Spotlight & Giveaway: Tourist Season by Brenda Novak

Posted April 16th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 28 comments

Today, HJ is pleased to share with you Brenda Novak’s new release: Tourist Season




A summer by the ocean promises new beginnings—until old secrets resurface.

Ismay Chalmers is ready for a relaxing summer reconnecting with her fiancé at his family’s luxurious beachfront cottage. But before Remy can join her, a hurricane bears down on Mariners Island. Alone in the large house, Ismay makes a disturbing discovery in Remy’s childhood closet. She’s not sure what to make of it, but is relieved when the property’s caretaker, Bo, checks in on her.

Bo’s home is damaged, so they temporarily shelter together, and Ismay is comforted by his quiet strength. But the unannounced arrival of a family member puts Bo back at his place and changes Ismay’s summer into something other than what she wants—or ever expected. With so many reasons to feel unsettled, Ismay finds herself turning to Bo, who gives her more than a sense of security; there’s something about him that makes her feel alive, stirring her to wonder what life might be like if she chose a different path…

As Ismay grows closer to Bo, she begins to hope the reclusive caretaker might eventually let down his guard. But when she finds out that he has secrets, too, she begins to question how well she knows any of the men in her life—and how well she can trust her own heart.


Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Tourist Season 

Ismay Chalmers had never faced such terrible weather. A farmer’s daughter, born and raised in a small town in northern Utah, she’d seen the occasional blizzard during winter, a twenty-year
drought and scars left by wildfires once. But she’d never experienced anything even close to a hurricane. “I can’t believe this is happening,” she told Remy Windsor, her fiancé, over
the phone.
“You have nothing to worry about,” he said, but his words sounded hollow. She was alone on an island off Cape Cod that was only ten miles long and five miles wide, facing shrieking gale-force winds that seemed determined to claw the house apart, and dark roiling clouds that blocked out the sun so completely it could’ve been nighttime instead of midafternoon.
“Easy for you to say. You’re sitting in sunny LA,” she grumbled. Just imagining the balmy spring weather he was experiencing made her wish she’d stayed in California. She would’ve
waited for him, but after passing the bar, there’d been nothing for her to do while he continued to study almost 24/7 for the third and final part of the Unites States Medical Licensing Exam, which would enable him to become a medical doctor.
Instead, she’d flown to Mariners Island ahead of him to get settled while he finished up. He was supposed to join her in three weeks. Then they’d spend the rest of May and all of June in paradise, unwinding from all the pressure they’d been under, both before they knew each other and after—obtaining their bachelor’s degrees at UCLA, passing the exams necessary to get into higher education at the same school and earning their advanced degrees.
“The storm won’t be as bad as it seems,” he insisted. “Like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Mariners is an outlier that gets far more nor’easters than hurricanes. Those can be bad
enough, of course, but they only come in the winter. And hurricane season doesn’t start until August.”
When the wind had first come up, she’d checked the internet. She knew what he said was accurate. But there were always exceptions.
“Hurricanes almost always slam into the coast farther south,”
he continued as she moved to the living room window to be
able to watch what was happening outside. “They lessen in severity before moving north, or they curve into the Atlantic.”
Feeling the house shudder around her did nothing to build her confidence. Windsor Cottage—a play on Windsor Castle using his family’s last name—was located at the end of a lane
called “Land’s End,” because it was on the easternmost tip of the island.
When a jagged bolt of lightning electrified the sky, she could see the angry froth of the sea churning not far away—watched a giant wave rise up and come crashing down on the beach.
“It’s hard to feel safe when I’m afraid the house will blow down and be swept into the ocean,” she said.
“The house won’t blow down and be swept into the ocean,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s been in the family for almost a century. Everything will be fine.”
Maybe he was right, and she was overreacting. That wouldn’t be too surprising, considering she was staying in an unfamiliar house in a part of the world she’d never visited before. “I just
wish I’d waited for you. I don’t know what I was thinking flying off ahead of you.”
“You were thinking of spending your days on the beach, reading escape novels and getting a tan. You’ve worked so hard. You deserve to celebrate with a sun-drenched vacation on
Mariners. That’s why my parents insisted we use the cottage.”
The word cottage was an understatement. Summer home would be a more accurate term. The house was worth millions. But she wasn’t going to argue over semantics. She’d grown up with
seven younger siblings and tired parents who worked from dawn till dusk to provide everything they could for their family, but she’d never known the type of affluence Remy had. His father
was a diamond broker in New York City—like his father before him—and thanks to his incredible success, Remy’s mother had never had to work. “I just feel so…alone and vulnerable.”
“Stop. You’ll wake up in the morning, the sun will be shining, and you’ll be glad you went ahead of me. You passed the bar in February. You’ve had to sit around twiddling your thumbs
enough while I study.”
