Say You Won’t Let Go Chapter One

Bonus: Prologue

“Stop hitting every damn pothole!  I’m trying to write a letter, and with every bump, I have to start over again,” Wolfe grumbles and braces his hand on the roof as the vehicle bounces.

“Well, why don’t you wait until we get back to camp to write her?  I don’t know what you expect me to do about it. Sprout wings on this baby and fly over them?  The terrain here is awful even for a military jeep.”

“Hey, the wing thing might work.” He flips me the bird and looks down at the letter he’s gripping. “I’ll put it away for now.  I’m just anxious.  I’ve gone my entire life and never knew I had a twin sister.  How could my asshole of a father keep it from me?” 

I take my eyes off the dirt road to look at him. “Your father barely knew his own name most days.  From what you’ve told me, he was a nonfunctional alcoholic.”

“Evidently he was a liar too.  He told me my mom died when I was two, and that’s when we moved from the Indian reservation in Utah.”  A deep sadness fills his voice.

“I still can’t believe you’re half Indian. With your blond hair and blue eyes, I’d guess Norwegian. No wonder your dad moved you out of there.” I chuckle.  “That blond hair of yours had to stick out like a sore thumb.”

“From the picture I found at my dad’s house after he died, my sister looks like she got all the Indian traits.  We had to look kind of odd as twins – one blond, blue-eyed baby, the other with black hair matching her dark eyes.”

“I bet she’s a knockout.” I whistle.

“You and your junk over there will never find out.” He points at my crotch.

“Why not?  She might like my junk,” I say with a chuckle vibrating through me.  I love Wolfe like a brother, and our banter has gotten us through many dark days.  

“I swear, Keegan, sometimes you’re an asshole and the others…well, you’re still just an asshole.”   The bulging vein in his neck means he’s getting all worked up.

I reach over to his side and push his shoulder.  “I’m only kidding with you, Wolfe.  You know the Bro Code.”  I cut him slack because I can tell he’s feeling antsy by the way he keeps rubbing the back of his neck.  “Do you think she even knows about you?”

“I have no idea, but I’m betting she doesn’t.”  He folds the letter he started and shoves it in the glove box.

“What about your mom?”

“The letter the attorney sent out was sent back saying she died several years ago.”

“That’s rough, man.  No wonder you want to get in touch with your sister so badly.  You don’t have anyone.”  We hit another bump, causing us to bounce hard in our seats.

“Keep that up, Keegan, and we’re going to have to put our helmets on,” he says, bracing the top of his head with his hand.

“According to my GPS”—I tap it with my finger—“we only have another mile or so to go.”

“Yeah, well remind me never to let you drive again.” He chuckles.

I see a tank pull out from behind a dune up in front of us. “Shit. We have company and not friendly ones.”

“Head to the other side of that dune, so we aren’t sitting ducks here in broad daylight.” He points to the left.

I make a sharp turn, and the sand hangs in the air so thick I can hardly see.  I hear a loud boom followed by blinding light.  I hold on tight to the wheel as we go midair and the jeep starts to spin before it hits the ground hard, rolling us several times. I can taste the burning fumes engulf my lungs, bringing on a coughing fit.  A mixture of tears and blood drip into my eyes, blurring my vision. I can’t see, but I can tell by the blood rushing to my head, we landed upside down.  

“Wolfe, are you okay?”  I reach out to feel for him next to me.  His warm blood is covering his face and seeping through his shirt. I hear a gurgling noise coming from him.  I try to unbuckle, but it won’t come unlatched.  “Don’t you fucking die on me!” 

Foreign voices are getting closer.  I reach for my knife that’s anchored to my leg.  Unsnapping the case, I yank it out as an enemy soldier peers inside with a gun pointed at me.  I strike out with the knife, but he moves out of the way, barely missing my blade slicing into his face.  I put the knife between me and the seat belt, cutting through the thick band, freeing myself.  My body crumples over the steering wheel.  Before I can get up, the soldier has me by the boots and is yanking me from the jeep. I throw my arms up to block the blow from the butt of his gun, but everything goes black.

Chapter One

“Shay, are you here?”  Paul’s voice echoes up the stairs, heading in my direction.

“I’m in my office,” I answer, not taking my eyes off the music I’m working on.

“Do you ever get out of here?  I think you are the only person alive who works more than I do.”  He’s thumbing through a stack of mail before he throws a pile of it down on my desk.

I lay my pen on my glass desktop covered in sheets of music.  “That’s why we get along so well.  I stay out of your hair, you stay out of mine.” I bat my lashes at him so that he knows I’m teasing him.

“Speaking of which, I’m going to be out of town working on a movie trailer for a few weeks.  Why don’t you come with me?”

“The better question is, why aren’t you taking your girlfriend?”  I lock my hands together in my lap.

