Mark might look like an alpha male, but he's beta through and through. And that's not just because he's a stereotypical polite and apologetic Canadian. His writing is where the real action occurs. Growing up on a steady diet of Spider-Man comic books and creepy campfire ghost stories naturally resulted in most of his writing which include elements of urban fantasy, dark humor, speculative fiction, and true ghost stories. Mark, who lives in Waterloo, Ontario, is the author of more than thirty books. When he is not writing, or cowering under the covers, hiding from the monster under his bed, he can be found wandering awestruck through bookstores, libraries, and craft breweries.

Julie Strauss lives, reads, writes, cooks, and gardens with her husband and four children in Southern California. She is known in some circles as "that weird bookish lady who talks to her plants" and in other circles as "that foul-mouthed wine drinker who laughs at inappropriate moments." She loves you as a person but does not care about your cats unless you have taught them how to talk.

Lover's Moon by Mark Leslie and Julie Strauss

He's an alpha wolf and a beta boyfriend.

She's dated every monster in New York City.

It's time for their Meat-Cute.

Michael Andrews, a Canadian living in New York, is learning to live with the side effects of lycanthropy. Other than waking up naked and bloody in Central Park once a month, he's managing just fine. If only he could finish the book he's supposed to be writing. If only he could find someone he trusted enough to tell the truth to.

Gail Sommers may not have her love life in order, but at least she's smart about things that really matter. She runs the coolest occult shop in the city, and is a pre-eminent scholar of the occult. She's made a vow of celibacy so that she can spend this year focusing on her work and her self-care. She's even been hired to help out a very famous and very sexy horror author.

As a new era in the Canadian Werewolf saga begins, Lover's Moon flashes back to the romantic and comedic story of how Michael and Gail met and fell in love back in the summer of 2011. Told through both Michael and Gail's unique perspectives, it also explores Gail's past, introduces new characters, and reveals some of the deeper secrets of both of their lives.

A special Canadian Werewolf urban fantasy romantic comedy tale co-authored by Mark Leslie and contemporary romance author Julie Strauss.



  • "From stone cold through heartwarming to blistering hot; laugh-out-loud humorous; enervating; delicious; realistic (well, as realistic as a romance between a werewolf and the owner of an occult shop in New York can be!); convincing; entertaining; and, perhaps most important, never saccharine or sappy for even a single moment, Leslie and Strauss made the romance come off the page (nyuk, nyuk!)"

    – Paul Weiss (Goodreads)
  • "Leslie's Canadian Werewolf series isn't horror with a lot of blood and guts, but stories told with a touch of humor from the human perspective of the werewolf. Lover's Moon, by Mark Leslie and Julie Strauss, is a quirky werewolf romance that will steal readers' hearts, and create a dire urge to read or listen to the rest of the series. What more could a reader ask for? I give it five quills."

    – Kaye Lynne Booth, Writing to be Read
  • "Leslie and Strauss are both vivid storytellers and I enjoyed watching the storyline play out. Overall, a fun fantasy novel, Lover's Moon is a great read for lovers of all and anything werewolf."

    – Martha Custis (Amazon)




"Mine's bigger than yours," I panted.

"Your what?"

"My man card. It's bigger than yours."

He flipped me off, but I just laughed and pushed harder. Hot, sticky sweat dripped down my face. I leaned forward. The rhythm was intoxicating, the strain of my muscles both painful and exhilarating.

"Fuck, yes," I moaned, hearing my voice waver. I took another deep breath. "Faster!" It came out as a whisper as I pushed harder. "Almost there!"

I forced all my energy into my legs and pumped my arms. All I could hear was the sound of my sneakers hitting the pavement. Sweat ran into my eyes, and I could barely see my destination, but I knew that the stairs leading down to Gansevoort Street signaled the southern end of the High Line.

I pressed on, reached the stairs, and bounded down them two at a time.


