"How're you doing?"
Deri gritted her teeth. "Hurts."
His chocolate-brown eyes filled with sympathy as he lightly stroked her hair. "We've almost got you free. Just hang in there."
A moment later, some unknown person yanked the ladder away. The release of pressure was almost more brutal than the pinching agony, but it soon dissipated to a dull throb. Deri closed her eyes and let out a breath. Her head lulled against that thigh tucked beneath her cheek, and she focused on the warmth and muscles layered under smooth cotton slacks to keep her mind off the pain.
"I'm going to check your ankle out, okay?" Large, capable fingers slipped off her shoe.
She ground her teeth and swallowed yet another whimper.
"Sorry," he rasped. He gently cupped her heel as he examined the damage, prodding with the barest of pressure from his thumb. Deri held her breath, but the burning was not appeased.
When she heard, "Holy mother of God," her eyes flew open, and she lifted her face.
Hot Guy shifted to block her view from the damage. "Don't look."
That didn't exactly placate her. "What's wrong?"
"Well, it's...it's swelling and bruising already. We need to get you to a hospital. Now."
She nodded. "Okay."