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Authors: Kate Hoffmann

The Mighty Quinns: Danny

BOOK: The Mighty Quinns: Danny
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Praise for Kate Hoffmann from
RT Book Reviews

The Charmer

“Hoffmann's deeply felt, emotional story is riveting. It's impossible to put down.”

Your Bed or Mine?

“Fully developed characters and perfect pacing make this story feel completely right.”

Doing Ireland!

“Sexy and wildly romantic.”

The Mighty Quinns: Ian

“A very hot story mixes with great characters to make every page a delight.”

Who Needs Mistletoe?

“Romantic, sexy and heartwarming.”

The Mighty Quinns: Teague

“Sexy, heartwarming and romantic…a story to settle down with and enjoy—and then re-read.”

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the second book in my Mighty Quinns trilogy, featuring youngest brother, Danny.

About ten years ago, I happened across a small blacksmith shop near my hometown and decided to stop in and see what was going on. I'd nearly forgotten that place until I was looking for a profession for Danny Quinn and it just popped into my head.

I was so impressed by an artist using fire and tools to coax beautiful shapes from reluctant iron. It took strength and patience and creativity—exactly the qualities I wanted for Danny.

I hope you enjoy
The Mighty Quinns: Danny.
And don't miss the final book in the trilogy next month, when eldest brother, Kellan, meets his match.

Happy reading,

Kate Hoffmann

Kate Hoffmann
THE MIGHTY QUINNS: DANNY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Hoffmann began writing for Harlequin Books in 1993. Since then she's published sixty-five books, primarily in the Harlequin Temptation and Harlequin Blaze lines. When she isn't writing, she enjoys music, theater and musical theater. She is active working with high school students in the performing arts. She lives in southeastern Wisconsin with her cat, Chloe.

Books by Kate Hoffmann

HARLEQUIN BLAZE

279—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: MARCUS

285—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: IAN

291—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: DECLAN

340—DOING IRELAND!

356—FOR LUST OR MONEY

379—YOUR BED OR MINE?

406—INCOGNITO

438—WHO NEEDS MISTLETOE?

476—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: BRODY

482—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: TEAGUE

488—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: CALLUM

520—THE CHARMER

532—THE DRIFTER

546—THE SEXY DEVIL

579—IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE MISTLETOE…
           “When She Was Naughty…”

641—THE MIGHTY QUINNS: RILEY

HARLEQUIN SINGLE TITLES

(The Quinns)

REUNITED

THE PROMISE

THE LEGACY

Prologue

D
ANNY
Q
UINN PULLED
the pocketknife from his jacket and opened the blade. He carefully cut into the piece of soap he'd stolen from beneath the kitchen sink, hoping his mother wouldn't notice it was missing before he had a chance to finish his carving.

A brisk breeze blew off the sea, scattering the flakes of soap in the sand. He'd come down to his favorite spot, a spot he'd named Smuggler's Cove, to get away from his brothers. There weren't many places the youngest Quinn had all to his own, but this was one of them.

He'd spent a lot of solitary time in the area. Beyond the cliffs was the old haunted castle, a place his older brothers always talked about. He hadn't quite gathered the courage to venture inside; but he had found this spot, far enough from the ghosts and goblins that guarded the old tower. Though it was a five-kilometer walk cross-country, it was worth it to put distance between him and his tormentors.

Today, just after breakfast, he had sneaked away from home, his rucksack packed with a lunch, scraps of driftwood and soap and his pocketknife—ready to
enjoy a day alone. Who needed older brothers anyhow? He was just grand on his own.

“I saw him go down here!”

Danny looked up to see his eldest brother, Kellan, standing thirty feet above him. He scrambled back to hide himself against the rocks, but he wasn't fast enough. “He's down at the bottom,” Kellan shouted.

“Go away,” Danny yelled. “This is my place and you can't come down.”

“How did you get down there?” Kellan called.

“I jumped,” Danny shot back.

Riley appeared beside Kellan. It was now two against one, the typical breakdown between the three brothers. “Bollocks!” Riley said. “Tell us how you got down or we'll tell Ma you were climbing on the cliffs.”

They wouldn't go away. His older brothers were merciless. “Find the rock that looks like a duck,” Danny finally said. “The path is on the other side of that.” He watched as Riley and Kellan searched for the right spot and then slowly descended through the rocks. As they both leapt down onto the sand, Danny watched them warily.

“How did you find this place?” Kellan asked, looking around in wonder.

“I was searching for driftwood in the rocks. I just found it.” He cursed. “How did you find me?”

“We followed you,” Kellan said, a wide grin on his face. “We were curious where you were off to in such a rush.”

