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Dominating Zoe

Timber Creek Brides

A Historical Western Menage Romance


Samantha Madisen

Copyright 2018 Samantha Madisen

Thirteenth Line Publications

This book is a work of fiction. All characters, companies, organizations, products and events in this book, other than those that are clearly in the public domain, are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, companies, organizations, events, or products, is purely coincidental.

All characters depicted in this story are 18 years or older.

Cover characters are models. Image(s) is/are licensed from:

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Also in this series:

Sharing Amelia

Training Harmony

Claiming Chastity

Taming Annie

Chapter 1


I stared at Dean, the man I’d called pappy for as long as I could remember, with my jaw hanging open. My ears were ringing at what he’d said.

“Zoe I know this is a hard thing to hear. But you’ve known it’s coming. I tried to tell you as often as I could. We just can’t afford to keep you any more. This is already a year overdue. You were supposed to leave when you were eighteen, remember?”

Of course I remembered. But every time he’d brought it up I’d just nodded and pushed the thought away. I simply could not imagine a life outside of Breckson Ridge. The tiny town had been everything I’d known.

I suppose not knowing who my real parents were made this even harder. Dean and Bernice, who I’d called mammy, had taken me in when I’d been left on the parish doorstep and loved me like their own.

“I…you’re just…where am I going to go?”

Pappy sighed. His shoulders slumped and he looked down at the ground. “Ma and I have talked about this. And believe me it was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to decide but we just don’t have the money to help you any more. Ma’s sick. She needs to go to Portson City to see a doc but we can’t save enough to do it.”

My heart sank. I knew Ma hadn’t been feeling well but I didn’t know she was so sick she had to go to Portson City about it. “Is she going to be alright?” I asked.

Pappy shrugged. “Hard to tell.” He looked up and looked right into my eyes. “That’s why we wanted to give you a choice. You’re free to leave, Zoe. You always have been and we won’t do anything against your will. But Ma and I had another idea, too.”

“Go on?” I said. My heart skipped a beat. It wasn’t like Pappy to find it hard to say something.

Another sigh. “There’s been times when folks have been in need that they’ve…well, they’ve had to come up with money some way or another. You’re young, Zoe. And very pretty. There are men right here in Breckson Ridge that would…well they’d pay a lot of money for the privilege of marrying a girl like you.”

The ringing in my ears got louder and my heart started to thump. “What?” I whispered.

“I know it’s not the most romantic thing but life isn’t like a fairy tale for folks like us.”

“You want…you want me to sell myself?” I could barely speak the words.

Pappy shook his head. “Not sell yourself, Zoe, that’s not how it’s done. An auction is traditional. And of course you would go to the highest bidder, whoever that may be.”

Whoever that may be?

I shuddered at the prospects. I knew a few men that lived on the hill just outside of town that would be in the running. Crotchety old Mr. Samuels who’d been on the prowl for a wife and leering at me since I’d changed. Or maybe old Doc Sanders who was nice enough but had propositioned me a few times telling me all about what a comfortable life he would give me.

I didn’t want men like that! Who could imagine spending the rest of their life, or what was left of theirs, at least, with a fat old bald man or a bent up crook?

My throat tightened and my mouth dried out.

“I see that it’s not something you could consider,” Pappy said quietly. He forced a smile. “I understand. You’re like a daughter to me and I’d never ask you to do something you wouldn’t want to do. We’ll find the money to get Ma to the doc some other way. Don’t you worry. We’ll come up with it somehow.”

The sound of Ma coughing came from the back room.

I stared at Pappy who was looking out the window, his eyes glistening. The wheels started to turn in my mind.

These two had given me nineteen long years of a joyful childhood. Sure I hadn’t had a lot of things but I’d had their love and that was more than any kind of money could buy.

Certainly the thought of marrying one of those two men was distasteful but what of the other choice? What would I do alone and unschooled out on the streets of Breckson Ridge?

At most I could go and try to get a job helping at the inn or the general store but with the way business was these days there was not much chance of that.

So I would be penniless and lonely or in a comfortable house with a roof over my head and money for Ma to go see a doc.

I swallowed back the tears that threatened to overwhelm me. The decision was clear. It was time to grow up and face life the way it was. “Pappy?” I whispered, putting a hand over his.

“What is it love?” he asked with a smile.

“I’ll do it.” The three hardest words I’d ever spoken in my life.

The smile faded. His mouth opened a little, eyes widened in shock. “You will?” he whispered.

