Forget the Mistletoe

Forget the Mistletoe

Lizzie T. Leaf

Price: $3.79


Marta Holt hates Christmas and her job as an assistant retail manager does nothing for her mood during the holidays. This year she gets stuck with a bossy little man who really thinks he's an elf and in a vote of non-confidence when the store manager has a heart attack, home office sends in the Big Gun to manage things.

Between the two know-it-all males she's ready to strangle someone and her hands will fit perfectly around either of their necks. Too bad her new boss is the hottest man she's seen in a long time.

Linc Randolph loves the holidays and can't understand Marta's sour attitude. If she wasn't so competent in other areas of her job, she would definitely be unemployed for her bah humbug attitude. But, when she's not on her anti-Christmas campaign Marta is someone he'd like to get to know on a personal level.

Can two extreme opposites move beyond their differences and give into their strong attraction for each other?

PUBLISHED BY: Aspen Mountain Press
ISBN: 978 160168 078 5
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, Contemporary, Paranormal, Romantic Comedy
KEYWORDS: mistletoe, Christmas, shopping, bah humbug, elves, erotic romance, fur

EBOOKS BY Aspen Mountain Press

EBOOKS BY Lizzie T. Leaf

COPYRIGHT Lizzie T. Leaf/2005

Aspirin. A whole bottle would be great about now Marta thought as she followed Linc Randolph to yet another department. His suggestions covered every area of the store. He asked, never told, managers to consider moving merchandise around. Change a display here, add something to a display there he said with too much enthusiasm for her taste.

In the fur department, he suggested to the manager that she and her employees wear the fur collars and scarves. He even pulled Marta over and demonstrated what he had in mind as he arranged a fur scarf around her shoulders.

They left the department with the manager salivating at his every word, just as all the managers in the prior departments did. Personally, she'd rather have left with one of the sable coats, but that didn't fit her budget now. She envisioned wrapped from head to toe in sable. Someday she thought to herself. Someday.

"Very nice people in Denver. I can understand why my grandfather chose this to be one of the five cities for our stores." Linc strolled through the various departments greeting employees and customers alike.

He left the employees fawning in his wake as he oozed charm and smiles. Marta didn't know how much longer she could keep the grin on her face plastered in place. If this good will tour didn't end soon she would have to excuse herself to puke.

"One more department to go, and then it should be time for lunch. We'll eat in the fourth floor dinning room. Does that work for you, Miss Holt?"

No way would she let his charm affect her. Instead, she ignored the reference to lunch and said, "From my calculations the last area to cover is the toy department. Right?"

"Thought we'd save the best for last." Linc headed toward the back of the store.

Marta dreaded what ideas he'd throw out when they reached their destination. She didn't trust this man since his suggestions turned out to affect everything she and Mr. Peterson thought worked. Who knew what he had in mind for toys? Then again, maybe he'd put Mr. Pain in the Ass elf in his place.

"Claude." Linc Randolph greeted the Head Elf like an old friend.

"Linc. Good to see you again." Claude reached up to shake hands with the man who loomed above him.

Good heavens, they're on a first name basis. Wonderful, Marta thought as she observed the interaction between the elf and her employer.

"Marta, you look a little pale today." The little man turned his attention to her.

"Thank you, Claude. Nice of you to notice." Yep, she needed to strangle the little shit.

"Claude, Marta and I are going to the dining room to grab a bite of lunch. I hope you can take a break and come with us. I'd like to hear more about the ideas you mentioned last night." Linc placed his hand on the small man's shoulder and the men walked away leaving Marta to follow.

Damn, damn, double damn. Marta felt like the outsider here. No way would they shut her out through their male bonding. She rushed to catch up.

Lunch confirmed what Marta had come to suspect when she and Linc toured the various departments. He loved Christmas. She fought to keep her lunch down when Linc and Claude got on the subject of Santa Claus. It sounded like the fools still believed, especially the pointy-eared fellow. Heaven save her from idiots.

"So shoot, Claude. What other ideas do you have that would make this season our best ever?" Linc poured himself another cup of coffee as he encouraged the elf to reveal his thoughts.

"Yes, Claude. Please share." Marta clenched her teeth to keep the smile in place. Obviously Head Elf made more of an impression on the Big Shot than she did.

