Table of Contents

Book Cover
Trigger Warnings:
contains references to past abuse and paid-for sex, physical violence and abduction. There is one oblique reference to suicide. But no horses were harmed in the making of this tale :)

Book Info


Unfinished Business by Barbara Elsborg

Series Type:
Same story universe
Number In Series:
Barbara Elsborg
22 July 2021
Book Type
Heat Level


Ruari Byrne may not have had an easy life, but now he’s determined to live in the present, not his past. Trouble is, it’s hard to be independent when you’ve no money and no qualifications. All Ru knows is horses, and when he finds out that his beloved Joni and Cookie are off to auction, his heart is in his throat. How can he protect them if he can’t even look after himself?

Jasim bin Rajhi hadn’t intended to buy two working mares; the horses in his rarefied life are expensive polo ponies, but there’s something that intrigues him about the guileless young man who’s so concerned for their welfare. They might be worlds apart in every way, but Jasim doesn’t want this to be the last time he sees Ru. It can’t be, because Ru might just be the one he’s been waiting for.

Reunited at Jasim’s polo grounds, the pair bond over lives lived in darkness and secrecy. But there’s a truth about Jasim that should make Ru bolt like his beloved horses. Jasim knows he should let Ru go for his own safety, and yet it feels like happiness might be within their grasp. Can they overcome their pasts to trust in a future, or will Jasim’s obligations forever have a hold on him?

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Reviewed By: Josh Dale


If you have read any of Barbara’s books, you are likely to know that she masters the art of story weaving as well as intense emotions in her stories.

And if you follow my reviews, you will know that I am constantly amazed by each book Barbara releases.

With all that said I find it hard to believe that the first book I read of Barbara’s “Dirty Games” I did not finish. I know I know you are all in shock now. It just goes to show that you should never judge an author on just one book, give them a second or third chance to win you over.

Whilst I love Jonty’s story and he will probably remain my favourite character of Barbara’s for a long time to come. I think Waiting for Ru, is my favourite book in the Unfinished Business series.

The author manages to portray Ru’s past in such a deep and emotion way, that I felt I could understand the situation Ru was in. His sole friends were the horses on his uncle’s farm. The love he had for the horses was so authentic.

We first met Ru in Tyler and Inks (ru’s brother) story A Long Way Back. Having read both books we truly get to see the damage that Ru’s Uncle and Aunt caused by kidnapping Ru and allowing Ink to be blamed for it.

Ru lived his childhood from the age of 8 in isolation on the farm, believing that his family had been killed in an accident. Home schooled, no friends or visitors to the farm, he only had the horses and his crow for company.

So when he suddenly finds himself free and alone, he has to learn everything about social interaction, new technology etc. How daunting that situation must be.

But to make matters worse the horses are being sold at an auction, which breaks his heart. Determined to ensure they get a good home; he turns up at the auction where he meets Jasim

, who is a crowned prince from the middle east. Jasim has his own secret past, as well as being unable to be openly gay because of his heritage and religion, believing that his family would have him killed if he shamed their family with his sexuality.


Jasim buys Cookie and Joni, on a whim, because he needed a connection to the stranger a young man named Ru. Initially they go their separate ways, but when Ru turns up at Jasim stately home and polo club stables. To check that Cookie and Joni were being treated well, Ru half expects the horses to have been sold.

These two broken characters are fighting to find their place in the world, and hopefully love at some point.

The contrast between Ru’s innocence and naivety and Jasim’s darker past but yearning for a free life. Is so well written. The unspoken attraction between them from their first meeting is so strong you just know they will come out at the other side as conquerors.

But there are certainly many obstacles in their path, not least Jasim’s family, and his guilt for what happened with a previous sexual partner. (Which is covered in another of Barbara’s books, Give Yourself Away.) not to mention a stable manager who has it in for Ru and nearly kills him.

As with the other books you will need plenty of tissues, maybe’s a teddy to cuddle and comfort you. Because you are going to have your emotions twisted, tangled, untangled, retwisted, trodden on, yes you get the picture. But do not think this book is full of misery, because it certainly has his happy moments, especially when the characters get to meet up in secret, and when they are eventually able to be open and share their love with their friends.

I really liked the way once they got rid of Mike, the team and their friends rallied round Ru and Jasim, like a family. It was so heart warming and left me feeling all cosy inside.

