J. Matthew Saunders {the Writer}
The Brides
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Introduction

spooky moon

Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.

—Jonathan Harker, Dracula

Adam Mire was just looking to get tenure. He never thought his latest book on Eastern European history would be a critical success. Now that it is, everyone expects him to produce another, but what his colleagues in the history department don’t know is that a primary source for the book was a six-hundred-year-old vampire. So when he stumbles upon a collection of documents suggesting the three vampiric brides in Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula are anything but fictional, he can’t pass up the opportunity, despite the danger.

He seeks them out, and one by one the beguiling women tell Adam their stories:

Yasamin is the naïve daughter of a sixteenth-century Ottoman bureaucrat, trapped in an arranged marriage to the son of the powerful Pasha of Buda and unprepared for the intrigues of palace life. When someone tries to kill her, she has no idea where to turn for help. Trusting the wrong person, even the mysterious man who saves her life, could prove fatal.

Elena is an Albanian peasant girl in seventeenth-century Kosovo. She is forced to start over alone after losing her entire family one horrific night, but a looming war and a stranger claiming he knew her father may make the already daunting task impossible.

Elizabeth is the neglected wife of a British diplomat at the 1878 Congress of Berlin. A murder at the British embassy launches a hunt across the city for a monster stalking the streets, but when Elizabeth discovers a disturbing connection to the killer’s victim, it threatens to drive her into the arms of a man who is everything her husband isn’t.

Soon Adam’s academic pursuit veers into obsession. Getting tenure becomes the least of his worries when he’s drawn into a centuries-old conspiracy, and he may need more than crosses, garlic, and holy water if he wants to live to see another sunrise.