I heard the agonised cry. It was a mistake; I knew before I even moved but I seemed to have no free will. I crept closer and there, through the trees sitting on a fallen log, I could see a girl with long blonde corn-silk hair. Her hair was tossed over one shoulder and she had her back to me, side-on. Her face was raised in pure, seductive ecstasy. My eyes dropped to the face of the man with her. He seemed to be kissing her neck, right near her collarbone. It was Dash and I gasped in shock.

His head whipped up and he stared at me, taking in my horrified face. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Blood...dripping from...fangs? I shook my head from side to side as if I could talk myself out of what I was seeing. I heard a horrible, enraged scream of agony and I turned and ran. I didn't think, I just ran for fear of my live and I moved faster than I ever had before but I knew it would not be enough. I heard a lightning-fast crashing through the underbrush right behind me when I found myself, suddenly airborne. I had thrown myself forward and I vaguely realised that I had just leapt into the ravine...

Excerpt from the first of the Ancient Blood books, copyright Joanne Valiukas, 2009-2010

The Ancient Blood books are set in the same universe the Danann Frost books are and established the lore Joanne uses in both series. They were written first but Danann's story was closer to publishable before they were.

It is anticipated that they'll occupy six volumes, five of which have already been written, and they're Joanne's particular favourite (with good reason).

The first of them happens at around the same time as the present-day events in the first Danann Frost book, and there is some crossover between events in the two stories. I don't want to say too much, as it would be a bit of a spoiler for those who haven't yet read Danann Frost Falls from Grace, but for those of you who have, remember the wedding Danann goes to in Tasmania? Well, the bride in chapter 39 is the central character in the Ancient Blood books.

Joanne Valiukas