"I think things in the toy department are pretty well under control." Claude stirred the coffee to dissolve the six packages of sugar he'd added. "I hear through the grapevine that the malls are offering incentives to lure the customers back to their Santas." The elf wiggled his ears and continued to stir his coffee. "There is one suggestion I have, but it would affect the whole store."

"I'm always open to new ideas. What do you have in mind?" Linc encouraged.

Marta watched in disbelief. With Claude she could understand the need to stir his coffee friggin' forever with all the sugar he added, but why in hell did Linc Randolph start stirring the liquid in his cup. He took his decaf black. It must have something to do with the male bonding thing. Men were strange creatures.

"I think it would be a great idea to place mistletoe around the store in various areas. When an employee catches a customer of the opposite sex standing under it, they'd go over and give them a quick kiss."

The swallow of coffee that Marta had just taken spewed across the table. "That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard and you've come up with some doozies since I met you." Marta glared at the elf.

"No. Wait a minute." Linc held up one hand for Marta to stop as he picked up his napkin with the other and wiped off the coffee she'd deposited on his face.

"This is an interesting idea. I can see merit here. Something no other store has done, and if we do it right ... Yep, I can see the customers getting a good laugh out of it."

"I disagree. Screw the mistletoe idea. Forget it. We'll be the laughing stock of Denver." Marta couldn't believe he actually took the preposterous suggestion seriously.

"I don't think so, Miss Holt." Linc's flashing dark eyes left no doubt in Marta's mind she'd lost this argument.

"Now, Claude where do you suggest we place the mistletoe?" Linc turned back to the elf with a smile on his face.

Marta chewed on the inside of her cheek to keep back the tears. She never cried, but this man had a way of making her want to rant, scream and cry in frustration. Linc's reprimand made her feel bad enough, but the I told you so grin Claude threw in her direction made her feel like a little girl.

She followed behind the two as the party toured the store and the men discussed where to place the mistletoe.

Marta decided to give one more shot at discouraging them. "Excuse me. Have you two ever heard of sexual harassment?"

"You do have a point." Linc paused and appeared to think about what Marta said. "I think if we leave it up to the employees as to whether they want to participate or not, it won't be an issue."

"We need the mistletoe where it's not obvious, but at the same time can be seen when the employee points it out to the customer." Claude told them.

"Agreed. And it would probably be better if the employee points it out to the customer before the kiss. I think a quick kiss on the cheek will get a laugh, don't you?" Linc turned toward Marta.

She shrugged her shoulders. "No idea. You know how I feel about this hair-brain scheme to begin with. You're the boss and I'll follow your orders."

Linc looked grim. "Claude, you should probably get back to Santaland. Miss Holt and I will take it from here."

"Sure thing boss." Claude studied the two big people in front of him before he turned and shuffled off toward the toy department.

"Miss Holt, I think you have a definite attitude." Linc wasted no time in speaking his mind as soon as Claude disappeared. "You need to know one of the reasons my uncle thought I should come out and cover for Peterson is your reputation."

"My reputation?" Marta choked out. "What are you talking about?" She didn't discuss her personal life in the store. No one knew she used one-night stands to satisfy her sexual needs, did they?

"Your dislike of the holiday season is company legend. We already told Peterson if you didn't do a better job with the toy area this year he'd have to let you go."

"Let me go?" Marta's heart skipped several beats. "Look, Linc, ah, Mr. Randolph, I may not love the Christmas season the way you seem to, but I'm not the Grinch. Besides when we met, you called me a Christmas connoisseur." She couldn't believe her job had been on the line and Mr. Peterson didn't tell her.

"You're close. You may not be the Grinch, but you sure come across as Miss Scrooge. A lot of people, especially in retail aren't wild about the season because of the stress it generates, but with you it seems different. And the connoisseur comment was a joke, which obviously you didn't get." Linc walked away.

Marta stood rooted to the spot. Yes, she did hate the holidays. Always had as far back as she could remember and had no idea why. She hated the Santa delusion and the decorations as well as the music, especially that stupid Santa Baby song.

"By the way." Linc had returned. "There is one more thing I want you to do."


"Change the music. My favorite song is Santa Baby and I haven't heard it once since I've been here. Have it played in the rotation at least once an hour. Understand?"


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