June 6th, 2023
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What if her perfect life wasn't so perfect after all?

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"Brims with vivid imagery."�Jen Turano, bestselling author

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The marriage is fake, but the passion is real.

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A charity collection of 22, never-before-published, brand-new stories featuring and benefiting love and Happily Ever Afters across the gender and sexual identity spectrums.

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A husband-and-wife disguise�His only hope for survival.

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Who knew patrolling a National Park could be this hazardous?

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Brave heroes who rise up to take down a treacherous gang bent on robbery and destruction, to keep their homes, and the women they love safe�

Excerpt of Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai


Tachyon Publications
March 2023
On Sale: March 14, 2023
272 pages
ISBN: 1616963840
EAN: 9781616963842
Kindle: B0B8TBFJ69
Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List

Multicultural Romance, Fantasy Urban, Romance Fantasy

Also by Mia Tsai:

Bitter Medicine, March 2023
Paperback / e-Book
Bitter Medicine, March 2023
Paperback / e-Book

Excerpt of Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai

First, the ink.

Elle pours a bit of water on her grinding stone, sets the end of her ink stick in it. She clasps her hands and breathes out slowly, closing her eyes. When she opens them, her magic rouses, filling the pit of her stomach with familiar, joyful warmth.

She takes hold of the stick and pushes it in small, clockwise circles, her thumb pressing against debossed flowers painted in gold. She’s been waiting half her shift to escape to her workshop, needing the meditation of calligraphy to decompress. In the stillness of art there are no outstanding orders or rude customers, no worries over her eldest brother, Tony, no limits on what she can do.

Elle settles into her rhythm, her meridians waking with magic. It unspools with her movements, unwinding in tendrils through her chest and arm, infusing stone and water and stick with whispered potential. Shh, the grinding stone says, soothing. The comforting scent of incense rises. Shh. Tony is safe under her protection, and though he no longer has his magic, he’s happy and healthy. Shh, shh.

The ink thickens, growing deep and black and reflective beneath the fluorescent overhead lights. She exhales, lays her stick down, and trails her fingers across the brushes hanging from a rack. Instinct and her century of experience guide her to the correct brush—bamboo handle, wolf hair, sharp tip. Elle murmurs a greeting as she lifts it off its hook and prepares it, then dips it into ink and acclimates it with a few test strokes. There’s enough ink for one glyph, a single character on a square of rice paper she’ll end up selling. She holds down her paper, saturates each hair of the brush with her magic, and murmurs a prayer to Shénnóng, the Chinese god of medicine, her patron god and direct ancestor.

There are nine strokes in the character for “fly,” and Elle imbues each one with the determination to leave the earth, to soar into the sky. Three strokes create a beating wing, feathers spread and vibrating, straining against the atmosphere. A second wing takes shape, ensuring speed and swiftness. The final downward stroke becomes the hard line of the horizon tilting vertical as the birds bank sharply to the right.

Elle sits back when she’s done, looking at a word crackling with so much energy it almost springs off the page. The original character depicted birds in flight. Whoever buys the glyph will have no issue joining them.

She sighs, disappointed. The glyph is too strong.

Her cell phone goes off. Teresa Teng sings of the moon, her voice tinny and muffled.

That’s Tony’s ringtone.

Elle scrambles to her feet, her stool screeching displeasure against the concrete floor. Teresa Teng continues, oblivious to her as she hunts for the phone, moving aside rolls of rice paper, stacks of glyphs, jars of dried powders. The phone isn’t on the counter by the sink, nor is it by the filing cabinets on the other side of her workshop. It isn’t on the other side of her long workbench. Maybe it’s on the junk shelf of the bookcase, which doesn’t make sense, but it could be in outer space and she’d accept that as long as it was found.

It stops, only to start again, fanning her into a frenzy. “Where is it?” she snaps at herself. Finally, she spots a lone wire snaking its way into a dusty pile by the garbage can. She reels in her phone amid a cloud of particles, her nose itching, then yanks out the charging cable and flips it open to answer.

“Tony?! Tony, are you okay? What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”

“Oh my God, calm down. I’m fine.” He’s either irritated, or patronizing, or both.

“You aren’t supposed to call me unless it’s an emergency!”

“Maybe I wouldn’t call you if you checked your email more than once a decade,” Tony retorts. “It’s been two weeks and you haven’t replied. Maybe I should be worrying about you, huh?”

“No!” Unlike Tony, Elle’s magic has never been stronger, and she could take a bullet and survive, thanks to Shénnóng’s blessing. “I did check my email!”

“Your work email doesn’t count.”

“All I get on my personal email is fake stuff.”

“There are filters for spam. Aren’t you a hundred twenty-five or something? You’re too grown to be this ignorant. Even a thirty-year-old knows more than you.” He pauses, probably to roll his eyes. “I emailed you two weeks ago to invite you to an event at the North Carolina Museum of Art. You know, the big one outside the loop. It’s a Chinese art exhibition. Thought you’d be interested.”

“You thought I’d be interested, or you don’t want to go alone?” Elle pins the phone between ear and shoulder, stooping to pick up her mess. She dumps papers onto her workbench with enough force to send a sheet on a different stack flying. She snatches it out of the air and hastily unfolds it, smoothing it down.

Tony sniffs. “The first one, of course. You’re still painting, right? Not just doing that glyph crap?”

“It’s not crap,” Elle protests, looking at the paper beneath her hand. It’s a charcoal sketch of a handsome man sitting on a couch, engrossed in a book.

All thoughts of the invitation disappear, replaced by thoughts of him.

Luc. Specifically Agent Luc Villois, a tall drink of half-elven water who’s been patronizing her shop for the last eight months or so, not that she’s counting. These days he’s more friend than customer, and a smile curves her lips as she thinks about their late-night chats, his restoratives brewing in the background.

Excerpt from Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai
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