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It’s a win-win-win situation.

Luca has resigned himself to a life as a bachelor. He’s watched all the Morettis fall in love, but nothing’s ever clicked for him. Until Harper…and Conor.

Former super model Harper has spent too much of her life living up to other people’s expectations of her. Perfect hair, perfect body, perfect boyfriends. For the first time ever, she’s able to forge her own path. New career, no more diets, and—hopefully—a relationship with a man of her choosing, one who sees past the pretty face to the person inside.

Conor has spent his entire life lost in the shadows, the forgotten Russo, but he’s decided it’s time for that to change. After all, both of his older brothers have found love. He’s determined it’s his turn, and that resolve gets a little push in the right direction when a new investment means he’ll be working with the man he’s always had a crush on. But if he likes Luca, why does he suddenly have feelings for Harper too?

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Steady and Strong

Mari Carr

Expected Release Date: 2 April 2024

Book Series: 

A sexy, emotional, new romance in Mari Carr’s Italian Stallions series is out next week—in which the last Russo bachelor finds his happily-ever-after with his childhood crush, Luca Moretti, and Harper, a former supermodel—and I have an awesome excerpt for you.

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Luca could feel Harper’s gaze traveling between them, but she hadn’t attempted to join the conversation, letting them discuss this on their own.

Luca was suddenly seeing Conor in a different light, and he realized how lukewarm his attraction toward the man had been until this moment, when he felt a strong, almost overpowering pull he was helpless to fight. “It couldn’t have been easy for you, surrounded by all that hate. I can understand you getting swept up in it.”

Conor gave him a funny look. “I’ve never hated you, Luca. I couldn’t if I tried. But when you kissed Trina, I discovered I had my own Russo voice, talking in the back of my head, telling me you’d set me up and that you were going to tell everyone at school I was gay. I was terrified it would get back to my dad.”

“Jesus,” Luca whispered, hating he’d unwittingly caused Conor so much pain. “Conor,” he started to apologize, but Conor waved it away.

“None of that was your fault. I saw what I hoped for, not what was there, and when it fell apart, I let the lessons my father taught me about the Morettis interpret the situation in the worst possible way.”

“Even so,” Luca murmured.

Conor looked away from him, and when he spoke again, it felt as if he was simply saying his thoughts aloud. “My dad wasn’t the most tolerant of people. If he’d found out I was bi—”

“You’re bi? Not gay?” Harper broke her silence. The fact she was surprised more about him being bisexual rather than gay told Luca that she and Conor had shared things with each other he hadn’t been privy to. He was surprised to discover how much that bothered him. He wanted to know all their secrets, be a part of every conversation, be there for all of it.


Conor nodded. “Yeah. I’ve always been attracted to guys and girls. My first sexual experience was with a girl in college. We dated for a while. She was cute, and I really liked her. When that ended, I hooked up with a guy from my business law class.”

Luca ran his hand over his beard. “It’s killing me that you went through all that because of me. I wouldn’t want to be near me either.”

Conor grimaced. “I was terrified and pissed, so I tried to put as much distance between us as I could. I switched seats in Spanish class, asked our teacher to switch groups.”

Luca saw a way to try to lighten the mood. “I guess that’s better than what I thought,” he said with a small grin.

“What did you think?” Conor asked curiously.

Luca didn’t hold back his smile, leaning forward, needing to be closer to Conor. “I thought it was because I was crap at Spanish.”

Conor’s eyes crinkled at the corners with light lines as he laughed. “Well, you were pretty shit at it. So…” Conor shrugged. “Silver linings, I guess.”

The three of them cracked up, and when the laughter faded away, they sat quietly, simply looking at each other, and Luca felt every bit of strain that had existed between them for years completely fade away.

“I guess it’s true what they say,” Luca said after a moment or two.

“What’s that?” Harper asked softly.

“With age comes wisdom. Because I definitely kissed the wrong person that day in the library.”

Conor drew in an audible breath, his brow creasing. “What are you saying?”

Luca shifted forward until his leg was flush against Harper’s, crooking his finger. Conor responded, moving toward him until the two of them sandwiched her between them. “I’ve never kissed a man.”

“You haven’t?” Conor murmured.

Luca shook his head in response. “I didn’t get to be your first, but maybe you could be mine.”

“I should—” Harper whispered.

“Don’t move,” Luca demanded. At the same time Conor said, “Stay.”

Conor’s gaze slipped to his lips, just like they had that day in the library. Luca could see it all so clearly now.

God, he’d been an idiot all those years ago. He swiped his tongue along his lower lip, closing the distance even more…until no space remained.

Conor’s lips were warm, soft, and a hell of a lot less timid than Luca might have expected. It was as if too many years of pent-up need bubbled to the surface, and it erupted like lava from a volcano. For a split second, their lips merely touched, and then—it was fucking fireworks.

Conor gripped Luca’s shirt, fisting the material, as Luca tilted his head, pushing his lips against his harder, driving the kiss further. Luca snaked one of his hands around Conor’s neck, gripping his nape tightly, his other landing on his thigh, squeezing.

For several minutes, they fought for dominance, a battle of lips, tongue, and teeth, and breath hot enough to singe. Luca was the first to shift away, to catch his breath, because even as Conor’s kiss blew his fucking mind, he was ultra-aware there was someone else there…watching them.

And he had to know, had to see…

Luca’s gaze drifted from Conor’s flushed cheeks to Harper’s. She had leaned forward, her eyes locked on them, her warm breath tickling Luca’s face.

“Holy shit. That was so hot,” Harper whispered.

Luca didn’t bother to hold back his grin at her words.

Conor twisted slowly to look at her, and with both of their gazes on her, it seemed as if she came to her senses. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be…” She glanced around the room, and Luca could tell she was thinking about leaving.

“Don’t,” he said, his tone sharper than he’d intended.

Harper didn’t respond. Instead, she looked at Conor, and it felt as if she wasn’t going to listen to Luca if Conor didn’t agree.

“I already told you. Stay.” Conor grasped her hand. He lifted it, kissed her knuckles, and Harper offered no resistance. They crowded together, a tight, close circle of three.

Conor bent toward Harper and gave her the softest, gentlest of kisses, and Luca swore he felt the impact of it as strongly as the rough kiss he and Conor had just shared. The moment Conor and Harper parted, Luca was there.

Unlike Conor, he couldn’t hold back because the second his lips touched hers, he knew.


He knew.

It was magic, hot, and hungry. She tasted spicy and sweet—barbeque sauce and wine. His new favorite flavor.

Harper pulled away slightly, her lips a mere inch from Luca’s as the three of them shared the same space, the same air.

“What’s going on?” she whispered.

“I think you know,” Luca said.

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(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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