screwing the systemRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

When Cosmo Rawlins sits down for a job interview with Alasdair Grant, he is hoping he doesn’t get hired.  Cosmo has no real interest in getting a job, he just is going through the motions of interviewing to keep his unemployment benefits. What Cosmo really wants to do is hang out with his friends and practice with his band.  But Cosmo’s attempts to throw the interview by shocking Alasdair through flirtation and hints he is into BDSM end up going awry.  While Alasdair quickly realizes it is all a front, he also recognizes a submissive need from Cosmo as well as a strong attraction on both their parts.

Alasdair has built up a successful business from nothing and now he is a man who knows what he wants and will do what it takes to get it.  And right now what he wants is Cosmo.  And Cosmo finds himself incredibly drawn to this strong-willed, bossy, totally sexy man.  And although he is wary at first, Cosmo soon accepts Alasdair’s offer to move in and try out a dom/sub relationship between them.  Things are not always easy. Alasdair is determined to get Cosmo back on track and wants to have firm control, not only sexually but also in Cosmo’s life in general, something the rebellious young man has a hard time accepting.  But Alasdair also supports Cosmo completely, recognizing that he is much more than the poor trash Cosmo believes himself to be.  He supports and encourages Cosmo to find his way out of the somewhat wild and rebellious life he leads. And in turn, Cosmo helps Alasdair open himself up too and move beyond living for his job.  But even as though grow closer, both Cosmo and Alasdair have secrets about their past and present that they are keeping from one another. And if they hope to have a future together, they must open up and trust each other both in and out of the bedroom.

My regular readers probably know how much I love Josephine Myles and I was super excited to see a new one from her, especially when I saw that gorgeous cover.  And this one definitely did not disappoint.  Myles creates such great characters in Cosmo and Alasdair and I loved the way they interact.  From the first moment we meet Cosmo attempting to botch a job interview, we know he is a bit of a rebellious bad boy.  Growing up poor with absentee parents and forced to make his own way against difficult odds, Cosmo does what he can to get by and doesn’t have much use for authority. He is a little bit wild, a little bit lazy, and has an awfully sassy mouth.  I just loved him!  And he meets his match in the straight-laced, controlled Alasdair.  From the first moment they meet, it is clear that Alasdair won’t let him get away with anything.  At the same time, Alasdair has a total soft spot for Cosmo; as much as he wants to exert control and let his Dom side out, Alasdair realizes he will never completely tame Cosmo, nor does he really want to.

What I think is most interesting is the way Myles gives us these two very different men who have grown out of similar circumstances.  Both grew up poor and faced a lot of adversity.  Cosmo has internalized the idea that he will never amount to much and has sort of accepted his fate that what he has is about the best he can ask for.  Alasdair, on the other hand, has a fire lit under him.  He is strong-willed and determined and has worked his way up from nothing to the successful and wealthy businessman he is today.  But under all that, there is still a part of Alasdair that remembers his humble beginnings and never feels totally a part of the posh set in which he now must interact.  They are a good match for each other.  With their similar backgrounds they can understand one another, yet they are also both able to help each other be more.

I liked the dom/sub nature of their relationship as well.  It is a lifestyle Alasdair has long been a part of but Cosmo is just beginning to explore. Meeting Alasdair and learning to trust him allows Cosmo to open himself up to these submissive interests he has long had.  I liked that it takes Cosmo a bit to really accept this role with Alasdair and that he doesn’t just jump into things without some consideration.  While I don’t think BDSM stories need to “justify” why people enjoy the lifestyle, I do think Myles does a great job giving us a sense of what each man needs emotionally and why each finds this relationship so satisfying.  I will also note that while these guys do engage in some fairly intense BDSM activities, most of the hard core stuff happens off page.  So if you even if you are not super comfortable with this genre, I think it is still a fairly mild read.

I only had  a few small issues here. First, there are a couple of things each man keeps hidden for fear of how his partner will react. Mostly about their pasts but also about an issue that affects them currently.  These secrets are really the primary conflict, yet I felt they fell a bit flat in terms of really not amounting to much. I would have liked to learn more about these guys backstories earlier on rather than saving them up like a big secret when they really weren’t that big a deal.  I also think the ending could have been developed a bit more as it felt somewhat abrupt to me. I wasn’t so thrilled with the way Alasdair handles himself at the end (both in the way he treats Cosmo and the way he treats his friend) and I felt it stopped a bit quickly. But small quibbles in an otherwise very enjoyable story.

So I enjoyed this one a lot.  I think Myles does a great job with these characters and I think they carry the story wonderfully.  Great story, both sweet and sexy, with really enjoyable characters.  I liked this one a lot and would definitely recommend it.

Cover: And OMG, isn’t this cover yummy?  This guy just screams Cosmo to me.  Not just in appearance, but also in attitude.  So good.