Santa Surprise<br/>

Author: Jan Abney
Publisher: Janet Abney
Published: 2011-10-03
ISBN(s) 978-1466399518
Pages: 108 pages
Category: Fiction
Audience: Adult
Genre(s): Romance, Contemporary, Romance & Friendship Read Excerpt >

TONNIE SUE was going through the file on her large oak desk once more. There were thirty-two applications to choose from to fill only two positions which would open after the first of the year. She had scribbled notes about each of the interviews she'd had and was most interested in at the moment. There was less than six weeks until the new year, so she had about ten days to
make her final decision.

This was a task that was rare for her, as very seldom did she have employees leave. At most, her job as personnel manager consisted of keeping records of the good and bad incidents and accidents that happened with the employees in the four department stores in the city. The working conditions and benefits were such that the turn-over of employees was almost nonexistent. The biggest responsibility Tonnie Sue had was once each year, hiring four Santas for late November and all of December. Every year she was faced with more retired men wanting those positions so each year proved to be harder to choose. This year's choices had already been made, a relief to her now.

The buzzer sounded on the intercom of her phone. Without looking she stretched a long, slender finger toward the box to push the button that would allow her to answer her secretary in the front office. "Yes Brenda?" Her mind was obviously elsewhere when she sung out her short question to the interruption.

"Miss Gills, a Mr. Wentworth is demanding an interview for one of the store Santa positions." Brenda
sounded slightly frustrated, as if she had tried to discourage the man and found no success.

Tonnie Sue could picture another short, overweight, gray haired, retired and elderly man who needed a little extra money for the Christmas season. She'd had almost fifty such applicants this year. Two of the positions were already filled with last year's Santas that had worked out well, making her decisions harder with so many wanting those last two positions. "Did you tell the old gentleman
that the positions were filled?"

A small giggle came over the speaker, a precursor to the woman's words. "Yes, Miss Gills. But he said... Hey! You just wait a minute..." The speaker went dead as the office door came open and her words continued through to her boss' ears. Brenda's small figure was coming through the open doorway behind a tall, virile, handsome man who looked to be in his thirties. "You can't just barge into Miss Gills' office like this."

Tonnie Sue's blue eyes were wide, her mouth opened to speak, but no flow of words would come. She sat gazing at him as he stopped in the middle of the room. Brenda had gotten hold of his arm, as though she would have bodily thrown him out the minute she was given permission.

"Miss Gills?"

His voice seemed to act like a pacemaker inside the chest of the woman he addressed, pushing the rate of her heart a bit faster. "Yes?" Her voice was finally found, though embarrassed her, as it squeaked. She stood as she snapped out of the trance-like state she found herself in since his presence in her office. It couldn't have been more than a few seconds in reality, but it felt to her as though a couple of hours had gone by. "It's alright, Brenda," she directed to her secretary, looking around the man. "I'll handle this." As the secretary left, closing the door quietly, Tonnie Sue took her seat again. "Please sit down, Mr. Wentworth."

"Thank you, Miss Gills." His smile created a new kind of distraction to the woman who sat in her chair with perfect posture. He seated himself in one of the two comfortable blue vinyl chairs before the woman's dark oak desk, looking completely relaxed as he crossed his right ankle over his left knee, folding his arms over his chest. He looked very sure of himself.

Tonnie Sue looked at him as if trying to memorize every detail about him. The shirt he wore, pure white silk it looked to be, was casually worn with no tie, the top two buttons weren't in their holes. His neck and upper chest, just a little 'v', was tanned and a little dark chest hair puffed out where the material folded back.

"I knew once I got in your office I'd have a chance at an interview." His words took her out of her thoughts, he noticed her eyes left his chest, coming back up to his eyes, then closed as a slight blush came into her cheeks.

She closed her crystal blue eyes trying to get a grip on herself. "As Brenda told you, Mr. Wentworth, all of our Santas have been hired for this year." When she looked back at him, he was standing before her, his large hands placed on her desk as he leaned toward her. There had been no sound of him moving. She gasped at his intimidating closeness.

"I hope I don't frighten you Miss Gills." His smile was no longer there. "You seem to be afraid of me." A slight frown touched his dark brown eyes, as it did his lips.

"No. I... It's..." Clearing her throat, she tried to put the words from her thoughts into the air. "I was expecting another older gentleman." She hated tripping over her words, and it only happened when she was nervous.

"Yes, so I heard." The words told her he was amused for some reason He straightened and walked behind her desk to the tall windows that made up the outside wall. "Not a bad view of the city."

Looking at him now, she noticed his hands were in his pants pocket. The dark blue sports jacket he wore made his shoulders look so much bigger than they could possibly be.

As he turned around to speak, he smiled at the way the woman was looking up at him, then cleared his throat. "Miss Gills, I have to have the job as Santa in your store, the main store to be exact." His statement was a strong demand.

