Kate Bailey, a beautiful young model/actress, wanders moodily around southern California through this short, enervating novel: Kate's been in a gray funk, you see, ever since the unsolved murder of her live-in lover Michael two years back. ("" 'Just here,' she thought, 'just here beneath the skin, a sort of numbness that no one and nothing can penetrate.' "") She parties with best friend Holly; she meets and falls in love with handsome, enigmatic businessman Stephen, moving into his beach house to the tune of Harlequin Romance prose. (""She put her face up to his and he held her that way, tightly, as though there were no one in the world except the two of them, and kissed her, with the ocean behind them, a sort of chorus to their love."") Despite her depression and insecurities, in fact, things start to look up for Kate: in addition to Stephen's ""finely chiseled features"" and ""steel blue eyes,"" there's a movie role offer--the first job prospect since that murder case made her too notorious (supposedly) for employment. But Kate is plagued by recurring questions from the police, who still seem to suspect her of killing Michael. And there'll be a pseudo-shocking revelation--both implausible and predictable--before Kate winds up all numb again at the pretentious fade-out. Ephron's toneless, nouvelle cuisine prose comes slightly alive in nasty sketch-portraits of a few roman Ã¡ clef show-biz types. Otherwise: half spaced-out soap opera, half contempo-gothic, all inept--with more attention to details of food and clothes than to character or plot.