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ISBN: 978-1-940222-12-7

Available at







260 pages
$13.97 in softcover
$7.99 in Kindle

The Hunting

When Isabelle "Izzy" Lewis puts her faith in the wrong place,
bad things are sure to happen.

by Kerry Peresta


 

      Isabelle Lewis has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. It's a problem. Single mom of three and top salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel, she is determined to make a change.
      After her last divorce, her confidence had been shattered, but she shoved the pain into a tidy compartment in the back of her brain and soldiered on. With three active teenagers, a house to take care of and bills to pay, introspection was a luxury she couldn't afford. Her mind needed a happy place.
      When Izzy discovered online dating, she was immediately hooked. Her nightly adventures became the stuff of legend around the coffeemaker at the newspaper where she worked. The dating site quickly became Izzy's best friend and favorite stress reliever. Long after the kids were asleep, she pecked at her laptop answering seductive messages, often lured into the darkness to meet someone new.
      One fateful evening she received an especially intriguing message, and disappeared into the darkness to meet the mystery man in a flurry of romantic expectations. To her horror, she found herself nose-to-nose with a living, breathing nightmare.
      Snarky, suspense-filled and real, The Hunting is women's fiction at its gritty best. An exquisite entwining of the crippling emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship, this inspirational story rivets.
      The Hunting shoots straight through the heart.

Praise for The Hunting

The Hunting is a fast-paced entertaining and uplifting story that you won't be able to put down.
      ~ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

I was dramatically grabbed by the first page of The Hunting and it refused to let go. The prologue is fascinating: dark, perfectly written and asks enough questions to have you begging for answers. What a cracking start. And the rest of the book didn't let me down. It really probes some deep and interesting questions: what are the dangers of internet dating? How can you control addictions? What's the hardest thing about being a Mum? And how can you prove sexual harassment at work?
      Kerry Peresta obviously cares about and respects single mothers, but she's not afraid to install Izzy with challenging behaviors and it's to her credit that as a reader, I never lost my faith in Izzy, even when her bad choices and irresponsibility led her and her family into trouble.
      ~ Nikki Mason at BestChickLit.com

I could definitely relate to Izzy! I was a single Mom for a while myself about 30 years ago. As another reviewer expressed, I'm glad I didn't have the option of on-line dating!! I would absolutely recommend this book to any women struggling with being a single Mom and feeling they may be missing out.
      ~ Leann Cole

I was surprised I liked The Hunting as much as I did. I read the book because of its focus on internet dating, which is something in which I have great interest. Peresta has written a clean, crisp, fast-paced story that had me caring for Izzy, her main character, from the start.
      I really, really wish I could say Ms. Peresta was embellishing the truth about the myriad of disingenuous, creepy guys Izzy meets online. But I cannot. One of the reasons I wrote my book was because so many women begged me to write a primer (of sorts) for the men who cannot seem to understand an appropriate approach to women they meet on the web. I think guys looking to date online could benefit from reading The Hunting.
      Near the end of the story, Izzy says "I don't think the online thing was the enemy. I think somewhere along the line my whole approach to life got screwed up." I believe that's true also. There are good people and bad people everywhere, even on internet dating sites. I'm looking forward to Kerry Peresta's next offering.
      ~ George Reagan

Over thirty years ago, I was Izzy. Single mom, spent way too many hours at work and, when I wasn't working, I was out to have a good time with my friends - or boyfriend at the time. The only difference was that there was no internet, thank God. All I can say is that, at every page in the first half of the book, I wanted to grab Izzy and say, "What are you thinking? Do you know what can happen?"
      I certainly would recommend this book to anyone but, especially, single moms.
      ~ Sharon L. Helbig

