An overwritten, overwrought, and underpowered first novel about a woman who loves the wrong man too much. When archaeologist Nick catches Kate's eye ``like cotton on barbed wire'' in Athens, she's immediately hooked. And though the story of her love for this man who has ``the face of a god'' alternates with rather pointless memories of her childhood and the loss she felt when her father died, it remains the main attraction. With plenty of allusions to Greek mythology for intellectual heft (especially references to Ariadne, abandoned by Theseus after he rescued her from the Minotaur), and with food and sex lavishly described for those who need something less cerebral, Kate--with ample foreshadowing that she's headed for trouble--goes on to relate the consequences of this first meeting. An underemployed travel writer, she beds Nick on their first date, then accompanies him to his archaeological dig on the beautiful island where he lives in a gorgeous villa. Their lovemaking is terrific, but Nick doesn't communicate, and their early joyous intimacy is followed by his retreat into work. Kate, though, doesn't give up: She cooks for and entertains his colleagues and her friends--among them a worldly nun, a neurotic chef, and an artist with a trust fund. When she finds Nick making love to Chris, a colleague's young daughter, however, she flies back to California and marries faithful Henry, who has a stutter--and a gun. But Kate still can't forget Nick, gets together with him again, aborts his child, and follows him to New York. There, fate levels an unexpected punishment on her, one she welcomes as she lies in ``harsh Hellenic radiance.'' A low-budget Fatal Attraction story that tries too hard to be a blockbuster.