Review: Second Level by Drew Marvin Frayne

The path to true love is never easy, especially when you are on opposite sides of the world’s greatest theological debate.

It’s Halloween, and the Demon of Masturbation—Dom, for short—has come to Earth to collect sins and souls for his boss. But a representative from the Interfering Angel Network—Ian—has been sent to put a crimp in his plans. Frankly, though, the two seem less interested in sins and souls than in the three bottles of tequila they down during the night. Alcohol can lower the inhibitions, but it also impacts judgment, and Dom and Ian soon find themselves in the world’s most awkward threesome with a young mortal virgin. Forget battling for his soul—their real passion seems to be for each other.

But Halloween night is waning fast, and the veil between the worlds is only lifted for one night. How can two beings from opposite sides come together when they know they are destined to forever be apart?

The blurb for this one caught my eye right away, it sounded like a total kick and the author delivered and then some and then some more. The beginning was a perfect setup with the conference room full of the dark side paranormal beings covering their quotas for Halloween night. Right away I realized the author is a master of showing over telling, the dialog was great and I got a feel for Dom and his questioning nature immediately. He’s not wrong in his observations about sin and the modern world and anyone who has worked in a corporate environment could appreciate his frustration at middle management. The fact that Office Space type humor could translate to the underworld so well was gold.

Dom, as the Demon of Masturbation, knows that the vice he represents is nothing but a bunch of “meh” in contemporary times so his annoyance at having to meet his quota is totally legit. I loved being inside his head as he worked the bar to find “victims” that could fall prey to his charms. Every time he (or his subject) gets cockblocked by something random and it isn’t long before he realizes Ian is in the bar as well. Ian of the Interfering Angel Network is there to work counter to all of Dom’s machinations. The two began a theological debate over a plethora of tequila and discover they agree way more than they disagree about the antiquated philosophies of the otherworld.

If one didn’t know better one would think the two were on a date, they aren’t, but the flirty conversation fueled by alcohol and UST was a delight to read. The conversation the two MC’s had was the stuff that make a story go from good to great. I saw their connection grow as they felt it and the aforementioned UST was all over the place for all of us. The night grew late, and there was one patron left at the bar. He was not the most desirable of specimens on paper, in pictures, in anything really, but Ian being Ian, he recognizes a lonely soul and feels the need to help. Dom isn’t really on board, but their new friend wasn’t super keen on social cues and before they all knew it, they had agreed to what would become the most awkward threesome ever.

I couldn’t help but feel for Dom as they made it back to their virginal nerd-friends place and he set the scene for the most ungainly loving that was about to take place. The scene turned though and Dom and Ian were essentially alone and damn if they didn’t make the best of their time. This was obviously more than just a hook-up brought on by tequila and otherworldly testosterone. The obvious was never stated out loud, but it was pretty plain to everyone in the room and to me the reader.

The veil separating Ian and Dom from the human world will close by morning and the two will go their separate ways until next year, it’s just the way it works. Both of them know it, both are resigned to it, but they also can’t help but feel the bittersweetness in the moment. The next bit is where the story elevated for me from a fun Halloween diversion to a story that smacked me right in the face with feels and made me neeeeeeed more Dom and Ian. This can’t be over Drew Marvin Frayne. It. Can. Not. Ian had his conversation with Peter at the Pearly Gates that is pretty open and hopeful and Dom had his moment, his subtly heartbreaking moment that slayed my cold, cold heart.

Dammit Drew Marvin Frayne, you can not leave this story now. I mean, you could, and it would be still be great but it would also still really hurt. But why would you leave it when you could write more?? Just for me! Well, and everyone else too, blah blah blah, but mostly for meeeee. That would be great, because I would really like this story to continue in any form.

Sound good? Greatthanksbye!

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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