“We broke up.” He shrugs.

“Did you get caught dipping your stick somewhere it doesn’t belong?” I laugh because I know him so well.

“You know I’m never attached to one woman for very long.”  He leans on the beveled edge of my desk.  “That is unless you want to give us another try.” His eyebrows waggle.

“That ship sailed a long time ago, and you know it.” I playfully smack his cheek.

“A guy can only hope,” he says, kissing the top of my head.

“That would ruin a perfectly good friendship.  Seriously, I have some deadlines to meet.  You know how those prima donna musicians can be if they don’t get their music on time.”

“If you change your mind, you have my number,” he says as he heads for the door.  “There is a piece of mail there you might want to check out.  It’s from some guy in the military.”  He skirts out the door.

I flip through a couple pieces of mail, throwing them into the garbage.  I stop on the one Paul was referring to.  It’s addressed from a Sergeant Keegan in Jackson, New Hampshire.  “I don’t know anyone in the military.  I’m sure it’s a mistake,” I say, tossing it into the small wire metal garbage can.  I rub my temples, suddenly feeling like a headache is brewing.  

“Caffeine, that’s what I need.”  I slip off my heels and head downstairs to the kitchen.  Grabbing my mug I used early this morning, I pour a cup.  “Ugh, it’s cold.”  I pop it into the microwave for a minute to reheat it.

Sipping it to make sure it’s not blistering hot now, I sit at my countertop high dining table.  It’s so quiet I can hear a bird fluttering outside the back door.  It’s probably a hummingbird flying around the feeder I have outside hanging off the deck.  I love being in nature, but living in the city makes it hard.  It would be nice to get away for a while.  I stay busy, but when Paul leaves, admittedly it gets rather lonely.

We’ve been best friends for five years.  I met him one day when I wrote some music that was picked up by his company to use in a movie trailer.  We hit it off almost immediately.  And what I mean by hitting it off is we screwed each other’s brains out for about two months before I told him our relationship wasn’t going any further.  The sex was good, but I lacked a connection with him on other levels. He was a little hurt, but we’ve remained friends and roommates.

Even though we were no longer lovers, we decided to team up and combine our businesses, and it has proven to be very profitable for the both of us.  He sold his house that he was never at anyway and moved in with me.  My house is so big that we could literally not see one another for days if we chose to.  Plus, I never want to be in the way of the women he parades through here.

He’s my best friend, and I care about him.  I’ve just never had a deep connection with anyone.  I’ve always known something was missing.  My fingers involuntarily rub the scar at the base of my neck.  I can’t let my mind go there.  It’s taken me years to live a normal life, and I finally have that now. Dwelling on the past will not change it. At least, that’s what my therapist has drilled into my head for years.  That’s easy for him to say; he hasn’t lost everything and had to start life completely over.  He has helped me to move on, and for that, I am grateful.

My office phone rings upstairs.  I trot up the wooden steps, dragging my hand along the copper railing.  I’m a little winded when I answer it.

“Foxy Lyrics.”  It’s one of my clients who wants to know when I will send over the final draft of his song.  “I’ll email it to you by the end of the day,” I tell him, and he hangs up without any more conversation.

I laugh to myself thinking about the name of my company.  Paul and I were lying in bed together late one morning trying to decide on a name.  I wanted to change it, rebrand it, so to speak.  He came up with Foxy Lyrics from my name, Shay Fox.  He always called me foxy back then, so I went with it.

When I stand, I knock over the garbage can, and the letter from the soldier falls at my feet.  I pick it up and sit back down.  My head starts to throb again.  “Is that your way of telling me I should open you?” I flick it with my French manicured nails a few times.

I take the metal letter opener out of the desk drawer and slice through the top of the envelope. “Who writes letters anymore?”  As I unfold the paper, I’m struck by how neat the handwriting is.  It’s almost become a lost art.  I flip the envelope over, looking at the name again.  “Sergeant Keegan, whoever you are, you have great penmanship.”  Tucked inside the letter is an old, yellowed, faded picture of a family.  My chair creaks as I lean back to read the letter.

Dear Ms. Shay Fox,

I know you don’t know me and this is kind of odd for a stranger to be writing you.  I’m a sergeant in the Army, and your brother was my best friend.  You’re probably thinking I’m a crazy man because you know nothing of a brotherNot only was he your sibling, he was your twin.

What the hell is he talking about? A twin?  I stop reading and look at the children in the picture.  They can’t be more than two years old.  The girl has jet-black hair with olive skin, and the boy is blond and pale.  “That had to be strange.”  I lay it on my desk and continue reading.

Your brother’s name was Wolfe Rowan.

