Cover image for A duke by default
Title:
A duke by default
ISBN:
9780062685568
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
376 pages ; 17 cm.
Summary:
Publisher Annotation: 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? Avon contemporary romance series, (Original), 384pp.
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Summary

Summary

A NPR Best Books of 2018

A Bookish's Favorite Books of 2018

A Bookpage Best Romances of 2018

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?


Author Notes

Alyssa Cole is a science editor and romance junkie who lives in the Caribbean. She founded the Jefferson Market Library Romance Book Club and has contributed romance-related articles to publications including RT Book Reviews, Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, and The Toast.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Cole's rollicking second Reluctant Royals contemporary (after A Princess in Theory), Portia Hobbs leaves New York for Scotland and a sword-making apprenticeship, determined to recreate herself and her life. However, "Project New Portia" takes a hit when she finds herself wrong-footed with her new boss, Tavis McKenzie, on the first day. Tavis doesn't want an apprentice, especially not one whose freckles and curves set his mind to wandering lustfully. But Portia's talents soon prove to be exactly what Tavis's business needs, and when Tavis admits there's more to her than sexy good looks, the smoldering tension between them explodes with a fiery kiss. As Portia slowly begins to see herself as more than a flighty screw-up, she sets in motion events that change Tavis's future-and that may just push her out of his life for good. Cole includes just the right amount of sass, sex, and heart to satisfy romance readers. Agent: Courtney Miller-Callihan, Handspun Literary. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Project New Portia is designed to relieve Portia Hobbs of her hot messiness and prevent unflattering comparisons to her twin sister, Reggie. Her plans are nearly derailed when, arriving at Scotland's Bodotria Armory for her apprenticeship, she mistakes a fighting demonstration for the real thing and jumps in wielding a can of Mace. The alleged assailant is Tavish McKenzie, master-at-arms and her new boss. Tavish is not interested in Portia's suggestions for increasing the armory's online presence and revenue, especially since they involve the hashtag #swordbae. When he relents, Portia dives in head first, only to discover that the man who left Tavish's Chilean refugee mother before Tavish was born was actually the Duke of Edinburgh. Raised by his beloved Haitian stepfather, Tavish has no desire to claim his birthright, no matter how appealing Portia makes it sound. The sexual tension crackles as Portia and Tavish hide their attraction behind sarcasm, but the real emotional punch comes when they admit their feelings but need to decide if each really has a place in the other's life. With a multicultural cast and delightfully geeky details (Cheryl Hu, Tavish's sister-in-law, runs a food truck called Doctor Hu's), Cole's (A Hope Divided, 2017) latest is pretty much perfect.--Maguire, Susan Copyright 2010 Booklist


Kirkus Review

A rude sword maker clashes with the spunky socialite who has been sent to drag him into the 21st century.Portia Hobbs' hard-charging parents can't understand why she prefers acquiring graduate degrees and internships to joining the family business in New York. When she wins an internship to work with a master swordsmith in Scotland, Portia knows it's a perfect way to put her art history background to good use. Where her parents see flighty selfishness, Portia sees opportunity and excitement. Her new boss, Tavish McKenzie, is a taciturn silver fox with a healthy skepticism of modernity. He's gruff with Portia, who nevertheless manages to wield her social media and marketing savvy to raise Bodotria Armory's profile. Portia is a charming blend of bravado and insecurity, a woman whose summer in Scotland will reveal her innate worth even if her skills are not the kind her family can appreciate. A brusque British artisan falling for a spoiled, spunky American is a familiar trope, but Cole (A Princess in Theory, 2018, etc.) invests it with complexity by giving Portia not just vulnerability, but a journey of self-discovery that includes strong female friendships. Another well-known romance trope, secret royalty, gets the same treatment. Tav's mother was a Chilean refugee when she began an affair with his biological father, whom she left after he inherited a dukedom. Tav had always known the story, but he thought of his mother as a victim of a powerful man; learning now that she'd made her own choices, he has to make sense of a new origin story while grappling with an abrupt status shift from artisan to aristocrat. While Portia and Tav's characters are irresistible and their culture-clash repartee is genuinely witty, their romance seems abrupt. A continued friendship with benefits seems just as likely as a happy-ever-after for these two, and while their relationship might eventually develop into something lasting, readers might appreciate a cameo by "Maid Freckles" and "#swordbae" in the next installment of the series, just to be sure.An engaging cast of characters grapples with themes from family legacies to social media marketing while the romance between a gruff swordsmith and his unorthodox apprentice is more parry than attack. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal Review

Tired of being the twin who doesn't have it together despite her intelligence and education, creative, computer-savvy Portia Hobbs gets serious, launches Project: New Portia, and accepts an apprenticeship with a swordsmith in Scotland, determined to prove her abilities to her family, her friends, and herself. But virile Tavish McKenzie, sword master in chief at the Bodotria Armory and her boss, is not at all the venerable craftsman she expects and macing him the first time she sees him in action doesn't get things off to a great start. Despite their initial wariness, neither can ignore the unwanted sexual tension that sizzles between them. As they work together, their friendship and mutual respect grow-and then Portia discovers something while researching the armory's history that could change Tav's life, as well as the town's, forever. VERDICT Multicultural characters, current social issues, a generous helping of Scottish weapons lore, a hero who learns to forgive the past, and a heroine who comes into her own make Cole's latest a lively, upbeat escapade rich with humor and heart. Thoroughly entertaining! Cole (A Princess in Theory) divides her time between the Caribbean and New York City. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.