A must read for fans of Barbara’s or anyone who likes to be taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.


RU WAS CLEANING yet more tack when Poppy burst in wearing flipflops and an open shirt over a bikini. Ru blinked.

“There you are,” she said.

Where else would he be?

“We all have the rest of the afternoon off and can use the pool. I somehow guessed no one had told you. Come on.”

“I don’t have any swimming trunks.”

She frowned. “Just wear shorts then. But don’t turn down time off when it’s offered. You’ll make the rest of us look bad.”

“I can’t swim.”

Poppy groaned. “Even if you don’t want to go in the water, you can lie in the sun for a while and read a book or ogle me in my bikini. Come on.”

“Okay. When I’ve finished this bridle.”

“Oh, and Mike told us what had happened to you.” She put her hand on his arm. “Sorry. That was shit. I’m glad everything is okay now.”

Ru nodded.

“I’ll see you over there. I’ve got suntan lotion! You can put it on my back.”

She ran off again and Ru continued with the bridle. It was strange but sort of refreshing to have what had happened to him dismissed in so few words. It was shit but everything was all right now. Almost anyway.

When the bridle was back on the correct hook, Ru made his way to the accommodation block. It had turned into a really hot day and the idea of being in the pool appealed, but he was fairly certain that he couldn’t swim. He’d been able to manage several yards when he’d been eight and remembered getting a certificate to prove it, but since then, he’d not been in water deep enough to swim in. Maybe it was like riding a bike and he’d pick it up again quickly. Though he had struggled to ride in a straight line for a while. He’d practised in the local park until he felt able to ride on a road. But swimming? Too big a risk to just throw himself in. He wasn’t going to be doing a doggy paddle in front of this lot. They’d laugh themselves stupid.

But he’d been asked to join in, and he needed friends, so he changed into his only pair of shorts, didn’t put on a T-shirt and grabbed his towel from the bathroom. He removed the drawing of Jasim from his sketchpad and dropped it on the bed, then left the room with the pad and his pencils.

When he reached the house, Ru followed the sound of laughter and splashing to the pool. A few people were in the water, which glistened so temptingly in the sunshine, the others were on chairs or sun loungers. Ru looked for Mike just to check where he was, and saw him lying next to Kirstie. Ru might have chosen to sit near Poppy, but she was too close to Mike, so instead, he picked a sun lounger at the other end of the pool, spread his towel on it and lay down.

Ru had rarely had the chance to relax in the sun. He’d worked on the farm with his shirt off when it was hot enough and sometimes, he’d laid down in a field for a little while in just his underwear, but there was always a job to do, always the fear that his uncle would come across him and lay into him for being lazy.

Now, he was safe and he could do what he wanted. He quietly sighed. What was it about the sun that made you feel instantly better? It was as if the heat had the ability to leach problems away. Temporarily at least.

“How did you get that bruise?”

Ru opened his eyes to see Poppy sitting on the lounger next to him. She was staring at his stomach.

“Are they bruises on your arm and neck as well?”

“I’m clumsy.” Ru was grateful his shorts hid the dark boot print on his thigh.

“None of the ponies have kicked you?”

“Not yet.”

“Not even Cheyenne?”

“Is she a kicker?”

“It’s been known, especially when she has her hoofs picked.”

“She’s been fine.” Ru wondered if he’d ever be able to trust Mike. Probably not.

“Do you draw?”


“Draw me?”

“I’ll try.” Ru picked up his pad.

It didn’t take him long to sketch an image of Poppy lying in the sun, her large sunglasses perched on her head, and he showed it to her.

“Wow, you’re really good.”

“Thank you.”

“Can I have it?”

“If you want.”

“Give it me later when we’re back?”

“Okay.” Now he’d started to draw, Ru began to sketch some of the others, then the house.

The guys began to fool around in the water and Poppy jumped in.

“Oh it’s so warm,” she called. “Come on in the shallow end, Ru!”

“I’m fine.” Ru drew everyone apart from Mike. He thought he’d be too tempted to give him horns, warts and fangs.

Water sprayed over his legs and Ru jumped. It might have been an accident but then again… He tucked his sketchpad and pencils under his towel and lay back to soak up the rays. The others were playing a game with a ball. Everyone but him was in the water.

