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An Unconventional Courtship -- Becky Lower

An Unconventional Courtship
Prequel to the Cotillion Ball Series

Find out how the Fitzpatrick family began in this exciting prequel novella to the Cotillion Ball saga.

Charlotte Ashcroft knows her family would never approve of her attending a women's rights speech in New York City alone. So when a busybody from back home confronts Charlotte, she grabs the man in a jaunty blue hat nearby and introduces him as her escort.
George Fitzpatrick had boarded the new omnibus intent on nothing more than a ride from one point to another. Until that gorgeous young blonde suddenly claimed he was her chaperone. What's an up-and-coming young banker to do but help a lady out?
 Charlotte knows exactly what she wants, but can she convince a man who is her opposite that he can't live without her?

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reviews

What nice little read. It's clean,fun and takes you back in time.–5 stars, Loves All Things Books

I've always liked George and Charlotte, and their love story was as cute and quirky as the characters themselves.–Best-selling Author Micah Persell

This novella details the very unconventional courtship of George Fitzpatrick and Charlotte Ashcroft and fits in nicely with what we've come to know of them from the rest of the series.–Award Winning Author Amanda Shalaby

excerpt

“Charlotte? Is that you?”

Charlotte cringed inside her Sunday best, lavender dress. She knew that voice.

Accepting her fate, she turned to face the old busybody.

“Well, hello there, Mrs. Beasley. How are you this fine Sunday afternoon? Are you also planning to attend Frances Wright’s speech?”

Mrs. Beasley’s spine straightened at the suggestion, and her gaze pierced Charlotte.

“Heavens, no. I have no wish to fill my head with such nonsense. Where is your mother? I should say hello.”

“Mother’s not with us today. We took the omnibus to get here.”

“What? Without a male escort? Is your mother aware of what you’re doing, young lady?”

Charlotte glanced around the street where they had been dropped off. Suddenly, she spied a familiar hat in the crowd. A blue hat with a feather tucked into the grosgrain ribbon. Her heart began to race as he came toward her.

“Ah, but we do have a proper male escort.” She wrapped her hand around the man’s arm, bringing him, if somewhat reluctantly, to her side. “This is our chaperone, Mrs. Beasley.” Charlotte turned her eyes toward the man and held her breath, silently pleading with him to catch on to her plight.

He executed a proper bow toward Mrs. Beasley, and Charlotte let out her breath a bit at a time. “George Fitzpatrick, at your service, Mrs. Beasley.”

Mrs. Beasley’s face was still full of disdain. “George Fitzpatrick? I’ve never heard of you. Just how do you know Charlotte Ashcroft?”

“We’re old friends who love adventure. When I decided to escort Charlotte and her lady friends on their outing today, we thought an omnibus ride would be a delightful way to get there. And it certainly has proven to be so.”

Mrs. Beasley was somewhat mollified, if not totally convinced, sending a loud harrumph” their way before she moved on.

“Oh, Mr. Fitzpatrick, thank you ever so much. We would have been in grave trouble if not for you.” Charlotte fawned over the man.

“Well, since I’ve saved you from your current peril, and since we don’t know who else you’ll run into, perhaps I should finish the job you’ve assigned me to and escort you ladies to your final destination? May I meet the other ladies in your party?”
Charlotte quickly introduced him to Emma and Katie but did not yield her hold on his arm.

They found their way to the Hall of Science where Miss Wright was speaking, and George insisted on paying the entry fee for the four of them. They found enough open seats to sit together and moved to the chairs. Charlotte waited for Emma and Katie to claim a seat, and then she sat next to them, leaving only one remaining empty spot. Next to her alone. She smiled at her craftiness.

He took the seat beside her then leaned over to whisper in her ear. “Mrs. Beasley was right. Young ladies such as you could get into a lot of trouble without a proper escort. I’m offering my services to you, absolutely free of charge, for the remainder of the afternoon.”

Charlotte’s laugh bubbled up. “I have a feeling, sir, you’re the biggest trouble I can get into today.”