Peter Parker Penn.
Unlike the superhero his mother named him after, Parker is no good guy.
In fact, if there"s a picture in the dictionary under anti-hero, it"s his.
Parker"s spent his life trying to get back on the right side of the tracks, but each step he takes forward, he takes two more steps back.
To save one, he hurts others. To make this good, he turns that bad.
For appearances" sake, he plays the part. He does what people expect him to do-mostly.
And at the end of each day, he goes back to his lonely apartment and wishes he was a different person. One who could fix the things he"s broken.
Then Kayla Nash forces her way into his life, and the world as he knows it is irrevocably changed.
Everything he thinks he has right is wrong. And everything he thinks is wrong is oh, so right.
One thing leads to another, and suddenly he"s growing a conscience, and trying to prove to her that he"s as bad as everybody says he is.
Yet she won"t listen.
She"s convinced that she can save him.
Little does she know, Parker isn"t worth saving, and never will be.Books in Series:Simple Man Series by Lani Lynn ValeBooks by Author:Lani Lynn Vale Books
Here, hold my morals. I have some sketchy shit to do.
-Parker, age 15
29 years ago
"Do it or I do your sister."
I wanted to throw up.
My stomach hurt so bad that I knew I probably would.
I"d done this to myself. At least, that"s what everyone kept telling me.
My sister, who"d been the one to get me into this mess in the first place, looked at me with fear filled eyes.
I didn"t know what to do.
What he was telling me was something I never ever wanted to do. I thought it"d be fun, being in this gang. But I"d been wrong. So, so wrong.
Now, here I sat, with the most impossible of tasks.
Either slit this older boy"s throat, the one who wanted out, or they do the same to my sister.
It was a lose-lose situation. Either way I looked at it someone would die. My sister, who got me into this nightmare. Or a boy"like me"who just wanted out of the same mess.
Raglan, my sister"s gang banger boyfriend, dug his knife in a little deeper. The first trail of scarlet snaked down my sister"s throat.
I watched with morbid fascination as it slid down her collarbone and bled into the white fabric of her shirt.
Then my sister started to cry.
"I"ll do it," I croaked.
16 years ago
"You have two options," my father said. "Either go into the Navy or go to jail. It"s as easy as that."
I"d finally hit rock bottom. I"d done things I wasn"t proud of"not at all.
I"d hurt my family. I"d hurt a young kid"slit his throat"to protect my sister. I"d fought. I"d stolen. I"d hurt old ladies and defenseless men.
Honestly, the only thing I hadn"t done was actually murder someone"and it was heading there. It was only a matter of time before I was forced to do it.
I stared at my father as fear climbed its way up my throat.
I knew he was right. I knew it, yet I couldn"t make myself take that final step away from this fucked up path I"d found my way onto"gangbanger life "unless I took the lifeline that my father was holding out for me to drag myself out.
I swallowed. "If I leave, they"ll kill Emmie and her son. He might be that douchebag"s kid, but they won"t care. And Mom won"t be safe, either."
My dad shook his head. "They will be safe. I promise."
My father was wrong, so wrong. The moment I was gone, so were they, my Mom and sister, anyway. Murdered. Their throats slit just like Raglan said would happen.
5 years ago
"Have a good day at school, buddy," I said to the little boy, my nephew"s son that looked so much like my sister that it hurt.
Jett, my sister"s son"s boy, laughed. "My name"s Jett, not buddy!"
Jett was the spitting image of his daddy. When he was born, I thought for sure Gunner would fuck him up. He was seventeen, and I knew Gunner wasn"t ready for a kid. He was still in school, and he"d wanted to be a professional baseball player. Hell, he could still become one. At twenty-one, Gunner could still become anything he wanted to be. And that was all thanks to my father, who"d raised Gunner the way that he should have raised me. But I wasn"t bitter that Gunner was getting what I never did. I was happy that he had someone taking care of him after his mother"s murder.
Especially seeing as I was still busy looking after myself.
"Love you, Uncle Park," Jett declared. "Don"t forget that today is party day! We get to have tacos for breakfast!"
I grinned. "I won"t, buddy. I"ll be here."
Jett gave me a thumb up, then bailed out of my truck. The teacher who"d opened his door gave me a small wave. "Have a good day, Dad!"
I didn"t correct her. It was easier to wave and smile than tell her that Jett"s actual father was busy going to his own college classes and unable to take his son to school at this particular time in the morning.
Besides, it wasn"t often that I got to take him. I was here so rarely that it was nice to spend so much time with them when I could fit it in.
As I pulled away, I drove to the store and got the stupid fruit tray that Gunner had signed up for"then forgotten about.
His mom had been forgetful like that. Always running and forgetting what she was running for. Emmie. My sister. My everything.
I"d follow her to the grave"and almost had a time or two. But I had one sick and twisted guardian angel that refused to let me die, even though I"d done my level best to force his hand a time or fifty.
Yet I was still here.
And as I drove to the store and got a fruit tray that was thirteen damn dollars, I realized that Jett was probably why. Jett and Gunner.