Lili Saintcrow lives in Vancouver, Washington, with her dog, cat, children, and a metric ton of books holding her house together.

Selene by Lilith Saintcrow

"Life isn't easy for a sexwitch. Even your own body betrays you. It's bad enough that Selene is partly beholden to Nikolai, the Prime Power of Saint City, but she's got her brother Danny and she's got her job at the college. In the postwar wreckage of an uncertain world, it's pretty much all she's ever allowed herself to want.

Then Danny ends up murdered, and Selene finds herself a pawn in a dangerous game. Indentured to a bloodsucking Nichtvren and helpless, told to stop trying to uncover the identity of her brother's killer, Selene has nowhere to turn. If she's a good girl, Nikolai will leave her a little bit of freedom. He'll take care of her, and she'll be safe–if she obeys.

But Selene hasn't survived this long by being obedient to her cursed powers, or to the men who buy her time. Her brother was all she had, and now she's ready to borrow, beg, lie, steal or kill–whatever it takes to avenge him.

And if Nikolai gets in the way, Selene will use every tool in her arsenal to make him regret it…"


I've worked with Lilith on several occasions and am stoked to be collaborating with her again! I was first introduced to her books through the Jill Kismet series, and am excited for you all to read Selene, set in the world of her Dante Valentine (Saint City) series, a story with grit and heart. – Margaret Curelas




A shrill scream jerked her out of the deep well of sleep.

Selene fumbled for the phone, pushed her hair back, pressed the talk button. "Mrph." She managed the trick of rolling over and blinking at the alarm clock. Oh, God, what now? "This had better be good."

"Lena?" A familiar voice wheezed into the other end of the phone. He gasped again. "Lena, it's me."

Ohno. Not another panic attack. "Danny?" Selene sat straight up, her heart pounding. "Danny, what's wrong? Are you okay?" Sweat began to prickle under her arms, the covers turned to strangling fingers before she realized she was awake.

"Cold," he whispered, breath coming in staccato gasps. "Selene. Help. Help you⁠—"

Selene swung her feet to the cold floor, switching the phone to her right ear, trapping it on her shoulder. "Where are you? Danny? Talk to me." She grabbed her canvas bag the moment her feet hit the floor, craning her neck to read the Ident display. Daniel Thompson, his familiar number. He was at home.

Where else would he be? Danny hadn't left his apartment for nearly five years. "Keep breathing. Deep breaths, down into your tummy. I'll be right there."

"No," Danny pleaded. His asthmatic wheeze was getting worse. "Cold...Lena. Don't. Danger—" The line went dead.

Selene slammed the phone back into the cradle, her breath hissing in. Her fingers tingled—a sure sign of something awful. What was I dreaming? Something about the sea, again. She raced for the bathroom, grabbing a handful of clothes from the dirty-laundry hamper by the door. Just keep breathing, Danny. Don't let the panic get too big for you. I'm on my way. She tripped, nearly fell face-first, banging her forehead on the door. "Shit!"

She yanked her jeans up with one hand and turned on the faucet with the other, splashed her face with cold water. Tossed her thick blonde mane into a sloppy ponytail and raced for the door, ripping her sweater at the neck as she forced it over her head. She had to hop on one foot to yank her socks on, she jammed her feet into her boots and flung her bag over her head, catching the strap in her hair. Just keep him calm enough to remember not to hurt himself, God. Please.

She slowed down at the end of her block, searching for a cab. One down, nine to go. Rain kissed her cheeks and made the sidewalk slick and slightly gritty under the orange wash of city light as she sprinted across the street. Deep heaving gasps of chill air made her lungs burn.

Selene crossed Cliff Street, slowing down, pacing herself. Can't run myself out on the first blocks or I'll be useless before I get halfway there. If this is another one of his practical jokes I am just going to kill him.

It wouldn't be, though. It was far more likely he'd been injured while out of his body—or he was having trouble staying in his body even inside the wards she'd built for him.

Three down, seven to go. Selene's boots pounded the sidewalk. Rain whispered on the deserted streets and along the length of her messy ponytail, dripped down her neck as she reached Martin Street and cut across the intersection. There were more streetlamps here, she checked her watch as she ran.

Two-thirty. Santiago City held its breath under the mantle of chill night.

The back of Selene's neck prickled, uneasiness rippling just under her skin.

Why can't these things happen in the daylight? Or when I don't have lecture in the morning? This had better be something good, Danny, I swear to God if you're just throwing another snit-fit I will never forgive you. Never, ever, ever.

Something chill and panicked began to revolve under her breastbone. Getting a premonition. Her breath came in miserable harsh sobs of effort. Either that or I'm just spooked. Who wouldn't be at two AM in this busted-down part of town? She set her teeth, grimly ignoring the stitch in her side. Danny. Just breathe, please God, let him remember to breathe. Don't let him be in the kitchen, there's knives in there. This sounds like a doozy, he hasn't had a bad panic attack in at least six months, Christ don't let him hurt himself. Sometimes pain was all he could use to nail himself into his flesh, and⁠—

"Hey, Selene."