Pale Moon Walking

Pale Moon Walking

by Paula Altenburg

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Overview

Pale Moon Walking by Paula Altenburg

Where the outlaws are out of this world...

US Marshall Sam Kyote has been sent to the dry old town of Coyote Bluff to recuperate from a top-secret government experiment that's left this law man a little...well, different. But Sam's about to find out that the town of Coyote Bluff has a whole lot of secrets. Most of which lead to Libby Mayden-the sexy, long-legged, and tight-lipped sheriff who saved his ass from an alien ambush.

The last thing Libby needs is a US Marshall poking around her town, especially one who's hotter than the Nevada desert sun. She can't let Sam find out most of her town are wanted outlaws. Between the aliens, the gunfighters, and a searing sexual attraction to Sam, she's in a whole heap of trouble. And Libby'll stride both sides of the law-and Sam-until she's forced to choose between self-preservation...and her heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943892624
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 09/24/2015
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.62(d)

Read an Excerpt

Pale Moon Walking


By Paula Altenburg, Vanessa Mitchell

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Paula Altenburg
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63375-438-6


CHAPTER 1

The year was 1877.

United States Federal Marshal Sam Kyote of the Special Division entered the Red Room of the White House — the same room where Rutherford Hayes had been sworn into office only a few months before.

Sam switched a hidden lever beneath the mantel above the fireplace. The fireplace swung aside to reveal what was known to the Special Division — which occupied three full levels beneath the White House — as the Seventh Door. He ducked through the narrow opening. Steep steps spiraled downward, the tunnel walls illuminated by gas lighting. At the very bottom and third level, an underground research bunker had been carved from the earth. He cracked open the heavy steel door and peered inside.

The bunker's thick gray walls had been wired so that the lights worked off an electrical current running through special filaments rather than gas, which was far too volatile for the experiments conducted here. Louis AuCoin, the government's lead scientist, swore the filaments were an invention that would someday revolutionize the world.

Sam wasn't naive. He knew the United States government was involved in some serious top secret technological research, and that a lot of the technology Louis tested hadn't necessarily been acquired by honest means. And he'd joined the Special Division with a full understanding he'd be investigating things with no clear explanation.

But he hadn't expected any of those things to be him.

A little over a week ago he'd been called in to the bunker for a physical — standard practice for all Special Division marshals — although this would be his second in less than a year. The last thing he remembered after opening the door was a bright flash of light that knocked him flat on his ass, then a heavy pressure as if someone were standing on his chest. An explosion, he'd been told. He'd awoken on an examination table in one of the bunker's back rooms, shaking with fever, chills, and an incredible pain throughout his aching body, and been sick to his stomach for hours.

The more disturbing repercussions, however, had begun several nights later, after Louis released him. He'd been at home and alone, staring in horror at a spider as it crawled up the wall of his bedroom.

His pitch black and windowless bedroom.

A newfound ability to create illusions was another unexpected side effect. It had manifested itself two days after the extraordinary night vision. This was what had brought him to the bunker this morning. He had nowhere else to turn.

Louis AuCoin was a short man, slight of build, and around forty years of age. Wiry black hair, untouched by gray, was currently shoved to the top of his head by a pair of safety glasses so that it stuck out in all directions. He wore a white coat and held a blazing blow lamp in one hand.

"I need to speak with you," Sam said.

Louis straightened, his attention divided between a lump of gray metal on the worktable in front of him and the bunker door where Sam stood. While whatever the scientist was working on this morning appeared to be harmless enough, Sam stayed by the door just in case. One accident was enough.

Louis extinguished the blow lamp and set it on the table. "Sam. You're supposed to be on sick leave. What is wrong? Has your fever returned?"

"I have something to show you. Can you turn off the lights?"

Within moments, the bunker was plunged into a thick darkness so profound it penetrated pores. Yet to Sam's enhanced vision, Louis appeared as a sharp silhouette — a white cutout against a black backdrop. He watched his friend move around the bunker by memory alone, feeling his way in what, to him, must be complete blindness.

