BY: RONNIE ALLEN
Lying. Deception. Cover-ups. Anger. Revenge. Death. That’s what happens when an Aries-obsessed killer combines black magick rituals, knives…and murder.
Samantha Wright, a rookie NYPD detective, gets her first case, a big one, by stumbling over the body while jogging in the park. Sam has a lot to prove, both to herself and to her new precinct, on this serial murder case involving fashion icons in NYC. Together with a rough around the edges BJJ fighter, forensic psychiatrist, Frank Khaos, Sam chases down leads through the five boroughs of NYC. As the bodies pile up, sparks fly and Sam and Frank, polar opposites, go from their dislike for each other to setting the sheets on fire. But their main suspect is hooked up to an IV in a hospital bed, so how has she pulled off five murders in seven days? And can Sam and Frank stop her before even more innocent lives are lost?
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Aries by Ronnie Allen, Samantha Wright is a brand new detective, out to prove herself on a high-profile murder case. Her precinct calls in Dr. Frank Khaos, forensic psychiatrist, to profile the killer of a high-fashion designer. When a second designer turns up dead, Frank and Sam are confused because their main suspect is in the hospital and was there under guard when the second murder took place. Still, Sam is convinced the woman is guilty. Now all she has to do is prove it.
Like the first book in the series, Gemini, Aries is a solid psychological thriller, but this time with a twist in the form of a BDSM romance between the two main characters. Makes it all that much more appealing.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Aries ~ The Sign Behind the Crime ~ Book 2 by Ronnie Allen is another first class thriller by an obviously talented author. Our heroine Sam Wright is a newly promoted detective, starting at a new precinct in New York City. Her first day on the job, she is running in the park before going into work and stumbles over a body. The case turns out to be big, really big and Sam has her hands full, not only with solving the case, which turns out to be a serial killer, but also with the handsome, rough around the edges shrink the precinct calls in to help her find the killer.
Allen has crafted another page turner, this time adding a hot and heavy romance with some bondage and domination elements that give the story a unique twist. If you like romance along with edge-of-your-seat tension, you’ll love Aries.
Eyes cemented shut in deep concentration, palms placed upon her midriff, she felt the power she craved being directed straight into her core by Tuesday’s new moon, as if a cord attached the moon to her solar plexus. She interpreted the moon’s personal signal as something she’d better heed. The charts she referred to told her tonight marked the night–perfect for an Aries to invoke her deepest desires. Nothing else mattered now.
Opening her eyes, she checked the light-resistant blinds on the window facing Garfield Place, leveling the way they fell on the sill. She pulled them tightly to make sure they shut out any reflections from the streetlights. The last thing she wanted was someone taking a glance in her direction, intruding on her peace.
She needed to remain low profile now. Everyone had told her that she’d been and would be “low profile” her entire life. She hadn’t realize how important those two words would become. Low profile–low, unsuccessful, pitiful, minuscule, never good enough. From the time she entered school, those words had drilled apart her soul.
Even at night, this upper crust Park Slope neighborhood didn’t sleep. Her tree-lined street was residential, but an avenue away the new age shops, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and fresh-food markets all hopped until midnight. The aromas of fresh baked bread and European cuisine found their way into her windows, especially now, in late fall when Brooklyn had cooled from the hot summer.
The residents, though, minded their own business, so she could do what she wanted, when she wanted. In fact, they ignored her. She’d been living in this northern part of Brooklyn eight months and not once had any one of them asked her how she could afford it. They just gave her dirty looks, as if she didn’t belong. She assumed that’s what they were thinking. They had no idea if she rented or owned. These yuppies were too busy climbing their own ladders in the arts to be bothered with a nobody like herself. But she’d show them. All of them. Soon she’d be at the top, looking down on exactly the right people.
She stood facing her altar in the dark basement with her arms up in the air, spread apart, palms facing each other. Under her black ritual robe, she felt the heat swell within her, rising up from her core to the top of her crown. She was ready.
“Oh, Goddesses of the Dark, and Aradia, the Devine Queen of Witches, hear my call tonight,” she whispered. “In the light of the moon in the Mars hour, I, BlackRam, High Priestess of the Covenant of Lasting Darkness, hereby summon every deity in my circle to come to me now. As I use my wand to consecrate the four directions in your honor, I vow to you my complete devotion.”
