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4.5 out of 5 stars 170 customer reviews

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Length: 420 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In one of life's greatest ironies, Joe Stonehouse, secret service agent, the man who'd always protected his family, is away on assignment when a fellow high-school student shoots and kills his beloved niece. Now part of the special School Threat Assessment Team, Joe uses his credentials as a clinical psychologist to help in his role as Fairholm High's school counselor, while youthful-looking agent Luke Ludzecky, masquerading as Joe's rebellious nephew, completes his cover. Principal Suzanna Quinn is furious to find out that the new staff member is actually a secret service agent, but a student's suicide note warns of plans to commit violent acts, so she reluctantly goes along with the charade. As they work together, Suzanna's resentment of Joe evaporates, and mutual respect turns to love. Shay does an admirable job with a difficult subject, writing about school violence with sensitivity and realism and without shying away from any of the hard issues, such as the balance between the students' protection and their civil liberties. Shelley Mosley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Kathryn Shay is the award-winning author of many contemporary romance novels. She currently teaches high school English and was a professor of education for five years. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children. Visit her website at:

Product Details

  • File Size: 1548 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Kathryn Shay; 3 edition (October 4, 2010)
  • Publication Date: October 4, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0045UABT6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,569 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kathryn Shay is a lifelong writer. At fifteen, she penned her first 'romance,' a short story about a female newspaper reporter in New York City and her fight to make a name for herself in a world of male journalists - and with one hardheaded editor in particular. Looking back, Kathryn says she should have known then that writing was in her future. But as so often happens, fate sent her detouring down another path.

Fully intending to pursue her dream of big city lights and success in the literary world, Kathryn took every creative writing class available at the small private women's college she attended in upstate New York. Instead, other dreams took precedence. She met and subsequently married a wonderful guy who'd attended a neighboring school, then completed her practice teaching, a requirement for the education degree she never intended to use. But says Kathryn, "I fell in love with teaching the first day I was up in front of a class, and knew I was meant to do that."

Kathryn went on to build a successful career in the New York state school system, thoroughly enjoying her work with adolescents. But by the early 1990s, she'd again made room in her life for writing. It was then that she submitted her first manuscript to publishers and agents. Despite enduring two years of rejections, she persevered. And on a snowy December afternoon in 1994, Kathryn Shay sold her first book to Harlequin Superromance.

Since that first sale, Kathryn has written twenty-two books for Harlequin, ten mainstream contemporary romances for the Berkley Publishing Group, and two online novellas, which Berkley then published in traditional print format.

Kathryn has become known for her powerful characterizations - readers say they feel they know the people in her books - and her heart-wrenching, emotional writing (her favorite comments are that fans cried while reading her books or stayed up late to finish them). In testament to her skill, the author has had a one of her books serialized in the December 2003 COSMOPOLITAN magazine and has been quoted in PEOPLE and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. She has won five RT BookClub Magazine Reviewers Choice Awards, three Holt Medallions, two Desert Quill Awards, the Golden Leaf Award, and several online accolades.

Even in light of her writing success, that initial love of teaching never wavered for Kathryn. She finished out her teaching career in 2004, retiring from the same school where her career began. These days, she lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children. "My life is very full," she reports, "but very happy. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to pursue and achieve my dreams."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read some of Kathryn Shay's books, but so far this is THE BEST!!! I was a bit reluctant at first to start reading a book where the hero is 47 and the heroine is a 43 year old single mom of a teenage boy. But once I started, I was hooked. I couldn't even put it down until the last page. WOW. The secondary characters Luke and Kelsey are also so likeable and their love story is so touching that I think they deserve their own book.
Kathryn Shay has carefully and precisely brought the reality of high school life into the book. I was a teacher once, and even so I learned a lot more from her book from my own very limited experience. I wished I paid more attention and understanding to my students beyond their scholastic work,then. Aside from the sweet romantic side, the book is very well researched and very informative that any readers can benefit from it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Agent Joe Stonehouse has dedicated his life to preventing violence at schools nationwide. His current assignment has sent him to Fairholm High School where he has been hired as a school psychologist. Joe is a man that has had many tragedies in his life, from his horrific childhood to losing the niece that was like his daughter in a school shooting. He has trained himself not to feel anything for anyone but his family, however he had never met anyone like Suzanna Quinn, the principal at Fairholm.
Suzanna Quinn is the widowed principal at Fairholm. When Joe Stonehouse and his partner Luke Ludezky want to come into her school prentending to be uncle and nephew, she is incensed. She has always stressed how important honesty is between her staff and students and she feels like it's a betrayal of all that she thinks is important. The hardest thing Joe asks her to do is keep it from her fellow teacher and surrogate daughter, Kelsey Cunningham. Joe convinces her that it is worth keeping from Kelsey as the lives of many students are at risk.
This is my first Shay novel and I was very impressed. The way she depicts the emotions of the characters is heartbreaking. All the characters have had something happen in their past that they are trying to deal with and they all turn to eachother. The secondary characters of Luke and Kelsey is especially heartbreaking, as Kelsey honestly believes she has feelings for a student that aren't at all teacher-like.
Shay also stresses to the reader how common violence is in schools and how important it is that adults, whether parents or teachers or counselers, be available to talk with them without jugding. I can't wait to pick up another Shay!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read many books from this author, so I was excited about this book. The plot had promise and it seemed very relevant to what is going on in schools today, but some of the characters just didn't gel with me. The taboo topic of teacher-student relationships could have been done better, Kelsey the supposed teacher seemed more immature and with issues like her students. The other characters were OK, the story developed kind of slow for me, and the end was predictable.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Three years have passed since Secret Agent Joe Stonehouse's beloved niece was killed in a school shooting. Since then, he has been dedicated to stopping that kind of random violence. His latest assignment has him masquerading as a guidance counselor and the uncle of a troubled youth, who is another agent, in a high school. His mission is complicated when he meets the principal, Suzanna Quinn, an attractive single mom to whom he finds himself drawn, despite the complications such a romance would create. On top of that, his "nephew" has definitely more than student teacher relations in mind when he sees Kelsey, one of his teachers.
As the two couples dance along the fine line between business and pleasure, a plot to have another Columbine is forming in their school. Romance could compromise the whole mission, and love between any of them could endanger not only the mission, but their hearts and careers as well.
... A timely, current novel that is easy to identify with due to the relevance contained herein, it is a welcome addition to the shelves. Ms. Shay should have broken into the full length novel genre long ago. Her talents are always finely displayed in the deep emotion her words evoke and her well thought out characters. These are all living breathing people you might meet anywhere at any time. The action and suspense balance well with the love, so that neither plot is skimped upon. I eagerly await her next release...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was an OK effort, but a few things bothered me:

1. They let the subplot with the teacher feeling like she had feelings for a student go on too long for comfort. As the reader, you know he is not actually a student, but it is drug out too long for comfort in a romance, even for one that is trying to also deal with a serious subject.
2. The violence part was too drawn out.
3. I didn't buy into the chemistry with the "main couple" as much as I did with the other couple...which increased the discomfort as a reader.

The book, IMO was too long. And that gave the author a little more time in the narrative to drag things out a little longer than they needed to be.
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