“Don’t you want to get your hair wet?” Mike called.

Ru ignored him.

“Worried the chlorine will turn it pink?” Mike continued to taunt

Funnily enough, Ru quite fancied pink hair. Ink’s hair was bluey purple and Ru liked it.

“Cluuuuck…cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck.”

Ru wasn’t certain who started the noise. But others joined in. He’d never heard anyone do it before but he could guess what it meant. They thought he was chicken, too scared to go in the water. Well, he was. He probably couldn’t swim, and he had no idea how deep this pool was. Plus, he was lying near the deep end and he’d look a dick if he walked down to the shallow end to get in.

The ribbing continued and Ru switched off his ears as he’d done when his aunt kept on at him, and just let himself drift to another world. He’d win people over eventually. He was a hard worker and he’d not reported Mike when he could have. Maybe if he made a meal for everyone one night, or bought a couple of bottles of wine…

When he felt the sun lounger being lifted into the air, his eyes flashed open and he had a moment to panic before he was tipped into the water along with the lounger. As he flailed, his head collided with something and he went down with the sun lounger on top of him.

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Barbara Elsborg lives in Kent in the South of England. She always wanted to be a spy, but having confessed to everyone without them even resorting to torture, she decided it was not for her. Volcanology scorched her feet. A morbid fear of sharks put paid to marine biology. So instead, she spent several years successfully selling cyanide.

After dragging up two rotten, ungrateful children and frustrating her sexy, devoted, wonderful husband (who can now stop twisting her arm) she finally has time to conduct an affair with an electrifying plugged-in male, her laptop.

Her books feature quirky heroines and bad boys, and she hopes they are as much fun to read as they were to write.

Thirteen facts about me

1. I’m blonde, but after having spotted one grey hair - I now dye my locks with mixed results. I know I should read the packet but hey, what can go wrong? My nicknames – badger, skunk (purely the look!!), snowball and pinkie. Yes, that time it really did go wrong.

2. I hate milk. Can’t drink it, smell it or even look at it.

3. Writing. I really do love that. I started by making up episodes of TV series with me as the heroine. You name it, I’ve been in it. My range is from paranormal to suspense to contemporary to erotica but everything I write has a touch of romance and humor. Well, I think I’m funny. My family laugh at me all the time.

4. Former life – a sad cautionary tale. Started off as a government inspector – spying on people trying to cheat on their taxes. A short period as a media planner in an advertising agency. I fled that at dead of night. Several years selling cyanide – mainly to Sweden for the largest chemical company in the UK. Grand title of export manager. There was just me in the department. Had kids. Ughghghg. Then went to work as Government Inspector, spying on teachers. I was so popular, you can’t believe. Thank goodness I married well. (Married for money anyway)

5. No I didn’t, dear. Husband is financial whiz. Met at university when he was bringing a sack of potatoes to my flat mate. Romance is his middle name. Gifts to me include – supermarket vouchers, hedge trimmer and a hammer drill and reduced flowers past their wilt-by date. He spent most of his life in the aerospace industry making missiles. He’s atoning for his sins by doing my shopping.

6. Two children. Daughter a lawyer. Son has escaped to live in Texas. Enough said.

7. Books – I ADORE. I read at least one a day. I have thousands as I can’t stand to part with them. I read at lightning speed. 70-80 pages in 20 minutes. That’s fast? Right?

8. What do I do all day? Write. All day if I can. It’s my world and I love it. Start at 8.00 and finish late. Interspersed with journeys on the internet and satisfying needs of husband. No, not those sorts of needs. Really!! I was thinking of making coffee.

9. Worried about – possible visit from FBI. Research for one of my thrillers did involve some investigation into how a fetus would decay under a boat shed. Research into plastic handcuffs brought a deluge of porn. Well, that was my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I find I need to keep checking dubious sites. I might be addicted.

10. I’m very tall. 5’10 and a bit. I used to be very self-conscious about my height. Now I don’t care. I’m far more worried about other bits of me.

11. I won the prize at school for ‘Good Conduct and Example’ It was the worst day of my life. Well, one of them. I so want to be bad. Sigh.

12. I am incapable of telling right from left at crucial moments. Won’t be flying jets anytime soon.

I’m struggling now. I’m really not interesting.

13. Ohh, I was once kicked by a giraffe.

Phew, made it.



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