I hit the concrete at the bottom, stopped the timer on my watch, and put my hands up over my head, Rocky-style, to celebrate my victory. When Benjamin caught up to me, I was still dancing.

He stopped when he reached me and bent over, hands on his knees, to catch his breath.

"You okay there, pal?" I asked, slapping his back a little harder than I needed to.

He stood up, his face flushed, and glared at me. "What did that even mean?"

"What did what mean?"

"That thing about my man card."

"I said mine's bigger than yours."

He sniffed. "That's so unladylike."

I pretended to consider that remark. "Suck my dick," I replied.

Ben did not laugh. "Jesus, Gail." He started walking away from me, and I followed, laughing.

"What's wrong? Don't like it when a girl beats you?"

"Why does everything have to be like this with you?"

I opened my mouth in a hot retort but stopped when I saw the look on his face. Normally we love to tease each other, but my brother was clearly not in the mood today. "Everything isn't like this. Whatever this means. I thought we were just having some fun."

"We were having fun until it became a contest. That's how you are about everything. If you can't win physically, you have to get in the last word. If you can't get the last word, you make sure you get the meanest word."


"Ben, what the hell? This is our thing. We tease each other."

"I just wanted to hang out with you. Have a conversation. You had to turn it into an Olympic event."

"Olympic event? Please." I stayed quiet for a second but then couldn't help myself. "I could kick those bitch-boys' asses."

He glared at me and then walked away.

"Ben!" I said. "Come on! I'm just trying to make you laugh."

"Not everything is a competition, Gail," he shouted. "I don't want to fight you. I want to talk!"

People were staring at us, but I didn't care. I've seen way worse on New York City streets.

"Then let's talk," I called back. He was far enough away that I had to yell now. But he didn't even turn around. Just raised one hand over his head in dismissal.

Ben had always been my partner in crime, the only reason I knew how to stick up for myself in the first place. He taught me the art of the street fight when I should have been playing with baby dolls. But something was wrong today. I glanced at my watch. I should have gone after him and apologized, but I knew I would barely make it to the shop on time as it was.

Call me when you can talk, I texted him. I put my phone in the pocket of my leggings and then fished it out again. And I'm sorry.

I didn't exactly know what I was sorry for, but it would have to do for now.

I crossed Washington Street and grabbed a smoothie from my favorite bodega. I continued east, enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Even a fight with my brother couldn't ruin a post-run high. He of all people should know that I needed the adrenaline kick. He knew what I'd been going through lately. He knew all the stress I felt from running the shop. If I didn't get this energy out of my system, my brain would explode all over the first customer of my shift. Not a good way to own a business.

Still, the nagging feeling that I'd screwed up was creeping into my endorphin rush. Maybe I should go after him?

"Family first!" I could practically hear Mom saying it now, just like she'd said it every day of our lives. As if she repeated a clichéd slogan enough times, it would make up for her absolute lack of parenting.

I didn't buy into most of what my mother had said over the years. All of her blood is thicker than water bullshit. I'd choose most of my girlfriends over my blood relatives any day of the week. That's what happens when you're raised in a family of crazy old bats who are one turban away from Grey Gardens. My poor brother was the lone boy in our clan, and he'd been doted on until he was practically smothered. The only attention I ever got was when I screwed up. How is a girl who's always in trouble going to take care of her brother, Gail?

I stopped walking. That man card crack wasn't cool. Ben was the only blood relative I actually cared about, and instead of being there for him, I'd been too consumed by my own needs. Screw work; I had to go after my brother. Family first!

I turned quickly and went after him. I knew Ben would walk all the way back to his place. But my stomach dropped when I saw a familiar figure ahead of me.

My boyfriend, Jonathan, stepped out of a brownstone.

Jonathan didn't live in this area. He lived in Brooklyn. And he was supposed to be at work right now. He'd told me he had to work all weekend to get caught up on a backlog with an important client.

