by Kathryn Shay

August 2002
ISBN: 0-425-18574-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Jove Books
Mass Market Paperback

Susanna Quinn is the principal of Fairholm High, a suburban high school. The recent suicide of a student left her, as well as the student body, shaken. When the superintendent brings in a specially-trained crisis counselor, she sees many possibilities and hopes for intervention, if something like this should happen again. The counselor, Joe Stonehouse, seems to know what he`s doing even if his nineteen-year-old nephew, Luke, is a bit of a hellion. Susanna soon finds that Luke will be attending Fairholm High as well.

But Joe and Luke aren`t what they seem. The two are Secret Service agents assigned to the Safe School Initiative, which analyses the student bodies for potential school shooters. Joe is a trained psychologist with more than a passing interest in school shooter prevention, having lost his teenaged niece to a school shooting.

Luke, on the other hand, is a twenty-six year old hellion, both in real life and undercover, who`s on the verge of being fired after messing up on a previous assignment. And he knows he`s about to screw up again when he feels an attraction to Kelsey Cunningham, his social studies teacher. He finds out that it`s a mutual attraction, even though she thinks he`s a kid. He still tries to push it, and her, away but the sizzling currents between them won`t go away.

As the stories and attractions between Joe and Susanna unfold, so does the story of Kelsey and Luke, who have much more than their attraction in common. Both have troubled family pasts and can`t quite come to terms with it.

All in all, Promises To Keep was a wonderful story, though the scars on Kelsey and Luke`s souls left something missing in my mind, I`m not sure what. Susanna is a typical principal, but a good one. Joe is an agent with a past, and it all comes together in a good way, but it`s a very dark book that the weak at heart shouldn`t read. It deals with troubled kids, the possibility of violence and horribly deep emotional scars.

If you can overcome that, then you`re sure to enjoy Kathryn Shay`s first single title, Promises To Keep.

Reviewed in November 2002 by Lucy.

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