By the time Kendall got round to his coffee, it had gone cold. With a surge of annoyance, he shoved it across his desk and only just managed to catch it before it slid over the edge. That morning, he’d had to deal with one problem after another. Lazell’s Garden Centre was an albatross around his neck. He’d taken the job because the pay was good, and now he couldn’t find anything that paid better, not that he was qualified to do. If his CV didn’t inspire him, then it wasn’t going to inspire anyone else.
He’d come to work with a headache and it had intensified to the point that he thought he might need to find a dark place to lie down if it didn’t ease off.
Could he sort out the non-arrival of Christmas ornaments specifically ordered by an increasingly belligerent customer who had phoned every day for the past two weeks demanding to know when the miniature gnomes were going to arrive? What did the guy want him to do? Hop on a plane to China and stand over the suppliers until they sorted themselves out? Fortunately, he managed not to say that.
Then Danny had tripped over a wire deer in the outdoor section and broken his ankle, as well as crushing the deer. An accident waiting to happen. The guy was the clumsiest person Kendall had ever met. The deer was a write-off and so was Danny at their busiest time of the year. Though Kendall was already wondering if there was something Danny could do while he was recovering. Probably not. The centre’s insurance policy wouldn’t let that happen.
When news came that the Christmas tree netting machine had broken down, Kendall began to think he should have stayed in bed. Though it turned out to be an easy fix, something jammed that he’d been able to unjam. Not so the lights going out in the Christmas section. Flicking a switch on the circuit board hadn’t worked and Kendall had been forced to call an electrician. Still, the lights were on again now.
His phone rang and he glared at it. The way today was going, he was almost sure he wasn’t going to like what he was about to hear.
“Ah Mr Blackstone. This is Santas Are Us. I’m afraid we have a bit of a problem.”
Of course you fucking do. Kendall closed his eyes and put the palm of his hand to his throbbing forehead. “Right.”
“The Santa we’d allocated for Lazell’s has been sent a plane ticket to visit his daughter in Australia. It will be the first time he’s seen his grandchildren, so you can imagine how excited—”
“Get to the point,” Kendall snapped.
“You were very specific with your requirements with regards to the Santa you wanted and we don’t have anyone else to send.”
Kendall unclenched his teeth. “Wonderful. So I have children booked to see Santa at the garden centre tomorrow and I have to tell them he’s gone to Australia?”
“Well, no, you don’t have to tell them that.”
Kendall rolled his eyes. Sarcasm was lost on this idiot. “Then what do you think I should tell them? There must be someone else you can send. What if I revise my requirements?”
“I’m sorry. It would make no difference. There’s no one else on our books at all.”
“Then you come and do it!”
“I’m a double amputee.”
“I lost my legs in a motorcycle accident.”
Shit. “Sorry to hear that. I’m sorry for snapping. I’m just… What about the photographer? Is he or she still coming?”
Kendall could almost feel his blood pressure rocketing.
“He’s Santa’s son and he’s going with him to Australia.”
For fuck’s sake!