He was right about that. She’d cracked open her share of textbooks, but she hadn’t had to study nearly as hard as he had, and the fact that he was never available was getting old. She was becoming concerned about their relationship. When they met nearly three years ago, she’d been so impressed by his drive and ability, how he always had everything under control. They’d moved in together a year later and gotten engaged, informally for now, nine months ago. But she no longer felt like a priority. Maybe marriage would be a mistake. She’d recently
told him she was having a few misgivings, and he’d said things would change once they had their hardest years behind them.
She decided to wait and see, when he wasn’t so stressed.
“I’ll be there before you know it,” he promised.
Enough whimpering about the storm, she told herself. He didn’t have much patience for weakness—much patience at all,
now that she thought of it. She was about to change the subject and ask how confident he was feeling about part three, his upcoming exam, when the lights flickered. “I think I’m going to lose power,” she said instead, feeling a fresh burst of panic.
“I’m sure my folks have candles and flashlights and that sort of thing.”
“Where?” she asked, suddenly desperate to find them.
“I’ll call and ask.”
How long would that take? She drew a deep breath. “Okay.
As soon as she disconnected, she started rummaging through the cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, thinking she might stumble on what she needed. To prepare for a hurricane—or
a bad storm like this—the information online indicated she should have a gallon of water, food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit, extra batteries, and a whistle to
use to be able to call for help—although, hopefully, it wouldn’t get that bad. The list was even more extensive than that, but she figured she’d be happy if she could just gain possession of
the top three items.
Fortunately, she’d purchased groceries once she’d landed and bought filtered water.
After she left the kitchen, she managed to locate a flashlight in the mudroom at the back of the house.
Relieved, she turned it on, then groaned. The beam was so weak. It needed new batteries. She was also worried about the battery in her cell phone. She’d been charging it since before the
storm started, but it ran down quickly—in a couple of hours. She’d been meaning to do something about that, but she’d been living on student loans and a modest paycheck from the
coffee shop where she worked and would need every cent she could scrape together to set up her law practice this summer. She could’ve joined a firm instead, but she’d chosen to go out on her own so she wouldn’t be beholden to the demands—or whims—of those more powerful than she was and could retain control of her own destiny.
She still considered that a good decision. But putting off getting her phone fixed? Not so much. It didn’t matter a great deal in LA. There, she was almost always near a working outlet. But
what if that wasn’t the case here? What if she lost power and it took all night or longer to restore it?
She’d be completely cut off. With everyone having a cell phone these days, Remy’s parents had seen no reason to keep a landline when they had the house renovated last fall.
“Shit.” After returning to the kitchen, where she’d left her phone, she tapped her fingers on the counter, willing Remy to call back. But he’d been so cavalier and unconcerned, so sure everything would be fine, she wasn’t convinced he’d act quickly.
A large boom sounded. She had no idea what it was. It sounded more like something had crashed into the house than thunder. But it convinced her she’d be a fool to waste any more
time waiting for him.
Taking only the small flashlight she’d found, she left her charging phone behind to poke through the other rooms.
Surely, she’d find a bevy of flashlights. The house was built on an island, for God’s sake. The only way to reach Mariners was by boat or plane, and bad weather routinely cut it off from
the mainland. But no one had spent much time at the cottage since it was gutted and remodeled, so a lot of everyday items hadn’t yet been replaced.
The lights went out before she could reach the second story. She was only halfway up the stairs when it happened, leaving her in such a thick humid darkness that felt like plasma. As she listened to the wind howl through the eaves and the house creak in protest, she realized she was going to have to use the weak flashlight.
“What a nightmare,” she muttered and hit the switch.

Excerpt. ©Brenda Novak. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Giveaway: One copy of TOURIST SEASON by Brenda Novak (US/Canada only)


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Meet the Author:

New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak has written over 60 novels. An eight-time Rita nominee, she’s won The National Reader’s Choice, The Bookseller’s Best and other awards. She runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity that has raised more than $2.5 million for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). She considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

Buy Links: Harlequin |Amazon | Books-A-Million |Barnes & |

28 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Tourist Season by Brenda Novak”

  1. psu1493

    Great start to the story. I’m curious to see how Ismay evolves as the story goes on.

  2. Diana Hardt

    Nice cover. I liked the excerpt. It sounds like a really interesting book.

  3. Patricia Barraclough

    I have been in a similar situation and it is frightening. It sounds like their relationship is in trouble. He is not concerned about her and that shows a lack of really caring. This time alone and the situation she finds herself in is teaching her more about him and herself.

  4. Laurie Gommermann

    Definitely captures your interest and attention. After living through a few hurricanes I can relate to her fears and feelings of helplessness. Remy could have been a bit more understanding of Ismay’s situation.
    I want to learn about what she discovered in the closet and also what Bo’s secret is. Love triangle -sounds intriguing!