The Lion & The Wolf

This is a partial scene from The Lion & The Wolf, a short-ish story set in 1795, based on the same lore as the Not the Same River series. It is 100% back story. I’d written a tonne of notes about this pairing and really wanted to tell their story. I’m so glad I decided to go for it during July camp. I understand their motivations much better now, which will hopefully come across in the revisions for the main series.

The Lion is mentioned several times before he finally shows his face in Legacies Unmasked (book 5 of NTSR). The Wolf is first mentioned in the second book but makes his first appearance in Moonstruck Consent (book 4 of NTSR).

The story is unfinished, still in its first draft, but I know exactly where it’s going. It currently stands at just over 13K words.

Oskar/The Lion is a vampire. Asgaut/The Wolf is a vaewolf.

Ribbet collage

“Did I not procure a dozen invitations for you?”

“Ladies’ drawing rooms? Stuffy ballrooms? Tiresome dinners? I wear fine clothes, eat fine foods, but the company grows irksome.”

“You’ve spent time with Howard?”

Charles Howard was an earl and a frivolous bore, so impressed by his own daring—which existed only because he knew he couldn’t die—that he hadn’t bothered to cultivate a personality. Oskar had never explained how he knew him, just that he was a useful person to befriend.

“All he ever wants to do is ride his bloody phaeton around. It’s barely spring.” The man was a lunatic. Asgaut had almost died at least five times. “And he drives like he’s trying to outrun Helios himself. If he can transport himself from one place to another in an instant, I cannot help but wonder why he doesn’t spare his poor horses and my poor heart.”

“I should’ve warned you about his driving,” said Oskar, amusement twinkling in his silvery eyes. “At least his horses know how to behave.”

“Not when I’m in the carriage. I swear they can tell what I am. I prefer to ride on Matilda. Have you seen her? She’s a beauty.”

“I could buy her for you.”

“The earl would never sell her. I already asked. Besides, I don’t want you to keep buying me things.”

“Have you met Lucia yet?”

“She serves appalling lemonade. It would not surprise me if her cook hung the lemons on the line with her drawers so she could use them again.” Asgaut narrowed his eyes. “Did you put him up to it? Is … Oskar?”

“What are you trying to ask me?”

Asgaut’s breath wouldn’t come. Lucia was Charles Howard’s young and irredeemably ruined half-sister. The earl kept leaving him alone with her. Twice he’d mentioned what a good wife she’d make for a quiet young man such as Asgaut. And twice he’d laughed, because even if he was twice as old as he was, a bride was not in the offing.

Finally, he said, “Are you trying to marry me off?”

Oskar laughed and the sound of it stung Asgaut’s flesh. “Why would I want to marry you off?”

Bitter tears prickled behind his eyes. “Did you choose her because we are both ruined?”

“You are not ruined.”

“If society insists she is ruined, then how can I not be ruined also?”

***

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