with the whole situation but she also refuses to give up and let this ruin her future.

Tavish agrees to give her a chance despite their first meeting, at first Tavish is very resistent to even working with Portia, she seems too clean and put together for what he does. He is 38 years old, the son of Chilean mother and a Scottish birth father, although his step father is his real father. He has always had an interest in historical weaponry, most especially medieval weapons like claymores and swords and the like. Tavish wants to have a place that everyone is welcome, no matter where they come from and that everyone deserves equal opportunities and not to be judged by the color of their skin. He is patient with children and seeks them out to bring them to his classes to "keep them out of trouble". Tavis is a bit grumpy and has an outer gruff layer, but has a vulnerability that appeals to Portia.
"do you have any books about dukes?” The librarian’s eyes went wide and she rubbed her hands together with glee. “We have a fantastic romance section,” she said. “Do you need recommendations? How do you like your dukes? Grumpy? Tortured? Alpha, beta, or alpha in the streets, beta in the sheets?” “Actually, I meant nonfiction,” Portia said glumly. The librarian sighed. “Aye. Just a warning, love—the non-fic dukes are not nearly as fun.” Portia sighed. The librarian had no idea."

Portia has her own vulnerabilities though that she is dealing with. She struggles with ADHD, she suffers guilt from certain circumstances with her sister and her parents. Her parents don't understand Portia, and they don't accept her for who she is. They tend to put her down because she is single and 30 and hasn't decided on what she wants for a career. So she has some personal emotional struggles that she deals with daily and trying not to get back in the rut of "pleasing " her parents that could never be satisfied with who she really is. I really connected with Portia, because I see so much of myself in her. ( I am 31, single and still unsure of the career I want and I don't have the best relationship with my folks so I resonated with her struggles)

The romance begins pretty slowly between Tavish and Portia, I would definitely put this in a slow burn romance column. At first, we have the whole boundary of the fact that these two don't really like each other very much and then we also have a bit of angst between them. Tavish is a grouch at times, doesn't like technology or many people bugging him about things. Portia is quite opposite, she is a social creature, she lives for her phone and the computer and is more upbeat and happy most of the time. But we see how ADHD is a daily struggle for her, and I really liked seeing a more realistic viewpoint of it in a romance, because it is real for many people in the world today, and Alyssa Cole did a great job of implementing it in Portia's personality.

I actually loved the way that Tavish and Portia come together in this story, and seeing how Portia is slowly saving Tavish and his buisiness which sales are really dropping and he doesn't know why. So Portia works are revamping his website, and making the company more presentable. She is very knowledgable when it comes to medieval weaponry and Tavish slowly starts to realize how much she is doing for him. But then there is a kicker, in her research, she stumbles across something that will change Tavish's life forever, of who his birth father is and that he is in line for a title. This is where their relationships connects even more, because Tavish start to rely on Portia but begins to realize he needs to see if he can handle the pressure on his own.
Because if anyone should be worrying about not being good enough, it’s me. I’m a bloody Bodotria geezer who makes swords and has a shite attitude. Christ, what are you even doing standing this close to me? Are you mad?” Her next sob turned into choked laughter, and she looked up at him with a sliver of pleasure in her eyes. “Bodotria Geezer is your new supervillain name.

What I really liked is seeing what a strong pairing these two were. Portia and Tavis are so good for each other and balance each other out just right. Portia is truly remarkable in this book and how she helps Tavis is so many different ways. I admire an author that can make the heroine be the "knight in shining armor" and boy is she ever....he even calls her his "knight"
I wish you could see yourself through someone else’s eyes. Mine. You can think what you want about yourself, but I’ve two eyes and a brain in my head and the view right now? It’s bloody brilliant.

I really liked seeing this close connection form between Tavish and Portia and seeing them come to where they fight for each other and wanting to stay together and what they are both willing to do to make that happen. I would say that this ending is between a HFN and a HEA, it wasn't exactly either one, but I am leaning towards HEA. From beginning to end this romance is engaging, full of laughs and sexual tension to make you swoon!!  A Satisfying romance that keeps you fully engaged in this sweet and loveable pairing.







 



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melodicfate's review against another edition

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4.0

I knew I was going to like this story right away. I mean, Portia starts this out by trying to recover from her old ways of drinking and sticking her head in the sand. She goes to Scotland to apprentice for a swordmaker named Tavish. Tavish was supposed to pick her up, but he forgot. When they finally meet, boy do they clash! Portia's an internet-savvy, social, and meticulous person. Tavish is grumpy, set in his ways, and very loyal to his family and friends.

These two started out quite rocky. It was kind of hate-to-love, because Tavish started out being such a jerk. I found it refreshing, though, that though they were attracted to one another, they resisted it for quite some time. The whole boss/employee dynamic, not to mention the age gap, was something both characters thought about. And then...you have Portia discovering that Tavish is a duke. And Tavish never knew! I was so relieved. It wasn't something Tavish was hiding. Nope. Portia told him. Awesome!

Things did drag there near the end for me. There was a lot of drama, and I really wish I knew what happens next with these two. Still, they're in a great place, and after seeing who the next book is about, I'm excited. Go grab this book for your contemporary grumpy Scotsman meets angsty heroine fix.

okokchristina's review against another edition

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lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

baronessekat's review

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4.0

3.5 but good enough to round up

++++

NY socialite and self proclaimed "f*ck-up", Portia is trying to find her place that does not revolve around booze and one-night stands. Despite being a amazing at research and highly knowledgeable regarding art history, her parents see her as the disappointment in comparison to her twin sister Reggie or her best-friend-turned-actual-Princess Lettie.

So Portia applies for and gets a position for a 3 month apprenticeship with a master sword maker in Scotland. But the sparks that are flying are not the ones Portia expected. And when a secret from his past comes to light, the world as they both know it might change... but will it be for the better?

++++

I liked the general story here... a lot of it was typical romance trope. The only thing for me that really could have been left out was the graphic sex. I honestly don't think the story needed it.

But I have found for contemporary romance I do like Alyssa Cole's writing and I will read more by her.

wynwicket's review against another edition

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5.0

I loved everything about this book. Edinburgh! Our Hero makes swords and gives lessons to underprivileged children! Our Heroine is tech-savvy and smart and learning to love herself. The romance is slow-burn and so wonderful and sweet and, yes, sexy. Our side characters (who are awesome) run an independent book store and a Doctor Who-themed cafe! There's a Renaissance Faire!

I will read anything Alyssa Cole writes, with joy.

davita_d's review against another edition

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emotional funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

thewordswillchangeme's review against another edition

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3.0

A sultry read with Scots, diverse characters AND much needed ADHD representation!

nmjezebel's review against another edition

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4.0

The ending! I loved the book right up until the point at which it just, suddenly ended, without really wrapping up the story. I felt like I was cheated out of 15 pages or so of HEA. I want to give it about 3.5 stars.

yamallama's review against another edition

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3.0

I really enjoyed the first 75% of this book. The last quarter just felt rushed.