Stealing Kathryn by Jacquelyn Frank
I almost didn't finish reading Stealing Kathryn by Jacquelyn Frank (2010) because, never having read anything by Frank before, I wasn't quite prepared for the harsh hero at the opening of the story. I'm glad I kept reading, though, because Frank left plenty of room for character change and development.
Definitely a play on the Beauty and the Beast tale, Adrian is a sandman. He enters people's nightmares, feeding on their deepest, darkest fears and using the resulting energy to keep his people, who live in a realm Beneath, alive. As the story begins, Adrian has not only come to revel in his job, he's also obsessed with a woman named Kathryn (Kat).
In the ultimate act of depravity, Adrian kidnaps Kat, bringing her to his home to reside with all of the other "treasures" (all inanimate objects--priceless art, jewels, etc.) collected over his years of service.
Imagine wakening to find yourself in the hands of a walking nightmare. Frank does a good job of taking that interesting, dark situation and creating a scenario where I could actually see how Kat comes to care for Adrian--just as always happens in the tale of Beauty and the Beast, where the love of an intelligent, strong, loyal woman transforms her man.
This is the second book in The Gatherers series, but I didn't feel lost by not having read the first book, Hunting Julian.
My overall personal rating of Stealing Kathryn is a B.