Title: Screwing the System
Author: Josephine Myles
Cover artist: Lou Harper
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: contemporary BDSM romance
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: One of the most enjoyable BDSM lite romances I have ever read with memorable characters.
He’s nobody’s bitch. Until he gets a ride on the bitch seat.
Forced to apply for a job he doesn’t want, Cosmo Rawlins has only one aim in mind: fail the interview and get back to making music. Except his attempt to shock the older, sharp-suited Alasdair Grant doesn’t have the desired effect.
Instead of getting thrown out of the office by flaunting an interest in BDSM, Cosmo finds himself on his knees, apologizing to the sexy, good-looking Top.
Alasdair has more important things on his mind than training a novice sub, especially a rebellious bad boy like Cosmo. But there’s something beneath the younger man’s defiant attitude that’s too intriguing to ignore.
As Alasdair takes Cosmo in hand—and for a wild ride on his Harley—he becomes obsessed with bending the young rocker to his will, both in and out of bed. Until he goes one demand too far, and Cosmo is gone in a cloud of dust. Forcing Alasdair to admit that earning Cosmo’s loyalty—and love—will involve the toughest challenge he’s ever faced.
Product Warnings: This title contains an overbearing Top with a less-than-glamorous job, a rebellious brat who refuses to call him sir, and a total lack of high-end BDSM clubs or playrooms. Expect floggings over the kitchen table instead.
Screwing the System Series
This writer’s style really works for me and I really enjoy BDSM romances (although I have my limitations), so this was a very easy choice to pick for review. I have an interesting relationship with BDSM themed stories – I tend to enjoy sex in them more than I enjoy stories with vanilla sex, but I have not found that many of them to enjoy due to my limitations.
I, for example, really hate the Psychic! Dom characterization. I am sure those readers who like BDSM stories know that character – he meets the other guy usually in the club and knows usually within the first few minutes that not only is the other guy into BDSM, but that other guy is a sub. Moreover, he proceeds to initiate the other guy into BDSM regardless of how ready he is. And of course he is always always right. I cannot stand that trope. I also really like to be shown that both guys are into BDSM, that the game brings them joy and fun and satisfaction; in other words I like to be in both their heads, not just in the Dom’s head.
This story just pleased me on so many levels. While I never find the sex in Josephine Myles’ works to be gratuitous, I remember thinking while reading some of her past works that even though I learned a lot about the guys building a relationship, I would not have minded knowing more about them as well rounded people, not just people in the relationship. When I finished this story I was sad to say good bye to Cosmo and Alasdair, but I thought I knew all about them that I needed and wanted to know.
I was really amused by how supposedly the Psychic!Dom in this book turned out to not to be one. I am sure this is not the only story where Dom actually makes mistakes and realises that he does and works to correct them, but I actually only remember reading very few of those (and more recommendations would be welcome by the way). I really liked Alasdair pretty much right away and his attraction to Cosmo I thought was well done. Yes, it was very fast, but I interpreted it as Insta!Lust, not Love at all and I really enjoyed reading how Ali slowly realized that he is in fact falling in love (it may not have been that slow in the story time, but it felt like it to me). I really loved Cosmo’s rebellious spirit, him refusing to compromise on some things and at the same time realizing that he may have gotten something very special with Alasdair.
More importantly I really really loved how Cosmo and Alasdair were shown to be two people falling in love, stumbling along the way, both of them making mistakes and learning from them, not just people who grow to realize that they can have awesome sex together. I thought the BDSM was not hardcore at all, which again made sense because Cosmo was a novice pretty much. I was also really amused how Alasdair did not have a dungeon and was perfectly capable to work a scene at home and because he was actually skilled in the art. I do not have a personal experience with BDSM, but surely a lot of people do it at home and do not necessarily in the dungeon or go to the clubs?
The story was definitely an erotic romance, and when I think about it it did have a lot of sex, but surprisingly I did not feel that it was too much. I already reread it three times and without skipping a single sex scene, which is not something I do with too many books.
I also thought that besides doing a very good job in portraying two people making their relationship work, the author included some interesting commentary on class distinctions in Britain. It is not that I do not see the distinctions between the poor folks and rich folks while living in US, of course I do, but I also think that this story portrayed something different than what I observe living in the US, something I find hard to put it in words.
I also think that the humor in the story was wonderful and the scene closer to the end of the story between Alasdair and his friend Roger was a great example of that humor.