The Cotillion Ball Series began for me in 2012. It has always been planned as a nine-book series, following the lives of the nine Fitzpatrick children as they take their place in society and fall in love. Sometimes, love finds them at the newly introduced Debutante balls in America, but often their quest to find their mates happens on the edge of civilization as America begins to grow and develop in the 1850s and 1860s. The eighth book in the series is scheduled for release on September 7, 2015. And, due to special requests, the Fitzpatrick parents–Charlotte and George–had a surprise novella about their courtship released in March, 2015. The last book in the series was released in April 2016.
The Civil War is erupting in America, and the Fitzpatricks will live through it (well, most of them, anyway), and endure.
The Reluctant Debutante
In 1855 New York, nineteen-year-old Ginger Fitzpatrick has absolutely no interest in taking part in the newest craze to hit America–the Cotillion Ball. Instead, Ginger would rather be rallying for women’s rights. At least until she meets her brother’s best friend from St. Louis, a dark, mysterious man named Joseph Lafontaine, who ignites her passion and makes her question if love and marriage are such ridiculous notions after all. What she and the rest of New York’s high society don’t realize is that Joseph is half-Ojibwa Indian, and therefore, totally unsuitable for marriage to a fine, cultured young lady.
In 1856 New York, eighteen-year-old Heather Fitzpatrick, a bashful abolitionist, falls for dashing young Army lieutenant David Whitman, who is tracking a runaway slave from his father’s plantation.
Despite their divergent views on slavery, romance ensues and an engagement quickly transpires. He wants her to accompany him home to Savannah, GA to meet his ailing father.
She longs to go to meet his parents, and possibly to secretly teach his father’s slaves how to read and write.
But she knows the South is no place for an abolitionist.
Basil Fitzpatrick was born into a life of privilege. In 1856, at 23 years of age, he is the owner of the St. Louis branch of the family banking business. He has his pick of the ladies and life by the horns. Temperance Jones and her family are far from privileged. Her father is a circuit-riding preacher from Pennsylvania. But the rumblings of a war between the North and the South force the preacher to move his family to Oregon rather than to take up arms against his fellow man. However, hardship and sickness have slowed their pace, and they are forced to spend the winter in St. Louis, waiting for the next wagon trains to leave in the spring.
Basil is drawn to the large family the moment they roll into town, partly because they remind him of his own big family in New York. But also because of the eldest daughter, Temperance. She is a tiny, no-nonsense spitfire who is bent on fulfilling her father’s wish to get the family safely to Oregon. Basil knows if he allows Temperance into his heart, he is accepting the obligation of her entire family. He wants Temperance like he has wanted no other, but the burden of her family may be too much for him.
The Tempestuous Debutante
It’s Jasmine Fitzpatrick’s year to shine at this season’s Cotillion and men will be throwing themselves at her. But she sets her sights on a man she’s never met, the Viscount of Foxborough. He’s wealthy and has an English title. Only a few things stand in her way: a wealthy, young, beautiful widow who captures the viscount’s attention immediately, her fear of riding horses when he owns a breeding stable and racetrack, and the viscount’s stableboy, Parr.
Parr O’Shaughnessy loses his heart to Jasmine the moment he meets her. However, he has no title to interest her. He left behind an impoverished existence in Ireland when the viscount offered to bring him and his famous horse to America to build a dynasty together. He believes Jasmine barely noticed him when she was introduced—she only had eyes for the viscount. He struggles with his loyalty to the viscount and his love for Jasmine. But winning her love might mean losing all he has worked for.
Blinded by Grace
In 1858 New York City, Halwyn Fitzpatrick thinks he’s off the hook for attendance at the annual Cotillion Ball. He has no sister to shepherd down the grand staircase this year and no real desire to go through the rituals of courtship and betrothal himself. Besides, he’ll know the right girl when he sees her, especially now that he has new spectacles. But his mother has other plans for him. At 27 years of age, her son is in dire need of a wife.
Grace Wagner needs a husband by July, in order to inherit the trust her father has left for her. Her stepfather, though, has plans for the money that don’t include Grace, and the last thing he wants is for her to find a husband before she turns 21, thereby fulfilling the terms of the trust. She’s been in love with Halwyn since she was thirteen, but he hasn’t noticed her at any of the balls they’ve attended over the years. With the aid of his new spectacles, he spies Grace from across the room and they share a dance. Grace decides to present him with a business proposition that will satisfy them both. But, can a clueless knight in shining armor and a desperate damsel in distress find a way to turn a marriage of convenience into something more?
In 1859, ladies of New York society were expected to do three things well: find a husband, organize a smooth-running household, and have children.
Rosemary Fitzpatrick’s agenda is very different. As the author of the popular Harry Hawk dime novels, she must hide her true identity from her new publisher, who assumes the person behind the F. P. Elliott pen name is male. She must pose as his secretary in order to ensure the continuation of her series. And in the midst of all this subterfuge, her mother is insisting that she become a debutante this year.
