One of my favorite things about my friends in the romance community, aside from their stellar writing skills, is their passionate commitment to having romance novels depict healthy, loving relationships featuring people of all orientations falling in love in varied combinations. The premise for this anthology is that indie bookstore owner Emma Davis and her best friend, college professor Rose Everheart, both owe a debt of gratitude to the literacy foundation that changed their lives. When they’re trying to come up with an idea to raise money for the foundation, they combine the viral popularity of Hot Dudes Reading with the enormous success of the Naked Rowers charity calendars and the idea for Hot Naked Guys Reading is born.
The calendar will feature men who are not only irresistibly sexy, but have been named to Top 30 Under 30 lists in their respective fields, posed in famous libraries throughout the country. The Expose Yourself to a Good Book campaign draws the attention of photographers, reporters and other professionals. People often find love where they least expect it, when they’re not looking for it, so this anthology explores the journeys of not only the models but the crew, the organizers and all the people brought together in the creation of this charity calendar. And, because in the real world there are people of all sexualities, gender identities and preferences, readers will find m/f, m/m, f/f and ménage stories, told by award-winning and bestselling authors from the romance community in this limited-release collection.
As someone who’s written both m/f and m/m romance for many years, it is my hope that the writing community—both readers and publishers—will become more open to series with mixed pairings. Many television shows have finally managed to incorporate LGBT characters into their ensemble casts and no longer just as the humorous sidekick, but as central characters depicted in relationships that viewers can cheer for—who doesn’t love Oliver and Collin on How To Get Away With Murder? I would love for the romance world to embrace this concept, and it’s starting to, but isn’t quite there yet. The publishers of my m/f books didn’t want me to give my LGBTQ secondary characters their own books even when other side characters had been allowed their own stories and my m/m publishers publish only LGBTQ characters, so my straight secondary characters couldn’t get their own books either. This anthology was a chance to take things even a step further and try to have as many different pairings as possible represented in one collection.
And, since the Naked Rowers charity calendar was part of the inspiration for the story, I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to support their work. If you’re not familiar with them it’s a charity calendar that features artfully photographed groups of naked members of the Rowing team at the University of Warwick. Out of their student Straight/Gay Alliance they came up with the idea to raise money to combat homophobia in sports with these beautiful calendars featuring beautiful naked men. They’re really an amazing organization (and their calendars are truly beautiful—as are the sexy naked men featured in them!) so if you haven’t heard of them I highly recommend you check them out by googling Warwick Rowers. You’ll not only find their website but tons of videos, interviews and other information about the good their charity has done and how much their organization has been able to expand since they started a few years ago. Projects like this also give me hope for a more positive society where everyone is treated equally and with respect, so I support them whenever and however I can.
Links to find the Anthology, which is only 99 cents!
Hot. Naked. Guys. Reading.
When the sexiest Top 30 Under 30 men agree to pose naked for the “Expose Yourself To A Good Book” charity calendar, their hot bodies aren’t the only thing that gets EXPOSED. Ten brand new romances with M/F, M/M, F/F and ménage pairings from bestselling and award winning authors, there’s something for everyone in this limited release anthology.
About the stories in the collection:
Level Up by Annabeth Albert: When Landon, a genius physicist, is picked for a charity calendar, he must deal with an inconvenient attraction to Bailey, his rising-star photographer. Can he slay enough demons from his past to ensure a future together with him?
Wishing by Karen Booth: Jobless and painfully single, Samantha agrees to drive musician Duncan to a photo shoot. He’s in town for only five days, so sexy, and she’s eager for a no-strings fling. But Duncan shoots straight for the heart, making her unsure how she’ll ever survive his goodbye.
Kate Likes Girls by Amy Jo Cousins: Garden center manager Kate Rhee is on a mission. No more hook ups with women or second-guessing her recent break up with an unavailable man. Too bad the foxy, pink-haired bar owner she meets at a naked calendar photo shoot has sworn off girlfriends. Because Kate isn’t doing casual. She can totally resist that temptation. Totally.
Ghost by Robin Covington: Oliver Burns publicly bragged he’d sign the reclusive artist “G” — creator of the First Nations graphic novel, Ghost Warriors — to his comic publishing company. But that gets tough when “G” is Gareth Rain — the man he pulled a post-one-night-stand runner on years ago and the man he’s never forgotten.
Rigged by Vanessa North: For Kaitlyn, seeing her best friend Gordon naked is no big deal—until watching Sean tie him up changes everything.
Thrown Off Track by Tamsen Parker: Teague has been License to Game’s bassist for over a decade, during which time he’s slept with almost everyone in his path. But it’s always felt like going through the motions. Until he sees his bandmate Christian naked at a charity photoshoot and suddenly, he knows what it is to want.
Natural Enemies by Roan Parrish: When buttoned-up botanist Stefan Albemarle meets freewheeling urban gardener Milo Rios, it’s hatred at first sight. But hatred quickly turns to lust as Milo shows him how exquisite it can feel to lose control. When opposites attract, love blooms in unexpected places.
The Watermark by Tiffany Reisz: Jason “Still” Waters’ life looks perfect from the outside—money, fame, and the words “World Champion Bull-Rider” after his name. But Jason has a secret, one he never planned on telling anybody…until he meets Simone. She’s the kinky girl of his dreams…and his conservative family’s worst nightmare.
Legal Briefs by Karen Stivali: When organizing a naked charity calendar puts Rose’s tenure bid in jeopardy, the last person she wants help from is Michael, the gorgeous, arrogant lawyer she butted heads with during his shoot. He’ll defend her for free, but if their secrets come out they could both pay with their hearts.
About Karen Stivali
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary straight and LGBTQ+ romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.