Mary Wright took a deep, calming breath as she paused at the top of the spiralling stone staircase. The dungeon of the castle ruins was still and cold, and the eerie calm sent a chill of apprehension down her back. She knew he was here. Gabriel was here, and he was hurting.
On silent feet, she tread slowly down the narrow stairs. She trailed her fingertips over the rough, damp stone wall at her side, guiding her way around the curve of the perilous steps. She blinked, attempting to acclimate her eyes to the darkness as it slowly engulfed her.
She adjusted the sheer cloth of the harem costume draping from her arms so the delicate material would not tear on the ragged rock face.
A loud, familiar clap of skin against skin echoed through the passage below, harshly breaking the silence. Her stomach clenched as a cry of pain and a choked groan swiftly followed. She must think of a plan to free him. But what? This costume hardly afforded many secret compartments for concealed weapons, as scant as it was.
Why of course! A slow smile stole over her lips. Her costume! When short on weaponry, one must know how to use all at their disposal. Mary would rescue Gabriel and save their mission with just her knowledge and her ridiculous costume.
She hastily removed two pins from her loosely fashioned chignon, allowing her curling auburn locks to fall over her shoulders and to her waist. She surreptitiously slid the two slender pieces of metal beneath the cuff at her wrist.
Pulling the elaborately beaded and embroidered vest from her shoulders, Mary slipped it down her arms and dropped it regretfully to the stone steps, discarding one of the only modest elements from her costume and leaving her bosom all but entirely nude beneath the fine lace of her bodice.
She pasted an insipid smile on her lips and forced her eyes to dull into witlessness before trundling noisily down the remainder of the stairs.
Torches lit the landing where one guardsman stood beside the large oak door leading to the dungeon. The large man was all too easily distracted by the dusky points of her nipples stretching the sheer material over her bosom. He stared openly at her, eyes glazed over and mouth agape. Predictable man. Mary winked seductively at him as she lifted the large piece of wood barring the door and pulled, stepping back to allow the door to scrape open on creaky hinges.
Striding sensually over the threshold, her heart nearly stopped at the sight before her. Gabe sat, shirtless and bloody, on a hard, wooden chair. His wrists were pulled behind his back and imprisoned by manacles, his shoulders bulged with strain, his body was shiny with perspiration, and his face…oh, his face. Swollen. Puffy and splattered with his own blood, the poor man.
Mary forced her heart to beat normally and willed her mind and body to follow direction and stay in character. The guard outside closed the door behind her with a decidedly ominous thunk.
She drooped her eyelids and curled her lips back in an aroused grin as she placed her hands on her waist, deliberately displaying her flagrantly-exposed figure. Cocking one hip, she allowed her belt of shining coins and bells to jingle.
“Oh yes,” she lowered her voice to a husky thrum. “Please tell me I can join in this erotic game.”