Not everyone is born with the knowledge of what they want to do with their lives. Some travel on a figurative winding path before making this discovery.
The 2018 romance novel A Duke by Default, by Alyssa Cole, is the second book in the Reluctant Royals Series. At the age of thirty, New York City Socialite Portia Hobbs has yet to settle down, in both the professional and romantic sense. Feeling like she is a disappointment to everyone around her, Portia applies and is accepted for an apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland.
Tavish McKenzie does not help running his armory, especially from a woman like Portia. Even if she is willing to get her hands figuratively dirty in running the business. His first response is to give Portia busy work while fighting his attraction to her. Their relationship, both in and out of the office shifts when she discovers that Tavish is the heir to a dukedom.
Turning Tavish into a gentleman is the easy part. Dealing with the media onslaught and their burgeoning romance is another thing entirely.
I enjoyed this book. Cole writes in a way that combines the natural elements of the genre and modern narrative that does not feel predictable. Obviously, the reader knows how the story is going to end. Tavish and Portia are such interesting characters that I was immediately hooked. I also appreciated that Portia is not just looking for love, she just found it along the way of finding herself.
Do I recommend it? Yes
A Duke by Default is avaliable wherever books are sold.