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Her Reaper's Arms - Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Her Reaper's Arms
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An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

Her Reaper’s Arms

ISBN 9781419911149


Her Reaper’s Arms Copyright © 2007 Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Edited by Mary Moran.

Photography and cover art by Les Byerley.

Electronic book Publication August 2007

This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written

permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 443103502.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales

is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.


Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Charlotte Boyett-Compo


At Críonna in the Aneas Quadrant

All living things must die, he thought as he looked up at the bright blue sky. It was a

shame his existence was ending on such a beautiful day when life was burgeoning all

around him. Birds were singing sweetly in the trees and a soft, gentle wind was

caressing his face. The scent of the ocean wafted beneath his nostrils and he inhaled

deeply, knowing it would be his last unsullied breath this side of heaven—wherever

and whatever that was.

Remanded to the Execution Mound, his hands had been chained above his head to

the concrete pillar at his back. They had piled the dried branches thickly at his feet and

had sprinkled oil upon the wood. Before him, the people of the keep were gathered to

watch him die and there was not a tearful eye among those who glared hatefully at him.

He had—after all—unwittingly caused them grief for when their mistress was angry,

her people suffered.

Only one face in the crowd bore a smile and it was a brutal, vindictive smile

awaiting revenge. It did not help that the face was the loveliest thing he’d ever been

allowed to see in his lifetime or that her face had once gazed upon him with heated

passion—albeit one that held no resemblance whatsoever to normal desire. Now her

eyes bore into him as fiercely as the flare of the torch waiting to set the rushes afire,

burning into his flesh a pathway of hatred.

Taking one last look at the brilliant, calming sky, he lowered his head and found

those savage eyes, locking gazes with the Countess Kennocha Tramont. Her red lips

glistened in the sunlight as she swept the tip of her pink tongue across them in

anticipation. In the regal ianthine robes of her ancestry, her milk-white complexion was

framed perfectly, her lush cleavage above the low neckline of the bodice drawing the

eye of every male among those assembled. Sweeping almost to the ground, the

crowning glory of her midnight black hair shimmered with blue highlights in the sun

and was held in place by a golden circlet upon her forehead.

For over a month he had endured the worst kind of hell in the dungeon of Rathlin,

the imperial seat of the Tramont clan. During that time, he had been subjected to the

most evil and perverse torments ever devised. The inquisitors had beaten and burned

his body, torn his flesh, broken fingers and toes, stretched his limbs until the joints had

been dislocated, driven wood slivers under his fingernails, repeatedly held his head

under water until he was forced to drag the liquid into his lungs—all under the guise of

eliciting a concession he was unwilling to make.

“Will you give yourself to me now?” he had been asked over and over again, but

refused to answer.


Her Reaper’s Arms

“Submit!” they had screamed at him.

“To what?” he had pleaded. “An evil I care not to embrace?”

The one responsible for his imprisonment had been there in the dungeon, seated in

her soft, comfortable chair, eating food he could not have, drinking water he was not

allowed, watching as his body had been broken and his spirit crushed, that enigmatic

smile hovering on her full lips.

“Give in,” she had whispered to him.

“How will I live with myself if I do, milady?” he had pleaded, barely able to speak.

When at last she grew bored with the torture, she had calmly ordered his death. By

then he longed for the surcease of the agonies being inflicted upon him and did not care

that his life would soon be forfeit. He embraced the sentence, knowing the final anguish

of the bonfire would put an end to his suffering. Learning that he would not be allowed

the humane reprieve of being strangled before the fire was lit had only marginally

dampened his eagerness for death. When it was done, it would be done.

He smiled sadly at his tormentress as she stood on the balcony of Rathlin Keep, her

slender white hands resting on the stony balustrade, elegant jewels flashing in the

sunlight. Despite what he was—or rather what he had been—he knew he should

forgive her for what she was doing to him but he could not dredge up the energy or the

will to do so. Perhaps he was not the man he had believed himself to be after all for

there was anger in his broken heart, vengeance of his own seething in his tired mind.

He would die cursed for the sins weighing heavily upon his battered soul—the sin of

desiring revenge, the sin of anger.

Tearing his gaze from her, he looked out across those assembled.

“Heretic! Degenerate! Sinner!”

What lies had she told them? he wondered. What evil accusations had she flung?

How badly had she sullied his name? His honor?

The inquisitor had called him many things with the passing of blades and barbed

scourges across his bound body, but he knew himself to be guilty of none of those

things. Now he would pay for sins he had not committed, be made to atone for

unspecified evils he had never entertained.

His eyes were drawn to the executioner as the squat man dressed in black, his face

hidden beneath a hood, came toward the branches with the torch. Through the twin

slits in the ebon mask he could see spite gleaming back at him. As the man’s arm

lowered the fire to the oil-soaked sticks and twigs, he thought he heard a sinister laugh

from beneath the thick hood.

“Die, you worthless bastard,” she called out from the balcony. “Die and spend

eternity in the

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