After living in California for the last few years, Nick is going back home. His sisters are there and it’s where he grew up and he has a new job as a paramedic to get to. However, Nick liked his life in California and his oldest sister is already trying to assert her control over his life and Nick is delaying the drive just a little bit.
Callum has had the same work partner for 15 years and when she leaves, Callum is getting a rookie to train. But first, a hookup away from town seems like a great idea. The night is better than anything Callum ever experienced and Nick brings things out in Callum he never contemplated wanting. Callum can’t believe he is even thinking about a repeat, but when he finds out Nick is his new partner, he has to put a stop to it. First, it’s against station rules to date a colleague and second, well, Callum can’t make himself remember why it’s a bad idea. Callum only remembers how Nick took control and how good Nick feels against him and maybe Nick is the partner Callum didn’t even know he was looking for.
Fair Trade is part of the multi-author Bold Brew shared universe and it’s billed as being centered around an inclusive coffee shop in a small city. While there are other characters mentioned and seen here that were most likely from other books, I have not read anything else in this series and Nick and Callum’s story does stand on its own. The men do visit the coffee shop for a work break, but the shop is not a central part of this story at all.
The setup is somewhat standard with the men having an anonymous hook up before finding out they are not only work partners, but that Callum will be Nick’s mentor. It sets a power balance of Nick being in control in the bedroom and Callum being in charge at work. Nick is more comfortable in his skin and even though Callum knows they can’t date because of a work rule, Callum has always told himself that he has no interest in dating.
Their first hookup is supposed to be this heated and somewhat kinky affair, but it didn’t red that way to me. I didn’t even feel that initial spark of attraction they guys are said to have and some mild dominance in bed is the extent of the kink here.
The book is shorter and we see the men work together and try and work around their attraction and when they do give in, they are secretive about it. Some of Callum’s dating issues stem from his backstory that is told over two sentences well into the book and it wasn’t enough to fully form his character. Nick’s story wasn’t all that much better, as it seemed like he was moving back home simply because that was where he started and the relationship shown with both of his sisters was lukewarm and too undefined to make that feel like the reason he moved across the country.
There was not nearly enough seen of Callum and Nick’s relationship developed either in bed or out to have the revelations they came to at the end of the book work for me. Overall, this book will not be memorable and there were too many weak areas to offer a solid recommendation here.