I could have easily caught up to him, but I remained rooted in my spot, dread filling my gut.

Maybe it wasn't him. Maybe it was his doppelgänger. I read once that every human has six identical lookalikes around the world. If I was ever going to see one of Jonathan's lookalikes, it would be here in Manhattan. Half the men in this city looked like him. This man was the same height, wore an identical gray business suit, and walked with the same little hitch in his right leg that Jonathan had.

Maybe he was coming to surprise me? He was headed in the wrong direction.

Maybe he was going to buy flowers? But why had he stopped at this random house?

Just a few steps behind him, a gorgeous blonde woman came through the same door. Their body language was easy enough to read, even from this distance. Jonathan placed his hand on the small of her back, and she smiled up at him.

The gulp of smoothie I'd just taken turned to cement in my mouth, and I had to swallow hard to get it down. I knew this feeling well.

Far too well.

When you've been cheated on as many times as I have been, an instinct kicks in, a knowledge of an all too familiar feeling. Each time I dated someone new, I hoped I was rid of that cynicism. And each time, it returned like an irritating rash.

"You're overreacting," I muttered to myself, between deep breaths. "It's probably nothing."

Someday, it would be nothing. Someday I'd meet a man, think he was up to something sketchy, and be wrong about it. It would be a sister, a cousin, or a work colleague. I couldn't wait for the day when my suspicions were unfounded.

But I followed him anyway.

They walked a few blocks south and headed into a diner. If his hand on her back didn't tell me what I needed to know, the way she wiggled her ass and bumped her hip into his did. Cousins don't walk together like that.

Part of my brain still refused to see what was right in front of me. If my eyes weren't deceiving me, that would make Jonathan the third cheater in a row. What does that tell you about my judgment in men?

I was so close to turning around and walking away. I could have continued on my path back to my apartment, where I would take a shower, grab a sandwich, and take over the evening shift at the shop. When I called Jonathan later, he would have told me that he stayed up late last night working on actuarial tables or whatever the hell it is that finance bros do with their time. It would have been a lie, but I could have lived with that lie for a little while longer. At that moment, I so wished I was the type of woman who could live in ignorant bliss. Maybe people who turn away from their partner's bullshit are happier overall.

Unfortunately, I am not that woman. Maybe Ben was right about my need to win all the time.

They sat down three tables back, holding hands across the table, laughing about something. She was so blonde and so, so young. I placed her in her early twenties. Unblemished, smooth white skin, high cheekbones, taut breasts, slim, boyish hips. I took my focus off them and caught my own reflection in the window. At thirty-five, I wasn't exactly old, but I was definitely disheveled. My hair had fallen out of the loose bun I'd worn that morning, and sweat had caked the strands onto my neck. My face was mottled and red from the exertion of running, and I didn't need to duck my nose into my shirt to know I smelled horrible.

I could have taken the dignified route here. I could have called him, left a voice message, told him calmly that we were over and he should pick up all of his shit from my place. I could have sent a letter. I could have pretended I didn't see anything.

But I didn't.

A strange confidence overtook me, and I recognized it. It was the same feeling I'd had when I'd seen Ben a few steps ahead of me on our run.

I had to win.

I strode into the diner. Jonathan was facing the door, like the douche canoe that he is. What kind of man doesn't even try to hide? When he saw me, he yanked his hands out of hers, knocking a water glass over.

"Gail!" he said. "I can explain!"

"No, you really can't," I said. I slowly removed the lid and straw from my cup, extended my arm, and dumped the smoothie over his head.

Turning on one heel, I walked out of the diner slowly, as if I didn't even notice the sputtering and cursing mess behind me. Not only had I ruined his stupid business suit, but he was probably about to have a tense conversation with the Barbie doll.

As for me, I was free of him.

But when I stepped out of the diner and resumed my walk home, I had to fight back tears. That was the thing about winning: it was never as satisfying as I thought it would be.