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A Duke by Default

(Reluctant Royals #2)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  7,771 ratings  ·  1,562 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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Evette Not necessarily, but if you don't you'll miss character references and call-backs to previous events. The characters are all in the same universe and …moreNot necessarily, but if you don't you'll miss character references and call-backs to previous events. The characters are all in the same universe and most of them are friends. That said, the 1st book I read in this series was actually one of the novellas (about this leading lady's twin sister) before I realized it was part of a series. I enjoyed it and I wasn't confused except for about one tiny detail that was explained more fully in this book. (less)

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  7,771 ratings  ·  1,562 reviews

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Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who doesn’t love a novel about a hot Scottish guy with great politics who discovers he’s a duke! The ending was rushed and also the duke of Edinburgh is the husband of the queen so I am shocked that oversight made it through. Still. Fun, sexy, wildly implausible. Here for it.

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 Defau
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finally got around to carrying on with this series and it absolutely did not disappoint. This was SO GOOD.
Whitney Atkinson
I listened to this on audio so take my review with a grain of salt, but it was just fine. My job title is the same as this main character's, and a first it was fun to read about someone who did the same thing as me, but then I realized that every day I came home from work and opened this book, it just felt like I was still at work and dealing with the same problems. I guess I'm just not a fan of workplace romances, so it's more of my fault than the book's. But this book was fine, and I've put of ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
This book is on sale today for $1.99!

I honestly think this is one of my favorite romance covers EVER and I can't wait to read it.


HER DRESS!!!!!!!

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

I'm screaming

10/10 would buy
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
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What happens when you give a miserable black girl a book about a rogueish biracial Scottish (unwitting) royal and a black New York socialite who fall in wuuuv? You make a miserable girl go


But what happens when you further make it about a black New Yorker who suffers from near-crippling ADHD and anxiety, and a big buff man who happens to be all marshmallow inside? You make a formerly miserable girl who's reluctantly smiling go


But what about when you go even further and add a colourful cast of ch
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”
h o l l i s
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
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 –
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
This cover! Her dress! Her hair!! HIS Hair!!
Zoe Stewart (Zoe's All Booked)

Truly gets better every time I read it🤷🏽‍♀️
Aug 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Here for #swordbae

See me discuss it in my August wrap up:
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2020
Even better than the first book!
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 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
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.) .
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 😭
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, contemporary
[3.5 Stars?]
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first one. The beginning of the first book just had me so hooked on finding out what would happen because I thought the emails from an African Prince asking for personal information was too funny. With Portia and Tav's story, I wasn't as immediately hooked on what was happening.

Granted, I did laugh as random interactions between characters, so I did eventually become invested in this set of characters. I think a lot of people will be able
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
*The Angry Reader*
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
DNF at page 50.

I have a 50 page rule. You know - go into every book with the plan to make it to at least page 50. Make sure I get a good feel for the author, the story, the characters. If something truly offensive happens, I’ll jump ship beforehand. But I really don’t like to DNF. I search for the good in a book pretty hard in those 50 pages if I feel like I’m slipping.

Here the count down started at page 26. My ARCs lately have been good. Like good good. Interesting. Weird. New. Brave. Differe
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
Trina (Between Chapters)
Audiobook review: Great story, terrible audiobook. The narrator's Scottish accent was abysmal... actually that's not fair because there was NO Scottish accent to even be rated. The main male character is described as speaking with a Scottish brogue multiple times, and the whole book is set in Scotland with multiple Scottish characters who should have that accent and pronunciation. She read them with the same African accent that she gave Thabiso in book 1. It gets confusing. I'd recommend reading ...more
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
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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.

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
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Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bust ...more

Other books in the series

Reluctant Royals (3 books)
  • A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals, #1)
  • A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals, #3)

Articles featuring this book

In Alyssa Cole’s unnerving social thriller When No One is Watching, Sydney Green returns to Brooklyn after a traumatic breakup to find...
64 likes · 8 comments
“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,” 15 likes
“Excuse me?”
The librarian looked up again.
“I need help now. I need to print this article and . . . 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.”
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