REVIEW: 'This Must Be the Place' by Jane Darius

Title: This Must Be the Place

Series: Nick and Ben #2

Author: Jane Darius

Published: April 27, 2018

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance

Genre: Contemporary Romance; Erotic Romance

Length: 93 Pages

Tags: Gay; M/M; Humor; Bartender; HFN; Standalone; Novelette

About This Must Be the Place

Having explosive sex is easy for Nick and Ben—getting past their hang-ups and opening up to each other won’t be.

Handsome New York City bartender Nick might’ve left life—and his abusive, homophobic father—in West Virginia far behind, but even though he was a star quarterback in high school, he can’t outrun the effect those years had on him. He’s still not comfortable as a gay man, and he keeps his relationships short… as in a single night.

Hotel reviewer Ben is a hopeless romantic, but he can’t seem to find a guy who feels the same. After being cheated on again, he doesn’t expect to spend forever with Nick, but even their one-nighter doesn’t go off without a hitch. Ben falls asleep on Nick’s couch, and in the morning, they have to face their hookup that wasn’t…and the fact that there’s a connection between them whether they’re looking for one or not.



What happens when a closeted ex-jock, living his sexuality in secret with one-night stands, takes a desirable, confident hookup home and things don’t go quite as planned? Jane Darius explores just that in this fun, charming, feel good romance. This Must Be the Place is one of those books that has you grinning and your soul exploding with happiness from beginning to end.

This story is book two in Nick and Ben’s journey, but it is actually the chronological beginning, so reading this first is the way to go. When you’re done you can catch their short holiday adventure in Love Light, which I promptly intend to do!

Jane Darius’ writing is superb, captivating in its ease, spreading out imagery effortlessly. At its opening you can absolutely picture the flirt coming on to the bartender. Darius literally had me laughing out loud when Ben Seaborn sets his drunk gaze on Nick McDaniel and leans over the bar saying, “’I like your curls. Are they springy?’”

This Must Be the Place is one of those books that has you grinning and your soul exploding with happiness from beginning to end.

Yep – Bens a little… matter-of-fact! And his charm has no bounds, such as the morning after, when their liaison didn’t go quite how either expected. During conversation Nick asks Ben if being dumped has anything to do with his reason for stumbling into the bar, Ben says, “’Not exactly, but that is, in itself, a tale of woe and unpleasantness.’” Then as he’s leaving and Nick asks if he needs anything else, Ben replies with he’s good, “’Though the walk of shame without the shame is gonna feel weird.’”

The door closes and the seed is planted in Nick’s mind, the desire is there… for more. As Darius describes his bigoted upbringing in a way that truly made me want to sob, you know it won’t be easy. Given his past, is Nick ready to change his whole life? Is he ready to truly be himself? Or will his hiding destroy anything hopeful blossoming with Ben?

As each man decides to take a chance and things progress, the intimacy these two share is so profound it deeply impacted me. I must say this is the most affection I have ever felt reflected in sex scenes and it had me scrambling to read them again, simply for the emotion conveyed. But this closeness leaves Nick even more confused and Ben afflicted as a hopeless romantic.

One man conflicted by a hate filled upbringing and the fear of discovery. Another haunted by complex emotions from a solitary childhood and the fear of being alone. Can they find their “place” together?

With lots of humor infused from the men themselves, and Ben’s charismatic besties, the lighthearted moments give Nick and Ben, as well as the reader, much needed relief. And believe me, there are many jovial notes that reflect just how perfect these guys are for each other - such as the moniker Ben gives Nick. It’s absolute perfection, and how he gets it is an utter reflection of how these two began.

I must say this is the most affection I have ever felt reflected in sex scenes and it had me scrambling to read them again, simply for the emotion conveyed.

Darius does something I’ve never seen done before. In the last chapter she mingles the two men’s thoughts and voices! At first I wasn’t so sure, but as I reread it I found I rather enjoyed getting a conclusion from both minds at the same time, rather than a replay from either point of view.

From what I can find, this is Jane Darius’ first full length book and I’m completely blown away! With profound statements such as this, from main characters contemplating the world’s bigotry, how could you not be? “’It’s stupid, isn’t it? They’re doing everything they think they’re supposed to do, but we’re happy and they’re not. So what we’re doing has to be a sin. Instead of looking inward, they’d rather wage a war.’”

There’s something intimately familiar about This Must Be the Place which makes it a pleasure to read. Every movement, every look, every conversation - perfectly timed. A captivating story of learning to accept one’s sexuality and how that not-so-walk-of-shame can end up as so much more! It’s a book I will return to time and again, whenever I want to reminisce - about the joy of first meetings, first kisses, first times, first love and how that love can open two people’s souls to be free. This reader will definitely be waiting for more from Jane Darius!

A copy of This Must Be the Place was provided to Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, by Dreamspinner Press, at no cost and with no expectations in return. We offer our fair and honest opinion on behalf of our readers.

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Meet the Author

Jane Darius is a writer and dreamer who wants to travel the world. If you try to talk to Jane when she’s writing, she will probably get scared like you just snuck up on her. Someone once told her that writing is like being alone in a dark room. She understands the sentiment but prefers to think of it as sitting by a warm fire while her characters tell her their stories.

When she’s not working on fiction, Jane is a freelancer, writing for many different websites, magazines, and other publications. In her spare time, she loves to go out to dinner, spend time with her friends, family, and cat, and yell at her favorite TV shows.

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