Training Ivy [How The West Was Done 1] (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting)

BOOK: Training Ivy [How The West Was Done 1] (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting)
9.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

How The West Was Done 1

Training Ivy

The railroad thunders into the open wilds of Laramie City, Wyoming, ushering in chaos and psychic upheaval for Deputy Neil Tempest, who is attempting to bring order to the lawless Hell on Wheels town.

Ivy is the first of four Hudson daughters to break away from her dull life back East. A spinster after caring for her dying mother, she arrives amidst a flurry of strange murders. When the spirit of a rancher's murdered wife sets her sights on Neil, no one can tell if her clues are a help or a hindrance.

They team up with Captain Harland Park, a dashing adventurer. Booted from the British Army for writing a scandalous report on male brothels, Harley seduces the couple with tales from an Arabian love manual. They take spirit photographs and engage in lively séances, and a whirlwind of prophecies guides them into intrigue and love.

Historical, Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Western/Cowboys

59,483 words



How The West Was Done 1






Karen Mercury










Siren Publishing, Inc.

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IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting




Copyright © 2012 by Karen Mercury

E-book ISBN:


First E-book Publication: June 2012


Cover design by Les Byerley

All art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.


This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.


All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.




Siren Publishing, Inc.

Letter to Readers


Dear Readers,


If you have purchased this copy of
Training Ivy
by Karen Mercury from or its official distributors, thank you. Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book.



Regarding E-book Piracy


This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book.


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This is Karen Mercury’s livelihood. It’s fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Mercury’s right to earn a living from her work.


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For Sir RFB.

It is almost as well to be subjected to another’s appetite as to your own.


How The West Was Done 1



Copyright © 2012






Chapter One


May, 1868

Laramie City, Dakota Territory


“The bison was wearing earrings!”

Cornelius “Neil” Tempest whipped his head around. He was in the middle of an important meeting and certainly didn’t need to listen to some cracked pronouncement such as this. But Ezekiel slid into the room, hanging onto the corner of the doorjamb, his face all lit up with excitement, and Neil had no choice.

“Yes?” Neil inquired wearily. “And bison always wear ladies’ jewelry?”

Ezekiel slid even farther into the study of Simon Hudson, his boots squeaking. “It was just as Caleb predicted! This gent is a genius, I tell you! He always knows ahead of time when something is about to happen.” Zeke gestured at Hudson behind the desk, who sat there idly sucking on the end of his pen, as though he actually believed in these tall tales. Which he usually seemed to do.

Neil rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and sighed. The jackass insisted upon continuing. “Didn’t I tell you that Caleb would have a vision? Sure as shooting, he did!”

Neil tried to clarify the situation. “And Caleb saw a bison wearing jewelry? My, oh, my. I certainly hope it was in the finest Paris fashion.”

The odd things people pretended to see out here in Dakota Territory. Jokers were constantly interrupting important meetings to inform the general populace that—for example—they had seen a talking crow sitting on the telegraph wire. Telling them something their dead grandmother probably wouldn’t have even said if she was still alive and kicking, such as, “Don’t forget to iron your handkerchief before a big snowstorm.”

Oh, great balls of fire, as they said in the Far West. As if a person didn’t have enough to think about. Now they had to put down their pens and listen to some out-and-out dough-headed theory about a bison when they were trying to get some work accomplished.

Yet Simon Hudson, magnate of railroad ties and lumber, was actually listening to this dumbhead. “You say the bison wore earrings in Caleb’s vision?” He turned to Neil and said with the utmost seriousness, “Caleb is often right about these things, my son. Why, he cured the gout in my lower back with some concoction of Indian herbs.”

Hudson looked into the distance. Neil knew when Hudson started waxing poetic there was no hope of coming to an agreement about what should be done about the outlaws running roughshod over Laramie. As head of security for nearby Fort Sanders, Neil was attempting to form a territorial government to take the lawless elements into hand, to make order out of chaos. The fort had been built to protect overland emigrants but was now delegated to protecting the coming Union Pacific Railroad workers.