"Any time now, mon ami," Louis said with impatience, a hint of curiosity tempering his tone. "But whatever you're doing, don't touch my experiment. The metal is quite caustic."

Sam had no plans to stray from the bunker door. His palms were sweating. In his head he formed an image of the bunker, turning it bright as the sunny day outdoors, and added the same cloud-speckled blue sky. He then projected the illusion he'd carefully constructed into the bunker — an image, overlapping reality. He watched Louis's face go slack as he gazed at the ceiling-turned-sky with amazement, tilting his face toward a sun that was shining underground.

But Sam had an even better trick to show him. He'd had almost a week since the accident to perfect it.

The sunlight-drenched contents of the research bunker disappeared. So did the sky. Carefully, using images pulled from his memory, he reconstructed the Red Room, three levels above them. The result was perfect to the very last detail, even though if he'd been asked, other than an impression of their colors, Sam could not have explained what the paintings on the walls really looked like. He'd never been interested in art. But it was as if his brain had captured a tintype that he'd then been able to recreate and step inside.

Louis's face went pale in the bright, artificial light Sam had manufactured from nothing. He reached for one of the chairs as if about to sit down, but it was an illusion. His hand connected with air and he tumbled to the floor, cracking his head on the side of the very real worktable he could no longer see. He swore under his breath in his native language as he picked himself up.

The more detailed an illusion Sam projected, however, the more difficult it was for him to hold it for any length of time. He allowed the one of the Red Room and the blue sky to drop, plunging the bunker back into inky darkness. This wasn't even the best part of his newfound abilities — or the worst, depending on one's perspective. The few times he'd ventured out in public over the past three days he'd accidentally projected the unguarded daydreams of two complete strangers who'd been staring off into space, lost to the real world. The first time it happened, the illusion he'd unwittingly projected had been of a woman's face. The second, a page from a book — as if the owner were mentally reviewing some particular subject he'd been studying. It might have been law. Each time, Sam had been able to drop the illusion before bystanders took more than a passing notice of what he'd been doing. But they'd noticed something about their surroundings was ...

Off.

These illusions weren't as complete or detailed as the ones he'd constructed in his own head, however. Not everyone thought in pictures — at least, not as vividly as some. He expected Louis to excel at it, though. The scientist noticed many small things other people missed. He dried his palms on the tail of his sack coat before adjusting his bowtie, using movement to disguise his nervousness.

"I want you to think of something," he said to Louis. "Some image you can picture in your head, with as much detail as possible. An object or place I couldn't possibly know about."

Louis concentrated. Sam stared hard into his eyes. A dark-haired woman appeared, clad in gartered stockings and a black corset and nothing else. On her inner right thigh was a small, diamond-shaped birthmark. The scientist sucked in a sharp breath. He again reached blindly for something with which to steady himself. He was about to place his hand on the lump of metal he'd warned Sam not to touch.

"Be careful. Your experiment!"

The Frenchman snatched his hand to his chest. "What did you do to me?" Louis demanded, his voice hoarse.

"That," Sam said, "is the question I came to ask you."


Twelve hours and almost a hundred tests later, Sam and Louis sat over dinner in an eatery several streets away from the White House. It was very late at night and the room nearly empty.

Louis was frowning as he chased a meatball around his plate with a fork. "You have heard the stories about Sky People," he said. "Creatures from another world who crash-landed on ours. They're the reason the Special Division was created."

"Those are stories made up by the seasoned marshals to torment the new recruits."

"Those are truth," the Frenchman corrected him. "Sky People claim they have nanoparticles in their bloodstream — miniscule pieces of technology — that allow them to survive in an atmosphere hostile to them by altering their anatomy to suit their surroundings. They can take on human form. Pass for one of us. I was given the task of proving whether or not those nanoparticles exist and if they can be of use to us. You were part of that assignment. I transmitted that nanotechnology to you."