“What are you doin' down here?” Riley asked. He pointed to the bar of soap that Danny held to his chest. “What's that? Are you plannin' on a bath, then? Tryin'
to smell grand for your girlfriend, Evelyn?” Riley laughed, jabbing Kellan in the side with his elbow. “That's why he's hidin' out here. Danny has a sweetheart. Maybe she's meetin' him here for a bit of snogging.”

“You in love with Evelyn, Danno?” Kellan asked, circling around him.

“No,” Danny muttered. “I don't have a girl.”

“Then why are you holdin' so tight to that soap?” Riley asked.

Danny tried to shove it in his jacket pocket, but Kellan was waiting to snatch it from his grip. Danny cursed as his brother retreated a safe distance.

“What are you doing with this?” Kellan said with a laugh, looking down at the dragon's head that Danny had begun to carve. He immediately went silent. Riley frowned, then walked over to Kellan's side. “What is it?”

“Where did you get this?” Kellan asked.

“It's mine,” Danny murmured. “Now give it over.”

“Who did you steal this from?” Kellan demanded.

“No one. I told you, it's mine.”

Riley held up the soap, pointing to the dragon's head. “You carved this?”

“I did,” Danny said, grabbing the soap back from his brother.

“Shut yer gob,” Riley said. “You can't carve like that. You're just a baby.”

Danny's eyes narrowed. “I'm eight years old.”

“Prove it,” Riley challenged. “Prove you carved that.”

“I don't have to do anything you tell me,” Danny said. “You're not my da, so feck off, the both of you.”

“Maybe he did,” Kellan said. “He's a clever little shite. After all, he found this place, didn't he?”

“I did,” Danny insisted. “And I'll show you.” Plopping down on the sand, he opened his rucksack and began to pull out all the carvings he'd done in the past few months. His collection was always changing—some he kept, some he gave to school chums and some he threw into the sea when they looked too crude against the others.

Riley and Kellan watched him, silently, suspiciously. But as his menagerie of animals and insects and mythic creatures grew, they leaned in more closely. “Will you look at that,” Kellan murmured. He reached out and picked up a beetle that Danny was particularly proud of, carved out of a palm-sized piece of driftwood. “How do you do this?”

“I have to find a good piece of wood first,” Danny explained. “Then I stare at it for a while, and pretty soon I see what I want to carve. Then, I just take away everything that isn't the beetle. My teacher says that's how the great sculptors do it.”

“Look at this,” Riley said, grabbing a dinosaur. “He's even got the spikes on the tail.”

They sat down on either side of him and examined all of Danny's carvings, their comments filled with awe and respect for his talents. This was the first time in his whole life that his brothers had taken him seriously. Usually, they just ignored him and left him behind. But now, he could do something they couldn't. And that was like gold.

“Would you like one, then?” Danny asked.

His brothers looked at each other. “We can have one?”

“Sure,” he said. “Any one you like.”

“Can ya make me something?” Kellan asked.

Danny nodded. “I can. If you find a picture, I can carve it.” He rummaged in his rucksack until he found the photo he'd torn out of a magazine. “I'm going to make this troll for Ma's garden, for her birthday, but I have to find a big piece of wood.”

“We'll help you find one,” Riley said. “There's got to be a good piece around here somewhere.”

He and his brothers searched the beach for a long time, climbing over the rocks and talking about Danny's carvings. It was the best day of Danny's whole life, better than any day he could remember. Somehow, he knew things had changed, that he was someone important to Riley and Kellan now. The duo was now a trio.

“I can show you something else,” Danny offered. “It's a secret and you can't tell Da or Ma or they'll take the strap to us all. And you can't tell anyone else. None of your friends. It has to be for Quinn brothers only.”

“We swear,” Kellan said.

“You have to make a blood oath,” Danny said. He opened his pocketknife and held out his hand. Without flinching, he cut the tip of his index finger, then handed the knife to Riley. “Do it,” he said. “Or I won't tell you.”

Reluctantly, both Kellan and Riley cut their fingers, then let the blood drip onto their palms. Then the three brothers grasped hands, mingling their blood. Riley grinned at Kellan. “He's a brave little bugger, isn't he?”

“Let's see it,” Kellan said, drawing his hand away.

“It's a cave,” Danny said. “In the cliff. It's deep and
I didn't go all the way in because the tide comes up into the opening. But I think that smugglers might have used it.” He pulled a tiny flashlight out of his jacket pocket and turned it on. “We've only got an hour before the tide starts coming in. We'll have to hurry.”

“Are you sure we should do this?” Riley said. “What if it's dangerous?”

Danny gave him a look. “If you're afraid, you can stay on the beach.”

As he walked across the sand to the rocky outcropping, Danny smiled to himself. Though he was only eight, he felt like a full-grown man. Maybe now, he'd have enough courage to talk to Evelyn Maltby.

BOOK: The Mighty Quinns: Danny
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