“Kit, where are you?”
She could even hear it as if he was nearby. Amazing, Kitty shook her head bemused until she heard the voice again.
Her imagination must be working overtime. Duke whickered loud and hard. She started to tell him to hush when she heard boot steps on the gravel. Freezing in place, Kitty strained to hear the approaching footsteps.
"Kitty, it's me, Nick. Where are you?"
Letting go of the breath she'd been holding, Kitty took another breath before calling out. "I'm over here in the hole. Be careful."
"I'm coming, sweetheart." He called back, his boot heels scrambling for purchase over the rocks.
He'd called her sweetheart. She sighed then she accidentally put her weight on the wrong foot. "Ouch!"
"What, honey?” Nick called out in a voice that sounded a little closer.
"Hurry," Kitty managed through clenched teeth. He was there before she knew it. Deftly jumping into the hole and wrapping her in his arms, accidentally battering her already savaged ankle.
"Ouch, watch it," she complained.
"I didn't expect undying gratitude, but something like my hero might not be out of line," Nick commented laughingly.
"Thank you, Nick. I am grateful. I hurt my ankle when I fell into the hole." Kitty snuggled into Nick's shoulder appreciative of his warmth and inhaled deeply, enjoying the smell of worn leather and clean male.
Nick paced around the small hole with Kitty in his arms. He dragged his boot toe around the edge trying to find a way up or out.
"Well, darling, looks like I am going to have to toss you up," Nick acknowledged.
"What," Kitty squeaked. "Toss me where?"
"I looked, and there seems to be no easy way out of here. It’s up to you. Once you're up, I need you to tie the rope to the saddle horn on Duke's saddle and back him up. Once I get a hold of the rope, pull me up. Can you manage?"
Kitty had her doubts as she felt Nick's voice vibrate through the clothing separating the two of them. In the end, tossing seemed to be her only hope of getting out, and she imagined Nick was a good tosser. Naturally, he would be good at everything.