Cold anger flowed through Sam, undiminished by assurances he was in good health. A fierce headache disputed that claim. "You had no right to experiment on me without my permission."

"I had every right. You are Special Division. One of the elite. It's your sworn duty — and mine — to help protect the country from dangers most men cannot even begin to imagine."

The headache worsened with his level of anger. "Protecting my country shouldn't mean sacrificing my right to make my own choices."

"You knew when you signed up it involved taking risks. You and I, mon ami, have been chosen for a very top secret assignment. A situation that requires absolute secrecy. I couldn't tell you about it until I knew if the experiment would be a success."

"Then should we be discussing it here?"

Sarcasm was lost on the Frenchman. "Better here than back at the White House. The staff here is ... discreet."

Meaning someone paid them to be.

Politics was a dangerous game. Sam had been in Washington long enough to witness the intrigues and machinations taking place on a daily basis. He'd wanted no part of them. He resented being forced to do so.

And yet a part of him was curious.

Louis was right. He had known there'd be risks involved when he'd signed up for the Special Division two years ago, although this was the first time he'd experienced anything up close and personal. He reached for his glass of wine.

Louis grabbed his wrist. "Careful. Alcohol could affect your new abilities. Even an establishment as discreet as this one is perhaps not the best place to find out."

Sam set the glass down again. Cold sweat formed between his shoulder blades. "How long before the effects of having Sky People blood in my body disappears?"

"The blood itself isn't causing the effects. The blood transfusion was merely a vehicle. Unless the nanotechnology fails, the effects should be permanent."

Sam rubbed his temples. "I can't change form."

"The technology definitely seems to have a different effect on you. My hypothesis is that you're already adapted to this world so there's no need for you to change. And you have a different physiology from theirs. But it is having an effect. That's what is important."

"Why?"

"In order to fight our enemy, we have to think like them. Do what they can. We need a weapon to use against them. You, Sam, will be that weapon. Now we need to learn how to use what you've got."

"I have excellent night vision and I can create illusions that the entire world can see. Sometimes, if a person is a visual thinker, I can project what they're daydreaming about. I can't walk on water."

"Those are better skills than ordinary men possess. You're also a trained marshal," Louis said. "You know how to hunt fugitives."

"I haven't agreed to anything."

"You did when you signed up," Louis reminded him.

"I could quit."

"I'm afraid it's too late for that."

That remained to be seen. But if Sam did decide he wanted out, it was best not to say so. He'd have to disappear. Change his identity. And he wasn't ready for that. Not yet anyway. The Special Division's outreach was vast. To evade them effectively, he'd have to take precautions, make preparations. He schooled his features, protecting his thoughts.

"What happens next?" he asked. His headache had begun to abate. So far, that was the only positive event of the day.

Louis jabbed the meatball and stuck it in his mouth. He chewed for a few long moments as he stared at the flame on the candle between them, lost in deep thought. Then he tossed back most of the contents of his own glass of wine.

"I write a report," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "You came to me for a physical. How are you feeling? I mean," he amended, "do you feel like your normal self?"

"Other than the headaches, I feel the same as always."

"Your eyes have changed color."

"What?" Sam tried to look at them in the shining silver blade of his knife, but the light was too dim. He repositioned the utensil on the crisp white tablecloth, next to his untouched plate. "They were still green when I shaved this morning."

"They now have little flecks of yellow in them. In the candlelight, it's more pronounced. They look like gold."

Sam didn't want to admit how much that scared him. "If you're flirting with me," he said, "I think you should know that my taste runs more toward long-legged women than short Frenchmen."

Louis didn't share in the joke. "I'm a scientist, mon ami. I am trained to be observant. You should hope no one else notices such an unusual change in you." He played with the fork, turning it over in his fingers. "I don't think Washington is the best place for you right now, at least until you have learned the full extent of your abilities, how to control them, and how best to use them. We need to find out if the headaches get better or worse over time. Until then, this must remain secret."

Again, Sam was lost. "Why would I want to hide them if the Division plans to use them?"

