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A Duke by Default

(Reluctant Royals #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  4,015 ratings  ·  906 reviews
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 Scotl
Mass Market Paperback, 374 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Avon
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3.93  · 
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 ·  4,015 ratings  ·  906 reviews

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ARC provided to me by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

#1.) A Princess in Theory ★★★★

“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”

Friends, this was nothing short of pure joy to read. Please, if you’re looking for a heartwarming, funny, and expertly crafted romance, please look no further. A Duke by Default follo
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Two weeks ago, when I learned that I'd be part of the blog tour for A Duke By Default, I was so excited. Everything about it sounded amazing : a black heroine with ADHD? A commoner turned duke? Scotland? My, my. It's as if this novel had been written for me, really.  I posted elated tweets about it, messaged all my friends, wrote a prereview on Goodreads, and then,

I didn't read it.

Oops. I spent the next two weeks randomly looking at the cover, clutching my ereader, before reading something e
Nenia ⭐ Literary Garbage Can ⭐ Campbell
HER DRESS!!!!!!!

HER DRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm screaming

10/10 would buy
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Scotland + sword fighting + salt and pepper duke + heroine with ADHD + Harry Potter and Doctor Who puns

I adored this.

Also bless Alyssa cole for not referring to female anatomy as a “pearl” or “mound”
I'm not going to do a drawn out review for this one because I was stuck at the 15% mark of this book for dayyyyyys while I was out of town and also slumping and honestly I'm just glad to have finished something at this point. And I don't want to linger on this any more than I already have. I need to move on! But I do want to say that three-fourths of this is a solid four star read. We have diversity, an interracial romance where they both have their own issues with discrimination and privilege b ...more
Geri Reads
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-my-loves
4.5 stars!

“You’re my liege. You’re the person I’m fighting for.”

Alyssa Cole delivered another sweet and heartfelt romance with A Duke by Default! She continues to be one of my go-to contemporary romance authors these days. There's just something about her stories and her characters that speaks to me as a reader. And this book, is a great example of what this talented author can do!

Portia Hobbs might be my favorite Alyssa Cole heroine to date. When she was introduced, she was a bit of a hot m
This cover! Her dress! Her hair!! HIS Hair!!
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Here for #swordbae

See me discuss it in my August wrap up:
Amy | Foxy Blogs
Another fantastic novel by Alyssa Cole. This time it’s about Ledi’s (from ’The Princess in Theory #1’) best friend Portia. Portia is well-to-do and seen as the flighty, socialite of her family. Her twin sister, Reggie, is known as the one smart one while Portia is known for her party life.

To escape living under this heavy weight of feeling like she’s amounting to nothing and a disappointment to her family she takes an apprenticeship in Scotland for sword making. This will be her way to show h
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance-novel

I was surprised by how much I didn’t like A Duke by Default, because I LOVED the first book in this series, A Princess in Theory.

However, after loving everything in Princess, just about everything in Duke annoyed me:

-The armory – for all the talk about the intensity of the competition for the internship, not much sword-making ever takes place. This could have been replaced by any cottage industry from arrow fletching to heirloom zucchini growing and it wouldn’t have affected the plot.

-The hero –
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first half of the book. I loved Portia and grumpy Tav. I loved the secondary characters (even if Mary basically disappeared after she had outlived her usefulness). I loved the Edinburgh armoury setting. All was going well.
But then the Duke-thing came up and I just couldn't suspend my disbelief. Too much of it was inaccurate and I just couldn't stop myself from picturing Prince Phillip every time the Duke of Edinburgh was mentioned. Which was a lot (though he never makes an a
Lea (drumsofautumn)
I looooved this so fucking much. It made me laugh out loud numerous times, it made me cry, it literally made me feel almost every single emotion there is. I JUST LOVED IT SO MUCH OH MY GOD 😭
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I finished this in audio while traveling and cooking the last few days. I didn't care for the story in this one as much and felt like the major plot point in the third fourth was more of a distraction. The narrator, who I loved in previous books, seems to struggle with the Scottish brogue (which, let's be honest, I was surprised was needed and not where I expected this series to go, at all, at all.) .
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had seen a lot of talk over this series and I was eager to give this one a try.

I loved Portia and Tavish. She’s so smart and sassy and he’s a pretend stoic who is actually a gooey marshmallow. Together they have loads of chemistry. I really liked the secondary characters and I’m so excited that Johan is the next book.

Plot wise is was the slowest burn that ever burned in a contemp. I swear, this was like a regency book with the longing filled glances. My main complaints is that there just wasn
Maria Rose
A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole is the second romance in her Reluctant Royals series. It follows the adventures of Portia Hobbs as she journeys to Scotland for a sword making apprenticeship, only to find herself falling for her grumpy boss. I don’t know how anyone can resist a plot like that (and I certainly couldn’t!) so it was with high expectations that I started this story and found it to be as interesting and delightful as I’d hoped!

Portia is best friends with Ledi (heroine of A Princess i
Best book I’ve read this year. I should've written my review right after finishing it, but I had too many emotions!

I can't even tell you all the reasons I loved this. But I'll tell you the main reason: PORTIA HOBBS.

She appears in the previous book and to be honest, I wasn't her biggest fan. But I knew going into this book that she was a fav of a lot of reviewers whose opinions I trust, so I was ready to give her a chance. I shouldn't have worried--she won my heart in like, 2 paragraphs. And it's
Ahhhh I got accepted for an ARC of this one. Thanks so much Edelweiss!!!

