The 30 million or so readers who bought the Fifty Shades Of Grey books aren’t the only ones getting hot and bothered over the burgeoning genre of Cliterature, as good a name as any for the bevvy of bodice-ripping ripoffs of E.L. James.

Publishers continue to pant trying to find the next Titillating Trifecta, and Berkley Books thinks it might have one in a deal just made with author Maya Banks. Cindy Hwang, Executive Editor of Berkley, consummated a World English trilogy deal worth seven-figures with Kimberly Whalen of Trident Media Group. Whalen also sold Italian rights to Mondadori in a pre-emptive deal and audio rights have been pre-empted by Brilliance Audio in a six-figure pact, with several other foreign-rights deals imminent. They are smartly reminding people that Banks was writing for the heavy-breather crowd before James, who was in the TV business in England when she started writing Twilight Saga fan fiction and instead turned it into an adult tale that has made her the second coming of Harry Potter‘s JK Rowling, only with James focusing on billionaire Christian Grey’s magic wand.

Maya Banks was at the forefront of the erotic romance trend and has been a star on Berkley’s list for several years,” Hwang said. “Her new trilogy will thrill returning fans and is the perfect introduction for readers who fell in love with the intensely provocative storyline in Fifty Shades Of Grey.”

The series — the first book is called Rush, the second Fever and the climax Burn — follows three billionaires — Gabe Hamilton, Jace Crestwell and Ash McIntyre — who are best friends and business partners. The men dominate both in the boardroom and in the bedroom. Each novel in the trilogy will explore the relationship of one of the men as he discovers the woman he will love. The book will closely follow the rapid-fire release of the Fifty Shades books, with Banks’ first book coming February 2013, followed quickly by the second book Fever in April 2013 and the conclusion Burn in August 2013.

Now, there have been plenty of others who are writing Penthouse Forum-caliber smut novels to satiate reader demand, and I’ve read numerous trade articles about how all these books were going to get big movie deals. So far, the film market for these books has been largely flaccid. But then again, Hollywood usually reacts to a film success before it goes into ripoff mode, so we will have to wait for Universal to release its Fifty Shades Of Grey movie before other studios start telling the prop departments to stock up on rope and handcuffs.