"I told you. This is top secret. The Division's director knows nothing about this and he cannot find out. He's an ambitious man. He will have only one use for your abilities. For you. You wish to become one of my research experiments while I study you on behalf of your government?" Louis lanced another meatball. He tapped it on the side of his plate. Somewhere at the back of the eatery, dishes clattered and laughter erupted, jangling Sam's nerves. "You are too trusting. You think the government is working for the good of the country, when in reality, the government is run by men who are working only for themselves. Those are the men who must be stopped." He pointed the meatball at Sam. "That is where you and I come in. The report I write on these follow-up tests will indicate to the director that you are a very sick man, and I think you should be placed on indeterminate sick leave. You need to recover. To learn what you can do, but learn it in secret. You should go West."

"West?" Sam stared at his friend. "Why would I want to do that?"

"Think of the benefits. The people are few and far between. They don't ask too many questions. You'll be able to practice your new abilities without any undue influence or attention. And if you go West, I can help you," Louis added, an air of triumph in his manner. "It just so happens I know of a ranch outside a little place in Nevada Territory called Coyote Bluff that recently came up for sale. I believe the previous owner's heir can be persuaded to sell it to you for a reasonable price."

None of this was what Sam wanted to hear. "I don't want to go West. I don't want to own a ranch in some little hellhole miles from civilization." His anger resurfaced, fed by a helpless frustration foreign to him. He didn't like not being in control of his own life. He hated being backed into a corner. And yet he couldn't deny he'd been made aware of the risks. He simply hadn't known them. "You did this to me. If I'm too trusting, why should I trust you?"

"You shouldn't. Trust no one. You should be thanking me, though. This is the beginning of an exciting future for you. May it be a long and prosperous one." Louis reached for Sam's untouched glass of wine, lifted it in the air as if making a toast, then took a hearty sip. "The government isn't your friend, Sam Kyote. Luckily for you, I am."


Louis plunged his hands deep into his overcoat pockets as he walked the dark streets of Washington, heading for home. Sam was a good man, and he didn't feel right about what he'd done to him, but of all the marshals Sam was the best and the best had been ordered.

Still.

"You should pay more attention to your surroundings," a familiar voice scolded Louis from the shadows, making him jump and grab for the derringer in his right pocket. "The night is full of cutthroats and thieves."

Louis's fingers uncurled from his weapon. "Mon dieu, mon ami," he complained, conscious the night also had ears. His heart rate spiked, steadied, then inched toward normal. "Must you scare me to death? A gun or knife would be more merciful."

