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Some mistakes are worth repeating.

Liza knows that cocky billionaire Matt Russo is the wrong man for her. She could make a long list of reasons why she’d be smart to stay away, including his tenacious ex-girlfriend, the fact he’s trying to destroy her family, and, oh yeah, did she mention he’s a cold, distant bastard? However, after their tempestuous one-night stand, she’s finding it hard to hang on to their well-established nemesis routine.

Matt is the master of control—of his life, his emotions, his future. Except, of course, for that night he slipped up…with Liza Moretti. Reassuming his grip on the reins, he’s determined it won’t happen again. Unfortunately, doing the right thing in regards to the tempting woman fails because doing the wrong things with her—to her—are too alluring to resist.

An impromptu invitation to share his private plane leads to an unexpected break from reality and some very steamy nights in Hawaii. Until real life comes knocking and Matt is forced to face the mistakes of his past. Mistakes that could destroy the one thing he can’t control, and the one thing he can no longer live without—Liza.

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Tempted and Taken

Mari Carr

Expected Release Date: 9 January 2024

Book Series: 

A sexy, new, enemies to lovers romance in Mari Carr’s Italian Stallions series is out next week, and I have an awesome excerpt for you. We first met Matt Russo and Liza Moretti in the novella Naughty and Nice. He’s a ruthless billionaire, she volunteers at a homeless shelter. Their families have been feuding for generations, but a one-night stand changes everything…

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“I didn’t mean to wake you up. It was the—” The plane shook again. “Shit.”

Matt sat up and turned on the bedside lamp. “It’s just turbulence.”

“Should we go back to the main cabin and buckle up?”

“Let me call the pilot, see if that’s necessary.” Matt picked up the receiver on an intercom-style phone next to the bed that Liza hadn’t noticed before. “Jack,” he said, pausing to listen. “I see,” he said in response to something Liza couldn’t hear. “Sounds good.”

Matt hung up the phone. “We’ve hit a pocket of weather,” he explained to her. “So we’re probably looking at a half an hour of turbulence. Jack, the pilot, doesn’t think it’ll get rough enough that we need to return to our seats, but he’ll call if that changes.”

“Oh. Okay.” She picked up her smart watch and glanced at the time. She’d managed to grab a two-hour catnap. Just enough to help her find her second wind. 

Which meant the fog had lifted from her brain enough that everything Matt had said over dinner was finally sinking in. A few weeks ago, he’d been preaching professionalism, telling her they couldn’t expand on that one-night stand.

Tonight, he made it very clear he’d changed his mind.

“Damn,” she muttered as the plane shook again, flattening her hands against the mattress to steady herself. Liza fought to school her expression because, while she hated turbulence, she hated appearing weak more. She pasted on a fake smile. “Bit like a ride at an amusement park.”

Matt reached out, brushing her hair over one shoulder before gripping the back of her neck, giving her a too-brief kiss on the forehead. It was a simple enough touch, but the way Matt did it, it screamed of possession. Instead of pissing her off, which felt like the normal response, it turned her on.

“Lay down,” he said, releasing her.

She did as he asked, settling on her back until he shook his head. 

“Turn away from me,” he commanded.


Matt lifted one brow. “Because I told you to.”

Normal, everyday Liza would cut someone down to size for that comment, but instead she had to squeeze her legs together, trying to ignore the way her panties were suddenly damp.

She turned her back to him, facing the side wall, startling when Matt’s arm snuck around her waist so that he could spoon her. 

“Are you doing an impersonation of a seat belt?” she teased, loving the pure strength in his arm. Matt was well-built, muscular, powerful. And that power didn’t just end in the physical realm. It was as if it was woven into every fiber of his being.

“Yes. Unless you prefer I tie your hands to the headboard.” 

Dammit, Matt had countered every single one of her jokes today with those steamy innuendoes that sent her mind straight to the gutter. 

She was just about to take him up on his offer of bondage, but he spoke first.

“Go to sleep, Liza.”

She sighed, grateful he couldn’t see her face. It would give her time to wipe the pout off it without him noticing.

Matt’s grip tightened around her; their bodies connected from shoulders to feet as he molded his position to match hers, right down to her bent knees. It was hard to ignore the fact her ass was perfectly cupped by his crotch and upper thighs. It was equally hard to ignore his very erect cock nestled beneath his boxer briefs.

Sleep was not going to come easily again.

She didn’t want it to.

Matt was interested in expanding on their sexual experiences. Practicality suggested that she take the time he was offering and think about what she wanted from an affair with Matt.

Marriage and love were off the table, and in a lot of ways, that made Liza’s decision much simpler. The two of them shared a physical chemistry, one so strong she thought she’d go mad from it. If they limited this thing between them to just sex…it would make things easier. 

No messy emotions. No feuding relatives. No past to hash out.

Liza had pretty much dated every single man between the ages of twenty and forty over the past decade, so she had enough data to know that if she wanted to explore this newly discovered submissive side, Matt was her best option. Maybe her only option because no other lover had made her feel this way before. 

She was terrified that if she didn’t take this chance, she wouldn’t get another.

Matt’s arm was slack around her, and she wondered if he’d already fallen back to sleep. She hoped not because…well, she’d already made up her mind.

She wiggled her ass against his crotch, rubbing against the obvious bulge.

“Hold still,” his deep voice murmured in her ear.

She didn’t reply. Just wiggled again. 

“Liza,” Matt warned. 

She glanced over her shoulder, feigning innocence. “What?”

“You’re playing with fire.”

She didn’t reply. Instead, she grinned as she pushed her ass harder against his erection before doing another little shimmy.

Matt lifted the hand wrapped around her waist to her throat, loosely cupping the front of it, shifting until his lips were right next to her ear. “Bad girls get punished.”

She laughed softly. “What do good girls get?”

“Doesn’t matter. Because you’re not a good girl.”

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Italian Stallions - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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