Oh dear Lord!
Hudson still blathered! “Now, about these earrings, Zeke. What color would you say they were? Did Caleb tell you? Green, like emeralds? Because my dearly departed wife used to wear emerald earrings. It must be a sign from beyond the grave.”

Oh, great balls of fire!
After suffering some kind of hysterical brain injury during the recent War Between the States, Zeke had come to Laramie with his mentor, Hudson. Hudson indulged the cracked fellow, securing him a position as adjutant for the railroad that would soon be arriving in town, but Neil had no such indulgences to spare for the ridiculous fellow. The person of the adjutant should be fluent in Indian affairs and at least French and Spanish, but Ezekiel appeared to be from some backwater drugstore in Yankton.

Neil interjected, “Listen here, Zeke. We’re trying to come to some agreement about what to do with the hoodlum element in this town. Could you possibly step outside for a moment, and we can discuss the splendors of animal toilettes later on?”

But Hudson sat up straighter in his chair and got a bit huffy. “Now see here, my dear son. There have been many precedents of seers, visionaries like Caleb, predicting the future.”

“With all due respect,” Neil said gravely, “what could this bison possibly have to do with your departed wife? Aside from the earrings, of course.”

Zeke insisted, “The earrings
emerald, as a matter of fact! Yes, yes, now that you mention it, Caleb told me they sparkled like the foamy seas right before a storm, so of course that means green and—”

“Oh, for God’s sake!” Neil exploded and stood, pointing at the carpet. “What are you, a floored lush? Do you know how many women have owned emerald earrings at some point in their lives? What’s the point in getting Mr. Hudson all upset over something that—Oh, now you’ve done it.” Mr. Hudson, instead of staring thoughtfully into the distance, appeared to have fallen asleep with his eyes open. He often did this in the middle of a meeting—fell into a dormant stage that wasn’t quite sleep but definitely wasn’t awake.

“Come on.” Neil shook Zeke by the arm. “Let’s leave him be.” He led Zeke from Hudson’s study and down the hall. “Now what’s this Hudson just told me about a Union Pacific surveyor, name of Harland Park, coming to town? He allegedly mapped out the route years ago and now is ensuring that nobody has changed it in the meantime—”

But Zeke was still intent on that damned bison, holding out his hands in a seer’s fashion, his eyes idealistic and wide. “I tell you, Neil. This vision obviously had something to do with Mr. Hudson. Because—listen to this—the bison was sitting over a shield with an engraving of a castle on it. Doesn’t Hudson have something like that on his wall? Isn’t it his family coat of arms?”

Neil tossed Zeke’s arm away in irritation. “Oh, right! How often do bison sit down next to an Irish
, for crying out loud? Bison are found only in the United States! Besides, there aren’t any around here anymore. The last eastern herd was decimated. I haven’t seen a bison in three months.”

They were interrupted by the hollow stamping of heels—a woman’s heels, by how tiny they sounded—on the front porch and a blurry shadow of a head moving behind the opaque window glass. Neil jumped, startled, at the tinny sound of the doorbell but regained his wits to take several long strides and yank the door open. No doubt it was the surveyor Park, who would probably take a room here in Hudson’s stately Vancouver House instead of the seedy Frontier Hotel, where the walls were just paper partitions and the fare offered ran to rusty bacon and coffee boiled into poison. Hudson had no family here in Dakota Territory, but as befitted his wealth he’d built a twenty-room mansion named after a bold explorer complete with a sunroom and a porch that wrapped around three sides of the house.

A woman was a rare commodity in Laramie City. Surrounded by what seemed like a dozen portmanteaus and carpetbags, this dusty and trembling maiden looked down at her feet, pinching her earlobe between two gloved fingers. She looked up at Neil when he stepped onto the porch.

BOOK: Training Ivy [How The West Was Done 1] (Siren Publishing Ménage Everlasting)
9.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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