ARC: A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise by RaeAnne Thayne

December 29, 2013 Book Review 4 ★★★

I received this book for free in exchange of my honest review. I was not compensated with money or goods, other than this book, for my opinion.

ARC:  A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise by RaeAnne ThayneA Cold Creek Christmas Surprise written by RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #12
Published by Harlequin on 11/19/2013
Genres: Holiday Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 224
Source: NetGalley

USA TODAY bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne brings readers back to the ranch for an emotional holiday visit with The Cowboys of Cold Creek!

Hardened rancher Ridge Bowman has long told himself he has no need for love—just work and his little girl are enough to get him through. But when his "cleaning lady," Sarah Whitmore, gets injured on his staircase, well, of course he has to invite her to spend the holidays with him. It's only the responsible thing to do.

Only, Sarah isn't really there to work on his house. She came bearing precious artwork belonging to Ridge's late mother, and possibly a secret that could devastate them both. But as Christmas draws closer, so does Ridge—and Sarah convinces herself that she will tell him what she knows as soon as the holiday is over. She might be the key to his past—if only he could be a part of her future….

Love me some cowboys and Christmas, so it is of course no surprise I picked this up off of Netgalley during my Christmas book binge (as I like to call it).  I read A Cold Creek Noel last Christmas and was swept away by the Bowman clan in Pine Gulch, Montana.  This season, RaeAnne Thayne gives us Ridge Bowman’s story and I was excited to find out more about the gruff rancher who has been raising his tween daughter by himself since his ex-wife walked out on him when Destry was only an infant.

Sarah Whitmore has come across some property that she thinks belongs to the Bowman family and she wants to return it – in person.  So she treks from sunny and warm San Diego to the bitterly cold Montana to hand-deliver it, when Ridge mistakes her for someone else.  An accident happens and she ends up stuck on the River Bow ranch through a brutal snowstorm and Christmas, which means… getting to know hottie Ridge and his daughter, Destry.

A Cold Creek Christmas has all the makings for a sweet romance, and it technically was, but it lacked that special zing Thayne’s last book easily delivered. There was almost no humor in this one, and I didn’t feel much connection to the characters this time around.  I didn’t NOT enjoy the story, because I pretty much always love Christmas romances, but this one was not my favorite.  I didn’t see a spark between the characters and it really felt very…clinical.

This is the kind of book I could forget at the beach or someone’s house and not be upset I lost it. I’m certainly glad I finished it, but it’s not one I would have missed.

I did really like that this book resolved a lot about the murders of the Bowman parents from many years ago.  It is nice to get that closure, and now I wonder if RaeAnne Thayne is done with the series?  Because that has been central, from what it appears, for a long time.

As far as Christmas novels go, it mentions Christmas, but the holiday element is more of an afterthought to me, except for a few key parts.  I like it to take more of a front seat usually.  I think most will enjoy this book, especially if you are invested in the series, so don’t let this review sway you away from it…I did still enjoy reading it!

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Jennifer became addicted to books when she randomly picked up a Sweet Valley High book in grade school.She never looked back.After blowing through the SVH and SVU series faster than her parents could put them in her hands, she began perusing her stepfather's bookshelves and reading fantasy like Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, which she still maintains is some of the best fantasy ever.She collects books like the Duggar family collects kids and began waiting for her Hogwarts letter at the tender age of 33.
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ARC: A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise by RaeAnne Thayne
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