REVIEW: The Captains’ Vegas Vows by Caro Carson
They gambled on a long shot
Will the bet pay off?
They have ninety days before the state of Texas will grant these strangers a divorce from their impetuous Vegas wedding. Captain Helen Pallas is certain she’s not cut out for marriage. And Captain Tom Cross doesn’t believe in love. Yet working in the same unit—and assigned to married quarters—Helen and Tom know the attraction is real. It’s a long shot, but we’re betting on happily-ever-after.
Dear Ms. Carson,
As soon as I saw this book would be out, I jumped at the chance to review it. It seems that we’re going up the military chain of command since the first book in the series is “The Lieutenants’ Online Love.”
It starts cute with a befuddled bride trying to figure out where she is and what happened last night. Helen will admit to being smug about having slept with the mystery man because of his outstanding looks but … who is he? It looks like what happened in Vegas really will stay there as Helen has no idea of what went on the day and night before. But a wedding ring + white dress + gorgeous man don’t bring any recollections and no, she’s not going to stay with someone she doesn’t know nor drive with him to her next post eighteen hours away in Fort Hood, TX. So sorry, must run despite the smoking sex she just remembers a flash of.
Tom Cross is more than confused. He’d thought he’d actually found love at first sight and won the biggest jackpot in Vegas: his wife, his dream life partner, the woman he couldn’t wait to spend the rest of his life with. The dream dissolves as Helen denies all knowledge and sprints for the door.
Back in Texas, Tom turns to his brigade commander – the Provost Marshall – and long time family friend about what happened and what to do now. Things go from bad to worse when Helen shows up in Colonel Reed’s office reporting for duty. Reed takes his responsibilities to see to the welfare of his troops seriously – as well as being tickled pink at the wedding video that The Happiest Wedding Chapel has online. Emotional drama is detrimental to what the military calls good order and discipline so yes, Reed has to become involved in this relationship problem and proceeds to lay down some orders.
Helen and Tom are married so no, the Army is not going to house them separately and any divorce will have to be done by Texas laws which means a 12 week minimum wait since Tom has been there longest but only three months. Oh and they have to go to counseling to decrease stress that would interfere with their abilities to perform their military duties. That Reed says all this with a twinkle in his eye and obvious concern for Tom doesn’t obviate that it is an order.
How will Tom and Helen make it through 12 weeks of cohabitation and counseling when she doesn’t remember and he can’t forget? Nor does he want to as he loves Helen and wants a forever with her.
So here’s a slight twist on the infamous “Vegas quickie wedding” theme with added military elements. This book has less of the military than did “Lieutenants” (insert sad Jayne face) but did use what was there to engineer more verisimilitude to the Colonel’s orders. In the interest of maintaining good morale, he has to try. I also liked that the realities and challenges of women in the Army are mentioned and a part of the story.
The backgrounds given to Helen and Tom add color to some of the reasons they act and react the way they do. Helen’s painful first marriage and divorce has left her wondering if she is cut out and able to be a wife to anyone much less someone she honestly doesn’t remember. Tom’s emotionally abusive childhood leaves him unwilling to settle for begging for attention or love again.
Yippee that both of them are given time and opportunity to realize, face and deal with their issues. Beyond the Colonel’s orders, Tom wants to stick this out to regain the woman he loves while Helen gets a chance to (re)learn what a great guy he is.
Not everything goes smoothly as they also have to negotiate their way around anger and frustrations. The final probable reasons for Helen’s amnesia make sense. I liked that they’re not plaster saints and that we see them moving past their previous issues – Tom isn’t the man or type of officer his father was and Helen begins to believe that her first husband was just a jerk and not an expert at reading her character. In the end, they do beat the Vegas odds. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Colonel Reed plays good fairy in the next book too. B