I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I like cowboys paired with romance paired with Christmas. It’s like magic to my brain and eyes and I just nomnomnom it right up. A Cold Creek Noel by RaeAnne Thayne is no exception and I wish it had actually gone on a little longer, although, I suppose it was great just the way it was.This actually appears to be part of a series, and upon research on Goodreads, it seems I picked the 11th – and most recent – book in the series to grab up. Looks like I have some reading to do!A Cold Creek Noel centers on Caidy Bowman and Ben Caldwell, the new vet who has moved to town with his two children, with plans to escape his past. But Caidy is trying to escape hers, as well. Or rather, at least trying to forget it by stymieing herself from moving on, and staying at the Bowman ranch forever. Unfortunately (fortunately ) for her, Ben shakes her world up, forcing her to look herself in the mirror, and face her future.I enjoyed A Cold Creek Noel a lot! It had just the right amount of romance, without being overly sickeningly sweet, which for me, is the biggest turn-off in romance. The interplay between Caidy and Ben was great; there is a lot of push and pull between them, and as the reader, I know where I want them to end up, so it’s just frustrating enough to keep reading – and rooting – for them. I also really liked the familial bonds within the story and characters: it all felt very realistic, and not like the set of some Norman Rockwell painting where everything is hunky dory. Certainly there is conflict, but it’s obvious this family loves each other.The plot…I’m not sure what more I can say about the plot. It’s a standard romance novel, with a bit of holiday thrown in. Caidy really needs to go on a path of self-discovery before she can love someone else. And you know what? So does Ben, but they can also traverse the path together, as friends would.You know what else I really liked? The entire premise for this story begins with Caidy’s dog getting gored by her bull, prompting her to take Luke to see the vet. There is quite a bit of talk throughout the novel about the care of animals, and how much they can become family. This spoke volumes to me, but I really loved that it was done without being preachy.Overall, the setting was fabulous. I pictured everything as I believe the author intended, but it’s hard not to. I’ve been out in that area before (not specifically Utah, but out West in general) and it’s picturesque. I think this is a great romance novel to sink your teeth into, especially for the holiday season, and I know I’ll be looking up more from this author and, specifically, this series.