Closing the file she had been studying before he came in, feeling her blush deepen at his knowing smile, her dainty hands folded neatly on top of the yellowish heavy paper folder. Lifting her head higher, she looked defiantly into his eyes. "Mr. Wentworth, I am very sorry." Her words were spoken in sincerity. "We have only four positions for our Santas and each has already been filled. I personally hired each one, as that is my job. Maybe you could try another department store. I'm sure you are well aware there are many of them in this city." Her eyes fell to the navy slacks that hugged his muscular thighs as he walked back to the front of her desk.

Taking his former stance, he leaned over her desk once more. "If you hire, I assume you also fire?" His lowered voice brought a shiver across her shoulders, which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide from him.

"Please sit down Mr. Wentworth. You make me feel as if I were dealing with my boss for something I've done wrong." To which he gave another of his distracting smiles. Another shiver shook her slightly, which she tried to ignore, this time she successfully hid it. "Had you filled out an application several weeks ago, Mr. Wentworth, you would have been considered, doubtfully with much seriousness, though.

His eyebrows raised, creating furrows above them. "Do I hear a little discrimination, Miss Gills?" He sat back in the same chair he'd been in before in his relaxed way, mischievously grinning, knowing he unnerved the woman.

"Possibly, Mr. Wentworth. You see our Santas have to be short, round, jolly, gray headed, retirement age..." Her left index finger pulled the right ones down, one for each describing word, as she let the sing-songing trail off as her voice softened. "Hardly any of those characterizations fit you." She stood as she spoke this last sentence, walking to the door as she shook her head, causing her shiny brown curls to move around her thin shoulders. "Again, I'm sorry, Mr. Wentworth, but I cannot help you."

He met her at the door. As her hand went to the knob to open it, his went to the edge of the door above her head preventing her from doing so. "As I said, Miss Gills, I have to have that position." His other hand came up to rest lightly on her shoulder. "I won't go away defeated."

Her expression took on an irritated look. "I'll tell you what, then," trying to look as though she were giving thought to a new idea, she continued, "we have two positions opening the first of January. If you would like to fill out an application, I'll give it careful consideration, though I can't promise anything." She had moved from under his arm, retreating to the other side of her desk once more, opening a drawer as if to get out a piece of paper for him. If he were to apply for any job she had anything to do with, he definitely would not be hired by her. He was too overbearing for her to work with.

"That's no good. It's the Santa job I want. Who is going to fill it? I'll personally talk to him." He followed the woman, standing over her desk again, his hands spread out once more on the surface. "Miss Gills, I can't tell you how much that particular job means to me. If I could, I doubt that you would turn me down."

"Mr. Wentworth, I don't care how much you try to intimidate me, or if you could get that qualified man to step aside for you, I have the last say, which is: I wouldn't hire you. If that man quits, I have more than forty other applications that haven't been thrown away and they all fit the jolly, old, fat type we need." Her voice had raised, something she never did. It surprised her enough that she placed her elbows on her desk, resting her forehead in her the heels of her hands, wondering what she should do next. "I am sorry Mr. Wentworth," her tone became apologetic, "I rarely lose my temper."

"I seem to have a way of upsetting you, don't I?" He was sitting in the chair once more, his voice lowered, almost seductive again. "But I must have that job. What can I do to make you change your mind about that?"

Looking into his dark brown eyes, she could see golden highlights flashing. Her heart rate wasn't slowing down one bit from the time his voice had raised it and she was almost sorry she couldn't help him. "I can't think of a thing, Mr. Wentworth, except you coming back many years from now." She tried to smile, but it didn't quite make it to her lips. "I would actually risk my job by going beyond the requirements for our store Santas." That was not much of the truth, as her decisions were never questioned, but she couldn't think of another thing to do or say to get him out of her office. "You wouldn't want me to lose my job, would you?" This she spoke as if he were a lot younger than he was.

"That would be the last thing I'd want to do, Miss Gills. But that doesn't change the fact that I need that job. I won't give up until I have it." He stood, walking to the door again. "I assure you, you'll be seeing me again. Soon." His last word held a stubborn promise.

Tonnie Sue sat back in her chair feeling physically drained. The thought of seeing that man again, and he had said it would be soon, gave her goose bumps. She wasn't looking forward to it, she told herself. In fact, her thoughts continued, the next time he came into the building she would have security escort him out, before he could barge, as Brenda had put it, into her office again.

Santa Surprise   by   Jan Abney   |   See Bio >

Tonnie Sue is Waltco Department Store's Personnel Manager. Engaged to be married in two months, she finds an obstacle -- named Bo Wentworth.

Having hired all the Santas needed for the four stores, Bo comes in wanting the position in the main store. He's too tall, too young, too thin, not at all jolly. Being told that all the positions are filled, and if they weren't he wouldn't be considered for the position, he isn't going to give up.

Tonnie Sue is unnerved every time Bo enters her office. His smile, his brown eyes, his voice, just about everything about him seems to irritate her.

Her fiance walks into her office to take her to lunch, and there is Bo, behind the desk, rubbing Tonnie Sue's shoulders and neck.

BWB never takes commissions - Authors! Sign Up Now! Only $9.99
Retail: $4.99FAIR TRADE Price: $1.99

More books by

Bringing Indie Authors and Readers Together...
© Bookstore Without Borders | T 403.336.1313 | E | Powered by