His friend was correct, however. Street lighting this far from the Capitol was almost nonexistent, the crime rate very high, and Louis had a scientist's tendency to become too lost in his own thoughts.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Pale Moon Walking by Paula Altenburg, Vanessa Mitchell. Copyright © 2015 Paula Altenburg. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Pale Moon Walking 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book and it kept my attention to the end. I really liked Libby and liked seeing such a strong female lead.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Dinah Roseberry for Readers' Favorite Paula Altenburg has a winner with Pale Moon Walking. Not only are the outlaws out of this world, but so is the rendering of genuine characters moving through this Wild West romantic tale. Meet feisty and nontraditional Libby Mayden, the sheriff of Coyote Bluff, who knows what she wants — and doesn’t want — in the world (and in a man). Witness her struggles to live down an outlaw past as she flourishes as the town’s lawman…uh law woman. She isn’t expecting Sam Kyote, a desirable and capable Marshall for the US Government, to arrive on the scene for a “special assignment” to get into the middle of her life. It’s not just that Sam has a strange power — that is not only believable for those of us loving the paranormal and fantasy themes, but protective and deadly to those in Coyote Bluff — it’s more that crossing these two probable lovers once they connect is a whirlwind of mystery and adventure that the otherworldly Sky people need to be wary of. And what about them? The Sky people: mysterious, here most likely for nefarious reasons, and who need to know where an important treasure to their world is hidden. Libby has the knowledge and the clues, Sam has the powers of illusion, Pete has the Moon legend, and Mary Lou has the frying pan. What can possibly go wrong? Love is in the air. Don’t be misled into thinking this is just a wonderfully laid out romance novel. It is that, of course; Altenburg is a genius at this. But it’s so much more. The romance is dreamy. The mystery draws you in. The characters hold you fast. The setting Paula Altenburg has drawn in Pale Moon Walking is perfect. I felt immediately like I was set down in the 1800s Wild West and I did not want to leave it! I had so much fun reading this that, one day, when I’d had a stressful afternoon at work, I put my head in my hands and said to myself: “I just want to get back to Libby and Sam!” Paula Altenburg is a master at weaving all the components of good storytelling together: very well written, true to the characters and settings, fun to read, and something that will keep people looking for more from her. The only down side is that I didn’t want it to end. Folks, there’s no better review than that. Pale Moon Walking by Paula Altenburg: read it before the next full moon. An out of this world read!
PollyBennett More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. The plot was very original, I loved that it focused on more of the storyline and less on the romance. Loved the Cowboys vs Alien.
GloriousBooks More than 1 year ago
I wasn't a big fan of this read. I mean, I finished it, which was something in itself, but it was more of a chore than anything. The characters of Pale Moon Walking didn't do anything for me. I wasn't enamoured by the romance and there were no moments in the read that made me wonder about any backstories of the characters. I just couldn't bring myself to care and that's why I can't say I enjoyed this book very much. I found it difficult to get behind the whole alien aspect of this book as well. I have read books featuring aliens before so it wasn't the idea itself I didn't like, but it seemed really out of place in this one. I don't know if it was because I didn't think it was explained or introduced very well, or if they didn't play enough of a part in the story compared to the romance, but either way, it seemed like they weren't important in the grand scheme of things.
Kristi-Reads More than 1 year ago
I received this book from a Goodreads Firstreads giveaway. So you all know I usually don't do romances. Or aliens. And tto be honest, wild west stories are not the first things I will pick up. Yet, the author did a pretty good job combining all three. It started off like something straight out of Agents of Shield, which got my attention. Sam started off pretty awesome, but then petered out a little into the unbelievable. The romance felt a little forced and waaay too intense for the emotional relationship that had been set up so far. The love scenes were not ridiculous, which was a nice surprise. And Libby was an awesome character whose emotions never felt out of place. I just can't get past Sam. Not only would I not buy this book, but Sam also cost the book points in the Developed Character category. Good thing the plot and flow of the book were on point--but my review remains at 3 stars.
Linda_RochesterNY More than 1 year ago
*I received an ARC from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.* I liked this book a lot. The sci-fi western is new to me but I really enjoyed it. Libby was raised by her outlaw father and his gang and now she is the sheriff of Coyote Bluff. Sam is a US Marshall with a little something extra who is investigating aliens in Coyote Bluff. I loved Sam's single mindedness when it came to Libby. He knew she was just the woman for him from practically the moment they met. All he has to do is convince her they belong together. No man has ever made Libby feel like a woman before Sam but she has a lot of secrets to protect. I would love to read a follow up book about Libby and Sam. I think there could be a lot more story to tell about those aliens and that silver box.
