Ok...I just woke up, and I'm squeezing in this reply before i have to go to work. So, bare with me.
Yea, the except works the way you had explained. I took a quick look into the more tag, and remembered that I tried using the tag with wordpress at one time. It seems that the more tag works fine when you use content shortcode, but not with the excerpt shortcode, correct? I haven't look too much into the issue yet, but i have noticed that the excerpt displays 'raw' content instead of the way it was intended to display. So some of html code in the page/post tend to sneak in.
For creating a more tag. Why not use more to create a link?
Anyways, I gotta go. I'll check back on this sometime 8 hours from now. I'll have more spare time then as well.