Alina Popescu, Writer

Blog Tour Stop: In the Firelight by Sibylla Matilde

Blog Tour Stop: In the Firelight by Sibylla Matilde
January 04
23:45 2014

Sibylla Matilde’s In the Firelight really made me laugh. It was an interesting love story, following the to main characters as they fell in love and grew. Rhys, a corporate man-whore who charms and sleeps his way into the deals his boss wants, and Shea, a partial recluse who has said a big no to men after her failed marriage, are thrown together by fate and circumstances and forced to deal with what they end up feeling about each other.

She found him on a snowy night. He sparked her desires and inflamed her dreams. 

Independent and feisty, Shea Madison has a tussle on her hands. Living in and loving her quiet little corner of Montana, she’s fiercely determined to fight a real estate developer trying to turn her quaint little mountain town into a touristy ski resort. So, when an outsider shows up to study the effects on the area, she instantly attempts to sway his impression… even if it means a little harmless flirting with the enticing visitor. 

Rhys Weland’s charade has one purpose—to bring the locals around to the idea of the resort, primarily the ringleader, Ms. Shea Madison. Embroiled in his deception, he’s stunned by the feelings she draws from deep inside him. Her integrity and sincerity quickly have him second-guessing his twisted morals. Her spirit arouses his soul. Her sensuality steals his breath. 

In the dark of the night, in the warmth of the fire, the passion smoldering between them combusts. But just when it all seems to make sense, one small stubborn mistake shreds the fragile bond between them. Will an impetuous act reignite their flame, or will their love vanish like sparks in the air?

in the firelight coverRhys is cocky, gorgeous, and good at his job. That doesn’t make him a good person at all. In the beginning, he seems to lack both heart and conscience. He’s intrigued by Shea, challenged to pursue her, and the need to have her soon becomes stronger than his job assignment. Her anger and irritation directed towards him fail to do anything but turn him on.

Shea considers herself strong and independent. She does leave in the middle of nowhere in Montana, just her and her dog, soldiering the snowy roads and doing it all alone. After getting married out of high school and moving away with her new husband, she had had a less than successful marriage. She had then returned home to never try relationships again.

Shea’s response to her interest in the dashing Rhys is to get angry with him and with the reactions all other women tend to have. So she rolls her eyes when they bat their eyelashes, she turns him down, she keeps him at bay. Yet both their efforts to keep things simple between them fail. Their banter is extremely funny, fueled by Shea’s rage and Rhys’ apparent desire to always keep her in an infuriated state.

Of course, Rhys initial actions won’t just disappear and their budding relationship will soon be tested, threatening their ever after.

The story seemed quite real, the characters had depth and grew as they discovered themselves. The strong image Shea had wrapped herself is described at what it is, a way to keep her heart safe. She soon admits her anger is actually directed at herself and nothing more than a defense mechanism. Also, she’s quite nice with everyone else, she loves her small town, always thinking of what’s best for the community she loves.

About the author

Sibylla Matilde grew up in the mountain valleys of Southwest Montana exploring the dusty Old West gold country on the back of a horse. She attended a two-room schoolhouse beginning in 1st grade & had the same teacher until she changed schools after 7th. Beginning at about age 12, Sibylla discovered historical romance, feeding off of work of Jude Deveraux & Lisa Kleypas. She loves a book that can make the reader run the gamut of emotions, from the sweet glow of new love to gut-wrenching heartache. She is a true romantic & always has stories floating around in her head, living in a fantasyland until she writes them down to free them.

Music is her emotional trigger. Growing up with a Wagnarian-loving mother, Sibylla was raised to treasure music that digs deep into the psyche, drawing out elation, sorrow, grief, desire. The soundtrack to her life includes many genres spanning centuries. She looooooooves Thirty Seconds to Mars (rather obsessively, actually… but, really, how can you NOT be crazy about this guy!? Jared Leto. Shhh. ) & pimps them out to all her friends through Spotify. She also delights in Met Opera HD broadcasts at her local movie theater & hopes (listening Met?) to someday see Diana Damrau reprise her role as Mozart’s Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte.

Sibylla lives with her husband and hero who saved her from her own calamitous, young-adult self. He makes her laugh daily, even when things are tough. He’s proved to her that love really can heal a shattered soul. In 18 years, they have never had a fight, although argue regularly with their two teenage kids who have, unfortunately, inherited their father’s quick wit (unfortunate as it is a quick wit that Sibylla, herself, definitely does not possess – there is a reason she is a writer & not a stand-up comedian). They live a quiet life with their two weird little rescued Chiweenies. Wait… teenagers & little yap-dogs? OK, maybe not so quiet.

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The low, warm light caressed his features, and his concerned eyes caught hers. Nervously, her tongue instinctively ran along her lips, drawing his gaze down for a moment. The intensity in his eyes as he looked back at her stopped her heart and caused a tremble to course through her.

“My God, you are a truly beautiful man,” she murmured.

He smiled and shook his head. “You’re truly drunk.”

itf teaser“Yeah, I am. But, seriously… Holy fuck,” she continued to gaze at him with a starry-eyed expression. “When you showed up at Michelle’s, I was trying so hard to stay pissed at you for earlier, to keep my distance from you. But you just kinda made me go all… Uhhh…” She looked down, studying her fingers as they traced the zipper on his coat. “I just kinda… melted. That pissed me off even more. I shouldn’t be telling you this, though. You have enough Snowcreek groupies going all bonkers over you all the time. I doubt your ego really needs anymore fluffing.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who has tried so hard to be pissed at me,” he murmured softly as his hand brushed along her cheek. “You tend to bring my ego back down to earth.” He touched his forehead to hers, drawing a rush of breath from deep in her chest.

“Rhys,” she whispered, “don’t kiss me again. You’re too hard to push away.”

She could feel the battle inside him, the tensing muscles and the steeled resolve.

“I know I shouldn’t,” he said softly. “I keep replaying that last kiss, though. The sweet taste of your lips. Fuck, sweetheart. You make me so… hungry.”

The fingers softly brushing her cheek set every nerve of her body on fire, and a shallow exhalation shuddered in her chest, leaving her body in short, gaspy breaths.

“Oh fuck,” Shea whispered. Almost of their own accord, her arms fumbled to his shoulders and wrapped around his neck, and she pulled herself up to him to press her lips against his. 


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Alina Popescu

Alina Popescu

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