It was a long kiss, though how long Dany could not have said. When it ended Ser Jorah let go of her, and she took a quick step backward. "You…should not have…"
"I should not have waited so long," he finished for her. "I should have kissed you in Qarth, in Vaes Tolorro. I should have kissed you in the red waste, every night and every day. You were made to be kissed, often and well." His eyes were on her breasts.
Dany covered them with her hands, before her nipples could betray her. "I…that was not fitting. I am your queen." (A Storm of Swords, Daenerys I)
"You are my queen," Jorah echoed her, and his dark eyes flicked up again to meet Dany's, unashamed, unflustered, holding her gaze though she felt both emotions, and more besides. "And you kissed me back."
His unflinching directness, ordinarily a quality she valued in him, now pierced her as if were a flaming arrow.
"I did," she admitted, for his honest, unhandsome face challenged her to deny it. "It was wrong of me to indulge my…"
My desires, she had been about to say, but thankfully caught herself. She did not desire Jorah Mormont.
Her treacherous eyes, however, swept over his broad shoulders, his muscled chest and forearms, his large hands, callused by the sword. She could almost feel the solid strength of him holding her tightly as they had kissed. Heat snaked up her neck and into her cheeks, and down into her breasts and belly and even further below than that as her gaze settled on his lips, which had been so surprisingly soft while his beard had prickled her lower lip and her chin and cheeks. The kiss had not lasted quite long enough for her to grow accustomed to kissing a bearded man, but she did know that doing so had stirred the embers that had been smoldering within her since she last knew Drogo's touch.
"I am your queen," she repeated, though whether as a reminder to Jorah or to herself, she could not be certain. "And you are my knight."
"No." He gave the same sharp, decisive shake of his head as if they were having a disagreement about her plans for conquest, and stepped nearer to her. "I am more to you than a mere sworn sword."
Dany understood how Jorah might have felt slighted by her attempt at restoring the proper distance between them. She had pushed him beneath her, rather than apart from her. But she had been flustered. She still was, if her heart, beating wildly behind her ribs as her dragons beat their wings when she confined them to their cages.
"You are my councilor and my protector," she said, taking another step backward from him. "My friend."
"I am the man who loves you."
She tried to move still further away, but the backs of her knees met with the edge of the narrow bed that jutted out from the wall of the ship's cabin, putting her off-kilter. Her hands, which had up until that moment been crossed over her breasts, flew from them as she reached behind for something to catch hold of to keep her balance, but it was Jorah's hands clasping her bare shoulders that steadied her.
"You could love me, too, Daenerys, if you would but see. If you would let me show you."
One of his hands released her shoulder; she had a fleeting thought that she ought to move away from him, but before her body could catch up to her mind, the hand settled on the curve of her waist, instead, and then the other followed suit. If he had felt before that she considered him beneath her, he loomed over her now.
"I would make you a good husband."
"Husband?" Dany repeated, too astonished now to try and escape Jorah's encircling arms.
"If you would restore the Targaryen dynasty, you must wed. I know I am only lord of a minor house, but-"
"-but that mattered not to you when you named me first of your queensguard." His gaze burned into hers as his fingers tightened on her hips for an insistent moment. Then his touch became gentler, and he lightly stroked her skin, sending shivers all over where before she had flushed hotly. "Councilor, you called me. Protector. Friend. Are those not desirable qualities in a husband?"
"Of course they are," said Dany.
Now that the initial shock of Jorah's declaration, which she'd been naive enough to believe he would never make, had passed, his equally startling proposal of marriage seemed less presumptuous than it had at first. Indeed, part of her was pleased with the thought that this knight, whose actions, despite having served her well, had a tendency toward the ignoble, had purer intentions than just to bed her.
On the other hand, it made her regret all the more keenly that she did not love him as he loved her. As he deserved to be loved.
Sighing, she lifted her hand to touch his scruffy cheek. "But they are not the only ones, my sweet bear. You have all those qualities, and more. Yet I have never considered you as a suitor. You are not-"
The bitterness tingeing his voice and twisting his mouth made Dany drop her gaze in shame that he had read her thoughts so plainly, as if they were written on her face in the common tongue like the songs and histories in those books he'd given her. Almost as quickly, however, that thought gave way to the flare of anger.
From childhood Dany had bowed and scraped and done her utmost not to offend anyone because her life depended upon their goodwill, but those days were gone. She was queen now. She could think whatever she liked about whom she liked, even if it was that her sworn knight was not desirable to her.
Her head snapped upright, her eyes narrowed and her mouth opened to release the words as the flames that leapt forth from her dragon's mouths when she uttered the word dracarys, only for her words and wrath to be snuffed out when one of Jorah's hands skimmed upward from her hip along the narrowing curve of her waist, settling where his thumb brushing against the underside of her breast. His eyes were fixed there again, too, darkened with desire.
"You were not," he said, "unresponsive…to my kiss."
