Or damn sexy.
The werewolf's history is as long reaching as that of the vampire. Herodotus wrote of an ancient Greek tribe that transformed into wolves once a year for several days before returning to their human forms. Ovid and Virgil tackled lycanthropy in their writing, as well. The ability to change into animal form has been attributed to sorcerers, as well as saints. Some scholars had even considered lycanthropy to be a form of devine punishment.
Werewolves and shape shifters cross cultural and international borders. You can read of the skin walkers in Native American legends. In Haiti Je-Rouge is a werewolf spirit that can possess the unaware and cause them to nightly transform into a cannibalistic lupine creature. While in Mexico the nahual does not kill, but instead steals cheese and rapes women. Legends of such creature can be found in nearly all European countries, from Italy and France to Hungary and Russia.
Authors have taken an equally diverse approach to the theme. J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Patricia Briggs, just to name a few. In Romance, however, the werewolf and their shape shifting bretheren are more often than not the heroes. Not always, of course. Just as there are good and bed humans, there are good and bad shifters. What is important to note is that authors of paranormal romance treat their were-anything characters as they do their human characters, with the added bonus of powers and a mating bond. The lycanthropy does not shape who they are at a deep moral level, though it influences how they might react.
So what is it exactly that keeps me coming back to these werewolf and shifter centered Paranormal Romances? It is everything mentioned above and something extra. Some indefinable something. These are men you would likely avoid in real life. That deep instinctual fight or flight response would kick in and send you walking in the opposite direction. But for the time it takes to read from cover to cover in the book, the reader can live dangerously. You can flirt with the creature and live on the edge. One can allow possessive behaviors to set their heart a flutter that would, in reality, have steam pouring from their ears. You can be overwhelmed and over powered and love it in the safety of the pages of a book.
Just what is it about werewolves? It's just about everything.