Book Reviews

Braving the Rapids (Rocky Mountain Boys 2) by Brandon Witt

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 28-July-2020

Book Blurb

Estes Park native Todd Fleece works hard to honor his obligations to family and the businesses he inherited, but only his friends and the horses at his ranch brighten Todd’s life. In fighting his attraction to his best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Todd has focused solely on his work, leaving little room in his life for finding love.

Matt Abel’s reckless youth put him on a path to a self-destructive life—his most painful failure was being a horrible father. He excels at extreme sports and living on the edge. Now back in Estes Park and teaching white-water rafting, Matt tries to reconnect with his mother and his grown daughter. When he runs into his ex’s friend Todd, Matt longs for more than a fling.

But achieving happiness isn’t simple, not with Todd’s family conflicts and Matt struggling not to slide back into alcoholism. With hurdles threatening to drive them apart, Todd and Matt try to find the courage to brave the rapids and face a future together….



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, November 2017.


Book Review

Every time I open a Brandon Witt novel and start reading, I can be sure to be in for an emotional ride, “real” men with flaws and complicated psyches, and a somewhat torturous road to love that has more than one obstacle to overcome. ‘Braving the Rapids’, I am happy to report, is no exception. I was already somewhat familiar with the setting - a charming little tourist town by the name of Estes Park that actually exists – as well as some of the characters. Many of them appear again in this sequel, and the primary focus, this time, is on Todd and Matt. Todd is a local, honors his family and business obligations, and has stopped hoping for happiness. Matt likes living on the wild side, has returned to Estes Park to try to make amends with his mother and somewhat estranged daughter, and wants a stable relationship without having the first clue how to go about getting one. I loved both from the beginning and was rooting for them to figure themselves and each other out – soon! Of course they take their sweet time…

Todd is about as stable, reliable, and honorable as they come. He does everything that everyone expects from him – but it has not made him happy. He has no idea how to go about changing that without hurting the people he loves – but what he has to realize is that this way of living his life will never fulfill him. And even once he admits that he has a really hard time doing what will make him happy. I really felt for Todd, but I also wanted to nudge him into action more than once. I could see so clearly what he needed to do, but it took him a lot longer to get there.

Matt has an extremely colorful past and has not always been very mature about the problems Fate saw fit to kick his way. Hence Jordan, a daughter he did his best to ignore. Hence more hookups and short-term affairs than he cares to remember. Hence his final realization that he won’t find happiness unless he figures out how to make some changes in his life. But then he goes and falls for a man who is just about his complete opposite and who, if they manage to figure out how to do a relationship, will bring a whole new set of issues into Matt’s life.

Falling into lust is not a problem for Todd and Matt – the drama that surrounds them is. Todd is Matt’s ex’s best friend, and Matt is Todd’s best friend’s ex. Confused yet? Todd doesn’t want to hurt his best friend, Steve, by dating Steve’s ex, Matt. And Matt doesn’t want anything to do with his ex, Steve, but he definitely wants to get to know Todd a whole lot better. Yeah, not an easy situation and one that carries lots of repercussions in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and is up in their business like you wouldn’t believe. Dealing with all the interpersonal issues and several secondary characters with their own agendas is half of Todd and Matt’s problem. It makes for an emotionally complex read, and one that I really enjoyed.

If you like stories where the main characters have to struggle if they want to find happiness, if you enjoy small-town settings with all the interpersonal issues they bring, and if you’re looking for an emotionally intense read with drama, humor, passion, and a very happy ending, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. I am looking forward to the next volume!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 316 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-July-2020
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link