The Paper Swan
Author:Leylah Attar

I had planned on designing my own wedding gown, but then Damian had found the Louboutins I’d left behind on the island, and once I’d strapped them on, I felt a full-fledged celebration coming on. The WAM! facility was up and running, and I splurged on a strapless Vera Wang design.

“Hey! I did it!” Sierra was sitting at the edge of the pond, pointing to something in the water. Floating away from her was a perfect paper swan.

“Nice.” Damian crouched next to her, but then his smile faded. “Is that . . . what did you use to make it?”

“The piece of paper in that old tin.”

Damian swung his hand out and pulled the swan out of the water.

“What’s the matter?” asked Sierra.

Damian had carried that newspaper article with him for so long, his first instinct was to preserve it. He looked at me as he held it, and we both thought of the story MaMaLu had told us, about a magic swan that graced the grounds of Casa Paloma, a swan that could bless you with the rarest of treasures.

I caught my breath as Damian placed the swan back in the water and realization hit me.

You don’t always get the treasure by holding on. Sometimes the magic happens when you let go.

And Damian was letting go of all the things that had fueled him for so long—the rage, the injustices, the horrors he had witnessed in Caboras, the guilt he felt over his actions. Sierra had folded them up and set them free. We watched in silence as the swan disappeared into the shadow side of the pond, and all that remained was an empty Lucky Strike tin.

“What do you want to do with this?” I asked.

“Exactly what should be done with a smelly old tin of tobacco.” He filled it with rocks and flung it into the water. It sank to the bottom of the pond with a reverberating gurgle.

“Race you two back to the house!” said Sierra.

“Hey, not fair!” I kicked off my shoes and gathered my gown around me.

“On five!” said Damian.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 . . .


First and foremost, I’d like to thank you—yes, you, for picking up and reading The Paper Swan. There are so many amazing books out there, I consider it a privilege to be let into your world. I hope this book was worthy of your time and attention.

I am grateful to every single person who has read or recommended my books, shared something of mine, contacted or encouraged me. I cannot thank you enough for all the love and kindness you have shown.

So many wonderful people have supported me through the writing of this novel.

Hang Le—for understanding my vision and devoting your incredible talent into designing this phenomenal cover. You have mad skills, woman!

Lea Burn, editor extraordinaire, en dash/em dash specialist, and overall perfectionist—thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this novel.

Christine Borgford of Perfectly Publishable—for making my work look so pretty, with your seamless formatting, design, and astounding creativity.

Christine Estevez of Shh Mom’s Reading—my multi-talented, go-to person for proof-reading, handling all the promos, lighting fires to get me moving, supporting me from start to finish, and putting up with all my nincompoopery. You get the award for being the sweetest person ever.

My incredible team of beta readers: Chelsea Peden McCrory, G.G., Jackie Bagley White, Lisa Chamberlin, Luisa Hansen, Tasha B, Trisha Rai. Thank you for your invaluable feedback. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Soulla Georgiou, your friendship has carried me through all the ups and downs. Thank you is not enough for your daily missives, support and encouragement. This book is as much yours as it is mine. You are all kinds of EPIC.

Christine Brae, I am so blessed to have met you. You have been with me from the start, and you continue to blow me away with your grace, generosity and kindness. I can’t wait for That Darn Book!

Claire Contreras—my role model and hero. You inspire me with your words, your attitude, and all round amazeballness. Also, you make me invent new words.

Bloggers: the hardest working, most passionate group of book lovers. For every author who has reached an extra reader because of something you loved, reviewed, recommended or shared, I thank you! You continue to overwhelm me with your passion, generosity and professionalism.

My brilliant author friends—Mia Asher, KA Linde, K Larsen, BL Berry, Willow Aster, Corinne Michaels, Cat-Porter Porter, NJ Frost, Tarryn Fisher, SL Jennings, Kennedy Ryan, Ava Bell, Amy Harmon—each of you has touched me in some way, and all of you have gone out of your way to make me feel welcome.

I am forever grateful to the little band of Leylaholics on Facebook. You deserve all the stars!

And finally, thanks to my family. Without you, none of this would be possible or mean anything. It might also have wrapped up sooner if you hadn’t kept popping in, asking, “Are you done yet? How about now? NOW?” I love you! Thank you for allowing me the gift of time to write this book.