Reviewed for Sara at www.HarlequinJunkie.com! :D
Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.
No One Needs to Know by Debbi Rawlins is a pretty good book. I don't think it's going to blow anyone's mind but if you're interested in a light but serious read, this one may be for you.
Annie Sheridan is hiding. She used to be a high class fundraiser in New York, but when funds went missing, she turned tail and ran. She didn't do anything wrong but was humiliated because she'd obviously trusted the wrong person and her reputation is in tatters. She ends up in Montana, working under a fake name at Safe Haven, an animal rescue. She lives on so little... it was actually distracting for me. She doesn't really have any food in her "house", just a couple of microwave burritos in the freezer. Her "house" is really more of a shack with indoor plumbing. Don't get me wrong: she's happy to live that way. Every dime they receive in donations goes to the animals and their upkeep. Annie keeps nothing for herself. And it's really noble and everything but it sort of took me right out of the story. I was worried about her starving to death! But then, she doesn't really have any food but she's drinking bottled water?! That would be the FIRST thing I cut out! Drink outta the hose, lady!! Anyway, my point is that I sort of liked Annie and I sort of didn't. I love animals and I wish I could help them all. So I really like that she essentially runs this shelter and she's doing it on a shoestring budget and puts everything she has into it. I loved that about her. But I thought she took it a little far sometimes, with the no food thing and the living in a glorified shack. Although I DO get it. She feels guilty about getting duped back in New York and so this is sort of how she's doing penance, by doing without. I just didn't fall in love with her.
Then there's Tucker Brennan. He is what is known as a "gentleman rancher". He's filthy rich but owns a ranch and actually has a hand in running it and he really DOES know the business. His brother, Christian, was Annie's business partner back in New York and Christian was also burned when the money went missing. Tucker has been searching for her ever since she disappeared since he figures that she stole the money and is somewhere living high on the hog while his brother had his own reputation ruined. So Tucker just wants her to come back to New York to answer for her actions. I liked Tucker. He seemed like he had his act together. Not that it should be a surprise since he runs this giant ranch like he was born to do it. The more you get into the story, the more you like Tucker because its not like he only wants Annie to be brought to justice. He really just wants to know the truth and he figures Annie may know more information that she THINKS she knows. So when he thinks he finds her at an animal rescue in Montana, he goes to see for himself, under the guise of maybe wanting to donate money to the rescue. But when he meets Annie, the sparks fly and suddenly, nothing seems so simple anymore.
Annie and Tucker were pretty ok together. There was a lot of angst and longing even though this book takes place probably over a week or so. There's not a lot of Sexy Time so if you're really into that, you won't find much here. You do get deep into Annie and Tucker's motivations though so if you like a lot of soul searching, you may like this one. There's some side drama with Tucker's brother and mother that I thought was a little interesting. But the main thing that bothered me about this book is that the person responsible for the charity money going missing is never really brought to justice. I won't tell you who it was because there's a good bit of the novel devoted to this mini-mystery. Also, towards the end, there was a law enforcement operation that Tucker and Annie participated in and I had to read it over a couple of times before I could understand what was going on. But that certainly could just be my own fault, since I just wanted to be finished with the book.
Overall, No One Needs to Know isn't a bad book. But I didn't love it. I would probably recommend this to someone new to reading contemporary romances. Or possibly to someone who likes the western style contemporary romances. I don't think that you need to run right out and grab this one but it wouldn't be a bad one to add to your collection eventually.