The Fundamental Theory of Us by Alyse Raines

Heat Level 2
SKU 978-1-77233-906-2

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Andrew Warren’s future was with the Marines, until an IED took his leg and derailed his career. Now he’s flunking Fundamentals, and he enlists the help of his fellow App State freshman and off-campus neighbor, Sawyer Layne. It’s not just the beautiful blonde’s looks that intrigue him, but the hurt in her eyes. 

Sawyer spends her days surrounded by numbers and nights with a bottle of vodka to numb the darkness of her past. Guys like sexy, tattooed Andrew are exactly what Sawyer needs to avoid. Look but don’t touch—that’s the rule. If only his eyes weren’t so blue, and his abs not so chiseled…. 

When Sawyer resists his brand of charm, Andrew uses every devious tactic he knows to pull her from her shell. Falling in love was never part of the plan.



Sawyer reached her floor and wondered if she should head into town and find an internet café to do some searching and get ahead on some of her schoolwork. Her gaze went to Andrew’s door. Stupid. She shouldn’t get involved. Everything Sawyer touched turned to shit—her entire life served as proof.

She had just put her key in the lock when his door opened, and Rosie bounded into the hall, followed by Andrew. He filled the doorway, his face half-hidden in shadows. His eyes shone, two impossibly blue beacons in the night.

While Rosie licked Sawyer’s fingers, Andrew sucked in a breath and she felt his gaze moving down her body. He never lingered too long, but everywhere he looked, her skin tingled. He looked up at her and she heard him swallow.

“Rosie,” he said, his voice rough and deep. It vibrated through her. The dog gave Sawyer’s hand one last lick and bounded back across the hall, her tail whacking the wall. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s fine.” Sawyer wished he hadn’t seen her in this. “Um, sorry about skipping out like I did. Rachel needed my help.”

Her mouth went dry as Andrew stepped out into the hall, wearing a pair of track pants and nothing else. The man was magnificent. The kind of model sculptors dreamed of carving into marble. Perfectly imperfect with all his scars, tattoos, and muscle. Powerful, but beautiful, too. Oh boy, those abs. If she could move at all, Sawyer would fan herself. Yep, Global Warming was all his fault.

“No worries.” Andrew’s fingers idly moved behind Rosie’s ear. “You left your pizza here, though.”

Sawyer shook her head. “No, it’s yours.”

She thought he’d press the issue, but Andrew only shrugged. “Big night?” He nodded at her outfit.

Sawyer laughed. “Like I said, Rachel asked me to do her a favor.”

One dark brow rose. “And that involved…?” He looked her leather Tinkerbell outfit over once more.

 A prickly blush broke out every inch of her bare skin. “Not my idea. I don’t—dress like this. Ever.”

“Well, you look good.” He cleared his throat and glanced at the floor. The muscles in his chest tightened. “I’m just diving into this Fundamentals stuff. Well, drowning, more like it.” He smiled, reaching one arm behind him to scratch his neck.

Go inside. Lock the door. Hide. Sawyer squeezed her eyes tight, filled and emptied her lungs. When she opened her eyes, she saw Andrew watching her, a curious yet guarded shadow in his gaze.

“Do you need some help?”

He let his arm fall back to his side. The muscles flexed and relaxed, making his tattoos dance. “Only if you’re not busy.”

They had an agreement—and Sawyer always kept her word, when she could. “Give me a couple minutes?” She motioned to the leather, and regretted it when Andrew’s eyes darkened.

“Sure. I’ll be here.” He jerked his head toward his apartment.

Sawyer nodded, turned on her heels, opened her door, and slipped inside. For a few seconds, she leaned on the back of the door, giving her pulse a chance to calm down. The wood felt cool against her legs. She stripped out of the jacket, pulled the zipper on the dress, and let it pool around her feet, then stood in her bra and panties and heels, absorbing the chill. Five minutes with Andrew and her core temperature went way past critical.

After a minute, she straightened and gathered the expensive leather, and carried it to her closet, which was mostly empty. Everything she wore could be folded. What was the point of buying nice things when she didn’t want to be noticed? No one paid attention to the girl in oversized thrift-store clothes. No one except Andrew. And now he’d seen her like this. Sawyer caught her reflection in the closet door mirror. Through her white cotton bra, she saw the four long pink marks on her chest.

Sawyer turned away from the mirror. She hung the dress and jacket up, removed her heels and placed them on the closet floor. In her dresser, she pulled out a baggy sweater and a pair of jeans. She removed the makeup Rachel had painstakingly applied and she ran a brush through her hair, remembering that Andrew’s place didn’t have too much light. Besides, they’d be in school mode. Unlike most people she knew, studying to Sawyer was serious business, not an excuse to … do what other people seemed to do.

She left her apartment and knocked on Andrew’s door, keeping her gaze glued to the floor. She didn’t want to see the disappointment in his eyes when he saw her this time—now that he knew what she could look like when she made an effort. Because no amount of hell was worth taking that risk. 

Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 4 ratings)
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Night Owl Reviews
Written by BookFreak on 17th Feb 2017

Andrew’s future was with the marines, or so he planned. But losing a leg from an IUD changed everything. Now he’s failing his fundamentals class and must get help from fellow student and off-campus neighbor Sawyer. But her beauty isn’t all that draws him to her. Sawyer spends her days with numbers and her nights with vodka. Both have been hurt, but will love bring them together? Review: The one thing that intrigued me about this book was its realness. Both of the main characters are realistic and make you hurt for them and with them. The pure emotion that Ms. Raines has in this book is amazing! I was hooked from the very beginning. Another thing I loved about this book was the tension. Ms. Raines does an amazing job bringing the reader to the edge of their seats and just dying to see what happens next. I loved how both characters were, in a sense, broken and they helped each other heal. I will say it’s not as steamy as I thought it would be but the scenes are very well written and hook the reader in. Another great part about this book is the twist and turns Ms. Raines takes you through and makes you visualize these people and their lives so vividly. She does such a great job at making her characters broken but realistic, their stories not overdone or too dramatic. I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers. It’s the perfect blend of realism and romance!

The Romance Reviews
Written by Elizabeth Ramsay on 23rd Jul 2016

A gripping analysis of the effects of PTSD and the healing power of love. Andrew Warren thought he had his life all sorted out. He was a Marine. He had a house that he was fixing up during his leave, and a beautiful fiancée: Miranda. All that changed in an instant when an IED hit the truck he was in. His buddies died and Andrew lost his leg. He was given a medical discharge from the Marines and had to learn how to be a civilian. Miranda ditched him because she didn't want to marry someone missing a leg. Without a backup plan, Andrew decides to go back to school and take a math degree. He meets Sawyer Layne in his Fundamentals of Probability class and immediately recognizes her as a kindred soul. Sawyer is running from her family in New York. When she went to her mother and sister about the sexual assault her sister's boyfriend Chase inflicted on her, the women in her family believed Chase over her. They called her a lying whore and to deal with the fact that her sister Alannah was marrying Chase. Sawyer tried to deal by avoiding Chase, but when he told her she had to let him cut and touch her or never see her niece Courtney again, she fled. Appalachian State University is located in North Carolina. It attracted Sawyer because it was far from New York and they offered her a scholarship. The university attracted Andrew because it was close enough to his family to drive home if he needed to but far enough away that he could heal without them smothering him. Andrew and Sawyer both bear mental and physical scars from their past. As they get closer together, Andrew finds his nightmares disappearing and Sawyer learns that sex can feel good. Sawyer finds in Andrew a supportive boyfriend who believes in her and is willing to help her deal with her past. Unfortunately, Sawyer's past doesn't want to stay in the past. What will happen when Chase tries to re-insert himself into Sawyer's life? Will she be hurt again or can Andrew protect her? THE FUNDAMENTAL THEORY OF US looks at how love can heal even the deepest psychological wounds. Yet, it is not a fantasy. Andrew, whose best friend died in his arms when an IED exploded, is seeing a therapist and has a support dog. Sawyer confronts her attacker, confesses her story to her father, and ends up destroying her parents' marriage when her father takes her side. The novel is based in reality and reality is messy. The reader is left with the idea that Andrew and Sawyer will be happy together but it is not a Disney ending. Yet, both Andrew and Sawyer heal as they grow together throughout the novel. They learn that scars are okay and that life goes on. Alyse Raines delivers a thought-provoking novel about how to pick up the pieces after a personal tragedy. This is not a fluffy book, but it is well worth a read. If you're looking for a novel with something to say this summer, check out THE FUNDAMENTAL THEORY OF US. - See more at:

The TBR Pile
Written by Bella Star on 16th Jul 2016

Sawyer and Andrew have a dark trouble past but can the love they feel for each other heal them? Sawyer is one of those people/characters that grates on my nerves. The guy (Andrew) touches her hand and she’s all breath in, breath out. Really? I know he’s good looking but that’s eye roll worthy. She does get more depth as we learn about her past and her drinking. Andrew is a former marine who was lost his leg to an IED. He broke my heart! So sweet and sad and I want to hug him! Together they make a wonderful, flawed couple and I routed for them as I read. ​ If you like sweet romance, The Fundamental Theory of us should be your next read!

Great read. It's evident from the start that each ...
Written by casie m bazay on 7th Jul 2016

Great read. It's evident from the start that each of the main characters has been through a major trauma, but what that involves exactly, we don't know. The author slowly peels back the layers, revealing more information as the story progresses and keeps you wanting to know more. The way Andrew and Sawyer's relationship develops is realistic and very sweet. I finished this book in just a few days. Definitely recommend for anyone who loves a good romance.