BlackRam glanced at the clock on the wall behind the altar. Nine p.m. She nodded. She had marked off this hour as the moon in Mars conjunct, perfect for plotting an evil deed. And, yes, she was evil, down to her demon soul. She faced east, held her right arm out in front of her, and, with her selenite wand grasped in her hand, encased herself with spiraling motions. First, her aura in front of her, then above her head, and lastly behind her back–all the while, making sure that she stayed within a two-foot circumference. “I invoke, from the Dark Goddesses, commitment to my beliefs.” Then she turned south and repeated the same movements with the selenite wand. “I invoke, from the Dark Goddesses, success and strength.” Then she faced west. After repeating the movements with the selenite wand, “I invoke, from the Dark Goddesses, a flexible nature.” She turned to face north. The selenite wand whisked through the air. “I invoke, from the Dark Goddesses, accomplishment.” Now facing the altar, she continued the invocation.
“Oh, Goddesses of the Dark, I have proved my devotion to you. My triple-beholden will require your strength to walk the left-hand path. As I gaze into your light, bestow upon me the power and energy to command my triple-beholden, BlackMoon, BlackFlower, and BlackCloud, to carry out my deeds. Command them to worship me, obey me, without fault or hesitation. Make their obedience unfaltering, no matter the difficulty, complications, or forces by others to disobey. I’m tingling with ripples of warm energy running from head to toe. I feel my body swaying forward and back in rhythm to your burning flames. Your dancing light empowers me to accomplish the tasks at hand. Oh, Goddesses of the Dark, I am indebted to you. Thank you, Goddesses. I will make you proud. This spell will not place any curse upon me. As I proclaim in Hecate’s name, my beholden and I shall remain Dark Souls Forever.”
She bowed her head for a moment, giving thanks, then stepped back to admire the altar. The black and white paisley silk cloth lay neatly, covering the mahogany bar in the basement of her brownstone. She concentrated for a moment, remembering Hecate’s favorite oils, then chose from her assortment the small bottle of Death Commanding Oil from a shelf, standing on the left side of the bar. She tilted it to let a droplet touch the middle finger of her left hand. Her right middle finger met with the left. Gently she tapped the sides of the black, seven knobbed candle from bottom to top. As the candle released the aromas of jasmine, basil, and pennyroyal, its flame, dancing high and strong, gave her the affirmation that her deities surrounded her. Forming a circle around this candle, she placed five more. Three black, two red–five, seven knobbed candles. One knob for each day. One week was all they had. Five candles for five deaths. Five deaths in seven days. Then she and her beholden could disappear.
No. She could disappear.
Her beholden would be dead.
BlackRam picked up her lighter. The flame ascended with a pop. She held the wide sleeve of her robe close to her right arm as she lit the other five candles and then stepped back to the left side of the altar. Everything was in place. Chunks of black tourmaline and logs of kyanite lay interspersed between the candles. The blues and the silver tones in the kyanite balanced her chakras and deflected negativity from her, as did the tourmaline. She released a prolonged breath.
She’d need as much protection as she could muster. A wooden pentagram, six inches in diameter, lay in front of the candles closest to her. She worshipped this five-pointed amulet, never performing a ritual without it. She lifted it off its programming bed of clear quartz crystals, brought it to her heart with her palms crossed over it, and then replaced it on the mantle.
As she adjusted the hood of her robe on her head to conceal her hair, she bent her head down toward her chest. She inhaled deeply as the scent of lavender whiffed across her nose, remnants from her cleansing bath to prepare for tonight. She reminded herself she had to clean the tub. This time she had remembered to put in the plug so the carnations wouldn’t clog the drain again. Boy, were they hard to get this time of year. She had finally found a florist in Carroll Gardens that had them preserved in silica in the fridge. She bought the entire stock. Five bags of petals cost her over a hundred dollars, but it was so well worth it. There was nothing like her cleansing bath, soaking in a tub, and rubbing her body down with carnation petals until they crumbled in the rose water that was sprinkled with lavender oil. She inhaled deeply to bring the scent within her memory into her nostrils.
Everything had to be perfect. Her gaze traveled the circumference of the magick circle she had created on the rose-colored tile floor. Not one grain of salt was out of place. Only a small path remained without the marking. She checked the mahogany bench that hugged two walls. Each of her beholden had her favorite cushion. Affirmed. They were in place. The mahogany panelled walls, bookcases, and ceiling still radiated the scent of the lemon cleansing oil she had used earlier today. There was not one atom of negativity from the outside to impede their ritual tonight.
Contented, BlackRam turned her attention to the bolline on the altar. Lifting it, she gazed at the pentagram on its white marbleized handle. With her fingernail, she scraped the remnants of wax from her previous ritual off the curved blade. She’d use it tonight when carving amulets for her beholden from the candle wax drippings. They loved her amulets. They felt protected. Little did they know when the amulets were in their pockets, they would be commanded to commit murder.
