Rachel Harris’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US is already getting swoons from readers everywhere! We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it. Known for her sweet romances, Rachel’s THE NATURAL HISTORY OF US, is no different! Check out everything we have for you on this amazing title and then go grab your copy today. Justin and Peyton’s story is sure to put a smile on your face and keep you turning pages long into the night!
I’ve significantly reduced the number of YA books I’m reading. Something in The Natural History of Us‘s synopsis called to me and so I signed up for the tour and received a copy for review.
And OMG!!! It’s so freaking good.
Rachel Harris is a loved author, I just adore her Adult romance books, and am now officially loving her YA style, as well.
*I got a copy for review from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart.
Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him.
Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.
For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.
Justin tipped up my chin with his finger and said, “You’re far from just anyone, Peyton. You’re impulsive and fearless. You’re stubborn and curious. You drive me insane with your millions of questions. And your heart… Sunshine, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”
I wanted to look away. Hearing compliments was hard for me, I never really believed them. But when it came to Justin? God, I wanted to believe them so badly.
He brushed his thumb across my jaw. “Instead of giving up in the hospital, like most people would’ve done, you walked away optimistic. Grateful, even. I’m in awe of you.” Justin looked deep into my eyes and said, “Peyton, you make me want to be a better guy. I want to deserve those sweet smiles of yours. I—”
I leaned forward and kissed him.
Words wouldn’t express what he did to me. My heart felt heavy, so overflowing with love for this wounded, insecure boy that I couldn’t contain it all. So I put it in my lips. In my mouth and in my tongue and in my small gasp of surprise when Justin yanked my body flush against his.
I gave myself over to emotion, threading my fingers through his thick, dark hair. Deepening the kiss and tangling my tongue with his. Dizzying desire whipped through my body, fogging my head with want, and settling in a warm pool of tingles in my belly. Goose bumps danced across my skin as the cool, crisp taste of mint exploded on my tongue.
Wow. The word set off a flame in my blood. It was a claiming, every bit as much as his lips as they ravaged my mouth, taking over control, possessing me. And I wanted to be his. Completely, in every way I possibly could.
Justin was wrong before. I wasn’t strong or incredible. I wasn’t anything special. But he made me feel as though I was. If I’d learned anything living post-GBS, it was that life was short, and when you found happiness, you grabbed on with both hands and never let go. I had no intention of loosening my grip.
“Uh…” Justin groaned as he tore his lips from mine. “We can’t.” He pushed my hips back, but kept his hands clenched around my waist and leaned forward to brush another kiss against my swollen mouth. His heavy-lidded gaze fell on his handiwork. “Your dad… your whole family… they’ll see us. We have to…”
That he was so breathless over me was a thrill of its own. I grinned up at him, taunting his inner battle by raking my teeth across my bottom lip, and he swallowed hard before inching closer to the edge of the bench. Closer to me.
Ok, so I’m not a fan of going back and forth in time, and combine that will alternating POVs – I was bound to get whiplash. But… I didn’t.
Justing Carter and Peyton Williams both have secrets. Both kids’ secrets are, they think, their soft spots.
Justin needs to maintain a certain image, but more than that, he doesn’t want people’s pity. Peyton’s secret is a secret only to new people in her life, and Justin is one of those people. See, she’s recovering from GBS, Guillain–Barré syndrome (while it’s explained well in the story, I had to Google it. OMG – awful and sad). And just like Justin, pitying looks are the last thing she wants.
See, Peyton was an award winning barrel racer (that’s a thing in Texas) but since she got sick, while going back to riding, she hasn’t attempted her competitive sports. Harris wrote her frustrations, her wishes and her fears in a way that just pops off the page and straight into the heart.
As they get close, Justin feels he can confide in Peyton and shares his secret with her. His dreams and his hidden talent. He’s fascinated by her and is quickly falling in love with her, so it’s very easy for him. He also sees the fire and determination in Peyton and is so incredibly supportive of her, he knows just how to motivate her to get back on the horse.
Peyton’s father is the baseball coach in school, where Justin is a member of the team. He’s the wanted bachelor, the one ‘single’ boy all the girls want. And Justing chose Peyton 3 years ago. And then he broke her heart. So now that they’re paired as married couple in the final school assignment before graduation, Justin sees it as his chance to get her back.
The back and forth to 3 years prior, when they met, fell in love and ultimately broke up in a rather cruel, idiotic way (kids, right?) and today, them coping with the assignment – is tied pretty well. The situations correspond and so do the emotions.
The story is littered with hilarious anecdotes of their time together, and their banter is kind of adorable, especially when considering how woven they are in each other’s lives:
“Right. About that.” Here came the only drawback of my master plan. “You’re actually…. kind of staying in the doghouse.”
Justin’s jaw dropped. “Kind of?”
“Okay, your totally staying in the doghouse,” I clarified with a sigh. “Apparently Dad thinks you’re gonna try and steal my virtue.”
My father choked on his cookie. Crumbs flew as he sputtered and coughed, bett red, though I spoke the god’s honest truth, and Mama pounded his back as she fought a fit of giggles. She found amusement in all lifees challenges.
There are so many great scenes in this book. One of my favorites is when her best friend is obliviously outs her to Justin, the first time he visits the ranch where she lives:
Amused, I watched as Peyton smashed her lips into a hard, thin line, which only caused her friend to smirk more. The two entered that silent communication thing girls do where they hold an entire conversation in nothing but eyebrow lifts and facial expressions. After a few moments, Faith winked, Peyton exhaled, and then, they both glanced at me.
As in all teenage romance drama, there are the best friends on both sides, and the one evil bitch. And those moves the plot forward.
I think I might want a story for Faith, Peyton’s best friend, but I’ll leave that to Harris.
*Any quotes are subject to change in final, released copy.
New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.
An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!