I swallowed back another swell of sadness, or joy at being able to help, or whatever it was I was feeling. I could barely tell any more. “I will,” I replied.

“Oh Zoe!” he cried and wrapped his arms around me in a hug. “We’ll find a way to make it up to you Zoe. We’ll find a way to pay you back. As soon as Ma is better we’ll…”

I pulled away and put my fingers on his lips to silence him. I looked into his kind eyes and this time couldn’t help the tears rolling down my cheeks. “You and Ma have already done so much, Pappy. Think of this as my way of paying you back.”

We held each other for a long time. When Pappy finally got up to go and tell Ma I sat alone staring out the window towards an unknown future feeling like a part of me had died.


The auction was organized for the following Saturday. Pappy borrowed some money for me to get a dress. Money he would pay back with the proceeds of my sale.

I spent a lot of time with Ma. At first she couldn’t stop saying how sorry she was. I had to do a lot of convincing that I would be alright.

Having given it some thought I realized that both of the prospective men were advanced in age. At worst I would be a wife to them for ten, maybe fifteen years and then end up a well-off widow. Then I’d be able to do as I pleased. It didn’t seem so bad when I thought of it that way. Much better than a life sentence, anyway.

On the day of the auction Ma even got up and poured me a bath and helped me do my hair. She hadn’t been out of bed in weeks but now she had a rosy glow to her cheeks and looked proud.

After my bath she braided my hair. Our eyes met in the mirror as she stood behind me. Concern furrowed her brow.

“Ma? What is it?” I asked.

She sighed and shook her head. “I’m afraid I’ve been remiss in some ways of your upbringing,” she said.

“How so?” I asked.

She looked at my reflection in the mirror again. “Zoe…have you been…instructed by anyone in what happens between a man and a woman once they’re wed?”

I shrugged and thought about it. “Well, they live together for one thing. Share a bed. The woman cooks and cleans or orders the maid to if there is one. Sometimes a baby comes. Is that what you mean?”

Ma pursed her lips. Her eyes darted from side to side. “It’s that last part, about the baby coming. Has anyone talked to you about that? Lord knows I should have.”

I hadn’t the slightest idea what she was talking about. I knew a baby grew inside a woman’s belly but was there more? “I don’t know, Ma. What do you mean?”

At that moment Pappy burst in through the door.

Ma and I both startled and turned around.

He looked harried and out of breath.

“What is it Father?” Ma asked. “Has something happened? Is it time to go?”

Pappy had to pant a few times and catch his breath. “It’s almost time but…”

“But what?”

I could tell by Ma’s tone she was getting nervous.

She started hacking and had to sit down by the table.

Pappy shook his head and sat down across from her. “It’s almost time but…there’s a strange sort of caravan that’s just showed up at the inn.”

“But that’s where the auction was to be held!” Ma said. “What’s strange about it?”

“What’s strange about it is…” Pa glanced at me, then looked back at Ma and lowered his voice. “They’re a strange lot. At least twice as many men as women. And they’re not selling anything. They’re on their way somewhere. Timber Creek, they said it was called.”

Ma frowned and shook her head. “So?”

“I don’t know,” Pa said, his voice drifting off. “I don’t have a good feeling about it.”

Ma thought for a while. “Well should we call it off? Do it another day?”

Pa shook his head again. “Oh heck, Samuels and the Doc are already down there with their wallets out having an afternoon drink. I don’t think we can call it off now.” He looked at me, his expression grim.

Ma hauled herself to her feet. “Then there’s nothing else to say about it.” She turned to look at me. Her eyes glistened with tears. “Come my girl. Let me get a look at you.”

I stood up and turned around.

Ma pressed a hand to her mouth as tears rolled down her cheeks. “You’re beautiful. Thank-you. Thank-you for doing this.”

I felt the tightness again and my own tears began to flow. I walked over and hugged Ma as hard as I could.

At least we’d had these last nineteen years together. I would always remember that.

Chapter 2

Troy It was always a bit of a circus when we rolled through towns like Breckson Ridge. And there were plenty of them along the way.

We’d been riding trail all the way from the East Coast and now, out on the plains, we were more than half-way there.

Oh people always had their funny looks and questions, the way people do.

Why you got so few women?

Where’s Timber Creek and what’re you going there for?

How come there’s always two men and one woman to each wagon?

Well we started coming up with stories because the truth could get us run out of town.

Picking up more women in Dobson City.

Mary’s sister coming after.

June’s sister’s already there.

Stories like that. They did the trick for the most part. Breckson Ridge was no different.

