Title: Benoit’s Surprise Christmas
Author Name & Publisher: Catherine Lievens (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: January 20th 2016- 50 pages
Belgium expat Benoit Girault has only worked in the administrative department of Toys for All in Milwaukee for a few short months, but it’s long enough for him to miss everyone back home and to fall for coworker Jake Manning—not that Jake ever notices him. Or so Benoit thinks.
Jake notices Benoit all right, but he doesn’t want to risk mixing business with pleasure, not when it could create problems in the office. So when Jake’s friend and boss, Randall, tells him to team up with Benoit to organize a Saint Nicholas party, he’s less than thrilled. But as they work together and Jake nurses Benoit through an illness, he realizes some people might be worth risking it all for.
“YOU WANT me to do what?”
Jake’s boss smiled at him as if he were asking nothing much—the bastard. Randall knew exactly what he was doing, just like he knew Jake would react like he did. He hated parties, and everyone in the office knew it.
“Organize a party for the new clients.”
“Janet usually organizes the parties.”
“She’s busy with another contract. The Belgian clients are yours, Jake. It seems obvious to me that you should be the one in charge of this.”
“But I don’t know anything about the saint you’re talking about.”
“You have enough time to learn something about him and about the Belgian traditions that go with it.”
“You can’t do this to me, Randall. Please. I’m already busy with this new contract. I don’t have time to organize a party.”
“The clients were delighted when I told them there would be a party.”
Jake gaped at his boss. “You told them?”
“Of course. When Mr. Leblanc said he was bringing his wife and son along, I just knew we had to do something for the kid.”
“Someone could take him to the zoo,” Jake muttered.
“Jake, we’re a toy company. Why would we take a kid to the zoo?”
“It’s not like we actually have the toys in this office. That’s what the stores are for.”
Randall set his jaw and narrowed his eyes. He obviously wasn’t going to be swayed by Jake’s protests. But what about pleading? “Randall, I just don’t have the time to do everything on my own, especially if you want a kiddie party.”
After graduating from college in English language and translation, she divides her day between writing, reading, taking care of her son and reading some more.