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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Morning Report by Sue Brown

My daughter's endless complaint is that I never write anything she can read. This is true. She isn't getting anywhere near one of my books for a few years yet. Much as I'd love to write her a PG rated book my mind keeps venturing into the bedroom of my heroes. She seems to have accepted that there are always going to be two men on the cover. This she finds odd. Why can't I write about wizards, dragons or fluffy puppies? I'd probably make more money if they were. However I love my cowboys far too much to write about a dragon flying wizard with a fluffy puppy for a pet. The boys in my head are most definitely men *g* and they like playing dick rather than with puppies.

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Blurb: A decade on from their first kiss, Luke Murray is more in love with Simon every day. Running the Lost Cow ranch for Luke’s parents, they keep their heads down and get along with the locals, even if Luke is known for being a hothead. Then one day they discover the local store owners refuse to serve them.

They’re bewildered until Luke’s mom tells them the new pastor has targeted the couple in his sermons. Suddenly Luke and Simon find themselves alienated from people they called friends, and their ranch comes under a series of attacks. As the town’s hatred and homophobia turns on them, Luke and Simon will face a critical choice: give in to the town’s demands and disappear, or stand and fight for themselves and their love.


HE yawn caught him by surprise. Luke stretched his arms and rolled his shoulders, trying to relax back muscles that had tensed up after three hours at the computer. If he was yawning at nine o’clock in the morning, it was time to stop. He squinted at the screen. The spreadsheets were done and the accounts almost up to date. Another half an hour and it would be done. 
He looked longingly out the window. It was still early enough in the year that long sleeves were needed first thing in the morning. Somewhere out there his ranch foreman was riding back to the house to make his morning report, enjoying the early morning sunshine before the heat sucked the enjoyment out of the day.

Luke pouted at the computer, despite the fact there was no one to see it. He wanted to be out there on Lulu sucking in lungfuls of the morning air, smelling the sweet grass instead of stuck in front of a computer. He was a cowboy, dammit, not a goddamned paper pusher.

“If you’re not careful, your face will freeze like that forever.”

“I’ll be chained to this chair forever,” he commented sourly, turning around to look at his ranch foreman grinning at him through the open window. As ever, his floppy, dark hair was covering his eyes, and Luke resisted the temptation to go to the window and push the hair back so he could see the large ocean-blue eyes with their mischievous glint.

“Not finished yet?” Simon sounded sympathetic, knowing just how much Luke hated to be stuck inside with the books.

Luke scrubbed the back of his neck. “’Nother half-hour, I think. Just got the accounts left.” He grimaced. “Was the fence still up?”

Simon nodded. “Not for long, though. How ’bout we have our morning meeting, and then I’ll fix breakfast while you finish up. We need to get to town to sort out the feed before Lil arrives with the new stock.”

“Sounds like a plan. Meet you in the office?”

“Five minutes for me to hand over to Chuck, and I’ll be there,” his foreman promised.

Checking the window to see Simon wasn’t still watching, Luke poked his tongue out at the computer. His mood vastly improved, Luke grinned at he made his way up to the “office.” Now it was time for his reward.

HE’D known Simon for ten years, and for over half that time they’d been running the ranch. Technically it was still his daddy who owned it, but they both knew it was only a matter of time before he sold it to them. Luke’s older brother had no interest in ranching, and his sister was at college. Neither of them had an objection to Luke taking over. Luke’s parents lived on the outskirts of the ranch, closer to the town.

Simon had been Luke’s roommate at college. It had taken about five minutes for both of them to realize they’d met a friend for life. It took a little longer for Luke to come clean about his sexuality. It was one thing to be instant buddies with a guy, but he was from deep Bible country, and he wasn’t stupid… except when he was drunk.

Turned out Simon had his secret too. It took a month, too much cheap beer, a homophobic prick, and Luke being stupid to discover what Simon was hiding. Simon had to drag Luke physically out of the bar before he got them both arrested for assault and Simon for underage drinking. Luke was a hothead when he was filled with liquor and so riled up he’d have gone back in there to complete what he’d started. Even then Luke was wiry and strong, a legacy from growing up on the ranch. Simon was like a blade of sweet grass compared to now, but he had the height advantage, and he used it, crowding Luke against the wall and pinning his wrists against the rough brick until he calmed down. Still struggling against him, Luke spat abuse at Simon for not letting him finish beating the crap out of the man who’d called them faggots as they had a quiet drink in the corner.

Simon had stopped the bitter words before Luke said something they’d both regret. He did it the only way he could, pushing Luke even closer into the brickwork and licking, licking, Luke’s lips.

“Shut the hell up,” he’d sighed as he bent down and kissed him.

Luke could still remember the taste of soda and wings as Simon captured his mouth in the sweetest kiss he’d ever experienced. Luke was four years older than Simon. He’d delayed going to college because his daddy had been sick, and by the time he finally got there he felt like an old man compared to the young kids fresh out of school. Simon was different; he seemed older, tempered by life despite the fact he was only eighteen. Luke was no stranger to kissing but nothing had prepared him for the realization that by the end of this kiss he knew this boy was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. The shock silenced him more effectively than the actual kiss.

By the end of the evening, he found out Simon felt the same way, and when Luke went back to the Lost Cow ranch at the end of his college course, it was inevitable Simon would follow him. His momma and daddy dealt with Simon’s arrival the way they dealt with Luke’s announcement that he was gay: they were kissed, hugged, and told to keep their heads down. And for the most part, they did. The hands knew, of course. They knew everything. Those that had a problem quickly left and those that stayed kept their mouths shut.

Ten years on, and Luke still couldn’t believe his luck in finding someone he wanted to spend every waking and sleeping moment sharing his life. Simon had worked his way up to ranch foreman, and they shared the responsibilities for running the ranch.

They quickly worked out Luke was a lot less cranky when he got the paperwork out of the way early in the morning, leaving the rest of the day free to be a cowboy, out with the hands. Which was why they did the morning meeting after the paperwork as a reward for being a good boy. No paperwork, no report, and damn, wasn’t Luke an asshole for the rest of the day if that happened.

Luke went into the office and got the shower running. He shucked off his clothes and stepped into the hot water with a sigh of relief. He let the water run over his face and down his body as he relaxed, a low moan of bliss escaping him.

“Hmmm, looks like you’ve been getting ahead of me, bossman.”

Luke smiled. “I’m not getting anything at the moment. Thinking it’s about time my foreman gave me his morning report.”

A warm, solid body slid in behind him, pressing up close against him. “Reporting for duty, sir.” 


Anonymous said...

Sue, I LOVED Luke & Simon's story!!! It's one of my favorites. I can't wait to read Noah & Tommy's story.


Anonymous said...

Having your community turn on you is a terrible thing. You learn who your friends really are. I feel for them both.

User1123 AT comcast DOT net

Leanne109 said...

Gorgeous cover!!!!!!!


Stormy said...

My daughter calls them "kissy books" and she knows she can't read them for many many years either, LOL!

Cathy M said...

Haven't read this one yet, but I am a sucker for a sexy m/m story.

caity_mack at yahoo dot com

Robin said...

Morning Report looks great!

Robin D
robindpdx (at) yahoo (dot) com

Na said...

I think the upside of your daughter's complaint is that she wants to read your books :) It's great to have an impatient fan. There is something about cowboys that I can't resist. I think I like how in touch with nature they seem. They with their hands caring for animals and tending to their land. That makes them capable caretakers and that is very endearing.