He leaned in to her as he spoke, and Dany found herself instinctively tilting her head up to meet him, even as her mind screamed in her mind that tried to convince her that the fire in her belly, the hot twinges in her secret places, might have been stirred by any man, so long had she been without a lover. Jorah could not know the extent of their kiss' effects; he had only her pert nipples from which to conjecture about her state of arousal. One way out still remained to her, though Jorah had effectively closed off all the rest.
As his lips grazed hers, she murmured, "I'm cold, ser."
To her surprise, Jorah chuckled low, turning his head to nuzzle her neck as his arm at her waist snaked around her back, drawing her flush against him; the leather of his jerkin and the metal studs felt blessedly cool against her bare, blushing skin.
"You, Daenerys, cold? In whose veins flows fire as well as blood?"
His voice somehow seemed to rake as much as his beard, and his touch became bolder. He cupped her breast more fully in his hand, his thumb tracing a circle around her hardened pink nipple; his warm lips parted over her neck, his breath hot as his tongue and teeth licked and nipped at the hollow of her collarbone. An image leapt into Dany's mind that made her place her hands upon his head and guide him down to her breasts until she saw it played out before her in the actuality of the tiny ship's cabin: Jorah groaned low in his throat, almost a growl, and required further encouragement to take her breast in his mouth, his tongue curling around the already firm nub of her nipple.
Somehow Dany restrained her head from falling back wantonly, but she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out her pleasure. Could she feel this from just any man? Or was there more to desire than a comely face? Drogo's face and form had pleased her before she had been certain of his love-and he had never uttered his words, as Jorah had done.
With the uncertainty of hearing them returned, and at risk of displeasing her, and falling out of her favor. His bravery-or recklessness-in love made warmth spread all through her as effectively as his kisses.
"Do you not fear being burned?" she asked in a hush.
Jorah's lips closed around her nipple then-so slowly-released it, as his hands slid away from her body and he straightened up to full height. Somehow he towered over her yet appeared suppliant, his palms turned upward, the tips of his fingers just grazing the skin of her belly.
"Here I stand, my queen. Can't you see how already you have set me afire?"
Beneath the hem of his leather jerkin, she could, indeed, see the insistent press of his manhood against his breeches. There had never been any doubt as to what Jorah wanted, but now Dany knew her own heart.
Her own desires.
She stretched up and pressed her mouth to his, while her fingers went to work on the buckles of his jerkin. Undressing a man proved a more difficult task than she expected, distracted as she was by the friction of their tongues gliding together and one of his hands on her breast while the other glided over the silken hip of her trousers to cup her arse before moving his hand briefly upward again to slipped his fingers into the waist ofso that his warm palm rested upon her bare bottom. Dany abandoned his jerkin, then, opting instead to break their kiss so she could push her trousers down over her hips. Jorah shrugged his shoulders out of his jerkin, but he went still as a stone as Dany stepped out of the puddle of silk and stood completely nude before him.
For a heartbeat she hesitated under the dark intensity of his gaze, which ignited a flush in her breast which burned to the top of her head to the tips of her toes. But she was the dragon's daughter, the mother of dragons, and there was no place she felt more in her element than wreathed in fire. She reached for the hem of Jorah's shirt and tugged at it, and he lost no time peeling it away from his hairy but well-muscled chest and over his head, allowing it to flutter onto the floor with his jerkin, while Dany set to unlacing his breeches and divesting him of that garment as well.
Then he was pressing her beneath him, or she was pulling him atop her, down onto the narrow bunk. The blankets were rumpled from where they had earlier sat as he advised her to sail to Astapor to buy an army of slave-soldiers. Would she have found herself in the position of taking him as a lover, she wondered, if she had not invited him into her cabin, but had gone out with him and kept council abovedecks-or at the very least, dressed before admitting him? Or had been inevitable that Jorah would woo her, and she would give in to him? Had some part of her wanted this-wanted him-all along?
The questions burned to ash when he pressed into her, filling her in a way that did not only have to do with the girth of his hardened manhood or her smallness or tightness around him. Dany could not understand it any more than she had understood why she must walk into the flames of Drogo's funeral pyre, yet she knew that being this was right, that Jorah was right, and she wished that he had kissed her in the red waste. Not only kissed her, but loved her there. And in Vaes Tolorro, and Qarth… Though he moved in and out of her for so long that she thought he must be making up for every time he had wanted to make love to her but had not.
When at last he had spilled into her and they lay entwined, she stroking the thinning hair at the back of his head as he buried his in her neck, his breath warming her skin like the glowing embers of a nightfire Dany said, "If this scheme of yours for going to Astapor is as successful as your attempt at seducing me, I may accept your hand."
"You don't ask much from me, do you?" said Jorah with a snort; though the renewed swell of him within her bespoke that he had not taken her conditional acceptance of his proposal amiss.
Smiling, Dany slid her fingers from where they had been stroking the thinning hair at the back of his head to tilt his chin upward. "For now I will be content with you kissing me again. Here aboard the Balerion…and in Astapor…and…"
"Home," Jorah murmured, and as he kissed her, Dany could almost hear the fire crackling in the hearth.