EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: The Rake and the Rose

From USA Today Bestselling author Eva Devon comes the next installment in the Once Upon a Wallflower series! Released on October 30, 2023, this book is currently available for purchase. Find out where to purchase here.


“I haven’t changed that much, Rose,” he said softly.

She wondered at that. She had cared for him so dearly when they were children. He had always been there for her when the world got dark, when things were hard, and they had shared a great love of reading together and adventures.

It still made her angry that they had drifted apart, that he had left her, that he had had to go into the world of men and leave her behind in the world of women, one she had not wanted to be in, and so she had done everything she could to climb her way out of it. “I don’t think I can masquerade as your mistress.”

“Why ever not?”

She raked her hand up and down her body. “Look at me.”

He did as instructed. His gaze roved over her face and then her body, as if he would memorize every bit of her. He frowned. “What should I see, the mud stains?”

“No, not that!” she huffed.

“Then what?”

“I am not—”

“You’re beautiful.”

 She rolled her eyes. “I’m terse and prickly.”

 “Just like a rose,” he said.

“Yes,” she replied. “But if you make mention of my thorns—”

“Oh, Rose,” he said, “your thorns have always been best part about you.”

She paused. Did he mean that or was he making fun of her? She could not entirely tell. “Can you not get me a position, perhaps as a servant in that place?”

“No,” he said. “You will never pass as a servant. And the truth is, Rose, you won’t get to see what you wish if you’re a servant. You’ll be downstairs most of the time until you pass muster.”

“Oh,” she said, deflated, “that’s rather difficult.”

“The best way is for you to come with me where I can protect you.”

“Protect me? I’m very capable, you know.”

“I don’t doubt it,” he said. “But if you want to hear close conversation, you’ll need to be at my arm to truly see the way things work. Otherwise, if you’re lucky, you might get a position as a maid passing wine from place to place, but you’ll only hear snippets of things. And worse, there will be hands that grab at you.”

“Hands?” She narrowed her gaze. “Aren’t there mistresses aplenty in that place?”

“Yes,” he affirmed. “But, unfortunately, there’s a certain sort of gentleman who feels the help are the same as the buffet table. They are there to be grabbed.”

“Oh, dear,” she said, frowning as a wave of unpleasant possibility raced through her. “I am not surprised, but I find it rather repulsive.”

“That’s because it is repulsive.”

“And yet you go along with these people.”

He drew in a long breath. “I go along with those people, Rose, because they are the most powerful people in the land, and one must rub shoulders with them if one hopes to make any sort of change. Besides…”

“What?” she challenged.

“The music is good, the dancing is sublime, and the conversation is stellar.”

“Aside from the grabbing hands,” she said.

“Do you not know anyone in your circle that has grabbing hands?”

“That’s fair. I do not think I know of a circle that does not have someone with grabbing hands.”

“There,” he said, though he was not happy about it. “We can all do the best we can to stop it, but it does seem to be prevalent around the world.”

“Men are most difficult creatures,” she said.

“I won’t argue with that point. Do you think we’re all devils?”

“No. My brother is a wonderful fellow.”

“He is. He’s going to kill me,” he said again.

She laughed. “Only if he finds out.”




She’s out to expose all of London’s most notorious rakes—even if it means colluding with the most devilish of them all! But it’s “once a rake, always a rogue” in this engaging, playful romp from USA Today bestseller Eva Devon…


Each book in the Once Upon a Wallflower series is a STANDALONE:
* The Beast and the Bookseller
* The Duke and the Dressmaker
* The Rake and the Rose







USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, Eva Devon, has been publishing romance novels for 7 years. She’s lived in London, Glasgow, Dublin and currently lives in the USA. London is her favorite town and checking out pictures of England and Scotland on her social media take up a good deal of her time! Her first true loves of historical romance are Johanna Lindsay and Julia Quinn. When she isn’t writing, she spends all her time with three small heroes of her own and the one who stole her heart.


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