The photo — featuring Varekova in stockings, high heels and naked from the waist up — was taken for a British GQ feature on Victoria's Secret last year. Afterward, photo agency Corbis sold the photos to Maxim.
Varekova says she was never told of the sale, nor was she asked for her permission to do so. The model says she heard about the Maxim cover four days ago.
"They put me on the cover without my permission," the model told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "They have no right to do it."
The June issue goes on sale Thursday.
Varekova says the photos were fitting for a feature on Victoria's Secret, but "for Maxim, it looks — to my eyes — super, super vulgar." Varekova has frequently modeled for Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated, and appeared on the cover of SI's 2004 swimsuit edition.
"I'm sure many men will say, `what is she talking about,' but I don't like (Maxim), personally," she says. "I don't want to trash it, but I don't want to be a part of it either."
"I think it's a question of choice," she says. "This is my business, this is what I do."
Lewis Kay, a spokesman for Maxim, said in an e-mail Tuesday: "Corbis approached Maxim about running a fantastic photo shoot of the very popular model Veronica Varekova. We purchased the photos with all necessary rights and published them in our upcoming June issue."
Jim Mitchell, senior vice president of Corbis, said in a statement that the company would not comment on "potential litigation," but that "Corbis respects the rights of artists and celebrities in licensing its images to third parties."
Varekova says she's now examining her legal options and that her lawyer has been in contact with Maxim.