Thursday, November 14, 2019

Book #Review: A Duke By Default (Reluctant Royals 2) by Alyssa Cole .@AlyssaColeLit

Book Title: A Duke By Default (Reluctant Royals 2)
Author:  Alyssa Cole |WebsiteTwitter|  Instagram
Publisher: AVON
Genre: Romance, Interracial Romance, Contemporary
Series/Standalone: Book 2
Format: ebook, Mass Market 
Cost: $4.99
Pages: 384
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon Barnes & Noble | Publisher
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
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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?
Ohhh my loves this is a friends to lovers romance that takes time. Listen I've mentioned before that slow burns are not my thing, but the way this one was done??!! I was all for it. I loved this progress of this story which started with Portia basically running from her life to take this apprenticeship in Scotland. She feels like she's a disappointment to her family and they don't help matters by insisting that the unconventional life she wants to live isn't a good one. They are business people and they only believe their way is the best. Ahh they must be Caribbean parents because they love to determine what you should do with your life and if you stray from that they let you know how they feel and how you're disappointing them, all. the.time. (Ok getting out of my feelings right now) Taking this apprenticeship should help her get a chance to figure out where she is going and what she wants from her life. Tavish is a grumpy silver fox who has not time for a socialite who he assumes doesn't know anything about swords. He likes his life the way it is, even if he feels like he could be doing more, how does he do that without disturbing those who rely on him??

I loved how the story came together, Portia is the best friend to Ledi and sister to Reggie. She's struggling to keep it all together and find what she wants despite what everyone things she should want. She decides to write about her adventure in Scotland for her sister's blog while she works this apprenticeship. While she's trying to get it all together, he sister sends her a few links that make her feel seen and understood and once she really begins to embrace the information in the videos her perspective changes.  She embraces the new life she's creating for herself and while doing so incidentally discovers that her reluctant boss is actually the son of a dukedom that is up for grabs at the moment. And then she kicks off a social media trend with #swordbae and life is just on a roller coaster after that.

Tavish isn't happy this woman is turning his life upside down, she's helping to create a social media presence for him, a man who can't even remember that he has a phone. He's fine with his life the way it is, even if he is struggling a bit to get it all together as well. Together they create a new social media trend and everyone is starting to go to his new and improved website, and now the orders are flowing and maybe she's not as incompetent as he believed before.  She's also disturbing him personally which he knows he can't act on as he refuses to be that guy.

I can't even begin to explain how much I loved this story. The slow progression of the relationship was done so well, there were sparks from the beginning but both determined they couldn't do this for their own reasons. As they got settled into their friendship and realized that this person helped them navigate life with a little more ease then they gave in, but only because they wanted to. I loved and kept saying to my sister how good it felt to read characters that didn't have it all together and even when they had some parts of their lives figured out they didn't have it all perfectly together. It felt good to read from the perspective of a black woman who had so many of the same issues we have and it was so good. I loved her relationship with her friends and how she relied on them to help her when she stumbled. I couldn't get enough of her and her sister figuring it all out and man oh man when they had their come to Jesus moment?? Bawled like a baby. Her moments of fantasy and self talk?? So real. Loved it!!! The moments when we get their group chat?? Made me laugh cause yeah some of my group chats look like that.

This story pulled it all together, it wasn't just a love story (although that part was awesome), it wasn't just a her finding herself story, even though that was shared and the journey was so worth it. It had everything good relationships for both of them to fall back on, amazing sibling relationships, people struggling to find their place in the world and let's face it some sweet and raunchy sexy times. I loved that they felt human and like people I would know (ok maybe not the prince or duke but the rest yeah). I enjoyed that even though this was a slightly different world it still was in ours (kind of a different one in the multiverse, because she gave him the Ducal title that currently belongs to the Queens husband so yeah a slightly different world than our current one) & they had their brands of social media as well, which made this feel even more rooted inour world.

Of course the back and forth between Tav and Portia really made this story go from sweet to raunchy fast. I loved how they both tried not to just fall into bed with each other from the start. The attraction was off the way and Tav's internal monologue had me cracking up so many times. As the story unfolded and we learned about his family history and him having to decide if he wanted to repeat the mistakes of the past or embrace hsi own path.

Those moments when it all seems like it's starting to unravel for them. I was so heartbroken, then angry because I couldn't understand why someone would gaslight and harm someone so badly just to hang on to something that was never theirs. UGHHHHHHH. I became so invested in this story I shared about it ont he group chat so we could read it and discuss because my gosh I loved it.

It just felt so fresh and modern, I don't know how else to explain how seen I felt reading it. I loved it and now I'm going to marathon the rest.
Series In Order
Happy Reading my loves, 

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