After her niece, Amelia, tells her she is being bullied by Samson Dingle, Rachel confronts his father, Sam. However, Rachel is forced to apologise to Sam, when she learns Amelia was actually bullying Samson. Rachel and Sam then become friends. Rachel's teenage nephew, Sean, finds her and reveals he stole some money from the local garage and Aaron Livesy had collapsed while chasing him. Rachel is angered when Aaron's mother, Chas, threatens Sean and tells him to stay away from Aaron. Rachel is given a job in The Woolpack by Diane Sugden. She works alongside Marlon Dingle and she begins to fall for him. However, when Marlon turns Rachel down, she discovers he has feelings for Laurel Thomas. Rachel tells Sam she is interested in Brook Cottage, but Nicola King tells Rachel she cannot have the house. Rachel shows her sister, Ali, around the cottage and they rent the house from Declan Macey. Rachel, Ali, Amelia, Sean and Ali's girlfriend, Ruby Haswell, then move into Brook Cottage. Rachel reveals that she has fallen for Marlon and Ali encourages her to tell him. While talking to him, Rachel tries to kiss Marlon. He pulls away and Rachel returns to Brook Cottage, where she tells Ali that she made a fool of herself. Rachel and Ali argue with Nicola and when Laurel turns up, Rachel makes a remark about her affair with Marlon. Ali then asks Rachel to tell her all about it.
Rachel starts working as a cleaner at the Sharma's sweet factory. She is confronted by one of her bosses Jai and he invites her to drink with him. She agrees and they both lean in for a kiss. The pair then end up having sex. The next morning the both awake next to one another. A month or so later after the event Rachel discovers she's pregnant. She tells Jai who is at first shocked, but then warms to the idea. He stops her heading for an abortion and offers to give her a place to stay in Leeds. Rachel believes he is doing it for the sake of their unborn child, but really he just wants her out of the way, so wife Charity doesn't suspect anything untoward. Jai and Rachel later have son Archie, who is born prematurely. For some time Rachel goes along with a lie by Jai's father Rishi that he is Archie's father, but Charity eventually learns the truth. During the time she believes the lie, Jai rarely sees Archie, and he becomes jealous as Sam is spending more time with his son. Rachel is grateful to Sam and slaps Jai when he calls him stupid. She later realises she has feelings for Sam, much to the dismay of Lisa Dingle, Ruby and Ali, however Samson and Amelia are happy and sends a card to Rachel pretending to be Sam, leading Rachel to admitting her feelings.
Rachel and Sam get engaged in January 2014, but she soon leaves the village with son Archie after being blackmailed into confessing to the fire at Home Farm by Charity and Declan in order to release Sam from prison - they had framed Sam for the arson. Sam and the Spencers search for her over the next year.
On Tuesday, 20th January 2015, Rachel makes a surprise return to give evidence at Charity's trial. The evidence given by Rachel see's that Charity is handed a 2 year imprisonment for perverting the course of justice. Rachel then decides she wants to try again with Sam, but Sam is still angry with her and is torn between her and Tracy. When Rachel is about to leave for a new job, he chases after her, giving their relationship another chance.
Rachel has changed in her year on the run, becoming determined to do what she sees as best for herself and Archie, leading to a falling out with the Dingles when she tries to make it look like Belle left her meds around Archie in order to force Sam out of Wishing Well Cottage, and a severe estrangement with Ali when Rachel decides not to take over Ali's hours while she is away visiting a hospitalised Sean unless she gets an increase in what Ali is paid. She and Jai wage a bitter custody battle over Archie, and while Rachel eventually wins, the stress leads Rachel to begin verbally and physically abusing Sam.
After Ruby dies, Rachel berates Sam for leaving his phone on at the funeral, thus exposing the nature of their relationship to their friends and family. Rachel decides to leave the village with Archie and Ali, and asks Sam to go with her, promising she'll get help. Sam tells her he thinks it's best if she gets help on her own, and they tearfully say goodbye.