I found the answer after a good deal of research and testing.
views_embed_view() does not have a way to do this. However, we can use the same method that
1 $view_args = array($terms); //, $search_text
2 $view_object = views_get_view($view_name);
4 $html = $view_object->preview($view_display, $view_args);
Line 1,2, and 3 are a simplified version of
views_embed_view(). I'm bypassing permissions here so check out the function code to see how to do that part.
Line 3 is the part that sets the pager offset and solves my problem.
Note: their are two functions for setting the page offset and I used the wrong one the first time and it caused a log of confusion. The first function
view->set_offset does not seem to work. I think it sets the correct value in the view object but without doing the theme and query work. so
view->set_current_page is the one you want to use. I think it goes through the pager plugin to set the query and theme implications as well as set the offset.