Henry Cooper is not the typical Boston Brahmin. Nor is he a typical publisher. He’s entranced by Mr. Elliott’s secretary the moment they meet, and wonders how his traditional-thinking father will react when he brings a working class woman into the family. Because his intentions are to marry her, regardless.
Rosemary’s deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion ball, when Henry recognizes her. The secretarial mask must come off, now that he knows she is a member of New York society. But she can’t yet confess who she truly is until she knows if Henry will accept her as F. P. Elliott.
The more time they spend together, the closer they become. But when Rosemary reveals her true identity to him, will Henry be able to forgive her or has her deceit cost her the man she loves?
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Expressly Yours, Samantha
Valerian Fitzpatrick doesn’t want the weight of responsibility that his brothers have in the family business. Fortunately, the Pony Express offers a chance to make his own way in the world.
He assumes his new buddy, Sam, is on the run from the law, until she’s hit by a stray gunshot and he has to undress her to staunch the wound. Friendship quickly turns to attraction—and more—but when Sam’s uncle tracks her down, she is forced to run yet again.
Val’s determined to find her, but will a future with Sam mean giving up the freedom he’s always craved?
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A Widow’s Salvation
In 1862 America, the Civil War has raged for twelve months. Pepper Fitzpatrick Brown’s heart was broken when her husband died with the first volley at Manassas. Now she’s a widow raising three young boys and plans to honor his sacrifice by volunteering at the army hospital
When Colonel Elijah Williams can grab a few minutes to nap between his duties as head surgeon at MacDougall Army Hospital in the Bronx, his sleep is invaded with nightmares of the atrocities he’s seen. His life has narrowed to nothing but the bloody war … until he meets Pepper Brown. But her father is concerned Elijah doesn’t have the best intentions, and Pepper is fearful of loving and losing again.
It’s hard to find happiness in a war-torn United States, but these two stand a fighting chance—if they can save what’s left of their hearts.
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The Forgotten Debutante
In 1863, America is war-weary. Fifteen-year-old Saffron Fitzpatrick, whose teenage years have been spent mourning the dead rather than dancing at her debutante ball, just wants to visit her beloved horse after being housebound due to the draft riots. A chance meeting with soldier Ezekiel Boone changes everything.
Three years ago, Ezekiel ran away with his older brothers to join the war effort, welcoming the chance for adventure. But when all four of his brothers die at Chancellorsville, he retreats home, despondent and depending on the kindness of strangers, like Saffron, who help him on the journey. They share a wild ride and a breathless kiss, parting with fond memories.
Fate reunites the couple three years later, and their former attraction rekindles as they discover unexpected common ground and begin to build a relationship. But though the war is over, a future together may still elude them … especially if Saffron’s older, protective brother and the U.S. Army have anything to say about it.
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An Unconventional Courtship
Prequel to the Cotillion Ball Series
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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Other historical novels include Dance With Destiny, a story based on family lore.
William Myers feels it’s his duty to answer the call to fight for the Union Army—but his wife, Susannah, doesn’t agree. How does he expect her to survive with four small children in the cold Ohio winter during the three-month enlistment period? Angry and abandoned, Susannah learns soon after William leaves that she is also pregnant again.
Raoul Lafontaine is a half-Ojibwa, half-French-Canadian drifter who is more Indian than white. Also known as Lone Wolf, he has recently left the Ojibwa village in search of a fair-haired woman both he and his grandfather have seen in visions. She is important to him—but how? He will never allow himself to care for another—not after losing the wife he loved so much.
But Raoul could not have planned for the sizzling emotions that surface when he comes near Susannah, nor the love he feels for her children. When he realizes that Susannah returns his feelings, he knows he must leave—for how can he stay close by knowing she can never be his? William will return to his homestead, and they’ll once again be a family. One in which Raoul has no place. Or does he?
Will Fate relent and grant the love between Susannah and Raoul in this DANCE WITH DESTINY?
And, if you’re in the mood for a Christmas story (and aren’t we all?), here’s a sweet novella for this busy time of year–A Regency Yuletide.
After a disappointing season in London, Sophie Davenport returns home without a marriage proposal. No sooner does she settle back into her country life than she learns her uncle has arranged for her to marry the local vicar’s son, a respectable and utterly forgettable man. He’s returning home immediately after the Christmas holiday and they will wed. She sets about making this last Christmas with just she and her mother memorable.
Jeremy Wyatt hatches a plan to help his friend Thomas and his love, Emma, escape to Gretna Green and marry before her father comes after them. What he’s really doing is avoiding heading to his parents’ home, where he is the son who is always making the wrong choices. But their carriage becomes hopelessly mired in the mud from the incessant rains so Jeremy sets off to find shelter for them at the first house he comes to.
Sophie welcomes the wet and weary travelers, and her mother agrees to house them temporarily until they can free the carriage. Sophie forms a bond not only with Emma, but with Jeremy. However despite the sparks they ignite in each other, they have to maintain their separate paths.
But love and mistletoe have a way of upsetting even the best-laid plans.