Review: Screwing the System — by Josephine Myles

ScrewingTheSystemOther Reviewers: Goodreads

One thing that I love in reading a book is that it expands your knowledge, either by learning new cultures, societies, science, or history.  With Josephine Myles, I always get a peek into the UK that as an American, I have only seen through entertainment.

I usually love anything that Myles writes. Part of it is the English tone, but I also I love the humor that she brings to the story, and the diverse characters. I also love her courage in writing about topics that others might shy away.

If you are familiar with my blog, you know how I love to read about the BDSM lifestyle.  We can see so much diversity, and what I love the most about it is the ability for someone to feel comfortable being “themselves”, rather than repressing a part of themselves.  So, when I read that this book was going to contain all of the typical Myles style and BDSM, it intrigued  me.

Basic Plot: 

Cosmo Rawlins is a musician, who tries to get by with temp jobs while he and his band plays and make it big. So enter his interview with businessman Alasdair Grant. Cosmo is instantly attracted and drawn to Alasdair. One thing leads to another and he finds himself entering a BDSM relationship with him. Can their diverse backgrounds and hidden secrets keep them apart?

Cosmo Rawlins:

We begin the novel by seeing how Cosmo was trying to keep his unemployment going by getting job interviews, but never making it.  He normally does a good job of sinking himself, but he is aroused by Alasdair immediately:

Mr. Grant, on the other hand… There was a tree he wouldn’t mind barking up.  Or climbing up, more like.  He was huge and had to be old enough to be his dad, which wasn’t actually all that old, seeing as how his dad was only fifteen when he got his fourteen-year-old excuse for a mother up the duff.

So, Cosmo is a bit of a bad-boy, and a up and coming rock band musician.  But his humorous, bad-boy attitude covers his submissive sexual nature and his less than stellar past.

Alasdair Grant:

Alasdair is someone who has a mysterious past, one that unfolds as so the story.  We learn that his past affects his current mindset about BDSM and relationships, which provides some of our conflicts.  At first we find him arrogant and assholian, but it adds to his charm.  His relationship with Cosmo gives him both a new up-lifted attitude, but also fills that void he has been missing for years.

“Sure thing, Dad,” Cosmo drawled, while flipping him an oh-so-insolent salute.

“Cheeky brat.”

“Yeah, you love it, though, don’t you?”

Cosmo said, before fitting his helmet over his head.

Alasdair grinned through the tinted visor and swung onto the bike.  As he revved the engine, he felt Cosmo’s weight settle behind him, an erection pressing into the small of his back as those strong arms tentatively crept around his waist.  Yep, the lad acted cocky and confident, but he wasn’t nearly as sure of himself as he made out.  Stripping away all of that attitude was going to be fun.

Theme Summary:

Both men go through significant character development throughout the novel.  Myles does a masterful job of placing both men in “weak” positions, yet it only manages to illustrate their human aspects rather than portraying either as emotional frail.

What we discover through their exploration is that you can be submissive and not be weak, and that if you do not let go of your past, it will only destroy any of your future happiness.

“Screw the system,” to me is about how just because something is established does not mean that it is the only way.  Both Alasdair and Cosmo have to learn how to adapt to make this relationship work.

Strong Points:

What I liked the most was how Cosmo deals with his BDSM. Their first meeting demonstrates by accident how “Boss-man” play turned them on, and their relationship intensified as the book unfolds. I loved how Cosmo learns to depend on the lifestyle to deal with his emotional problems. We get to see how positive and often needed for individuals and couples.  I would not say that this book was “hard-core” BDSM, but it was a bit more intense than her The Hot Floor. I labeled this as “daddy-kink”, although Alasdair is not explicitly called “daddy” but rather “boss-man” or “boss”.  What I liked about this novel and BDSM was a more serious “slave” type relationship rather than just a sexy bedroom kink.

“I want  an apology, right now,” he growled, all gruff and sexy as hell.  “What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I,uh… I’m sor–”

“Say it like you mean it.”  Alasdair dropped his wrists.

Cosmo blinked up at him, and then it struck him.  Boss-man found it a turn-on, dominating him like this.  Despite all Cosmo’s talk about “extracurricular activities”, he’d never actually done anything like this before, but he’d seen some kinky porn, so he had an idea of what Alasdair might enjoy.  Cosmo stood, then dropped to his knees in front of him, bowing his head.

“I’m very sorry, Mr. Grant.”

Their dialogue is sexy as hell and I really enjoyed their dynamics. But I really liked was how the relationship matured and both individuals grow and realize that they need each other.

I also loved how Myles gives us the musical mindset of Cosmo.  She so effectively portrayed his musical mind that I could immediately fall right into his personality.

Cosmo found himself tapping his foot and drumming his fingers along with his words.  Gave him ideas for inserting a rap in the middle of the new song.  Some UK Garage or Grime stylings, maybe.  Would that work?  The rest of the band would hate it.  Rizzo especially, which made it doubly appealing.

“Mr. Rawlins.  Am I boring you?”

That made him snap his head up.  “What?”

“You looked like you were lost in music.”

What could be better?

There is very little that I would change to improve it.  There was just the perfect amount of angst and the BDSM aspect was unique.

Conclusions:

If you have read other books by Josephine Myles, then you will love this one. If you are interested in BDSM books, then you should like this one, not too light and not too dark.  I loved how the story unfolds and it was both heart warming and incredibly steamy.

Bea