An awful lot of ladies seem to have fallen for Devlin, the hero of Never Coming Home. I've been told, on a number of occasions, that he is 'to die for.' This, I know, would surprise him, as he would never consider himself hero material. And that 'to die for' quote might be a little too close to home for comfort, considering what he's done, and been, in the past. But Devlin is 'hot'.(I'm very glad to know this, as I put a lot of effort into making him that way.)
It's more than good looks and physique, although that helps. I try not to describe my heroes in too much detail, so that readers can fill in the blanks for themselves, but they are usually fairly tall, and I have a personal weakness for a good set of shoulders, which inevitably creeps in somewhere. A man with the physical stature to protect the heroine, even if she doesn't actually feel that she needs protecting. He's experienced, in and out of the bedroom. Quiet competence, wherever it occurs, can be very compelling.
Protection, experience - and trust. Again, readers have identified this one. Do you trust this guy? If you're going to fall for him, then the answer ought to be a resounding yes. But this is a thriller, so the questions get scarier than that. Would he die for you? Even more scary, would he kill for you? For the hero of a thriller, the answer has to be yes, to both. He has to be powerful enough to follow through, and live with - or die by - the consequences. Shiver down the spine territory.
In terms of classic stereotypes, thriller heroes probably belong in the knights in shining armour category, although the armour is usually decidedly battered and rusty in places. These men have flaws, which is what makes them interesting and, in certain situations, vulnerable. The bad boy, the damaged warrior, the hunted, the driven, the outsider - who nevertheless lives by some personal code that stops him from tipping over into being a villain. A fine and dangerous line.
An irresistible line?