Andrea Alexandra Castellanos More than 1 year ago
I love the cover. I can picture Libby and Sam as those two (models?) in the cover. The story is set in 1877, which have I know that before getting the e-book I probably wouldn’t have read it, because I mostly read Contemporary Books. So I confess what drew me in was the cover. And I KNOW that sometimes appearance can be deceiving but in this case it didn’t. Back to the book… I could picture that old west setting with the heat, its people and the buildings that is described in the book. What made this book really interesting where the Sky People, Marshal Sam Kyote, Libby Mayden and Max Mayden. The book start with Sam having a non-human blood transfusion, which creeps him out as it’s to be expected, and getting an especial ability that later on ends being really helpful. He goes to Coyote Bluff on a sick leave and there she meets badass, amazing with any gun, Sheriff Libby Mayden, and from there all things just get better. Almost everyone in this book had some kind of secrets, which is something I love reading about, secrets where you slowly discovers them. I’m not going to talk more about it because I can do it without giving spoilers. The romance between the two main characters was funny to read, both of them where extremely stubborn. And even though we are told that Libby is independent we find out she has a bit of self-esteem issues thinking she isn’t feminine and that no one would ever want her. It did bothered me a little bit at the beginning since she was supposed to be independent, strong and all that, but after some thinking I could understand it, since she was raised by her father and his father’s men, basically around men, always wearing men clothes and not having a suitor before Sam. The problem I had with this book (and this is why I’m not giving it the five stars) is that I feel like the book is inconclusive and there where parts I think are pointless. We never know where the “tool box” is, the one everyone is looking for. What’s Sam’s new purpose after the problem in Coyote Bluff is over? Also I feel Judge Roy Rowde went through a lot of trouble just to end in point cero, where he started. He didn’t get what he wanted. And…Will the sky people give up on everything or will they keep searching and causing trouble?? Aside from that, the book is pretty good, funny, with a lot of action and anyone could read it as a light read. This is the first book I read from this author and I’m really impressed. I started reading this book without any expectation and ended up liking it so that’s a win-win, right? Yes. **ARC received via Netgalley.com, thanks Netgalley and Mrs. Altenburg for the e-copy.**
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
Sam heads west to recuperate from a government experiment and learn to use his new abilities. He ends up in Coyote Bluff where Libby is the Sheriff. When Libby save him from an alien ambush she worries Sam will find out the secrets of Coyote Bluff. The story had a great premise, just was a bit hard to follow at time. Enjoyable read!
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Cowboys and Aliens oh my! This book is reminds me of old episodes of the Wild, Wild West. You have the government agents and high tech toys in US Marshall Sam Kyote. You have the bad girl gone good in Coyote Bluff Sherriff Libby Mayden. There are bad guys in the shape of aliens and the occasional politician. Romance and secrets. This is an all around fun read.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
Superb sci fi set in the wild west! What a fantastic, unique story! Take one crashed alien spacecraft, scientists experimenting using alien blood, outlaws, a feisty female sheriff, crooked politicians and an alien enhanced US Marshall, set it in the Wild West in 1877 and you’re in for a totally different but altogether brilliant story! Add in that almost everyone in the story has secrets to tantalise and slowly uncover then start to read it all to find that the author is skilled in making this all an engaging and amazing tale. The story starts with Marshal Sam Kyote discovering that he’s been given a transfusion of alien blood. Whilst discovering the effects this has had he’s also having dreadful headaches so is sent on sick leave by the scientist who did this to Coyote Bluff. The scientist also issues warnings to Sam and tells him to use the time wisely to find out just what effects the transfusion has on his life. Over in Coyote Bluff the town’s sheriff is Libby Mayden, a fast shooting, independent and feisty daughter of the leader of a notorious gang of outlaws. Libby grew up and travelled with her father and his men. She dresses like a man and doesn’t think she’s very feminine. Sam, however, has other ideas – he thinks she’s very attractive and the feeling is actually mutual! Just wait till you read what the Deputy Sheriff says about them both! Some of their interactions are hilarious! The aliens are shape shifters known as Sky People. They crashed near Coyote Bluff but what are they after and who is working with them? There are plenty of other superb characters in the story, including the regularly jailed wife, roving Judge, the priest, barman and Deputy! So often the interactions are humorous, the reader feels something like a fly on the wall looking in on these funny interludes. This is a great mixed genre story – science fiction, historical, mystery, thriller, humour and, of course, romance, so if you like any combination of these this book may well appeal. Personally, I enjoy all those genres and this book had me laughing out loud at times so I have no hesitation in recommending others to read it, too. So glad to have found another author to look out for in future! Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this fantastic book in exchange for an honest review.