Lady Maya dressed quickly by the dim light of the moon. She glanced out over the balcony where a glow blooming on the horizon heralded the approach of dawn, and her heart skipped a beat as she realized how little time she had left. She grabbed her light cloak and threw it about her shoulders as she rushed toward the door.Romance novel? I'm unfamiliar with this genre, so feel free to take my feedback with some salt.
If, of course, this isn't a romance novel, reconsider the constellation of 'glow', 'blooming', 'heralded', and 'heart'. A few too many words like that in one place, and the next word we expect is 'bodice'.
The well oiled hinges swung open without a sound. Maya exited and closed the door with a click more felt than heard. She fought the urge to run down the halls in a mad race against time. The sound of her shoes echoed from the stone walls. The soft clicks seemed deafening to her, and the dancing shadows cast by the wall torches felt suddenly ominous, as if ghostly fingers clutched at her skirts, trying to stop her.Ok, sounding more like fantasy now.
Take out "mad race against time". In addition to being a cliche, it doesn't fit the feeling of the scene. You haven't given us any reason to believe the 'mad' part.
Cut the fourth sentence, and just put 'of her shoes' in the fifth. Always condense where possible.
I would suggest "reached out for" rather than "clutched at" as a bit less melodramatic and more like the effect shadows would have.
Maya dismissed such thoughts, chiding herself for giving her imagination too free a rein. However, the shadows of old tales would haunt anyone’s consciousness while preparing to descend into the castle’s depths in the hours before dawn. Few ventured below the ground level, so the area carried a mystique, a feeling of emptiness unsettling to the human mind.Oh, too meta. She's supposed to be frightened, feeling, and worried, right? "Dismissed" and "chiding" give the sense of a colder, more rigidly rational nature, and would she really think about how other people would think about old wives' tales?
Consider using another word for 'mystique'. We're back in bodice territory. And what's this about the human mind? Are you implying there are non-humans around to be thinking about this?
Knowing her way would grow ever darker, Maya steeled herself against the screaming of her nerves. She felt a presence following her and looked behind momentarily, but the winding stairwell was empty. She shook her head and silently scolded herself for letting her imagination get the better of her again before she stepped out of the stairwell and into the catacombs.Take out 'ever' before 'darker'; it's a bit too melodramatic to my ear. I don't think you've given us enough foundation for 'screaming'. Take out 'she felt a presence following her' and just let us intuit that from the way she looks behind her. Show, not tell.
She’d walked these passages in the early morning hours many times before as a game when castle life became too tedious. But this time was different; this time was real.Not bad. You create some intriguing tension, and I'm at least a little curious about where this is going. Your tendency to overwrite a bit isn't entirely to my taste, but it's within the range of what I've seen in some genre fiction, so this may be perfectly publishable with the right editor. Tell me though--am I right about it being fantasy? I imagine we could have an interesting discussion about what elements pointed me in that direction as early as the second paragraph.
PS to my readers: I made up the title; this didn't come with one.