But we’d been on the trail for two solid weeks now without so much as the comfort of an outhouse. Everyone was longing for a hot bath and a day or two in a feather bed and not the back of a wagon or on the cold, hard ground in a tent.

I was just done unhitching the horses out back of the inn when Jeb came strutting up.

“Hey you oughta’ see this,” he said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

He shot me a grin. “Seems there’s going to be an auction out on the inn steps.”

“Auction? Like for what, cattle?”

We’d been looking to pick up a few head but this seemed too far away from Timber Creek to drive them all that way.

Jeb’s grin widened and he shook his head. “Unh-uh. Someone’s little lady.”

I frowned. “What?”

“Yup!” Jeb said, pleased as punch that he was the one bringing me the news. “Someone’s selling their daughter, I guess. Boy what a backwoods place this must be for something like that to be happening, huh?”

I sighed. Jeb could be a little quick to judge and loose with his tongue. “Don’t go saying things like that. I want a bath tonight and no trouble. Folks here seem perfectly nice anyways.”

Jeb raised an eyebrow. “Well excuse me, Captain Justice. Just having a little fun is all. Anyways, I thought you’d want to come see what all the fuss is about. There’s a crowd growing in front of the inn.”

I sighed. What I really wanted was to go upstairs and crawl into a hot tub. But I’ll admit it seemed a strange custom, selling off a bride. Nothing I’d seen before and it had piqued my curiosity. “Alright.” And then, just to make sure there were no hard feelings between me and Jeb added, “should I get my billfold?”

Jeb let out a whoop and slapped his knee. He put an arm around my shoulder and we walked around the front of the building.

The crowd had grown to quite a substantial size. There were a few men at the front that looked like one of them would claim today’s offering. Stove top hats and tails on their coats and fancy polished shoes.

There were a few roughnecks in the back, a couple swaying from their drink. Most likely there just to check out the goods. No way they were competing with the older, obviously richer gentlemen up front.

The sun was hot and beating straight down from overhead. The air was thick and muggy, too.

Now that I was out of the coolness of the stables I figured I’d probably have to wait ‘till sundown to enjoy that soak. Taking a bath now would be hotter’n hell.

“I bet you a quarter she’s fat,” Jeb whispered, chuckling beside me.

“Shut-up, Jeb. I don’t take bets like that you know that.” Sometimes he really could just be downright mean.

The doors to the inn swung open and a hush fell on the crowd.

Jeb and I both craned our necks to get a better view. The figure in the door was just a shadow. She stayed like that for a time, as if she were scared to come out.

I suppose I didn’t blame her. Being walked out and paraded like a cow to see who’d get the winning bid. That was about as humiliating a situation as you could get. Sad thing was, Jeb was probably right. She probably wasn’t the prettiest thing anyone had ever laid eyes on either.

I sure felt sorry for whoever it was.

The shadow began to move, reluctantly at first. It stepped out into the shade from the awning above the inn’s porch, then stepped out onto the first step and into the full glare of the sun.

My breath caught in my throat and my heart skipped a beat. My head started to spin like I’d been standing in that noon-day heat for too long. I finally collected my wits and grabbed Jeb by the arm.

Looking at him was like staring into a mirror. I swear we both were wearing the exact same expression. “Go get the billfold,” I said, clutching his arm. “And don’t you walk neither. Fucking run.”


I pumped hard all the way to the stable and back feeling like an ass for joking around with Troy. The vision of her, even just the few short seconds I’d laid eyes on her, had seared itself into my mind. I couldn’t think of a single other thing.

I raced back around the inn and ran up to where Troy was standing in a cloud of dust. A few of the fella’s around us looked back a little crooked. “What’s doing?”

“They’re nearly up to five dollars,” Troy said.

“Five dollars?!?” I shouted.

The whole damn crowd turned around to look at us in the back there.

“We have five dollars!” the auctioneer called out, pointing back at us.

Troy shot me an angry glare. “Wasn’t supposed to work like that!” he snapped. “I had a plan.”

“Shit, sorry,” I muttered. I handed him the billfold.

Everyone was still staring back at us, some of them muttering and trying to figure out who we were.

“Hey Troy?”


“I hate to say this but if this don’t go the way it’s supposed to we might have to leave here in a hurry.”

The two gentlemen in front were back to bidding. The portly one and the bent over sour-faced one. They’d raised the offer up to five-fifty in that short time.

“I don’t think that’s an option,” Troy replied, craning his neck to stare at the girl. “There’s no way we can get the whole caravan moving quickly. No, if there’s trouble we stand our ground. There’s gotta be law in this town, don’t there?”

