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Joanna rinses, spits, and settles her squashy old badger on her head. It’s still asleep, lucky thing.

In the hall, Hoban’s securing little Madison’s new chipmunk for her–it’s her first day of school. Joanna squats to chuck her chin. “Look at you! So big! You’re going to need a raccoon in a month.”

Madison giggles, and Joanna rises to kiss her husband with the tiniest hesitation. She wishes Hoban hadn’t bought the Facelift Sables. The color’s pretty, sure, and his skin stays taut, but vanity! Vanity! And anyway, the spots where their claws grip his face are starting to show.