Morning Report has all the elements of a satisfying romance yet lacks the execution to pull it off. The plot isn’t original but the bigger problem is that it never really goes anywhere. The numerous sex scenes make this feel like erotica despite the attempt at a complicated, angst heavy plot. In the end this is an ok attempt at romance but definitely not one I’d recommend.
The main couple, Luke and Simon, has been together for ten years and are running Luke’s father’s ranch in Texas. The openly gay couple suddenly comes under fire from friends and neighbors when a new pastor comes to town preaching hellfire and homophobic rhetoric. Luke’s ranch, The Lost Cow, is attacked, his livestock threatened, and a health scare to both of Luke’s parents stresses the long time couple out. They must get through everything together and lean on each other in ways they haven’t before.
The plot is very character driven even though there is an attempt to bring in outside influences. For example there is an anti-gay pastor that appears and overnight the town turns against Luke and Simon. For no reason other than a pastor saying so, this town seemingly flips 180 degrees and rejects the two even though no one had a problem with them and everyone was friendly. This is not an original plot device but it’s used very poorly here. For one we never see the evil pastor at all. He’s never introduced and he has no scenes whatsoever so the effect is very remote and uninteresting. It makes little to no sense that the entire town would turn against them but if you can forgive that for the sake of fiction, the problems continue because the plot device is literally dropped later on. There are a few problems, mostly easily handled with no long term consequences.
Mostly these problems are a reason for Luke and Simon to have sex, which they have…a lot. There must be over a dozen sex scenes in this book and they all talk about how much the two love each other, need each other, and contain a low level D/s element with Luke as the bossy bottom and Simon the demanding top. There are several references to more hard core kink such as watersports, spanking, fisting, but none of these are seen on page. Instead the two have sex everywhere and all the time. Any conflicts introduced are mainly to cause Luke and Simon stress, which forces them to have sex again. This supposedly reaffirms their relationship but I never felt it was ever in any danger. They clearly love and adore each other endlessly so there’s never any question they’ll break up. Instead there is just more sex, way more than I wanted frankly.
Furthermore the evil pastor is dropped later on when Luke’s parents have a health scare. Again I’m not sure why this is included since it offers very little to the story. There is scene after scene of Luke upset, stressing, eating, sleeping, having sex, worrying, and so on but it doesn’t have any real bearing on the story. It simply adds more scenes about Luke and his family. On the one hand I realize this is just another way to keep the tension high, but since it offers nothing to the reader I was easily bored. There are so many secondary characters it’s pretty difficult to keep them all straight, names are thrown around with almost no context, and the dialogue seems the same no matter who’s talking. During these scenes especially I got bored with the family members and endless repetitive dialogue.
The final resolution to everything is of course the mysterious evil pastor disappears for no reason and a new gay pastor comes in to make everything ok again. The town is pro-gay and welcoming and everyone is happy again. This is just silly and makes me wonder what the point of the story really is. The couple didn’t really deal with anything out of the ordinary, a few stressful problems they dealt with by having sex, going on vacation, more sex, and communication. They have a pretty solid support network when the town turns against them, and of course everyone is fine at the end. I think the elements are all there but the execution just couldn’t pull it off sadly.