I shrugged and turned to look at the girl. A big warm ball of lust swelled inside me. “Holy shit,” I whispered.

She was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. No skinny scrawny thing either, like some girls. Her bust filled the front of her dress in perfectly. Her waist swept in a little but her hips had the most generous curves.

My cock hardened at just the thought of sinking into those.

Or giving that beautiful ass a little correction when she’d been a bad girl.

“Zoe’s her name,” Troy whispered beside me.

I cracked a smile. I liked that. Zoe.

“So what’s your big plan?”

Troy sighed. “I was going to see how far they got and then double whoever won.”

“Double?” I hissed.

Troy levelled me with his gaze. “I don’t care whether we have to beg, borrow or steal but you must be crazy if you think we’re letting her leave those steps on anyone’s arms but ours.

I took another look at Zoe and realized that he was absolutely right. Still, that might get a little hairy. “You don’t think maybe just one of us should go up there and get her? When it’s time?”

Troy shrugged. “Sure. If you don’t mind it being me.”

A cold stab of jealousy shot through me. “Over my dead body,” I muttered through clenched teeth.

“I thought so. Feel the same way about it here. So either we both go up there or we shoot it out.”

Well, I didn’t know about shooting. That sounded a little grim.

Up at the steps the offers were slowing down. The auctioneer was taking more time between bids. After a few moments the portly man in the stove top hat shook his head.

“Ten dollars! Ten dollars! Do I hear ten-oh-five? Anyone? Anyone? Ten-oh-five?”

A crooked grin spread across the skinny, bent man’s face and he licked his lips as he leered at Zoe.

“Twenty dollars!” Troy shouted next to me.

My stomach sank. How in the hell were we going to find twenty dollars? We barely had ten in the billfold and that was supposed to be for cattle for once we were closer to Timber Creek.

But one more look at Zoe and I knew it didn’t matter. She was going to be ours no matter the price.

The whole crowd turned to stare at us again. The crooked man’s gaze swept out over them, hand at his forehead to block the glare of the sun. His face twisted in anger as his eyes settled on the two of us.

Everyone was so quiet you couldn’t hear a single whisper.

Out back a horse whinnied in the stables.

“Twenty dollars?” the sickly looking man cawed. “For that?!?” he pointed a crooked finger at Zoe.

Her face was beautiful even in shock.

Troy started moving through the crowd, pushing people out of the way as he made his way to the front.

I followed in his wake.

Even the auctioneer had been stunned.

“Twenty dollars,” Troy said. “I’ve got ten here and I’ll collect another ten before the hours up.” He looked up at Zoe – who was staring at him with a gaping mouth – smiled and winked.

“Who in tarnation are you two anyway?” the old man cawed.

“Just a couple of cowboys passing through,” Troy explained, cool as a cucumber despite the heat. “Don’t want any trouble just want to make sure we make this girl ours.” He couldn’t take his eyes off Zoe.

“Ours? What do you mean ours?” crooked finger asked suspiciously.

Troy looked him right in the eye. “It’s none of your business but that’s just the way we choose to live. Now are we going to get what we want, what we rightfully won or are you going over twenty dollars?”

“Rightfully won,” the old man grumbled. “You can’t just ride into town here and pluck up what don’t belong to you!” he snapped.

Troy moved his jacket just enough so the fellow could see the gun at his belt. “I do believe we won this auction fair and square,” Troy said.

The man looked at Zoe, then at the auctioneer who shrugged and raised his hands.

The heat was unrelenting and made the silence of the crowd that much heavier. The tension in front of the inn thickened.

The old man waved his hand. “Ah to hell with it!” he said, hobbling down the steps. “Even ten would have been too much for that.”

Troy got right up in his face.

I heard guns being unholstered and cocking behind us. I drew and spun around. There were at least five or six men that were armed. Things were certainly going to get interesting.

“That’s my wife you’re talking about now. I suggest you not refer to her that way again. Or there’ll be more trouble than you can shake that walking stick at. You understand?”

For a moment everything felt as if it were balanced on a knife blade. There wasn’t a dry brow in that crowd or a single man whose heart wasn’t thundering inside his chest.

I swallowed away the dryness in my mouth and kept my eyes on every trigger finger out there.

“I don’t have time for this,” the old man grumbled behind me as he shuffled away to his stagecoach. His driver helped him in, closed the door, then jumped up into the seat and whipped the reins with a “hee-yaw!”

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