After reading A Princess in Theory earlier this year, I'm so hyped to read this.
Robin Loves Reading
My rating: 4.5 Stars

If you read the first book in the series, you might remember Portia Hobbs to be a bit of a mess. Between her excessive drinking and one-night stands, Portia, a New York City socialite, made a name for herself. Well, things have changed. She has now been sober for months, and she is in Edinburgh Scoland, waiting to be picked up for her new job as a swordmaker's apprentice. As far as she can predict, her life is going to completely changed and she has three months to prove it.

Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished this on a bit of a book high, but in the three weeks since I finished it, it's soured a bit in my memory. I think I will probably finish out both of the series she's got currently running, and then reevaluate from there if I'll read more of her books.

Now that I've had some distance from A Duke By Default, it's clear that yet again, Cole has written a book where I unabashedly love the lady and think the dude is a mess (a mess in terms of story, not in terms of personality). The only on
1.5 stars

#CBR10Bingo: Cover Art

Spoiler warning!
This review will discuss plot points from the book in detail, because it is impossible for me to list the many ways in which this book did not work for me without mentioning them. If you are unfamiliar with Scotland, Edinburgh and couldn't care less about the British peerage, then maybe these things will not bother you. Nevertheless, be warned that you may get spoilers if you continue with my review after the fourth paragraph.

New York socialite Por
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Original review posted on my blog : Word Wonders

CW: Toxic parents, on page sex, drugging, threats.

With how much I adored A Princess in Theory and the fact that I was approved for an arc of A Prince on Paper (the third book), I just knew I would have to catch up as soon as my schedule allowed and bask in the glory that are Alyssa Cole’s romances. My copy showed up just in time for me to pick it up and with no surprise at all, IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT. I mean, A Princess in Theory is still my favouri
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it

Trigger Warnings: alcohol, alcohol addiction mentions, divorce mentions, a character is drugged without their consent

A Duke By Default was as amazing as I thought it would be. I could basically end this review here. Alyssa Cole is a magician when it comes to writing and I need to read their entire backlist. This Reluctant Royals series is fuelling my heart. I absolutely adore stories with royals, as I mentioned in
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
I forced myself to not inhale this amazing romance in one day, as I'm usually wont to do. I made myself take my time and savor the sweet-hot cuteness of Portia and Tav.

Okay, let's talk about THE COVER!!! Were I not already familiar with Alyssa Cole's oeuvre of work, if I saw this cover at a bookstore, I'd scoop it up without a second thought. Given how much whitewashing there is in publishing, it's so many kinds of awesome to have actual PoC on covers. In this case, a beautiful Black woman in a
✦ Black socialite with ADHD takes an apprenticeship in Scotland

✦ . . . with a silver fox swordmaker (biracial -- Chilean/Scottish)

✦ It’s just so good?! Like, all of it? Do you know how many quotes I shared?!

✦ It's packs some emotional punches, especially as I could relate some to Portia.

✦ But it was also just fun and charming and brightened my day

✦ Slow, low burn but so much tension and I loved it [yes, okay, I wanted more sexytimes but what we -- finally! -- got was A++ so I'm okay with this]

4.25 stars!
I read and really enjoyed Book 1 in this series, A Princess in Theory.
This book is Book 1 heroine's BFF, Portia. The wacky BFF- of course.
From the first page of this book, Portia is out to change her reputation as a screw up-party girl.
She's in her late 20s and hasn't stayed with one thing long enough to call it a career.
Portia and (fraternal) twin sister Reggie had grown up in a wealthy family. Portia is constantly questioned about her choices and when is she going to settle down
Al *the semi serial series skipper*
I thought it was cute, unbelievable (view spoiler) but cute.
Steph's Romance Book Talk
This was a funny, sexy, and sassy interracial romance. Portia was this independent, sassy, young woman that was trying to make herself better. Tavish starts off as this brut that is somewhat unlikeable but then he finds things out about his life to reevaluate the way he thinks. Portia and Tav has a banter and sexual chemistry that jumps off the page. This was a fun ride and I look forward to reading more by Alyssa Cole.

This specific video review will be included in the August 2018 wrap-up.

For o
Elley Murray
Rating. 4.5 stars

I adored the first book in this series, A Princess in Theory, and I will admit that I didn't find anything at all attractive or redeeming about Portia's character in that book and thus wasn't very excited going into this one.

Boy, this is sure one of those times I'm glad to have been wrong.

Portia is AMAZING. She's a supersmart highly driven history buff bombshell who struggles with some SERIOUS low self-esteem that's driven in large part by her undiagnosed ADHD and how it has w
Lover of Romance
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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Unapologetic Roma...: Cole, Alyssa // A Duke by Default 2 17 Mar 14, 2019 04:17PM  
The audiobook 2 5 Mar 11, 2019 06:48PM  
Gail Carriger Fan...: August 2018: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole 5 45 Aug 24, 2018 08:52AM  

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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 he

Other books in the series

Reluctant Royals (3 books)
  • A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)
  • A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals, #3)
“People focused so much on the prince slipping on Cinderella’s lost shoe that they didn’t realize the real happily ever after was the moment she realized she was brave enough to go to the damned ball alone in the first place. “I’m not waiting around for some fuckboy to bring me a shoe. I’m here, working for you. I’m finding my own shoe,” 6 likes
“How do you like your dukes? Grumpy? Tortured? Alpha, beta, or alpha in the streets, beta in the sheets?” 3 likes
More quotes…