“Dr. Rowan Ellway...”
The sound of her voice brought him to his feet. Even after all these years, he knew the invocation by heart: “...in the name of Jefferson College, and by virtue of the powers vested in me, I confer this degree upon you with all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining.” Easter unfurled the silk-lined velvet hood, raised it over his head, and placed it around his neck.
Her official letter, with its offer of an honorary degree, had reached him two months earlier at the American Embassy in Moscow. Clipped to it was a note, handwritten on cream vellum embossed with the initials ERB. Although the scent was faint, Rowan recognized it as her fragrance. Rubbing his finger back and forth over the raised letters like a blind man, he had read it again and again: