Book cover of “Love Me Softly“ by Bridget Hame

Love Me Softly

  • Genre: Romance
  • Age: 18+
  • Status: Completed
  • Language: English
  • Author: Bridget Hame
Step right up and witness the rise and fall of George Scott, the young CEO of Imperial Hub Limited! A tragic car accident leaves him scarred and struggling to maintain his public image as "The Ugly Billionaire No Woman Wants." But when he enters a contract marriage with his long-time crush, Rachel Reeves, he unwittingly steps into the crosshairs of... 

Chapter 1

Spring, 2015

The smell of cookies and wine filled the air as maids moved around, preparing the feast for the event of the night. George Scott leaned against a window in his bedroom as he stared at the clouds, taking in the beauty of the sunset as the night drew near.

Today was his twenty-first birthday. The day had finally come when he would take over from his father as the CEO of Imperial Hub Limited, a renowned skincare and beauty company. He was so nervous about his new role.

From this moment, all eyes would be on him. The board of directors, the investors, everybody! They would nitpick every action he takes just to find a reason why he shouldn't be the one filling that role. They all knew his father – Morris Scott preferred his stepbrother to him, and they would do anything to be his father's favorite business associate. The things people do for more power and money. 

Turning around to get ready for the event, he came face to face with his mother – Patricia Anne Scott – as she walked into his bedroom with a warm smile on her face. She stretched her two hands wide for a hug.

"Mom" he greeted, stepping forward to receive her show of affection.

"My wonderful son…" She wrapped him in an embrace, rubbed his back gently before she stepped away to look at him."....your father is so proud of you"

"Yes mom" George answered dryly, not wanting this conversation to go on. His father was never satisfied, no matter what he did.

"It's almost time for the event, I'll leave you to get ready" Patricia smiled at him and made her way out of his room.

George got dressed and made his way to the grand hall in the same villa. His mother sat by his father's right side, patiently waiting for him to come over and fill up the empty seat by her side. His stepmother and stepbrother were also present. Judith Scott and her son – James Scott sat by his father's left side. George walked over to where they sat and greeted everyone before he moved to sit beside his mom. 

After the main ceremony came to an end, the feast and party began. Tired of receiving countless congratulations from the board members on his new role as the CEO, George tiptoed away from the crowd and stood at a dark corner of the hall. His eyes swept over the crowd, seeking for someone. George spotted her in no time, watching her silently as her lovely smile lit up her beautiful face. Rachel Reeves. She was the daughter of his father's friend and business partner – Arthur Reeves – and George was in love with her. He desired to marry her, he just needed to gain her father's approval.

George stood at his corner, swooning over Rachel, unaware of her father, Arthur Reeves who stood a few steps away from him – watching him stare at his daughter with the eyes of a lover.

"A penny for your thoughts, George" Arthur Reeves whispered, after closing the gap between them.

George jumped in shock, not expecting anyone to notice him here. "Oh, Mr Arthur, it's good to see you sir." He turned a bright red wondering if he had been watching him ogle his daughter. "How…how long have you been standing there, sir ?"

Arthur Reeves laughed, he could see George was embarrassed that he had been caught. "Long enough to see my daughter's lover reveal himself" he replied casually, like he had no problem with what he just discovered.

At that moment, with nothing to hide anymore, George decided to reveal his feelings and gain her father's approval. "Mr Arthur, I um..i would really appreciate it if you give me a chance to win your daughter's heart" his palms were sweaty, his legs trembled, but he continued "I'll be kind to her and do my best to make her smile."

Arthur Reeves chuckled, he could see his sincere heart. "Go on. You have my approval"

George couldn't believe his ears, was he hearing correctly? His lips widened in a genuine smile "I promise I won't fail you, Mr Arthur – in growing this company and making your daughter happy" 

"We'll see about that George, time will tell" Arthur replied calmly before he turned to leave.

Standing there with a happy smile on his face, George was sure his future looked very bright and he had everything under control. 

                          ~~~~*~~~~

George opened his eyes slowly and scanned around, trying to figure out where he was. Realizing he was lying on a bed, he made an attempt to sit up and let out a sharp cry of pain as he crashed down on the bed in defeat.

What was this place? What happened? He wondered, his tired brain trying hard to recollect his memories.

He raised his hands - wincing as an intense pain shot through his shoulders, only to discover he was covered in blood stained bandages from his head to feet. He began to panic, hot tears of confusion trickling down the sides of his face. 

Dr Andrew – the personal doctor for George's family – walked in and moved to check his pulse. "You're finally awake, thank goodness" He smiled in relief.

The door to his medical room opened and his mother and personal assistant - Tony Williams rushed in. Patricia made her way to his bedside, her eyes welling with tears. She held his bandaged hands with her trembling hands as her tears of relief flowed.

"Mom, what's going on?" George whispered in panic, yearning for an answer.

"You've been unconscious for five days…" Patricia tapped his bandaged hand lightly as she spoke "...you were in a car accident five days ago, don't you remember anything about it?"

"Car accident? What are you talking about?" George still couldn't understand "Why…why am I all covered in bandages?"

"Your car caught fire on your way back home, you experienced serious burns as a result of it" Patricia replied, her voice muffled from her tears that wouldn't stop flowing.

"You experienced a second degree burn, people were fast enough to get you out of your car before you were completely burnt" Dr Andrew chipped in as he glanced at George with a pitiful smile. "I'm going to do my best as your doctor to reduce the impact of the burns on your skin, but keep in mind there is no guarantee you will look the same way you did before the accident"

George broke down in tears after Dr Andrew walked out to continue his work. He just became the CEO of Imperial Hub Limited two months ago, why did this have to happen? How would he maintain the public image of this company? Was he supposed to show up at business conferences and board meetings looking like this? What about the media publications…what would they say? He had a splitting headache just thinking about everything. Was he supposed to face Rachel looking like this? Wouldn't she be disgusted? 

Exhausted from everything he had heard since the moment he opened his eyes, George decided to talk about something else. "How has everything been at the company these past five days? Is there something I'm supposed to know?"

Patricia and Tony gave each other a weird look like they were hiding something, and it did not go unnoticed to George.

"You can tell him whatever he wants to know later, let him rest for now" His mother replied firmly

"No, tell me now" George insisted, his desire to know getting stronger by the minute. The more they tried to hide it from him, the more he wanted to know. 

After a long pause, Tony finally let it out "Arthur Reeves was arrested for d**g t*********g five days ago, he is in jail now." 

"Wait…what?" George muttered in disbelief, "Arthur Reeves? D**g t*********g?....there's no way!" He laughed, refusing to believe what he just heard.

"He's in jail right now and will remain there for the next ten years, it's really not a joke" Patricia chipped in, her eyes filled with a look of disbelief.

"Ten years?" George yelled in shock. Arthur Reeves would never hurt a fly, not to talk of ruining his reputation for a truckload of money, everybody knew that. "Taking him to jail means they found evidence, right?"

"Yes. The police said an anonymous source sent a digital file claiming it was the evidence of Mr Arthur receiving a huge amount of slush fund linked to a recent d**g t*********g case" Tony answered, rubbing the back of his neck in confusion "Strangely, it showed Arthur Reeves name on the transaction receipt which doesn't even make sense. He would never do such a thing"

"Did they give anybody access to the file, to you know…make their own investigation?" George enquired, tears of despair trickling down the sides of his face. His life was falling apart. What was going on? 

"Not at all. They just rushed into the villa and arrested him. Besides, it's the police, the bodyguards have to cooperate. If word gets out that the co-owner of Imperial Hub Limited is involved in a d**g t*********g case and he refuses to be arrested, that would be a problem for the company." 

George closed his eyes, completely overwhelmed. His mind drifted to Rachel Reeves and he wondered how she was doing, he was sure she had lost her beautiful smile by now with all that had happened.

"Everything he owned has been confiscated. They claimed that his wealth came from d**g t*********g, Imperial Hub Limited was just a cover-up he used to deceive people – so they took everything away." Patricia, who had been quiet so far answered slowly, knowing this would break George's heart even more. "His wife and daughter have moved out of their villa."

It was truly a dark day for George. He couldn't help but wonder...Where did the anonymous source suddenly come from? Why was the police in a haste to take him to jail instead of carrying out further investigation? It could be a set-up, why were they so fast to sentence him to ten years in prison? Someone had to be behind this, right?

Dr Andrew walked in to monitor George's health, then whirled around to face Patricia and Tony "He is under a lot of emotional stress right now which is very bad for his health. If you can allow him to get some rest without any disturbance, that will be good. I'll do my best to watch over him"

Patricia glanced over at Tony, indicating to him that they had to leave. "We'll come over later to see you. Please be strong, you will get through this." She whispered to George before she turned to leave with Tony by her side.

Listening to her words, a little spark of determination grew inside of him and George made up his mind that he would survive this. He would get through this. Not just that, but he was going to find the person behind the downfall of Rachel's family and clear her father's name. 

Even as he became drowsy – his body tired and needing rest, George was sure of one thing. He would never be the same and neither would Rachel.

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