Izzy Lewis has problems. Some of them stem from being a single parent of three teens who are perfecting the self-conscious surly glare of the modern post-adolescent. Her high-pressure job selling retail advertising for a mid-size newspaper carries its own share of office drama, leering clients, and randy supervisors. After a pair of failed marriages, she is anxious to find a reliable mate, and her brief flings on internet dating sites provide her with just the bit of uplift and pizzazz that her burdened life truly craves.
      The men online that nurture me, accept me, want me. Never criticize or judge. Tell me I am pretty, desirable. Buy me dinner. Take me dancing. Some of them even tell me they love me. How could something that feels so good be wrong? Is it?
      Izzy's life is the image of the duck, tranquil and well preened on the surface, kicking like mad under the water just to stay afloat. Into the mix, ladle liberal doses of creepy male pursuit, including one leering supervisor and one stalking online date gone-terribly-wrong. Like so many moderns, she is living a life built on what seems a simple dream: find a compatible mate. And, like so many, the pursuit of that dream ultimately leads to a stark realization: the answer to loneliness is to learn to be alone.
      For Izzy, the journey leads inward, as she slowly notices the signs all around her of a quiet and loving power, consistent and unshakeable. Over time, Izzy realizes her madcap, frenetic life is as much about running away as running to something. When one of her children nearly dies, and another runs afoul of an online predator, she finally can't run any longer.
      Ms. Peresta has a witty and engaging style that screams along in first person, present tense, ala Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. It's a bold, brassy style loaded with clever similes such as "My thoughts are frantic, like butterflies trapped in a jar," and "'Mornin' Izzy!' Birdie sings, his smile blazing like blanched bones at high noon."
      It is a story of loss, despair, the dark place, false trails, and ultimately redemption. A worthy read, fast-paced and uplifting. Congratulations on a superlative freshman novel!
      ~ Jack B. Downs, Professor at University of Maryland, Founder of Eldersburg Short Story and Critique Group.

Kerry Peresta's tight dialogue and gritty descriptions pull readers right in and keep them engaged.
      ~ Julie Castillo, Author of New York Times bestsellers.

Addictive! From the time you meet The Hunting's protagonist, Isabelle "Izzy" Lewis, until the book's end, you are pulled into her challenges-from her online dating addiction to dealing with her creepy new boss, all while raising three kids as a single mom. You will find yourself pulling for Izzy and loving her!
      ~ Michele Wojciechowski, author of Next Time I Move, They'll Carry Me Out in a Box.



An Excerpt:

There is just one man at the bar, sitting in the darkest, most lonely corner of it, nursing a drink. I gaze around the room, looking for the mystery man I'd arranged to meet. I order a glass of wine as I wait and move toward the empty stools. Maybe he's running late.
      The bartender works his way over, stops in front of me and smiles.
      "What'll it be tonight, Izzy?"
      "A Pinot, I think. Do you have Bearboat?"
      "Yep." He plucks a bottle from the shelves behind the bar, deftly uncorks, and pours. "Give it a sec, Izzy."
      I nod, wait impatiently for the wine to breathe. Turning the stool around, I scan the bar in case the man appears. After a few minutes, I swirl and sniff, then sip. Heaven in a glass.
      The man who had been sitting alone at the far end of the bar pushes off his stool and walks toward me. My eyes lock on his face as he emerges from the dark. The scene unfolds eerily, like something from an old Hitchcock movie.
      I clutch the stem of the wine glass like a security blanket and lift it to my mouth. The disgust I feel spikes as he pulls out a stool and sits beside me. The stench of cheap cologne curls up my nose. He must have freshened it since our meeting at the office. I still feel the sting of his words.
      "Understandable that you are upset, Izzy. We need to clear the air, I think."
      I turn my head toward him, my lips a firm line. "I agree," I spit out. "But this is not the time. I'm meeting someone in a few minutes. So can we talk about this at the office tomorrow?"
      Twin rows of perfectly straight, white teeth blaze through the dim lighting. "Nope. We're gonna talk about it right now. Who you waiting for, by the way?"
      "My business. We've had this discussion."
      His grin does not diminish by a single kilowatt. "Yeah. We have. However, the discussion is ongoing." A beat of silence, then he continues.
      "Dreamsicle."
      The dread starts at my toes and slithers the entire vertical length of my body. My brain, a hiccup or two behind the dread, snags the realization I've been had. An impromptu prayer pops into my head before I can argue with myself that it never works.
      I turn to him, my tongue finally loosed, mad as hell. "You? You? What are you thinking? This breaks every privacy law ever legislated, for Pete's sake! This is . . . this is . . . unspeakable!"
      The smile falters, then disappears. His eyes, in the murky light, are unblinking. Reptilian.
      "Izzy, you and I have some business to process together." His lips press close to my ear and he whispers, "For Chrissakes, you treat me like a leper. It's going to stop. Now."
      My hand reaches instinctively to cover my ear and he backs away. The moistness of the whispered words lingers. I rub my ear and put my hand back in my lap.
      My hand still clenches the stem of the wine glass. I am afraid I will break it, so I unwrap my fingers, nestle the globe instead, and drink. The glass makes a soft clink when I set it down. I focus my eyes behind the bar. My mind spins furiously. Doesn't this fall under the realm of predatory? How does one go about proving it?


Learn more about Kerry at KerryPeresta.com.

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