After some feedback received on these boards, I think I've gotten a little better at weeding out rookie mistakes like filtering from my text. With my latest story I've run into a bit of a snag, which I hope someone might help me solve. What is your stance on using filtering with visual metaphors? I'll provide the passage from my story that's causing me problems:

She blew a great cloud of smoke. Franco thought she resembled an elderly dragon, dressed up in the dried-up skins of its prey.

So the problem I'm having is should I use the "Franco thought" in the above passage, or does it work without? I realize that descriptions of environment are generally better without filtering in close 3rd narration, but I'm worried that in the case of a metaphor the lack of filtering might be confusing.

I don't mean to accidentally use omniscient 3rd, and I also don't mean that she literally looks like a dragon (the smoke is from tobacco). For all the reader knows, my setting (magical steampunk alternate reality England) might include dragons, so there is some danger of confusion. What do you think?