They dragged the naked body, trudging backward into the dense foliage in the park on the outskirts of Chelsea, in the lower west side of Manhattan, with a flashlight app on their smartphones guiding the way. Two women with latex-gloved hands held him, while the third kept lookout, and lifted his feet to help, but she grimaced and had to let go. The two pulling him couldn’t ignore the foul odors of his discharge upon death, either. Most of it remained in his GT-R coupe and on his Armani suit, which he wouldn’t miss. With his butt scraping against the ground, more fecal matter would be removed from his body.
BlackFlower knew they’d have to cover those tracks. She wondered what it would take to clean that one-hundred-twenty-grand ride but, just for a moment, to re-think if they had left any evidence behind. She checked their left wrists. Good. The white band with the letters DSF in black, honoring their sisterhood, remained in place. On the three of them.
She had a job to do. It had to be done. Now. A few more weeks and the trees would be barren. The only ones that heard the rustling of bushes were the birds that were up at four-thirty in the morning. Not even joggers passed through here at this hour. They’d made sure of that. Planning had taken months–the park, their prey, everything, down to the hour, the Mars hour. The kill took place at four a.m. She had only another half hour to execute the commands.
“Damn! This guy is heavier than he looks. This place is good. You two leave. This was my kill, and I’ve still got lots to do. Gimme that, Cloud,” BlackFlower barked as she grabbed the knapsack Cloud had slung over her shoulder.
BlackFlower hated that, using a shortened name, but when they addressed each other, BlackRam insisted they drop the “Black.” It was just too cumbersome to say, especially when she chastised them. BlackRam granted permission to use their formal Wiccan names when they performed ceremonies, and only then. To BlackFlower that was demoralizing, demeaning, and childish. However, it was her job to obey.
Flower saw Cloud and Moon shine their lights over the path made by the dead man. Good, she thought. At least they’re being useful. She reached into the knapsack and handed them fresh disposable gloves. After they put them on, she handed each of them a small rake with an expandable handle and a black garbage bag. Moon pulled the handle up. Flower knew Moon would know what to do. This wasn’t her first time disposing of evidence. Actually, Flower had to admit that this wasn’t the first time for any of them. Aside from their own indiscretions, if Ram had her way, and Flower knew she would, this week wouldn’t be the last, either.
The two women knew their assignment. Whatever leaves, branches, and dirt they or this man had touched on the path coming in was to be raked up, put in a bag, and dumped in the river on the east side. That included every item of their clothing except their wristbands. Wouldn’t find evidence so easily across the borough. That would give them more time without interference from the cops. Flower studied them as they retreated. They packed so much into the bags, Flower doubted that any evidence would remain. Lastly, she’d have to clean up after herself. It was part of the plan. Faltering equaled punishment. At one time or another over the last couple of years since they formed Dark Souls Forever, each one of them had succumbed to Ram’s wrath. One time was all it took.
Flower crouched down on her knees on a bed of leaves by the body of the man who weighed about one sixty at five feet, nine. He appeared to be in good shape for a guy in his fifties. She poked at his ribs and waist with her index finger. No fat. Not good. That would add some complications.
She pulled a ponytail band out of her jeans pocket and picked up her mid-back-length cornbraids, tying them back. Some strands of her coarse black hair stuck to her latex glove. She moaned a sigh of relief, glad she noticed, but annoyed at the same time that she’d wasted precious moments. She pulled the strands off the gloves, rubbed them between her fingers to make a ball, and stuck it into the zipped compartment inside the knapsack. She put on another pair of gloves just in case the first became torn.
From inside the knapsack she retrieved a plastic surgical cover-up, placed it around her neck, and tied it behind her, covering her T-shirt and jeans. Good thing she was wasn’t overweight. She could wrap it around her. Next, she slipped on plastic arm covers, to protect her still open, self-inflicted wounds from splatter and transference. Yeah. Bandages covered them, but you never knew, and they oozed. Besides, they hurt like hell. She dug two fingers into her jeans pocket and pried out a thirty-mg Blue. She popped it into her mouth and dry swallowed, giving a non-verbal thank you to her street pharmacist for her supply of oxycodone. She retrieved a new plastic mat, removed its Saran protective sheath, and placed it on top of leaves next to her. Everything was brand new. It had to be done right–no, more than right. This was by far the most important kill to date. She removed her tools from the knapsack.
Two paring knives and a machete.
© 2016 by Ronnie Allen