Series: Cowboys of Cold Creek #12
Published by Harlequin on 11/19/2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
Also in this series: The Christmas Ranch, A Cold Creek Christmas Story, The Holiday Gift, The Rancher's Christmas Song
Also by this author: Snow Angel Cove, The Christmas Ranch, Redemption Bay, Evergreen Springs, A Cold Creek Christmas Story, Riverbend Road, Snowfall on Haven Point, The Holiday Gift, Serenity Harbor, Sugar Pine Trail, The Rancher's Christmas Song, The Cottages on Silver Beach
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….
A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise is a fairly typical Christmas series romance made better by RaeAnne Thayne’s deft writing. Pleasant, but not a standout; I thought her Christmas in Snowflake Canyon was stronger. The main characters in A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise are a bit stereotyped — the rancher and the schoolteacher — though Thayne succeeds in bringing them to life. Ridge’s obvious love for his daughter and siblings and friendly relationships with his neighbors counteracted the strong-but-distant rancher trope and made him quite appealing. His daughter Destry is delightful but unusually and almost unbelievably mature for her age. The romantic heroine Sarah, while sweet and kind, is more timid and less honest in the beginning than I was comfortable with, even when I understood her hesitation to speak up, and the inevitable crisis could have and perhaps should have been more involved and less easily resolved. If you’re a fan of the Cold Creek series, you will certainly enjoy A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise, but if you’re new to RaeAnne Thayne, I recommend starting with her Hope’s Crossing series instead.