Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Smoking Teacup Books

Genre:  Gay Romance

Tags: Fantasy, Humour, Eroticism, Enemies to Lovers, Series (can be read as a standalone)

Length: 278 Pages

Reviewer: Kazza

Purchase At: amazon


Unwanted. Unloved. Unransomed. And unable to control his dawn magic by any other means…

At odds with his family and on the run, Lord Cyril is taken prisoner and held in a gloomy mountain fortress—which he brightens up quite a bit, thank you. His captor wants him to be quiet and not cause any trouble, but who cares? Cyril may need the mysterious highwayman to quell his dawn magic and keep him sane, but he’s overbearing, sardonic, and unpleasant.

Mostly. Except when Cyril can’t live without his touch, or his voice, or his rare smile…

Ser Enzo, a robber and (not quite) a gentleman, desperately wants his obnoxious, adorable, irritating, irresistible captive off his hands…and other parts. Lord Cyril’s wanton, irrepressible, and worst of all—his family won’t take him back. Enzo can’t release him without being paid. It’s against his principles.

But so is keeping his bewitching captive forever. Cyril may be his prisoner, but Enzo’s dangerously close to losing his own freedom by falling under the mage’s spell…

The Captive’s Curse is the second book in the Twilight Mages series, but it takes place concurrently with The Royal Curse and can be read as a standalone. Contains wildly inappropriate discussions of vegetables (no vegetables were actually harmed in the making of this book), the mad ghost of an evil lord (the Mad Lord is harmed, to no one’s regret), and the overcoming of fears, family quarrels, and scheming villains to reach a guaranteed HEA.


After I’d read The Royal Curse, series book #1, it was a given that’s I’d read this book too. Mind you, I think I’ve read all of Eliot Grayson’s books. This is shaping up to be one hell of a series, based on the first two books.

Lord Cyril is kidnapped from his family’s lands by Enzo, a ruffian highwayman, who ransoms Cyril to his family. Only… his family don’t want to pay. Enzo tries a couple of times with a ‘not interested in him, you keep him’ coming back. Ouch! It reminded me of one of my favourite movies, Ruthless People.

I really was stuck here, wasn’t I? They wouldn’t let me leave, at least until Enzo thought of some way to “get rid of me” without being the laughingstock of highway robbers everywhere. Bruno didn’t want me. My own mother didn’t care enough to intervene.

The banter. The sarcasm. The overall witty conversations. They’re all top-notch. I found myself laughing out loud at times while reading. Eliot Grayson really excels with these types of characters.

“Hah! You? Being thoughtful? Need I remind you yet again that you kidnapped me and held me to ransom, unsuccessfully at that, and then threatened me with zucchinis like the rude, vulgar, common criminal you are?”

Lord Cyril could also talk the leg off a chair and then argue with said leg as to why it should never have allowed itself to have come off in the first place. Enzo could hold his own. Written only from Cyril’s POV made this work. It allowed Enzo to be more mysterious in his thoughts and actions without a POV.

I loved the first book. Loved. It. It’s one of my favourite books by Eliot Grayson. I also read these two books quite closely together so I think that made it hard for me to be as completely in love with Lord Cyril and Enzo the way I was with Prince Nikola and his absolutely devoted bodyguard, Andreas. That’s why it’s 4.5 stars. Thematically they’re similar – twilight mages with minimal powers, need to take potions or have sex with another man to keep the pain and misery at bay, a little magic makes the sex, uh, easier. Where Nikola’s circumstances found him without the potion, Cyril cannot take the potion anymore. It makes him extra… colourful – I confess to hating the word slut. They also have a different nuclear family dynamic. The characters cross paths here as this book runs concurrent to The Royal Curse. When they do have a moment of cross pollination, I was reminded of Nikola’s and Andreas’ chemistry, Cyril felt it too.

Because we do have the same timeline here, The Captive’s Curse is equally as atmospheric – the rain, the dark skies, pretty much like where I live right now. It felt miserable and I felt the cold along with Cyril. I appreciated his moments of warmth and how much that meant to him. On a couple of levels.

This book is primarily set in Enzo’s fortress, a haunted castle, mysterious heritage surrounding it included. So, of course, Cyril had to find out what was going on. He needed the goss about the Mad Lord, his ghost, and the rumoured spell that seemingly keeps people at bay from the castle. How/why is Enzo here? Anyone who stopped long enough would get some kind of interrogation or was checked out for bed-ability – or both! Cyril can multitask.

The Captive’s Curse is another saucy little number as well. Even though there isn’t quite as much sex as book #1 – which might have been hard to have beaten, Grayson went down and dirty, fitting perfectly within the concept of this series. Cyril knows what he needs, what he likes, the potential magic dick of someone who quells his twilight mage pain in the most pleasurable of past times. And Enzo is ‘ruffian’ enough to turn Cyril all the way on. Enzo is quite the at-large-and-in-charge type, the very occasional spanking included. It incentivises Cyril go a tad magicky to slick all the way up.

Overall, The Captive’s Curse was light-hearted. Sassy. Cheeky. Full of excellent dialogue between the MCs – sometimes a little biting. Mostly, very humorous. Lord Cyril, what a character. There were a few moments where he might have felt unsure but not for long. You can’t keep a good twilight mage down. He challenged, he complained, he cajoled, all the while telling us with vigour how fabulous he was, and he certainly is fabulous!

I didn’t want the man to be punished simply for being seduced by my beauty and charm. After all, that could happen to anyone.

Where Cyril is funny and also has some insecurities around his family, Enzo leads a group of men taking care of illegal business in the background. We get to meet a couple of the men as secondary characters, including Enzo’s brother. So, he’s busy, but when he’s with Cyril, they zing – verbally and physically. He did treat the kidnapped Cyril well while having the whole highwaymen vibe going on.

The Captive’s Curse is a fantastic way to wile away a day with a cuppa, a comfy lounge, some chocolate, enjoying some escapism, and having a good laugh and cheering for the love between two different men moving from a position of enemies to lovers. 4.5 Stars!