Anyway, I’m sad to have to tell you that he was killed nine months ago while he and I were returning from an assignment.  His estranged father died a few weeks before him.  He took a week’s long leave to go bury his father and handle what little estate he did have.  While he was cleaning out his house, he found this picture and a file in a box, along with a birth certificate naming the twins.  I photocopied it for you, even though not much can be made out.  Your address, but no name was pinned to a file with a handwritten note that said last known address of Wolfe’s twin sister.  I know this is not proof positive for you, but I know Wolfe believed that you are his sister. I had to do a lot of digging to get the name of the person at this address.

I flip through the pages and find the birth certificate attached to the last page of the letter.  Born July 20, 1977, fraternal twins Wolfe Bellamy Rowan, and the rest looks like someone tried to erase the name.  It’s torn in a few places.  Parents – Frank Rowan and Mai Onawa.

None of these names sound remotely familiar to me.  I repeat them to myself several times before I start to read again.

He was writing you a letter the day he was killed.  He was so excited at the thought of getting to know you.  It’s taken me a while, for reasons I don’t want to get into, to write you this letter.  He was my best friend.  We shared many dark and scary days together.  I would have given my life for him, in fact, I’ve wished many times since then I would’ve died in his place. My therapist says its “survivor’s guilt.”  Having a family is what gets me through every dayI only wish Wolfe had a chance to meet his only living family member. He was under the belief that his mother died when he was a toddler. He found out later that this was not true.

Despite all his pain from his childhood, Wolfe Rowan was a happy man.  He loved being in the Army, and the men that served under him had great respect for him.  He could be a hard ass, but his men always knew he had their backs.  When he wasn’t in uniform, he was a jokester always playing pranks, which got him in trouble a few times, and somehow, he was always dragging me in with him.  My point is that he was a good man and soldier. Someone you could be proud of to call your family.  I know I thought of him as a brother.

My heart aches for this man. He’s trying to do something good here, but he has the wrong person.

His belongings are being released to me this week.  I will pack them up and send them to you, hoping you might find something you’ve been missing.  If there is anything that you need or have more questions about Wolfe, please feel free to contact me.  I included my phone number at the bottom of this letter.

Your brother was a brave man, and he will be sorely missed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.  Maybe one day we could even meet.  I’d love to tell you stories about Wolfe.         


I don’t hesitate in taking out a blank piece of paper and start writing him back.  The quicker he gets a response from me, the sooner he may find her.

Dear Sergeant Keegan,

I’m sincerely sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, but I’m afraid I’m not the sister you were trying to reach.  I’ve never heard of a man named Wolfe, or the parents that were listed on the birth certificate.  He sounds like he was a wonderful man and a hero.  I wish I could be more helpful to you in finding her so you could put your mind at peace.  I’m returning the picture so when you find her, you can give it to its rightful owner.

I would have loved to have met the man you described. I too have no family.  A brother like Wolfe would have been a welcome family member.  Sounds like he had a brother in you.  If Wolfe is the man you describe, he also probably would’ve felt the same way if you had died.  He would have traded places.  Don’t let that guilt overtake your life.  Feel blessed for another day and make Wolfe proud.

Good luck on your quest to find his sister.



I lick the nasty-tasting seal on the envelope and stick a stamp on it.  I run down the stairs to stuff it in the mailbox at the end of the driveway.  I flip the red flag up on the side of the box.  When I return to my quiet office, I toy with the letter in my hand.  I contemplate calling him so that he doesn’t send me the package, but I talk myself out of it.  There is really no need for me to get drawn into a conversation about his friend. Something stops me from tossing it out again. I label a file and place it inside and put it in my desk drawer.

Pressing my fingers to my temples, I blink a few times, trying to keep my headache at bay.  Why do I feel such a sadness coming over me?  I haven’t let my emotions get the better of me in years. I don’t think I’ve even cried since the day I woke up from my accident.  I’ve always assumed my lack of emotion was due to my head trauma. 

The letter keeps nagging at me, so I decide to Google Wolfe Rowan to see what I can find.  His name and face pop up on my first search.

Captain Wolfe Rowan, Purple Heart recipient killed in a hijacking in Iraq.  It’s hard to tell his size, but he towers over the man standing next to him.  His blond hair can barely be seen under his army hat, but his piercing blue eyes stand out. I’m betting they were mesmerizing to look at in person.

I think about him being my twin, and I laugh.  I’m not sure of my background, but I know I’m part Indian.  My high cheekbones, olive skin, black silky hair, and dark cinnamon-colored eyes are a dead giveaway.

As far as I know, I have no family to ask.  My accident left me without a lot of memories.  Memories I used to spend hours chasing but could never find or even touch.  Pure blackness is all I see when I try to look back.  It’s like walking into a dark room. You know where things are, but you can’t make them out no matter how hard you try.

Are you hooked yet??? Find out more.F

Follow Me