Wild on Books - Book Reviews



Second Best

Cris Anson
















Cerridwen Press

Release Date:
November 20, 2008

Contemporary Romance


Bookmark Rating:

Reviewed by
Natalie S.

Review Posted:
November 2008


Jack Sutcliffe has demons.  Demons that make him crave alcohol and women.  Jack isnít proud of the man he used to be months ago and is doing his best to change.  When he is driving through an intersection and a car darts in front of him and they collide, Jackís panic as his past comes back to haunt him. Vowing to never leave another accident scene, Jack goes over and beyond the call of duty to make sure the young girl driving gets the best care possible.  If only Jack could convince her mother, Monica Burke, that his intentions are honorable.  But then again, Jack knows what type of person he is and doesnít blame Ms. Burke for her distrust.  Falling in love with the feisty, self sufficient widow is not something that Jack planned but it is something that he is scared to death of but doesnít realize he craves until he is forced to make a choice between the love of a son and the love of the woman that soothes his inner demons. 

Monica Burke is livid.  Her daughter has been hurt in an accident and the man responsible has not been charged with anything.  Everyone in the town knows that Jack Sutcliffe is a raving drunk and she does not believe him when he tells her he was sober.  The more Monica tries to push Jack away, the more he insinuates himself into her family.  Her children seem to like him, her oldest daughter more than she should, and if Monica were honest, she would admit to having feelings for him as well.  She knows she desires him but is that enough? Can she trust Jack enough to ensure that he will be the man she needs for the rest of their lives?  When Jack has to make the hardest decision of his lifetime, Monica is crushed but knows that the man that used to be Jack Sutcliffe is no longer.  The new Jack Sutcliffe is a man anyone would be proud to love.   

After reading Cris Ansonís First to Die, the prequel to SECOND BEST, I despaired of ever being able to accept Jack Sutcliffe as a hero.  Because of his horrible behavior in First to Die, I had doubts that he was redeemable.  I worried that the author could not pull off a major characteristic change.  With all of these things in mind, I began to read SECOND BEST.   

I noticed first off that Jack was sober and striving to remain that way.  His personality is much more likeable and even fun without the taint of alcohol.  Another thing I watched during Jackís evolution was his sense of family and his sense of self worth.  Although his family had forgiven him, Jack was unable to forgive himself.  He felt he didnít deserve any type of happiness. But he yearned for someone to love and who loved him back.   

Jackís emerging sense of loyalty was climatic to SECOND BEST.  I sobbed watching Jack choose what was asked of him and became almost despondent at his decision.  Forgiveness is the underlying them of SECOND BEST and Jack forgiving himself took the longest of all. 

Jackís attraction to Monica Burke bordered on obsessive innocence.  Jack knew that he loved her, he knew he desired her, but he felt he didnít deserve her.  Her understanding of Jackís ghosts and loving him despite those ghosts won me over very early.   Monicaís acceptance of Jack too some doing but when she fell for him, she fell whole heartedly and unconditionally.  

There is no way to explain how magnificent SECOND BEST is with mere words Ė the reader must experience this outstanding read on their own.  Just know that by the bookís end, not only will you love Jack Sutcliffe but you will pretty much forgive him as well.  SECOND BEST is not to be missed! 

Please note that First to Die, also by Cris Anson, should be read prior to SECOND BEST in order to establish the ploy and storyline that continues over into this next installment.  First to Die is also available at Cerridwen Press. 



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Second Best by Cris Anson
















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