Damian's Oracle (Chapter One, page 1 of 7)

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Sofia dropped her purse on the desk in her cube without removing her sunglasses. The early December sun couldn't set fast enough to prevent her pounding headache from growing worse on her drive to work. To ease her exposure to the sun, she'd volunteered for the evening shift to support the West Coast customers. Unfortunately, the commute to work every day was still excruciating.

"So … did the doc say you're turning into a vampire?" Jake, her ex-boyfriend from college and current coworker, appeared in the doorway of her cube as soon as she sat down. She ignored the hunk, hoping he'd take the hint. "I brought you something. You can pretend it's blood." He held out a bottle of red water.

"You have five minutes to leave my cube, or I'll bite your neck!" she retorted.

"Really, what'd the doc say?" Jake grew serious and sat in the spare chair in her cube.

Sofia rubbed her temples. She was better off pulling a random diagnosis out of a hat.

"No brain tumors," she replied. "Probably not the neurological issue they thought. They're looking at other ideas."

"Do they know what makes you allergic to light and eat raw steaks covered in peanut butter for every meal?"

"They're not raw, and I only eat them for dinner."

"Did the doc explain your mood swings, too?"

She gritted her teeth. She'd known Jake since her junior year of college. They dated in college, parted ways mutually, and ended up working for the same financial planning firm in Virginia. Normally, she felt privileged that he still gave her the time of day, what with the way he'd turned out-formed like a Greek god with hazel eyes so pretty their boss swooned every time she spoke to him. But today, she didn't want to be reminded that she'd changed from a normal human being into a sunlight-intolerant, moody bitch in the two months since her twenty-fourth birthday.

"Think you can talk the boss into letting me come in an hour or two later?" she asked.

"Yeah, easy. I just smile pretty. Doesn't work on you, but it does on her."

"Thanks, Jake. The headaches are getting worse."

"Sofi, I'm worried," he said, softening. "What's going on?"'

"The doctors don't know," she said with a sigh. "They're flying in a specialist from overseas. They said it might be some sort of rare blood disorder."

"What the hell does that mean? That they really don't have a clue?"

"Pretty much."

"I Googled your symptoms," Jake said and unfolded a piece of paper. "A lot of bullshit posted by wannabe vampires and Twilight fans. But I found this, too."

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