Wilde Nights in Paradise Online - Tonya Burrows

Chapter One

Seven days.

And counting.

Really. Fucking. Slowly.

Jude Wilde groaned and leaned back in his office chair. Maybe leaving the Marines hadn’t been the best decision of his thirty years. Of course, nobody could ever accuse him of having good decision-making skills so there was no sense in breaking that tradition now.

Still. Had it really been only a week since he got out? At least the Marines, with all of their political BS, had offered stimulation, distraction, entertainment.

But this?

He scanned the mostly empty office space of Wilde Security—industrial gray carpet, banged up metal desks, walls that may have been white back in the days of Nixon—until his gaze found two of his older brothers, Camden and Vaughn.

“You know,” he said, “this P.I. stuff is not as cool as it seems in the movies.”

Ever competitive, the twins were busy arguing over another game of Battleship and he got no response.

Sighing, Jude tilted his head back and spun his chair around and around until his stomach started to spin right along with the ceiling. He stopped. Straightened. Wobbled. Glowered at his brothers again. “Guys, seriously, I’m so freakin’ bored. I’m gonna lose my mind here.”

“Quick, hide the matches,” Camden said and finally looked up. “And the scissors, paper clips, and anything else shiny or pointy.”

“Can’t have little brother hurting himself,” Vaughn added with a shit-eating grin, then proceeded to sink Cam’s sub.

Jude grabbed a sheet of paper from the blank pad on his desk, wadded it up. He sent it sailing toward the twins and had the great satisfaction of watching it nail Vaughn in the face before it bounced and smacked Cam on the side of the head.

Jude held up his arms. “Goaaal!”

The twins shared a glance, communicating in their freaky nonverbal way, and—oh, shit!—he had just enough time to leap out of his chair before they launched across the office.

Two against one, just like when they were kids. Even calling on every ounce of military training he possessed, Jude didn’t stand a chance. Still, a friendly brawl with his brothers was a helluva lot better than stewing in his own boredom. A good wrestling match always livened things up, especially if he could turn the twins against each other. Then he’d sneak out of the fray, sit back, and watch the show.

Cam went in low, tackling him around the middle while Vaughn went high. The combined force of four hundred pounds of muscle made for a jarring impact and wrenched the air from his lungs, but he still croaked out a laugh.

“Guys, you’re getting soft—” An elbow plowed into his gut. “Umph.”

All right. Time to weasel his way out before a blow landed further south. He grabbed two handfuls of someone’s T-shirt—ah, Camden’s. Perfect.—and yanked the fabric up. Blinded, Cam lost his balance and slammed fist-first into Vaughn, who growled and shoved his twin hard. The three of them went down in a cursing knot of flailing limbs. Cam shrugged out of the tangled shirt and grabbed Vaughn in a headlock. Jude took the opportunity to scramble out from under the dog pile, skull dragging across the carpet until a polished shoe blocked his path.


Wincing, he gazed up from the glossy Italian leather, followed the line of perfectly pleated trousers and the narrow gray pinstripes of a silk tie to meet his second oldest brother’s glowering hazel eyes. “Reece. Hi.”

At the sound of Reece’s name, the twins jumped apart like repelled magnets. Cam was still shirtless and had earned himself a swollen lip. Vaughn would be sporting a black eye by the end of the afternoon. Both were breathing hard and Jude had to bite the inside of his cheek to stifle a laugh. Those two were just too damn easy to rile up.

Reece’s mouth turned down at the corners. A small frown, but enough to tell Jude just how pissed big bro was. Yet Reece effortlessly smoothed his expression into a pleasant smile and turned to the man standing beside him, who looked like a cover model for GQ with his streaky salon-styled blond hair and straight, bleached teeth.

“Mr. Burke, these are our investigators, my brothers Camden, Vaughn, and Jude. They practice their hand-to-hand combat techniques daily and often test each other with surprise attacks. Unfortunately, that sometimes means a scuffle breaks out in the office.”

“In the office?” Burke looked down his straight nose at Jude, a slight sneer pulling up the corner of his mouth. “That’s highly irregular.”

“And what makes us the best at handling irregular situations.” Reece waved an arm