My friend, and fellow Carina author Katie Oliver has whipped up a Christmas story for us! I’ll move quietly away and let Katie take the reins, (deers – oh, that didn’t work … I promise Katie is much funnier than me!)


Firstly, let me just say that it wasn’t my fault.

It’s barely a week until Christmas, and Dashwood and James department store is overrun with irritable shoppers and their whiny brats children, so I’m tired and cranky and… well, I admit it. I’ve just been the slightest bit short-tempered with a customer.

Well, okay. I was rude.

Honestly, though, he deserved it. He’s demanding and impossible to please, all because he doesn’t like any of the lovely, lacey knickers I’ve shown him. His girlfriend must be quite the diva. But then I suppose she has to be, to put up with him. He may be attractive, with his dark blond hair and eyes like a storm-ravaged sea, and he’s nicely dressed (probably thanks to his girlfriend); but his personality needs a lot of work.

I wonder… does he treat all store clerks like brain-impaired amoebae, or only me? (Do amoebae even have brains? I don’t think they do. Must look it up.) At any rate, I’m not a store clerk. I’m only helping grandfather out by working the lingerie counter because Dashwood and James are short-handed today.

Unfortunately, whenever I help out, things seem to go rapidly pear-shaped.

Anyway, the customer was irritated because he had to wait a tiny moment for assistance while I was on the phone. (Well, actually, he waited for ten minutes… but my convo with my boyfriend Dominic was important. Dom didn’t come home last night, and so I was a bit put out with him.)

Not that Dominic has a shred of remorse; he doesn’t. We had words. So you can see why I couldn’t end my call straightaway to assist a customer. After all, my personal life comes first.

Now this obnoxious twit the customer wants to purchase something. It’s a nightgown, quite a plain one, too, and not the least bit sexy. It’s practically a granny gown. He hands me his card (ooh, a black AmEx) and I glance surreptitiously down at his name.

Rhys Gordon.

Now he wants the nightgown gift-wrapped. Bloody hell. I ask you, does this lingerie counter I’m standing behind look like the gift-wrapping desk? But he’s spotted the tissue and gift boxes on the shelf behind me and is demanding that I wrap his bloody present.

After flouncing off to another department to fetch gift wrap, I return and fling the nightgown in a box, slap on some hideous, elf-printed paper and a bow that’s seen better days, thrust it all in a carrier bag, and hand it over with a fake smile and a ‘Happy Christmas.’

And does he show the least bit of appreciation for my efforts? No. He does not.

Thankfully, I don’t have to do this store-clerk thingy very often; only in dire emergencies (like today, with the staff decimated by that nasty rotavirus that’s going round). And thankfully, too, I’ll never have to clap eyes on Rhys Gordon again.

Except… grandfather’s just called to inform me that he’s ending my quarterly allowance. He expects me to work in the store instead, to – I can scarcely bear to say it – earn a living.

So while it’s good that I’ll be helping to re-brand our stores, I’ll also be working closely with grandfather’s new hire and Chief Operations Consultant…

… Rhys Gordon. Oh, crikey. That’s not good.

Whatever am I to do now?


Don’t miss Katie Oliver’s first book, Prada and Prejudice, coming in January 2014 from Carina UK/Harlequin

Website: www.katieoliver.com

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