Everything I Always Wanted. Stephanie Nicole Norris. 2017.275 pages. [Source: Kindle Unlimited.]
It’s a long-known “fact” that men and women can’t be platonic friends. Shelby and Sebastian, however, have bucked that assumption for decades. Instead, they’ve been each others’ rock, supporting the other through the ups and downs of life. Now they’re at the height of their careers — Sebastian’s a sought-after photographer and Shelby’s an internationally-known painter — and their friendship is stronger than ever. The catch is that everyone around them seems to think they’re too stupid to realize they’re in love with each other.
Sebastian and Shelby are mostly endearing, and it’s refreshing to see their genuine friendship. They are devoted to each other without ulterior motives, with Sebastian taking it upon himself to be Shelby’s protector. That kind of complicates her relationship with Alan, who she’s been with for nearly a year. Shelby finds herself between a rock and a hard place in how to manage the men in her life. She wants to honor her relationship with Alan and needs to cut Sebastian off to give it a fair chance; however, she doesn’t want to give up the one person who’s closest to her. Also, she might be falling in love with Sebastian, so there’s that wrench in her plan.
The book is pretty entertaining, as both Shelby and Sebastian struggle to figure out whether their romantic connection is worth risking a life-long friendship. For Shelby’s part, she seems to think Sebastian is already in love with someone he can never have. She’s reluctant to say anything to him about her changing feelings toward him because she doesn’t want to get in the way of his one true love. For Sebastian’s part, he’s known for a while he loves Shelby, but can’t see any outcome other than him hurting her. He’d rather deny himself than risk it. Because nothing is ever so simple, there are other romantic interests and crossed signals to complicate things. A modeling agent has her eyes set on Sebastian, while the owner of the agency wants Shelby. There’s almost too many wanna-be love connections to keep track of, but they all do serve a purpose to keep the story going in a realistic way.
Overall, I enjoyed Everything I Always Wanted. The characters were sufficiently developed, and I enjoyed that the story was told from both of their perspectives. This is the first book I’ve read by Norris, and I was impressed. I look forward to reading others from her.