For some women, it’s height; for others, broad shoulders. For still others–sometimes the heroines at the start of our books, although certainly not by the end–it’s wealth.

For me, it’s the voice. That one essential element to finding someone attractive, without which it’s a dealbreaker. I’ve only realized it recently, while watching actor Ed Burns try to be confident in Confidence. He wasn’t. And it was because he hasn’t got a sufficiently deep, raspy voice; his voice is a tenor, unconvincing because it was just too high. I just didn’t believe what he was saying, despite his posturing.

There’s a trainer at my gym who is, by job definition, totally cut and happens to be really good-looking on top of it. But I just can’t find him attractive because his voice doesn’t appeal to me (too high–sense a trend here?). Conversely, I swooned over former NY Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy after particularly tough games, because his voice got all raspy and jagged after 48 minutes of yelling. I know it’s weird. But I cannot deny my attraction (the fact that he is so intense is appealing, too, but that is a post for another time).

And I think, although I would like to blame my inherent Anglophilia for it, is why I find so many British men ridiculously attractive; there’s something about the way they speak that I find devastating. Clive Owen has a supremely sexy voice, as does Sean Bean. Richard Armitage is off the charts in terms of how damn sexy his voice is. Listen to a sample of him reading Georgette Heyer‘s Sylvester.

Oh, goodness. (By the way? If my husband doesn’t pick up on copious hints to get this for my birthday next month, he might need a Clue Intervention).

So if a hero has a deep snarl, or a husky rasp, or a low-throated growl, I’m sold.

(And, yes, my husband has a fantastic voice, especially when he’s really worn out.)

That, I’ve realized, is my dealbreaker. What’s yours?