Title: Braving the Rapids (Rocky Mountain Boys #2)
Author: Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 13, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 256
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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….
Disclaimer: I did not read the first book in the Rocky Mountain Boys series – Mapping the Forest – but the story worked well as a stand-alone, although there were a few instances where I felt I was missing some of the characters’ back story.
I enjoyed this gentle story of two men at the point in their lives (early 40’s) when you begin to re-evaluate and reassess your life – family relationships, personal relationships, your mortality, your legacy. Todd has shouldered the responsibility of his late father’s businesses as well as his crazy stepmother Joanne and his sister Misty. Having devoted his life to turning around the businesses, and dealing with all of Joanne’s delusional harassment, Todd find himself feeling the lack of a meaningful relationship.
After a life-time of pushing the edge, adrenaline junkie Matt moves back to Estes Park to build a relationship with his daughter Jordan and set down some roots. Matt’s daughter Jordan tells Matt she sees him as “a man who could disappear in an instant and leave no trace he was ever here.”
Back when Matt was dating Todd’s best friend Steve, Todd and Matt felt a powerful attraction for one another and they struggle with moving forward with a relationship, feeling that Steve and all their friends will not approve. Although at times Todd’s agonizing about going forward with a relationship with Matt felt too prolonged, I loved the chemistry between Todd and Matt and how they get their happy ending through some struggle and perseverance. Todd steps out of his comfort zone and dares, while Matt finally realizes the importance of being constant – a dependable presence in his daughter’s life, joining AA, being there for the people he loves and for those who love him.
I give Braving the Rapids 4 stars, plan to read Mapping the Forest, and look forward to any additional books in the Rocky Mountain Boys series!